The Genius of Smiley’s People

Spoiler warning: I will discuss the ending!

Dispatching the last of the guards, George Smiley climbed onto the rooftop of the Fortress of Evil. The wind ruffled his hair as a familiar figure turned to greet him.

So, we meet again, Mr Smiley,” drawled Karla, taking a drag from his cigarette. “I thought I warned you not to come after me.”

This ends now, Karla!” exclaimed Smiley. “I’ve come to put a stop to your evil schemes.”

Oh George, George,” laughed Karla, shaking his head. “You always were so naive. All this time, I’ve been watching your every move. And now you’re too late to stop me. With this one remote control, I can launch the warheads and start a nuclear war. What can you do to stop me?”

With a mighty roar, George Smiley hurled himself at Karla, despite to wrest the remote out of the other man’s hand. Smiley was no stranger to martial arts, but his opponent’s strength was superhuman. Only the thought of what would happen if Karla succeeded in his plan spurred Smiley on to keep fighting.

The above scene is in no way drawn from anything that happens in John Le Carre’s Smiley’s People – neither the original book, nor the TV adaptation which is the subject of this review. The only reason I wrote it is to drive home a point – how delightful and refreshing it is that such a scene is completely absent. Continue reading

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