Series 1
First Principles
A Proper Function of Government
Is Your Journey Really Necessary?
The Most Suitable Person
Always Glad to Help
A Feasible Solution
Special Relationship

Series 2
At All Costs
Enough of Ghosts
Decision by Committee
A Question of Loyalty
It Couldn't Happen Here
Operation Kingmaker

Series 3
All in a Good Cause
To Hell With Justice
Unusual Approach
My Name is Anna Wiseman
Sometimes We Play Dirty Too
Who Needs Enemies
Opposite Numbers

Links of Interest
Workplace Bullying
Profiling the office Bully

Is Your Journey Really Necessary?
'A few photographs, a slight bending of the truth, and it’s nothing short of blackmail.'

The episode opens with nervous people in the Ops Room. Jack Landy is inside the USSR illegally. He is also late and out of communication. His colleague, Alan Denson is waiting for him in Iran.

When Landy is caught at the border, Burnside orders Denson to kill Landy. Jake Landy's final moments - undignified and bloody, in sharp contrast to the dapper fellow in First Principles - are difficult to watch.

Landy decides to quit the SIS and marry. Burnside can't afford to lose two officers at once.

Burnside sends Landy to Munich and starts manufacturing evidence of her infidelity, attempting to force her to abandon Landy.

As if life isn't over-full for Burnside, a British official is being wildly indiscrete in gay Paris. The foreign office demands that Burnside send an officer to investigate.

After the first two episodes, a Sandbaggers viewer is likely to assume the regular cast includes Jake Landy and Alan Denson. What a shock it is when both men perish in this episode.

It's unusual enough for a television drama series to kill off a regular character, even more so to kill one in only the third episode, even more so to kill two characters in the same episode, even more so to have one character kill his friend! (And some people think Babylon 5 was daring!)

The depth of Burnsided's cynicism and ends justify the means philosophies are revealed here when he browbeats an employee's girlfriend. The unpleasantness sets down the floor for more of Burnside's double-dealing in the future. Burnside isn't the classic workplace bully who builds himself up by pushing others down. Our character merely believes that the destruction of the KGB is a lofty enough goal to merit any expense.

A wonderful book called The Fifties by a gentleman called David Halberstam has a wonderful chapter about FBI director J. Edgar Hoover containing the remark 'He fit perfectly, Victor Navasky once noted, the authoritarian personality as defined by Fred Greenstein. He was obsequious to superiors, absolutely domineering to subordinates.' This more accurately describes Peele than Burnside, but it does identify a point of interest: Burnside is not the typical bully boss who backstabs employees he can't emotionally abuse; he is however, thoughoughly ruthless in the fulfillment of his oath of service.

And that's his problem.

In the first two episodes, although Burnside doesn't always get his way, missions are pretty successful in the end.

This episode is where things start to go really wrong for him - leading to his nightmares later in the series. Another returning theme is Wellingham's confessed desire to keep the present government in power in A Proper Function of Government. This episode sees him make overt efforts supporting that desire.

Burnside's assertion that 'Times are changing - not all homosexuals are vulnerable to blackmail' is the closest thing to a progressive sentiment he expresses in the whole series.

Episode Trivia
This is one of only two episodes in which Matthew Peele does not appear, the other being Sometimes We Play Dirty Too. Note also the Cold War politics dating the show: Iran was pro-west at the time. The shah's government did not fall until January, 1979. Also, consider taking a look at this for a free to download film about the roots of trans-national Islamicism in the 50s.