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

Sometimes We Play Dirty Too
‘Defectors! Idealists! I don’t know — suckers. You choose your own word.’

One episode has to be the worst, and this is it.

It is, however an instructive failure.

A Briton in Prague has died in a 2 am car wreck after leaving a party at midnight. He was also an excellent intelligence source for MI6. The crash scene was only five miles from the party. Where was he for the two hours? Willie goes to Czechoslovakia to investigate.

If you'll forgive the spoilers, the body is revealed to be a double, and the businessman is revealed to be in hiding with a KGB woman he believes loves him. He staged the event to escape what he felt were the dull constraints of his life.

This is essentially a 'missing man' mystery.

The Norwood Builder
Admirers of detective fiction may claim that the Sherlock Holmes adventure 'The Norwood Builder' is where this episode of The Sandbaggers finds its roots.

In Doyle's tale, a young lawyer is made the chief beneficiary of a total stranger's estate. The stranger, a builder who lives in Norwood, once loved the young man's mother, but she chose to marry another. The day after the paperwork is done, the property owner dies. Fortunately the lawyer had the wits to scamper to 221 Baker Street, apartment B before he was arrested.

To come to the point: Holmes and Watson deduce that the builder is in hiding. He had hoped to stick it to the woman who spurned his affection and flee his creditors at the same time.

The trouble with this episode of The Sandbaggers is that it is a police drama with a coat of espionage paint. Burnside is a very senior civil servant, not a police sergeant. He would not be scurrying off to the morgue or to interview widows.

That being said, the actress playing the widow delivers her lines with sympathy and conviction. There is also some excellent Cold War background included in her dialogue which reminds us of just how important the Second World War was in creating the structure of contemporary Europe.

Production notes
This episode features actor Michael Shaerd, known commonly for his role as the ill-fated Admiral Ozzel to Star Wars aficionados. He plays the pathologist who examines the body found at the car wreck.

Personnel file
This is one of only two episodes in which Matthew Peele does not appear, the other being Is Your Journey Really Necessary?