‘It's not a triple rape and murder,
but it’s not bad, is it?’
Forget 24. This episode takes place in the eight hours of a
Burnside pulls strings hoping to influence who will become the
next head of SIS. The sands are running out even faster than Burnside
thinks. He makes a colossal mis-step that starts isolating him.
This story arc will culminate next season when even Willie muses
that it is time for Burnside to go in Who Needs Enemies.
Last appearance of PA to D-Ops Diane Lawler and Karen Milner.
We also have the first appearances of PA to D-Ops Marianne Straker
and John Tower Gibbs.
At the beginning of the episode, Burnside is seen in quiet contemplation
at his desk; a bit later he's in almost a foetal position sitting
atop some office furniture. Perhaps he's considering the events
of previous episodes, which surely haven't been easy on him.
Diane’s resignation with Burnside is quietly revealing.
‘Christopher will need looking after.’ Burnside responds,
‘So will I.’ It's a touching moment between Burnside
and Diane. It's a rare display of vulnerability for Burnside,
and delivered with understatement by Roy Marsden.
Comedy and Pathos
This episode has some of the funniest lines in the series. Burnside’s
gallows humour about Gibbs is often sadistic and funny. Wellingham’s
line ‘Well Peele is... well he's Peele!’ is delivered
with just the right amount of panache. Mike and Willie also
a great deal of badinage, as does Edward, the Intelligence Director.
Jokes arise from the dialogue, and never seem out of place. Consequently,
they blend seamlessly into the final row Burnside has with Peele,
and Burnside’s final humiliation at the hands of Wellingham.
Some say this is the archetypical Sandbaggers episode: it's all
talk and no action, the conflict arises not from the KGB but from
others within SIS; and paperwork forms an important plot point.
Marianne walks quite a tightrope in her job audition for Burnside.
'If you'd been any less reluctant to help or had offered a copy
of the report I'd have fired you.' Yikes!