seducing a friend

Anton Sherwood (
Thu, 9 Oct 1997 18:18:22 -0700 (PDT)

A friend commanded "Tell me more!" about The Sandbaggers,
so I've drafted the following. Unfortunately it's mostly
from years-old memory; I have no access to a VCR.
Will you help me fill in some blanks? Is there a faq on the web?

Anton Sherwood *\\* +1 415 267 0685 *\\*


"The Sandbaggers" -- core characters in pecking order:

Sir Geoffrey Wellingham, Permanent Under-Secretary (chief civil
servant) in the Foreign Office, reporting directly to the Foreign
Minister. Ambitious, pragmatic to the point of cynicism; approachable,
but too sharp to be snowed.

`C', head of Secret Intelligence Service.

Matthew Peel, Deputy Chief. Despised as a prig overly concerned with
his own career, but not incompetent.

Neil Burnside, Director of Operations (former Sandbagger). Quietly
fanatical anticommunist. Once made a costly mistake while drunk, and
gave up drinking absolutely. Austere, driven, haunted; fiercely loyal
to his agents. Formerly married to Wellingham's daughter Belinda.

Willie Kane, Sandbagger One. Foil to Burnside's grimness; six years as
a special agent have not dulled his humane nature, only added a cynical

Jeff Ross, head of CIA's London office. Burnside's closest friend.


Most episodes have two plot threads in ironic contrast, linked in the
title. [In some cases I can't remember the second plot.]

FIRST PRINCIPLES. The Norwegian secret service, trying to play with
the big boys, gets in trouble and asks for help.

A PROPER FUNCTION OF GOVERNMENT. Willie goes to Vienna to persuade a
defector to come home - or, failing that, kill him. A proposal to
knock off a brutal African dictator is nixed by the Minister.

IS YOUR JOURNEY REALLY NECESSARY? Alan (Sandbagger Two), burnt out and
under pressure from his girlfriend, wants to quit; Burnside tries
underhandedly to keep him.

THE MOST SUITABLE PERSON. Laura Dickens, a somewhat reluctant new
Sandbagger, goes to Morocco to try to decipher a terrorist's cryptic

ALWAYS GLAD TO HELP. A friendly foreign government asks for British
divers to investigate a suspicious Russian ship in a French harbor;
Burnside refuses and Peel overrides him. A sheik offers favors in
return for British military help in accelerating his father's
retirement, and Laura is assigned to flirt with him and learn what he's
really up to.

A FEASIBLE SOLUTION. A British scientist has been kidnapped on Cyprus;
Willie goes with a novice - or is she? - to spring him. About this
time, Burnside falls in love with Laura.

SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP. Laura is arrested in Berlin, and Burnside moves
heaven and hell to save her from torture.

(months pass)

AT ALL COSTS. Sandbagger Two is lured into a trap in Sofia. [Why?]

ENOUGH OF GHOSTS. Wellingham is kidnapped in Brussels by a gang who
are not what they seem.

DECISION BY COMMITTEE. Willie and Karen (CIA), returning from a job in
Ceylon, are on a plane seized by terrorists in Istanbul. Burnside is
politically stymied in his efforts to help them.

A QUESTION OF LOYALTY. Sandbagger Mike Wallace's career is in danger
after his cover is blown on a minor mission in Warsaw. He follows a
lead in Stockholm while Peel discreetly inspects the Warsaw office.

IT COULDN'T HAPPEN HERE. A US Senate committee chairman is
assassinated; Willie and Mike are sent to help the investigation and to
bodyguard the new chairman. A road accident in Germany leads to a mole
in London.

OPERATION KINGMAKER. `C' has a heart attack and retires suddenly;
Burnside, for personal reasons, attempts to manipulate Wellingham's
choice of successor.

ALL IN A GOOD CAUSE. Wellingham, Peel and Burnside go to a conference
at a Greek resort. A Russian delegate wants to defect; Peel and
Burnside disagree on what to do with him. Willie investigates a death
in Prague.

TO HELL WITH JUSTICE. Tyler, Director of Intelligence (Burnside's peer
and friend), is exposed as a reluctant double agent when he behaves
oddly while on vacation in Malta.

UNUSUAL APPROACH. A CIA mission in a Black Sea port city goes sour,
and Mike is sent to rescue a wounded agent before the Red police find
him. At home, Burnside reprimands a young agent for playing cowboy.

MY NAME IS ANNA WISEMAN. A retired analyst with cancer finds a novel
way to strike one last blow against Communism.

SOMETIMES WE PLAY DIRTY TOO. Burnside finds himself a pawn in the
middle of a baroque scheme of political blackmail between CIA and MI5.

WHO NEEDS ENEMIES. Willie goes to Madrid to investigate an agent's
suicide, and turns up what appears to be a CIA report critical of
Burnside. Tyler's successor Dalgetty almost succeeds in taking
advantage of it.

OPPOSITE NUMBERS. Burnside and Wellingham clash over a SALT conference
in Malta. Burnside considers SALT a danger to the West, and wants to
disrupt the conference; Wellingham responds, "I intend to retire as
*Lord* Wellingham, and you're not going to spoil it." But then the
Russians take the decision away from them.