This spy drama is for people that can complete the Times crosswords without cheating, prefer their reading material long and non-fictional, sip brandy from snifters in leather scented libraries, and have lived through World War Two… but it can be for you too, if you just give it a chance!
I can never get any of our peers to view this John le Carre “Smiley” series. The first part, which was previously recommended by Jim is called Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. We were taken aback by its complexities and realism. This series, the third in the saga, but the only other one adapted for television, is equally absorbing, and we found ourselves having to pause and get the elaborate, twisty plot straight.
Alec Guinness is unbelievably good as a world weary and tough old spy sucked into the world he'd left behind one last time, following an obsession with his old enemy, Karla (played with stoic gravitas by Patrick Stewart–come on, Obi Wan and Jean Luc Picard as arch enemies? Someone out there must be interested). These programs are not the easiest, but they are rewarding and mesmerizing. We found out that le Carre used to be a real life spy, which makes a lot of sense, all the characters feel authentic and the spying world he portrays is less 007 gadgets, sex and explosions and more double, triple crossing and investigations by flawed but brilliant men.
I highly, highly recommend this intelligent and riveting piece. But make sure to watch Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy first.