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

Who Needs Enemies
‘Something has to give.’

Burnside’s annual medical exam reveals he is suffering from stress. Peele and Gibbs use the doctor's report to push him out.

Willie is not able to help Burnside, as he is investigating the suicide of an officer in Madrid. Even if Willie had been at the office, tensions between the two of them are increasingly high. Willie is wooing Marianne, and senses his boss subtly trying to sabotage that relationship.

A CIA evaluation of SIS is the final straw. It reports that Burnside is a disruptive influence in SIS. Gibbs decides to transfer Burnside to Spain.

Comment
The isolation that started in Operation Kingmaker is now complete. The sight of Burnside rolling in to work in a cab is easily the most pathetic sight in the entire 20 episodes.

When he walks into the office, he has no arrows in his quiver and is great, great television. Then, because he has a relationship with Willie, he manages to capture a single tread. Later, his relationship with Jeff comes into play. Maybe Burnside will learn a lesson here: it’s okay to have friends.

In anything, Marianne’s unflattering psychoanalysis should give him a boot in the right direction.

Secrets of the secret service
It’s been made clear in previous episodes that C and the Deputy Chief have offices on the sixth floor, but on which floor is Burnside’s office? When Burnside boards an elevator in this episode, he presses the button for the second floor. In the next scene, he walks into his office. Therefore his office probably is on the second floor. But for all we know, he might have just gone to the second floor to visit a Coke machine, then gotten back on the elevator to his office on, say, the fourth floor.

Episode Trivia
As broadcast, the episode title lacks a question mark; that is, it’s ‘Who Needs Enemies’ rather than ‘Who Needs Enemies?’.

Production notes
This is the last of the three episodes not written by Ian Mackintosh. It was written by Gidley Wheeler, who also wrote My Name Is Anna Wiseman. You can learn more about the work of this writer by visiting his website.

Of the three episodes not written by Ian Mackintosh, this one is the best. It’s good to see Burnside really rally, as he does in this episode. The flavor of the script is just about right, though there’s one bit that’s difficult to buy: Wellingham’s (off-screen) endorsement of the plot to move Burnside. It makes sense that Wellingham is absent from this episode, because it would have been hard to credibly act out such an endorsement. It is possible that his wife's appearance may have been on Wellingham’s behalf, though.

Television dramas by necessity have some degree of contrivedness, and The Sandbaggers is no exception. This episode is quite contrived, combining four strands a little too neatly: Willie’s (short-lived) decision that Burnside must go, Burnside’s stress level, the death of the Madrid Head of Station, and the KGB’s phony computer printout.

Peele and Paul Dalgetty make a rather greasy, smarmy duo. And Lady Wellingham’s bedside chat with Burnside is amusing, as she doesn’t believe Burnside was simply mugged. ‘Yes of course,’ she smiles.

Jeff Ross mentions to Burnside ‘your new lady at Number Ten,’ a reference to Margaret Thatcher, who would have been prime minister only a year or less when this episode was filmed.