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

Operation Kingmaker
‘It's not a triple rape and murder, but it’s not bad, is it?’

Forget 24. This episode takes place in the eight hours of a working day.

Burnside pulls strings hoping to influence who will become the next head of SIS. The sands are running out even faster than Burnside thinks. He makes a colossal mis-step that starts isolating him. This story arc will culminate next season when even Willie muses that it is time for Burnside to go in Who Needs Enemies.

Personnel file
Last appearance of PA to D-Ops Diane Lawler and Karen Milner. We also have the first appearances of PA to D-Ops Marianne Straker and John Tower Gibbs.

Inside Burnside
At the beginning of the episode, Burnside is seen in quiet contemplation at his desk; a bit later he's in almost a foetal position sitting atop some office furniture. Perhaps he's considering the events of previous episodes, which surely haven't been easy on him.

Diane’s resignation with Burnside is quietly revealing. ‘Christopher will need looking after.’ Burnside responds, ‘So will I.’ It's a touching moment between Burnside and Diane. It's a rare display of vulnerability for Burnside, and delivered with understatement by Roy Marsden.

Comedy and Pathos
This episode has some of the funniest lines in the series. Burnside’s gallows humour about Gibbs is often sadistic and funny. Wellingham’s line ‘Well Peele is... well he's Peele!’ is delivered with just the right amount of panache. Mike and Willie also have a great deal of badinage, as does Edward, the Intelligence Director.

Jokes arise from the dialogue, and never seem out of place. Consequently, they blend seamlessly into the final row Burnside has with Peele, and Burnside’s final humiliation at the hands of Wellingham.

Comment
Some say this is the archetypical Sandbaggers episode: it's all talk and no action, the conflict arises not from the KGB but from others within SIS; and paperwork forms an important plot point. Marianne walks quite a tightrope in her job audition for Burnside. 'If you'd been any less reluctant to help or had offered a copy of the report I'd have fired you.' Yikes!