Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (TV series)

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Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is 1979 television miniseries in which, in the bleak days of the Cold War, espionage veteran George Smiley is forced out of semi-retirement to uncover a Soviet Agent within MI6's echelons.

Directed by John Irvin. Written by Arthur Hopcraft, based on John le Carré's 1974 novel of the same name.
Who can spy on the spies?

George Smiley[edit]

  • [on his enforced retirement from the Secret Service] Reason as motive, or reason as logic, or reason as a way of life? They don't have to give me reasons—I can write my own damn reasons, and that is not the same as the half-baked tolerance that comes from no longer caring!
  • [to Peter Guillam] I'm surprised they didn't throw you out with the rest of us. You had all the qualifications for losing your job: good at your work, loyal, discreet...
  • [responding to a rumor about the Circus's deceased chief] Control died of a heart attack, after a long illness, throughout most of which he continued to work. Besides he hated South Africa. He hated everywhere except Surrey, the Circus, and Lord's Cricket Ground.
  • You featherhead, Martindale! You pompous, bogus, gossiping old featherhead!
  • Roy Bland is not "red brick." He was at St Antony's College, Oxford.

Roy Bland[edit]

  • As a good socialist, I'm going where the money is, and as a good capitalist, I'm sticking with the revolution, because if you can't beat it spy on it.
  • Don't look like that, George; it's the name of the game these days—you scratch my conscience, I'll drive your Jag.


Control: [repeated line] There are three of them and Alleline.


George Smiley: I'm so out of touch, Peter—does Lacon have any particular titles these days?
Peter Guilliam: Just Sir Oliver of the Cabinet office. You know how he loves being one of nature's prefects.

Roy Bland: Who was the bloke who said an intellectual is someone who can hold two completely opposing viewpoints and still function?
George Smiley: Scott Fitzgerald.
Roy Bland: Well, Fitzgerald knew a thing or two.

Bill Haydon: What do you want to know?
George Smiley: Oh... why? How? When?
Bill Haydon: [incredulous] "Why?" You ask that? [laughing and crying at the same time] Because it was necessary! That's why! Someone had to! [pauses] We were bluffed, George. You, me, even Control. Those Circus talent spotters, all those years ago. They plucked us when we were golden with hope, told us we were on our way to the Holy Grail... freedom's protectors... [laughing and crying] My God, what a question... "why?"


See also[edit]

External links[edit]