Callan – Charlie Says It’s Goodbye

charlie

Written by James Mitchell. Directed by Peter Duguid

Hunter believes that a top civil servant called James Palliser (Dennis Price) is due to defect to Eastern Europe shortly.  Palliser is under the impression that the man he loves is waiting for him in Poland – Callan, of course, knows this is the oldest trick in the book.  So before we’ve even met him, the character of Palliser has been quite clearly defined – he may be an important man, but he’s also a gullible one (it’s later reveled that Palliser’s lover died under interrogation some time before, but faked messages are being used to lure him out).

Callan is assigned to watch him and it seems to be a quite straightforward brief.  But there’s a distraction as Palliser has a friend called Susan Morris (Beth Harris).  He introduces himself to both Palliser and Susan and makes no secret that he works for security (Hunter’s suggestion – as he thinks it might spook Palliser into running earlier than planned).  Susan reacts sharply when she meets Callan for the first time – her husband was investigated by security and later took his own life.  But a later meeting is more cordial and Callan becomes more and more attracted to her ….

With Charlie Says It’s Goodbye, series creator James Mitchell crafts a story which takes a closer look at Callan the man.  There’s already been plenty of evidence provided during the series to date which makes it clear that Section operatives like Callan can hardly expect to lead a normal life.  All the previous relationships we’ve seen him enjoy have tended to be short (and usually terminated by death of the female  – such as Suddenly – At Home, for example).

He makes a valiant effort here to try and convince Susan that he’s nothing more than a nine to five pen-pusher, but she senses that he’s not being honest with her.  And finding he wears a gun is something of a giveaway of course.  It makes a change to see a more vulnerable Callan.  This is demonstrated when he gives her a present of a box of chocolates and she remarks that it’s a little old-fashioned.  Callan (obviously somewhat out of date when it comes to any form of relationship) is rather discomforted by her gentle chiding.

If the Callan/Susan relationship is the emotional heart of the story then Palliser’s attempted defection provides the more conventional spy angle.  Dennis Price, best remembered for the classic Ealing film Kind Hearts and Coronets, is a solid presence as Palliser whilst Richard Morant plays the hip-and-happening Trent, who’s been assigned by Komorowski (John G. Heller) to guard Palliser until he’s cleared to leave for Poland.

Trent does seem to be an unequal opponent for Callan as he’s far too young and casual.  There is a reason for this – Komorowski wishes to defect to Britain and therefore deliberately sabotages Palliser’s defection by entrusting him to someone he knew would be no match for Callan.

Callan is easily able to disable Trent and bring Pallsier in, but there’s a complication.  Hunter’s received an anonymous letter stating that Callan has been spending his free time with Susan.  There’s a telling moment when Hunter questions Liz about it, and she declines to answer his questions.  It’s a sign that her affection for Callan has overridden her duty to the Section.  And for somebody like Liz, who has even less of a life outside the Section than Callan does, this is quite noteworthy.

Is there a happy ending for Callan? He loves Susan and would be happy to leave the Section, but he knows in his heart he wouldn’t be allowed to walk away, whilst Susan loves him in return but detests the job he has to do.  It’ll probably come as no surprise that things don’t end well.  Trent targets both of them and Callan kills him (with a harpoon, no less).  He had no choice, since both their lives were under threat, but Susan’s total shock at seeing violent death close-up brings their relationship to an end.

Nearly everybody loses in this one.  Palliser’s hopes of being with the man he loves are cruelly dashed when Hunter tells him he’s dead, whilst Susan’s revulsion at seeing the sort of violent man Callan is can only serve to harden him a little more and make it unlikely he’ll ever decide to open up again.  The only winner therefore is Komorowski, who will no doubt be able to live a comfortable life as a defector.

Whilst not the absolute best the series can offer, Charlie Says It’s Goodbye is still pretty compelling, thanks to the emotional dramas that are played out over its fifty minutes.

Callan – None of Your Business

none of your business

Written by Trevor Preston. Directed by Voytek

After a brief spell as a (reluctant) member of the establishment, Callan now finds himself on the outside.  He’s been relived of command and placed on “special leave” by Bishop, pending the appointment of a new Hunter.

Callan quickly understands that he’s persona non grata.  Lonely tells him he’s been ordered not to drive him and Liz is unable to hand over his passport.  As an aside, it’s always struck me as odd (and rather unbelievable) that Lonely would have been drafted into the Section, even as just a lowly driver.  But it does mean that at the start of the episode his inability to help serves to increase Callan’s sense of isolation.

There’s rarely been any love lost between Bishop and Callan and this is made evident by their early exchange.  “All you want to do Mr Bishop is keep your paperwork neat. but then you are a very neat man, aren’t you Mr Bishop? You have neat hands, neat clothes, neat manners, neat mind.  Place for everything, everything in its place. Cross/suicide/file closed/what’s for lunch. Neat.”

As Callan’s on “leave” he decides to take a holiday, but Bishop won’t release his passport.  The reason why is never made clear, is Bishop simply being awkward or does he fear that Callan might defect?  Either way, Callan decides to obtain a fake passport and this is where the story really starts.

What stops None of Your Business from being a top-drawer Callan episode is the somewhat unlikely chain of coincidence.  Meres and Stafford are investigating how a Russian agent came to be in possession of fake, but very convincing papers.  They have a lead, West (Peter Eyre), but his sudden suspicious death stops them in their tracks.

Of course, the people that Callan approaches are the same ones that Meres and Stafford are interested in – and it’s this rather clumsy plotting which is the problem.  It’s also rather out of character that Callan would be so driven to try and leave the country – he has to be otherwise the story wouldn’t work, but it just doesn’t feel quite right.

But if some of the plotting is a little suspect then there’s still plenty of incidental pleasures to be found with the guest cast.  Tony Selby plays Lucas, the man who seems to be in charge of the forgery ring.  He starts off as a confident figure, convinced he’s got the measure of Callan, but it’s plain he has no idea what he’s let himself in for.  Brian Murphy, as Reeves, first appears as one of Lucas’ potential customers (presenting a cowed, shambling figure) but it’s later revealed that he’s the brains behind the whole operation.  It’s a nice enough twist, even if Reeves’ motivations (and the precise nature of the forgery ring) remain somewhat nebulous.

There’s several small character touches which enhance the episode.  The first comes after Callan realises that Lonely’s told Lucas where he lives.  A spasm of anger crosses his face and he punches Lonely – hard.  Seconds after you can see that Callan regrets this, especially when Lonely tearfully tells him that he didn’t have any choice – Lucas’ heavy had hurt him.  Woodward and Hunter had shared so many scenes together by this time that they were able to display a world of meaning even in non-verbal ways.

And when Squire’s Hunter returns to the Section late in the episode, both Meres and Stafford automatically stand up but Callan remains seated.  This is a nice unspoken sign of Callan’s disdain for authority – although his relationship with this Hunter was always more cordial than with some of his predecessors.

The new Hunter is revealed – in fact it’s the old one as William Squire returns to the series.  It would have been the ideal time to bring in a new actor but given how good Squire always was I can’t really complain.

Callan – If He Can, So Could I

if he can so could i

Written by Ray Jenkins. Directed by Peter Duguid

The opening of If He Can, So Could I has a deliberate echo of the season three opener, Where Else Could I Go?. Then it was Callan who was deemed to be unfit for duty, but now it’s Cross.  In both cases we see a rigorous physiological evaluation undertaken by Snell (Clifford Rose).

Rose, later to play Kessler in the classic series Secret Army, was always a little underused in Callan, but this episode does give him a little more exposure than normal.  Snell is convinced that Cross should be replaced (he likens him to a tightly wound watch spring – which has to give eventually) but Callan is less sure.

Snell certainly plays all the tricks he can, such as asking Cross to fire at the target of a woman and then revealing that behind the target was a female dummy.  This recalls a similar moment in Where Else Could I Go? – Callan was perfectly fine when asked to shoot circular targets, but missed every time he was presented with a target in the form of a human body.

Interestingly though, Cross has no such qualms and when Snell questions him afterwards he maintains that he feels perfectly fine.  Although his actions in Rules of the Game were responsible for paralyzing a fourteen-year old girl he’s adamant that it’s left no lasting scar.  He tells Snell that he’s trained to not feel remorse – it was an unfortunate accident, but nothing more.

Another fascinating moment occurs when Snell asks him what he feels when he kills.  Cross says that it gives him a sense of security, which makes Callan (watching events from the close-circuit television in his office) shake his head ironically.  Although he may not share Cross’ opinion about killing, Callan is very much on the side on his colleague and reinstates him.

He’s sent right back into the thick of things as he’s assigned to guard a Russian dissident poet called Trofimchuk (Peter Blythe).  Probably best known for playing Soapy Sam Ballard in Rumpole of the Bailey, he’s almost unrecognisable here, thanks to a moustache and a strong Russian accent.  Trofimchuk’s interaction with Cross is key to the episode – especially the part which sees Trofimchuk speak in favour of suicide.

Do his words maybe hit home?  Shortly after, Cross spies an intruder on the roof and leaves to investigate.  A single shot is fired and Cross is dead before he hits the ground.  When Callan later catches up with Cross’ killer (and Trofimchuk’s would-be killer) Burov (played by Morris Perry) his dying words are “he let me kill him”.  And Snell later finds a number of books in Cross’ flat which have passages dealing with suicide highlighted.

It’s all circumstantial evidence, but together it adds up to a compelling case that Cross did have suicide on his mind, although there isn’t any real evidence of this from the film sequence that covers his death.  We see Cross looking for Burov, he’s distracted by a shout from below and a split second later he’s shot.  But we’ve already seen Callan and Snell debate that life and death can be a matter of split seconds, so it could be that this infinitesimal hesitation was key. Or did Cross just forget his training?  This is Callan’s opinion, but it could be just what he wants to believe.

The death of Cross hits both Callan and Liz hard, but for different reasons.  Although he treated her badly during their brief relationship, it’s probable that Liz still had a certain amount of affection for him, whilst Callan’s feelings are much more complex.  Towards the end there’s a spell-binding scene with Callan and Lonely (Russell Hunter’s only appearance in this episode).  A very drunk Callan tells an uncomprehending Lonely how difficult it is to control the darkness that exists inside.  Edward Woodward was always so good, but this scene is something special even by his high standards.

Callan’s decision to leave the office after Cross’ death (something that Hunter is strictly forbidden to do) and his murder of Burov (the first time he’s killed someone he’s not been authorised to) brings his brief stint as Hunter to an end.  Whilst it could have lasted a few more episodes, largely confining Woodward to the office has been a bit of a problem so it’s not surprising that he’ll now be back in the field.

No matter how many times I rewatch these episodes they never lose their impact.  If He Can, So Could I is yet another exceptional installment from one of the true classics of British television.

Callan – Rules of the Game

rules of the game

Written by Ray Jenkins. Directed by Voytek

Bishop orders the Section to harass a Russian cultural attache called Medov (Mike Pratt).  Callan is told that a British diplomat was recently expelled from Moscow, so this is in the nature of a tit-for-tat exercise.  Cross is assigned to wage psychological warfare on him and ultimately engineer a situation that will force him to be recalled.  But Bishop hasn’t been entirely honest with Callan and when Cross decides to involve Medov’s family it has dire consequences …..

Rules of the Game could be seen as the first of a two-parter which concludes the story of James Cross (the repercussions from the events here are a major factor in the following episode).  Ever since Cross was introduced at the start of series three – Where Else Could I Go? – he’s been something of a loose cannon.  But since the Section is such a dehumanising place it’s not surprising that it breeds a certain type of very dysfunctional person.

Rules of the Game offers us a close examination of exactly how he operates.  Medov seems to be a blameless figure, but that’s of little concern to Cross since he’s got his orders and is happy to carry them out.  He therefore stands in complete contrast to Callan – a man who never stops questioning.  As Callan later tells Bishop.  “I was trained never to take anyone or anything on trust. You start off with one simple premise – everything smells. Yourself, the job you’re doing and the man who tells you to do it. You’re told something, you test the opposite.”

Any available resource is fair game for Cross, so Medov’s wife Alevtina (Virginia Stride) and daughter Danera (Verna Harvey) are simply there to be used (Callan tells him at the start that they aren’t his concern, but he reluctantly agrees later they can be used as leverage).  Nuisance phone calls help to ramp up the pressure, but it’s not enough to force Medov’s hand – so more extreme measures have to be taken.

As might be expected, it’s a messy ending.  Medov’s daughter is critically injured by Cross and Medov surprises Callan by asking to defect.  The brief meeting between Callan and Medov is a powerful ending to the story.  Medov’s life has been destroyed – but who was ultimately to blame?  Was it Cross for lashing out at Danera or was Bishop, the man who gave the orders, more culpable?

Patrick Mower is excellent in this episode.  It’s a pity that he didn’t stay on for the remainder of series four as the Callan/Cross/Meres triangle would have been an interesting one.  Presumably it was felt that now Anthony Valentine had returned the character of Cross was somewhat surplus to requirements.

But it’s also just as much Mike Pratt’s episode as it is Patrick Mower’s.  Although Pratt will always be best known for Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) he packed a great deal into a relatively short career (he died in 1976, aged just 45).  Apart from many other film and television credits, he also was a skilled musician and turned his hand to script-writing, penning episodes for several television series, including Randall and Hopkirk.

With the battle of wills between Medov and Cross taking centre stage, it does mean that Callan is rather pushed to the sidelines.  But on the plus side Woodward shares some nice scenes with James Cossins (who plays the effete spy Neville Dennis).  Cossins was always such a reliable supporting actor (and if you don’t know the name, you’re certain to recognise his face and voice).  His byplay with Woodward provides some light relief in an otherwise dark episode.

One slight script flaw is that Bishop tells Callan this will be his first job as Hunter (which rather ignores the previous episode).  But on the plus side this scene gives us a chance to see Bishop’s office – which is very large and very sparsely furnished (it certainly impresses Callan).

A character-heavy piece with little action, Rules of the Game is another quality installment of a very consistent series.

Callan – First Refusal

first refusal

Written by Bill Craig. Directed by Jim Goddard

Kitzlinger (Martin Wyldeck) is a middle-man with no political or ideological convictions.  He’s been authorised to sell a list and has offered it to the British SIS on first refusal.  Kitzlinger tells Callan and Bishop that it contains the names of ten British agents based in Eastern Europe.  If they aren’t interested in paying his price of one hundred thousand pounds then he’ll offer it to the KGB.

Now that Callan is in charge of the Section he reports to Bishop (Geoffrey Chater).  Bishop and Callan are very different characters which means there’s an entertaining combative nature to their relationship (and both Woodward and Chater seem to relish the numerous two-handed scenes they share).

First Refusal opens with Callan stating his case for a taxi – or as he calls it a MCF (mobile communications facility).  It’s ironic that whilst Bishop couldn’t see the need for buying a taxi, once Callan explains that it’s a mobile communications facility he’s much more sympathetic!

His need for such a vehicle does help to date the programme somewhat – he tells Bishop that too often his agents are out in the street unable to find a phone – but even allowing for the fact this was made some forty years ago it does some strange that walkie-talkies couldn’t have been installed in all Section cars.  There’s just something gloriously amateurish about the Section having only one vehicle with radio facilities.

Now they have a taxi they need a driver – and Callan proposes Lonely.  Bishop reacts with horror, but Callan sees it as the ideal solution, particularly since Lonely knows far too much about Section business (“we either take him in or we take him out. And that means right out. But you’ll have to take me first”).

It’s no surprise that Lonely isn’t too keen about becoming a taxi driver – as he has to pass an incredibly difficult test.  This leads to a couple of classic Woodward/Hunter scenes in which Callan tests Lonely’s very limited knowledge of London streets.  Lovely stuff.

Possibly the most noteworthy part of the episode is the return of Toby Meres, although if his name hadn’t featured in the opening credits his sudden appearance at the end of part one might have come as more of a surprise.  He’s been stationed in Washington since the start of series three (whilst Valentine was engaged on other projects) and there was no hint prior to this episode that he was coming back.

Callan tells him that he’s been recalled because he has room for a good man but Meres counters that he was coming back anyway.  Their first meeting is an excellent reminder of the uneasy relationship they’ve always enjoyed.  Meres wants to be the next Hunter and he’s totally upfront in telling Callan that it won’t be long before he gets a chance.

Meres is convinced that Callan is bound to fail eventually (Callan isn’t made of the “right stuff” for command) and proposes to step in when there’s an opportunity.  Callan tells him he’s welcome to it, but that doesn’t resolve the tension that now exists between them.  Meres spends the episode waiting for Callan to fail and gently mocks him at every turn, although by the end it’s Meres who’s blundered.

The list turns out to be a fake and Kitzlinger is picked up by Callan and Meres.  When Kitzlinger makes a sudden movement, Meres thinks he’s going for a gun and shoots him dead.  Callan bitterly informs him that the dead man was simply reaching for his heartburn pills (“you’re a bloody psychopath.  You haven’t changed have you Toby?”)

Although the list of British agents is the main plot-line, it’s the character dynamics between the various members of the Section that’s the most memorable part of the episode.  Another interesting clash occurs between Meres and Cross.  Although they never shared a great deal of screen-time (Patrick Mower leaves the series shortly) there’s still some needle.  Meres tells him that if things change like he hopes then the junior man might be “a Cross I wouldn’t have to bear”.

Nobody comes out of First Refusal with much credit, especially the British who have paid over the money and received a worthless list.  It’s a sharp reminder to Callan (if he needed one) that the hazards of command are numerous.

Callan – Call Me Sir!

call me sir!

Written by Bill Craig. Directed by Mike Vardy

Callan is tired of being a field operative and wants a desk job – he tells Hunter that he’ll do anything.  But he’s not expecting to be offered Hunter’s own job ….

Call Me Sir! certainly shakes up Callan‘s format and has the potential to move the series into new and interesting areas.  Although it might seem strange that the position of Hunter was offered to the anti-authority, anti-establishment Callan, on the other hand it makes perfect sense – poacher turned gamekeeper, as it were.

The moment when Hunter offers Callan the job is electrifying.  Hunter invites Callan into his office and asks him to sit down.  Callan looks around in confusion as the only free chair is Hunter’s own, but after a few beats he understands.  It takes some coaxing to get him into the chair though, as it’s much more to Callan than just a piece of furniture – it’s an object that (along with its occupants, of course) has dominated his adult life.

But eventually Callan takes the job and it’s instructive to see how he then interacts with the other members of the Section.  In many ways it’s no different from anybody who’s suddenly promoted – the reaction he gets is a mixture of awkwardness and resentment.

The awkwardness is highlighted by his relationship with Liz.  In That’ll Be The Day Liz was tearful at Callan’s mock funeral and later warmly welcomed him back from the dead.  Here, things start promisingly enough as she decorates his office with fresh flowers, but Callan oversteps the mark by asking her to call him David, rather than Hunter, when they’re alone.  It’s plain from the expression on her face that this upsets the ultra-professional Liz and is responsible for a temporary chill in their relationship – highlighted by the fact that when the flowers die they aren’t replaced.

But if there’s faint unease between Callan and Liz, it’s nothing compared to how Cross takes the news of Callan’s elevation.  During the first two series, Callan and Meres were presented as equals – in age and ability (the only difference being that Meres lacked any sort of conscience).  When Anthony Valentine was unavailable for series three, Patrick Mower was introduced as Cross.

As previously touched upon, Cross is younger and much more inexperienced than Callan – so they’ve never been on the same level (this was highlighted by the fact that during the later part of the previous series Callan would regularly use Cross’ first-name whilst Cross still referred to Callan as Mr Callan).  Callan’s sudden and unexpected promotion has simply widened the gulf between them and the older man wastes no time in establishing his authority.

When Cross meets Callan as Hunter for the first time, he immediately sits down only to be told by Callan that he hasn’t been given permission!  There then follows a brief battle of wills which Callan naturally wins – forcing the younger man to accept the situation and show the necessary respect (including calling him Sir, which Cross does through gritted teeth).

With Callan now promoted, he’s in an ideal position to protect his friend Lonely.  But there are various forces moving against the smelly little man and in a rather convoluted part of the story Callan elects to furnish him with a new identity and send him out of the country as a merchant seaman.  Lonely’s far from keen, but Callan tells him it’s for his own safety.  Lonely’s being hunted by the Section because he was put in a Red File during the previous episode (as he didn’t believe that Callan was dead).  Now that Callan’s back (and he’s got the position of Hunter) it would seem logical for Callan to take Lonely out of the Red File.  He could do it – he has the authority – so why didn’t he?  It’s a part of the story that doesn’t make a great deal of sense.

As so often, the interaction between Edward Woodward and Russell Hunter is highly entertaining.  Lonely is now convinced that Callan’s a spy – but he believes he’s working for the Russians!  The scenes between the pair of them at the doss house (where Lonely is hiding out) are first rate.

Earlier, we see that Lonely has made the acquaintance of Flo Mayhew (Sarah Lawson) who tells him that there’s something fascinating about his face and elects to paint him (with his clothes on, thankfully).  Her painting perfectly captures him in all his glory and Callan’s expression when he sees it is priceless.

But it turns out that Flo is a member of the opposition and has ensnared Lonely in order to draw Callan out.  This is another part of the story that feels a little contrived and over-complicated.  Flo is captured and led away and it’s assumed that, like Richmond, we’ll never see her again.  But as with Richmond, she does return much later in the series to haunt Callan …..

Bill Craig’s first script for the series had been The Same Trick Twice back in series three and this clearly impressed since he ended up penning four stories during the fourth series.  He was always a very dependable writer, and although I have a few quibbles with parts of the plot, Call Me Sir! is a very strong episode.

Callan – That’ll Be The Day

that'll be the day

Written by James Mitchell. Directed by Mike Vardy

That’ll Be The Day certainly has a strong opening – we begin at David Callan’s funeral.  The mourners include Hunter, Bishop, Colonel Leslie, Cross and a clearly distraught Liz.  A late arrival is Lonely, who comes complete with an impressive floral display (which he’s naturally pinched).

One of the few moments of levity in the episode occurs when a disbelieving Lonely hears the vicar’s fulsome tribute.  He describes Callan as a humble man of peace – a far cry from the person that Lonely knew.  So Lonely comes to the conclusion that they’re burying the wrong man!

Arresting as this is, it’s not very logical.  If Callan had been a public figure (a politician, say, or a civil servant) it would have made sense to stage a mock funeral.  But as he’s not, the only thing the funeral does is to make Lonely convinced that Callan isn’t dead after all.

In Mitchell’s original draft script, Callan and his Russian counterpart (originally called Lonsdale, later renamed Richmond) were apprehended at the same time – both sides then agree on a publicity blackout so they could be exchanged.  This makes the reason for the mock funeral slightly more plausible, but it’s still a problem.

Also present at the funeral in Mitchell’s draft script was Toby Meres.  He didn’t feature in the final program, but he is mentioned (and will return later in the series).  Somebody who does make an appearance is a previous Hunter, Colonel Leslie (Ronald Radd).  Since he doesn’t speak a word, for anybody not familiar with the first two series he could be taken for just another extra.  But for those who’ve seen the black and white episodes it’s a lovely touch.

Callan isn’t dead of course, he’s a prisoner of the Russians and currently undergoing interrogation at the Lubyanka.  The first time I saw this episode I assumed it was the second part of an existing story – mainly because of the cold open.  We’re told that Callan was on assignment in East Germany, that the girl he was with was killed and that he was then taken to the Lubyanka.  It’s very jarring that this is all tell, not show.  A modern series would have no doubt set this plot-line up at the end of the previous series, closing on a cliffhanger of Callan’s abduction.

He’s clearly in a bad way – his head is shaven and he’s been pumped full of drugs.  In many ways he’s in a similar state to how he appeared in Death of a Hunter, although it’s true that here he’s more aware of what’s happening – in Death of a Hunter his moments of lucidity were few and far between.

Karsky (Julian Glover) is given the task of interrogating Callan.  Just as Callan has his counterpoint in Richmond, Karsky has an obvious opposite number in Snell (Clifford Rose).  Whilst Karsky is using drugs to interrogate Callan, Snell is doing the same to Richmond.  And Karsky and Snell are very similar character types – neither are cackling villains, instead they view their subjects with detachment and, especially in Karsky’s case, seeming compassion.

Karsky knows that Callan will eventually tell them everything – the drugs will ensure that.  But if Callan cooperates then the drugs won’t destroy him.  So why fight?  Naturally Callan replies in the negative, but it doesn’t shake Karsky’s composure at all.  As might be expected, Julian Glover is excellent in these scenes, as is Woodward, and these two-handed moments are the highlight of the episode.

T.P, McKenna’s Richmond is an interesting character.  At this point he seems to have been created simply to solve the problem about how to extract Callan from the clutches of the Russians.  But he makes an unexpected return towards the end of the series in several key episodes.  He doesn’t have a great deal of screen-time here, but he still manages to make an impression.

Another indication that Callan and Richmond are two sides of the same coin is demonstrated when it’s decided to exchange them (much to Hunter’s displeasure – he considers swapping Richmond for Callan is a bad bargain).  Both Callan and Richmond are holed up in adjoining hotel rooms in Helskini – and they each offer their handlers a drink (which are refused).

Callan’s miraculous return from the dead comes as a shock to some, especially Cross.  You get the sense that he’s just started to enjoy being the top man in the Section and now that’s cruelly taken away from him.  Patrick Mower would leave the series after episode five, so Cross only has a limited character arc in series four, but it’s still quite effective.

In series three, Cross was several rungs below Callan – the older man was quicker, sharper and always more capable.  He’s maybe slightly closer in ability now, but he also possesses character flaws which will prove to be his undoing.  He’s always had a certain sadistic attitude – witness how he plays Russian Roulette with Lonely (admittedly with blanks) – and over the course of the next few episodes we’ll see how he gradually steps further and further over the mark.

Hunter’s meeting with Callan is a rather frosty affair.  He admits that if it was his choice he wouldn’t have had him back.  But Callan is back and since Richmond was a top man it’s a matter of prestige for the Section that they can’t be seen to have swapped him for a lesser prize.  But how can they prove to the Russians that Callan is Richmond’s equal?

Promotion is the obvious course …..