Sometimes We Play Dirty Too
‘Defectors! Idealists! I don’t
know — suckers. You choose your own word.’
One episode has to be the worst, and this is it.
It is, however an instructive failure.
A Briton in Prague has died in a 2 am car wreck after leaving
a party at midnight. He was also an excellent intelligence source
for MI6. The crash scene was only five miles from the party.
was he for the two hours? Willie goes to Czechoslovakia to investigate.
If you'll forgive the spoilers, the body is
revealed to be a double, and the businessman is revealed to be
a KGB woman
he believes loves him. He staged the event to escape what
he felt were the dull constraints of his life.
This is essentially a 'missing man' mystery.
The Norwood Builder
Admirers of detective fiction may claim that
the Sherlock Holmes adventure 'The
Norwood Builder' is where this
episode of The
Sandbaggers finds its roots.
In Doyle's tale, a young
lawyer is made the chief beneficiary of a total stranger's
estate. The stranger, a builder who lives in Norwood, once loved
man's mother, but she chose to marry another. The day
after the paperwork is done, the property owner dies. Fortunately
the lawyer had the wits to scamper
to 221 Baker
Street, apartment B before he was arrested.
To come to the point: Holmes
and Watson deduce
that the builder is in hiding. He
had hoped to stick it to the woman who spurned his affection
The trouble with this episode of The Sandbaggers
is that it is a police drama with a coat of espionage
paint. Burnside is a very senior civil servant, not
a police sergeant.
He would not be scurrying off to the morgue or to
That being said, the actress playing the widow delivers her
lines with sympathy and conviction. There is also some excellent
Cold War background included in her dialogue which reminds us
of just how important the Second World War was in creating the
structure of contemporary Europe.
This episode features actor Michael
Shaerd, known commonly for his role as the ill-fated Admiral
Ozzel to Star Wars aficionados. He plays the pathologist who examines
the body found at the car wreck.
This is one of only two episodes in which Matthew Peele does not appear, the
other being Is Your Journey Really Necessary?