> Anyone here ever watch a series called "Callan" starring Edward Woodward?
> I'm watching it on Home TV here in India. Its not SB, but it nicely
> captures the 'gritty' feel of SB, but has the darker side of not knowing
> who is on which side at any given time. Comments?
My God. Can you tape it? I've been looking for first-gen. uncut
copies for years.
It was Michael Sloan's inspiration for "The Equalizer," but "Callan"
is much better, much darker, and is acknowledged as one of the
precursors to SB in espionage fiction. It's not as realistic as SB,
but I don't think it was really meant to be.
It was a late '60s -- early '70s series for Thames Television.
Edward Woodward played David Callan, the top assassin for British
counterintelligence. Problem was, he had a conscience and hated
his job, but the nature of the job was such that if you quit, *you*
became the number one security risk and were the next one marked
for death. Or at least that was what the plots led you to believe.
The point of the story was to repeatedly put Callan between a moral
rock and a hard place. There was a pronounced working-class hero/
antihero flavor to the character, too, much of which might be lost
on an American audience (and was completely tossed out in "The
Equalizer"). It was underscored in the Callan novels that Callan
was bright and well-mannered, but could never rise high in life
because of his social class and lack of formal education.
I think it was some of Edward Woodward's best work, and he had an
excellent supporting cast. You have to suspend your disbelief a
bit after watching SB, though, because a lot of the plots sound
implausible from a real-world standpoint once you've seen SB. At
the time, though, it was fairly groundbreaking stuff for TV spy
fiction. With the exception of the more cynical episodes of
Patrick McGoohan's "Danger Man" (a.k.a. "Secret Agent"), the movie
adaptation of John le Carre's landmark "The Spy Who Came in from
the Cold," and Michael Caine's Harry Palmer films, the popular
images on the big or small screen were almost all James Bond