Smiley's People (1982): Season 1, Episode 1 - Episode #1.1 - full transcript

In Paris, a Russian émigré is approached by a ginger-haired Russian official and told that her daughter Alexandra may be allowed to join her in the West. Madame Ostrakova had been given permission to join her husband who had defected to the West but at a great cost: she was forced to leave her infant daughter behind. She follows instructions and applies for a visa for her daughter at the Russian Embassy. When weeks go by and she hears nothing, she writes to a former Soviet General, Vladimir, who now lives in London. He realizes something important in what she says and contacts the Circus, headquarters of the British Secret Service. When he is found dead on Hampstead Heath, George Smiley is called out of retirement to tie up any loose ends and ensure the old General's death doesn't raise any of his former connections to the Service.





(MAN) Bonjour. Comment ?a va? Bien?


Your name is Maria Andreyevna Ostrakova?

You were born in Leningrad on May 8th 1927?

I bring you greetings
from your daughter, Alexandra, in Moscow.

Also from certain official quarters.

- C'est trop chaud pour faire l'amour!
- I must speak to you about Alexandra!

- On y va!
- Do not board this car.

- Vous lui direz d'essayer la semaine prochaine!
- Alexandra requires assistance from her mother!

Et merde!



Do they know here you have lived
an immoral life in Russia?

Maybe in a town full of whores they don't mind.

In 1948, aged 21... married the traitor Ostrakov Igor.

In 1950, the said Ostrakov
traitorously defected to France

with the assistance of reactionary ?migr?s...

...leaving you behind in Moscow.

Despite the improbability
your request would be granted,

you applied for a foreign travel passport
to join your husband in France. Correct?

He had cancer. If I had not made the application,
I would have been failing in my duty as a wife.

Monsieur, I would prefer th? citron.



Despite your pretended concern
for your husband, the traitor Ostrakov... nevertheless formed an adulterous
relationship with Glikman Joseph,

a Jew with four convictions
for antisocial behaviour.

In consequence of this adulterous union,

you bore a daughter, Alexandra.

- Correct or false?
- Where is she?

(SHOUTS) Where is Glikman?
What have you done with them?

In January 1956,

as an act of clemency,

you were granted a passport
on condition that the child, Alexandra,

remained behind in Moscow.

You exceeded the permitted time,
remained in France, abandoning your child.

You have received no communication from her?

I was advised only that she had entered a state
orphanage and had acquired another name.

Unless the ways of the authorities have changed
considerably, for all she knows, I am dead.

But you're not. It is your lover,
the Jew, Glikman, who is dead.

- Concerning your criminal daughter, Alexandra...
- Criminal?

On November 20th, 1966,
for escaping from the state orphanage,

six months' corrective detention.


What is your decision?

I didn't hear.

I'm sorry. Kindly...

Will you repeat what you just said?

Assuming it has been decided
to rid the Soviet Union

of the disruptive and unsocial element,

how would you like your daughter,
Alexandra, to join you here in France?


Here? To me?

You wish formally to apply for her?

Oh, yes. Yes.

Tomorrow morning, you will go to the Soviet
embassy and ask for Attach? Kuznetsov.

Attach? Kuznetsov is authorised to make
certain reunions of a compassionate nature.

You will not mention this meeting.
You will give no indication of special treatment.

Attach? Kuznetsov will require you
to fill in certain forms.

He will also supply you with a photograph
of your daughter, Alexandra.

You will take these forms with you
to the French Ministry of the Interior,

where you will pledge yourself
to certain undertakings.

- Comrade Ostrakova?
- Madame.

Madame. Please come this way.

You put here, please,
your date and place of birth,

here the names of both your parents, and here
the date of your marriage to your late husband.

These are photographs of your daughter
that you must take with the forms

to the French Ministry of the Interior.

This is my daughter?

Thank you, comrade.

Thank you.

Thank you.

There have been times
when I have been less than polite to you.

I apologise.

There have been times also
when I doubted your existence.

But don't let me doubt
the existence of my daughter.


There was a general whom my husband
used to know, Sergei.

Formerly of the Red Army. He came to Paris
and started an ?migr? organisation here.


What happened to him?

He tried to start a third world war.
The French didn't like it.

They banned his outfit. He went to London.

- My husband said he was strong. A man to trust.
- Not with your wife he wasn't.

Find him for me. I want his address urgently.

Ask for yourself, not for me.


- Good morning, Mikhel.
- Good morning, my general.

(WOMAN) Bobchik!

There you are.

Madam, I wish to call Hamburg,

and afterwards to be advised
of the costs of this call.

Sit, Bobchik.

This is Gregory, sir.
I must speak to Otto immediately.

I am sending you a most important parcel.


Letters delivered by hand
to your place of work, at your age!

C'est charmant!


You received my letter safely, madame?

You are very small for a general.

I am not the general, madame.
I am his lieutenant.

Yes, that is him.

Who is he? What does he want with
my daughter? How do you know him so well?

You know what we used to say in the camps?

"Questions are never dangerous.
Only the answers."

(OSTRAKOVA) That was not her photograph.
That was never Glikman's child.

I saw Glikman's child. I bore her.
She looked like three Jews at once.

He said to me, "Be discreet. Any indiscretion,
your daughter will not be released."

I have not been discreet. I've written
to the general. I'm talking to you.

I'm not used to conspiracy. I hate it.


Can't you tell me your name?

I want my child.

That swine reminded me that I am a mother.

Part of this old sinner longs
to believe his lies. Tell me what to do.

I've told you too much already.
All that matters is that you have identified him.

If there is a crisis, you are to write
to the general at this address in London.

Call him Miller. Mr Miller.

On no account use the telephone. Never.

Don't deceive yourself.
The danger is not over. It's just begun.

Don't open your door to strangers.

Be alert. Have courage.

- Who else is in danger?
- All of us.

All who have knowledge of this affair.

- And my daughter?
- No.

Alexandra has no part in this. She knows nothing.

I shall think of you as the magician,
and pray that your tricks succeed.

(VLADIMIR) I speak to you
as your father's comrade-in-arms.

As his general. His friend. Do you hear me?

You arrive in Hamburg Wednesday morning.

- I said, understood?
- I am sorry. I am English.

I don't want. No! Positively!

Get this thing off the road!


You're crazy!

Have you forgotten how the Russian monster
raped our country?

The deportations, the murders, the camps?

Our best men executed, your father one of them?

Have you forgotten that, to your disgrace?
You listen to me.

In the making of history, God uses
some very strange and inappropriate creatures.

You are going to be one of them, yes?


- Repeat!
- Yes.

Madame Ostrakova!
A gentleman was enquiring for you.

There were two. Very similar. Official.

They are still there.




This is Gregory calling for Max.
Please, I have something very important for him.

- Where are you calling from?
- It doesn't matter. I have plenty of change.

I must speak to Max urgently.

Please hold on.

Max can't speak to you at the moment.

I'm sorry.

If you could call back at 2.30.

- Yes. Possibly then.
- Tell Max.

Yes. 2.30.


(VLADIMIR) Get me Max immediately

- Max isn't here. I'm sorry.
- There must be a meeting.

Tonight. A meeting or nothing.

I insist on Moscow Rules.

Tell Max I've been in touch with certain friends.

Yes. And through friends, with neighbours.

Tell this to Max.

A meeting.

Yes. A meeting can be arranged. Yes.

Could you call back in an hour, please?

- (MAN) Hello?
- Mr Strickland, sir?

This is Mostyn of Oddbins here, sir.

I have a requisition for the safe flat
in Hampstead tonight.

- Could he not come here?
- No. I'm afraid he's insisting on Moscow Rules.



That's vodka...





George? It's Oliver Lacon.

George, are you awake?

It's an emergency, George.


You remember the old general,
used to live in Paris?

We need someone from his past,
someone who knew his little ways,

can speak for him.

We need YOU, George.

(MAN) Knew him personally at all, sir,
or shouldn't I enquire?

He was somebody I worked with.

So I was given to understand.

Most likely they started to search him
and then they were probably disturbed.

- Might I take a look at his face, Superintendent?
- You sure about that, sir?

Yes. Yes, I am sure.

Hall, Sergeant Pike, come down here.

Turn him over.

- You'll have to try harder than that, lad.
- Put some muscle into it.

Oh, Christ. Oh, bloody hell.

Take it away fast. Now!


Sorry about that, sir. He's young.

Most people expect to be shot in the chest.
A neat, round bullet. A tasteful hole.

Television does it, I suppose.
Your modern bullet can tear off an arm or a leg.

Know what did this? I haven't seen
a wound like that in a long time.

- I'm afraid ballistics is not my province.
- No, it wouldn't be, would it?

You seen enough, sir?

Did he have a moustache? My sergeant fancied
a trace of white whisker on the upper jaw.

A military moustache.

Well, most likely you'd like to know
how the old gentleman got down here?

Thank you, Superintendent. Yes.

- Sergeant Pike.
- Yes, sir.

Cover him up. And tell young Constable Hall

I may not be able to stop him sicking up,
but I will not tolerate irreverent language.

Will do, sir.

Right, I shall now give you the authorised version.
Are you ready, Mr Smiley?

Here he comes, down the hill. Easy pace.

Nice and easy toe-and-heel movement.
Everything above board, see, Mr Smiley?

Stick marks, in his left hand, whereas
it was in his right hand when he was shot.

You saw that, too, I noticed.

- Have you any idea which leg was the bad one?
- The left.

So he probably would have carried
his stick in his left.

- How old did you say he was, sir?
- I didn't, but he owned to 70.

Plus a recent heart attack, I gather.

Then suddenly he stops.

My guess is that he heard something behind him.

Notice how the pace shortens,

the distance between his feet as he makes
a half turn, probably looking over his shoulder.

Then he decides to make a dash for it.
An entirely new print.

He's going for all he's worth.

Unfortunately, whatever killed him
was in front of him, not behind at all.

How do you explain this? Stops again.

Not a total stop. Just a sort of stutter.
Then off he goes.

- With the stick in his right hand.
- Exactly.

Why, when you're running for your life,
why pause, do a duck shuffle, change hands

and then run straight into the arms
of whoever shot him?

Any explanation from
your side of the street, Mr Smiley?

- If I might see the content of his pockets?
- Certainly, sir.

One Borough of Paddington library card
in the name of V Miller.

One box of Swan Vestas, partly used.

Overcoat left.

One aliens registration card in the name
of Vladimir Miller. Overcoat left.

Ah, now, these tablets, sir.

What do you think these are for?
Sustac, three times a day.

- Heart.
- Of course.

One receipt for ?17.85 from the Straight
& Steady minicab service of Islington North.

May I see that?

One stick of school chalk, yellow. Overcoat left.

One handkerchief with chalk powder.

There were chalk-powder marks on his left hand.
We wondered whether he might be in teaching.

And a couple of dog biscuits. No maker's name.

I did notice bite marks on his walking stick.

Funny, I never thought of foreigners liking dogs.

- Did you, sir?
- No, I don't suppose I did.

- Crime and Ops on the air, sir.
- Excuse me.

- You're a specialist of some sort, sir?
- No, I'm afraid not.

- Home Office, sir?
- Alas, not the Home Office either.

My superiors are worried about the press.
They're heading this way.

Thank you.

- You've been very kind.
- Privilege.

- Sergeant!
- Sir?

- Get this lot wrapped up.
- Yes, sir.

(SCOTTISH ACCENT) No, Chief. Not yet, no.

Perhaps he's lost his way.

No, Chief, not like old George.


Any compromising materials on the body,
George? Anything to link him with us?

My God, you've been a time.

You'd like to refresh yourself, I imagine.

- The bathroom's...
- Thank you, Oliver. I remember.

Yes, Chief. He is with us at this moment, Chief.

Yes, I shall tell him that, Chief.

George, you look worried. Don't be.
We're all in the clear on this.

- How did the police behave?
- Impeccably, thank you.

Indeed, sir. I shall convey to him
that message, sir. Uh-huh.

Will you have tea, Mr Smiley?
Or something stronger?

He'll have tea only, thank you, Mostyn.
After shock, tea is a deal safer.

With sugar, eh, George?
Sugar replaces lost energy.

I've hardly said hello. George, old friend!

- My goodness.
- Hello, Oliver.

George. Mr Saul sends his warmest,
personal salutations, George.

Later, he'll express his gratitude to you
more fittingly.

- It is still Enderby in charge, is it?
- Yes, it is still Sir Saul Enderby.

He's doing marvels.

Not quite your style, of course.

He's an Atlantic man.

Mostyn, where's tea?
We seem to have been waiting for ever.

(MAN ON PHONE) The press
shouldn't play him down too far.

How's Ann? With you and so forth, I trust?

- Not... roaming, is she?
- Fine, thank you.

God, how I hate autumn.

- How's...?
- Abandoned me, dammit.

Ran off with her pesky riding instructor.
Left me with the children.

The girls are at boarding school, thank God!

- I'm sorry.
- Why should you be? Not your wife.

Close that window. It's bloody Arctic over here.

- What section are you in?
- Oddbins, sir. Since your day.

- It's a sort of operational pool.
- I see.

I heard you lecture at Sarratt, sir.

At the new entrants' training course, sir.

- It was the best thing of the whole two years.
- Thank you.

You. Mostyn.

Young Nigel.

Commit nothing to paper whatever.
That's an order from on high.

There was no encounter, so there's no call
to fill in an encounter sheet or anything.

- Mostyn was Vladimir's case officer?
- Only for this evening. Two sugars.

You mean to say
you farmed out the old man to Mostyn?

Oliver, I wonder if you'd mind telling me
what I'm doing here?

Three years ago, George. Let's start there,
soon after you left the Circus.

Saul Enderby, your worthy successor,
under pressure from a concerned Cabinet,

decided on certain far-reaching changes
of intelligence practice.

Mostyn, close your ears to this.
I'm talking high policy.

One of the far-reaching changes

was the decision to form
an inter-ministerial steering committee,

placed between the intelligence fraternity
and Cabinet, known as the "Wise Men".

(SCOTTISH MAN) Wise, my Aunt Fanny!
Bunch of flannel merchants!

Tell us how to run the shop. Smack
our wrists when we don't do our sums right.

- You don't like it, George. I can tell.
- I'm out of it. I'm not qualified to judge.

As a result of this,

certain categories of clandestine operation
were ruled ipso facto out of bounds.

Verboten. Right?

(SCOTTISH MAN) No coat-trailing.
No honey traps.

No stimulated defections.
No ?migr?s. No bugger all.

- What's that?
- Let's not be simplistic, please, Lauder.

The Wise Men composed a catalogue
of proscribed practices. Right?

(LAUDER) The exile groups have been
dustbinned, George. The lot of them.

Orders from on high.
No contact. Not even at arm's length.

Special two-key archive for them on the fifth floor.

No access without consent
in writing from the chief.

- Utter nonsense.
- George, now, steady.

(SMILEY) What utter nonsense.

Vladimir wasn't expensive.
He wasn't an indulgence either.

- You know as well as I do what he was worth.
- I admired the man.

Never his group, certainly never his obsessions.
There is an absolute distinction here.

The man, yes. Not the company he kept.

The fantasists,
the down-at-heel princelings. Never.

- The Wise Men have a point, George.
- Vladimir was one of the best agents we had.

- Because he was yours?
- Because he was good!

- He was potty.
- He was loyal and honourable.

In a shifting world, he held fast,
so, yes, maybe he was potty.

In the Red Army, he fought the Germans
like a lion. We used to admire that.

He dreamed of the great Russian liberalisation.
He got Stalin instead.

He wanted Estonia set free. It never happened.

One night, in despair,
he offered us his services. Us, the British.

In Moscow. For five years after that, he spied
for us from the very heart of the capital.

He refused all payment.
Risked everything for us every day.

George, this is history. This is not today.

Until he was blown and fled to Paris,

Vladimir was the best source we had
on Soviet capabilities and intentions.

He was close to their intelligence community
and reported on that, too.

Dammit, George. That whole era's dead.

And so is Vladimir.
And I wish to God we'd got half his courage

and one tenth of his integrity.

George, we are pragmatists. We adapt.
We are not the keepers of some sacred flame.

I ask you, I commend you, to remember this.

Oliver, tell me what I am doing here.

All right, Mostyn. Tell him.

Vladimir telephoned the Circus
at lunchtime today, sir.

You mean yesterday. Be precise, will you?

- Sorry, sir.
- Get it right.

- He came through on the lifeline.
- I don't think I quite know what you mean.

It's a system for keeping in touch
with dead agents, sir. Oh, my Lord!

Agents who have run their course
but are still on the welfare roll.

So he telephoned and you took the call.
What time was that?

1.15 exactly, sir.

He said, "This is Gregory calling for Max.

"I have something very urgent for him.
Please get me Max immediately."

I told him to hold on.

I typed out "Gregory",
and up it came on the selector.

"Gregory equals Vladimir.
Ex-agent. Ex-Soviet general.

"Ex-leader Riga Group."

I typed out "Max" and found you, sir.

Then I typed out "Riga Group",
and discovered you were their last vicar.

You, George? Their last vicar?

- I thought you'd heard all this.
- In a crisis, one deals only with essentials.

Organisations such as the Riga Group had,
by tradition, two case officers.

The postman, who did up
the nuts and bolts for them,

and their vicar, who stood above the fight,
their father figure.

- Who was his most recent postman?
- Toby Esterhase. Work name, Hector.

- He seems to have retired.
- Retired, my arse.

He filched half the Circus budget.
Peddles fake Picassos to the discerning rich!

- Strickland, hush!
- (SMILEY) Vladimir didn't ask for Hector?

(MOSTYN) He asked for you, sir.
He wanted Max and nobody else.

- Did you make notes?
- No, he didn't.

Lifeline is taped automatically, sir.
It's also linked to a speaking clock,

so we get the exact timing as well.

Has anyone listened to the tapes?
No disrespect to Mostyn, of course.

They have not. And they won't.

Go on, Mostyn.

My section head was out to lunch
and not due back till 2.15.

- I stalled. The trouble was, my section head...
- Who shall remain nameless.

...he didn't get back from lunch till 3.15,

so when Vladimir rang in at 2.30,
I had to put him off again.

- You reported this to your section head?
- Yes, sir.

- Did you play him the tape?
- He didn't have time to hear it.

He had to leave for a long weekend.

There's no question,
if we're looking for scapegoats.

That section head of Mostyn's
made a monumental fool of himself.

So how did the dialogue with Vladimir go
the third time he called?

He was furious. Shouting at me.

"A meeting or nothing. Tonight or nothing.

"Moscow Rules. I insist on Moscow Rules.
Tell this to Max."

Tell what to Max?

He meant, "Tell Max I insist it's Moscow Rules."

Whoever heard of Moscow Rules
in the middle of bloody Hampstead?

- Bloody Hampstead's right.
- What... What are Moscow Rules?

Procedures to be observed
in territories of extreme risk, sir.

- Going by the book all the way.
- Oh, Mostyn, wrap the story up.

The encounter was fixed for 10.20.

There's a tin pavilion on Hampstead Heath,
five minutes' walk from East Heath Road.

The safety signal was one new drawing pin

shoved high in the first support
on the right as you entered.

- (SMILEY) And the counter signal?
- A bloody hunting horn!

(MOSTYN) A yellow chalk mark. I gather yellow
was the group trademark from the old days.

I put up the pin, came back here and waited.

I never met him.

He was my first agent.

We used classic tradecraft and he's dead.

It's incredible.

I feel like a complete Jonah.

Well, what's it to be, George? You choose.

On the one hand,
Vladimir asked for a chat with YOU.

Retired buddies.
A chinwag about old times. Why not?

In order to raise a bit of a wind, as any of us
might, he pretended he had something for you.

- He wouldn't do that.
- On this basis, my minister would back us.

He'll help us bury the case. He may even decide
not to trouble the Wise Men with it at all.


Lf, on the other hand,
things were to come unstuck,

and the minister got it into his head
that we were engaging his good offices

in order to clear up traces of some
unlicensed venture which had aborted,

and there was a scandal,

well, it would be just one scandal too many.

The Circus is a weak child still, George.

At this stage of its rebirth,
it could die of the common cold.

If it does, your generation
will not be least to blame.

- You have a duty, as we all do. A loyalty.
- The weapon? How do you account for that?

There was no weapon. He was shot.
By one of his own buddies, most likely.

He was shot in the face at extremely close range,
and cursorily searched.

That's the police diagnosis, but our diagnosis
would be somewhat different.

- Wouldn't it, Lauder?
- No way.

- Well, mine would.
- (OLIVER) Let's hear it, George.

- He was on his way here to be your guest.
- Self-invited.

The weapon used to kill him was a standard
Moscow Centre assassination device.

A soft-nosed bullet, fired at point-blank range,

to obliterate, to punish and to discourage others.

But, George, these people, these ?migr?s,
don't they come from Russia?

Haven't half of them been in touch with
Moscow Centre with or without our knowledge?

I'm not saying you're right, but a weapon like that,
in their world, could be standard equipment.

There's the question
of the D-notice to the press outstanding.

Perhaps you should have another shot,
see how far it's got.

Mostyn, perhaps you should take
these things out into the kitchen.

We don't want to leave needless traces, do we?

So... you were his vicar?

Very well. I'm asking you
to go and read the offices.

He wanted YOU, George, not us.

In that sense it could even be argued
that you were responsible for...

- Forgive me. That was unfair.
- What do you want me to do?

I want you to bury him, in both senses.

I want you to pour oil on the waters,
not muddy them.

Tell me what you want me to do, Oliver.

It's what I don't want you to do. He was a man
with an obsession. So were you once.

You know who his buddies are,
who he hunted with. Speak to them.

If there's any milk been spilt,
I trust you to get it back into the bottle.

You're his executor, George. Tidy him up.

Keep us out of it.

And don't wander.

What else did Vladimir say to you
on the telephone?

He said, "Tell Max it concerns the Sandman.

"Tell him I have two proofs
and can bring them with me."

It was on the tape but Strickland erased it.

Two proofs?

Do you know what he meant by that?
Keep your voice down.

No, sir.

Do they know what he meant?

Strickland may. I'm not sure.

Did Vladimir really not ask for Hector?

No, sir. Just Max.

(OLIVER) George.

Good man! Fare you well!

Listen, I want to talk to you
about marriage some time.

A seminar with no holds barred.

- I'm counting on you to teach me the art of it.
- We'll get together sometime. Later.

I can always get you at home?

Yes, Oliver. Always.