As the American version of, "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy," is currently running in theaters across the country, I thought it might be fun to skip ahead two novels and post the BBC miniseries, "Smiley's People." I'll put up a chapter on Sundays over the next month and a half. I have not seen the American version of the Fist novel in the Karla series yet, but years ago, while attending Ohio State, I along with a room mate in my dorm watched for 7 consecutive Sundays the BBC version. "Smiley's People," represents the 7th novel featuring George Smiley, and the 3rd involving his life long nemesis, Karla Ostrakov.
Keep something else in mind before bashing the Hollywood version. The current movie is only two hours in length. Originally, the British conveyed these stories in 6 and 7 hour movies. It is much easier to include all of the pertinent details in that manner. I finally saw the American version, and found it to be an enjoyable movie.
I will be placing a small glossary of terms at the bottom, as Le Carre's novels often include language that is hard for the first time readers to understand.
During the first chapter, we are shown two seemingly unrelated events, one happening in the industrial section of Paris, the other happening in a London Suburb. The latter event is the murder of a former Soviet General who had defected some years earlier. George Smiley is asked to step out of his second forced retirement in order to make certain that there will be no embarrassing details for the British Government resulting from General Vladimir's untimely demise. While he is doing a favor for the politicians who now run the British Intelligence Services, his involvement is to remain unofficial, secret, and completely deniable. He is told flat out, they want it all wrapped up in a day's time, and they want it to go no where. While they owe Smiley a debt of gratitude for his coming out of forced retirement the first time, and catching the mole Gerald at the top echelons of their service, and for then redesigning the service afterwords and toppling several of Karla's networks around the world as a result, the service is still in rough shape, and fragile. They are also on probation with their American counterparts.
Some faces you may recognize. Alec Guiness will be performing the role of George Smiley, he was the original Obi Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars Trilogy.
Agent - A spy recruited by a foreign government to spy on their own country. This term should not be confused with a case officer, the intelligence service member who recruited and then handled the spy.
Babysitters - Bodyguards
Circus - MI6, the British intelligence service.
The Competition - MI5, British counter espionage service. Also referred to as the, "security mob."
The Cousins - The CIA or any American intelligence service.
Ferrets - Tech people who find and remove bugs, cameras, or an attempt to spy on the good guys.
Honey Trap - A sexual trap intended for black mail or murder.
Housekeepers - Internal auditors or accountants who are used to insure discipline within the service.
Inquisitors - Interrogators who debrief agents or defectors.
Janitors - Headquarters staff and guards of internal secure areas.
Lamplighters - Watchers, surveillance staff, couriers.
Mole - A recruited agent who does not begin spying on his target for a long period of time. Usually they have worked their way up through an organization until such time as a preset target has been reached, and then activated after a period of years. In, "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy," for instance, Gerald was recruited in 1955 and not activated until 1972.
Mothers - Secretaries, researchers, clerical staff, most trusted by case officers.
Nuts and Bolts - Logistical support.
Pavement Artists - Specialized surveillance teams who can follow without getting caught.
Scalp hunters - Professional thugs, handling assassinations, bribery, break ins, beatings, kidnappings etc.
Shoemakers - Forgers, they provide false identities in the form of passports, drivers licenses, etc.
Wranglers - Intelligence analysts, cryptographers, the people who look at raw reports, documents, photos, etc., and pass on authenticity, meaning, scope, etc.