Who Needs Enemies
‘Something has to give.’
Burnside’s annual medical exam reveals he is suffering
from stress. Peele and Gibbs use the doctor's report to push him
Willie is not able to help Burnside, as he is investigating the
suicide of an officer in Madrid. Even if Willie had been at the
office, tensions between the two of them are increasingly high.
Willie is wooing Marianne, and senses his boss subtly trying to
sabotage that relationship.
A CIA evaluation of SIS is
the final straw. It reports that Burnside is a disruptive influence
in SIS. Gibbs decides to transfer Burnside to Spain.
The isolation that started in Operation
Kingmaker is now complete. The sight of Burnside rolling in
to work in a cab is easily the most pathetic sight in the entire
When he walks into the office, he has no arrows in his quiver and
is great, great television. Then, because he has a relationship
with Willie, he manages to capture a single tread. Later, his
relationship with Jeff comes into play. Maybe Burnside will learn
a lesson here: it’s okay to have friends.
In anything, Marianne’s unflattering psychoanalysis should
give him a boot in the right direction.
Secrets of the secret service
It’s been made clear in previous episodes that C and the
Deputy Chief have offices on the sixth floor, but on which floor
is Burnside’s office? When Burnside boards an elevator in
this episode, he presses the button for the second floor. In the
next scene, he walks into his office. Therefore his office probably
is on the second floor. But for all we know, he might have just
gone to the second floor to visit a Coke machine, then gotten
back on the elevator to his office on, say, the fourth floor.
As broadcast, the episode title lacks a question mark; that is,
it’s ‘Who Needs Enemies’ rather than ‘Who
This is the last of the three episodes not written by Ian Mackintosh.
It was written by Gidley Wheeler, who also wrote My
Name Is Anna Wiseman. You can learn more about the work of
this writer by visiting his
Of the three episodes not written by Ian Mackintosh, this one
is the best. It’s good to see Burnside really rally, as
he does in this episode. The flavor of the script is just about
right, though there’s one bit that’s difficult to
buy: Wellingham’s (off-screen) endorsement of the plot to
move Burnside. It makes sense that Wellingham is absent from this
episode, because it would have been hard to credibly act out such
an endorsement. It is possible that his wife's appearance may
have been on Wellingham’s behalf, though.
Television dramas by necessity have some degree of contrivedness,
and The Sandbaggers is no exception. This episode is quite contrived,
combining four strands a little too neatly: Willie’s (short-lived)
decision that Burnside must go, Burnside’s stress level,
the death of the Madrid Head of Station, and the KGB’s phony
Peele and Paul Dalgetty make a rather greasy, smarmy duo. And
Lady Wellingham’s bedside chat with Burnside is amusing,
as she doesn’t believe Burnside was simply mugged. ‘Yes
of course,’ she smiles.
Jeff Ross mentions to Burnside ‘your new lady at Number
Ten,’ a reference to Margaret Thatcher, who would have been
prime minister only a year or less when this episode was filmed.