DEATH OF A HUNTER
Written by Michael Winder
Directed by Reginald Collin
Series created by James Mitchell
Callan - Edward Woodward
Hunter - Derek Bond
Meres - Anthony Valentine
Lonely - Russell Hunter
Susanne - Barbara Leigh-Hunt
Haynes - Derek Waring
Sir John Harvey - John Wentworth
Koralin - Norman Wooland
Kenny - Terry Scully
Andrews - Michael Meacham
Hunter's Secretary - Lisa Langdon
Striker - John Flanagan
This page is dedicated to the celebrated actor and singer EDWARD WOODWARD
who passed away two months ago, aged 79, on 16 November, 2009.
DEATH OF A HUNTER (1969) is the final episode in
Season 2 of Callan, and the last of the black and white episodes.
Its sequel, WHERE ELSE COULD I GO (1970), is my
personal favourite episode of Callan and is both the
first episode of Season 3 and the first colour episode.
In some quarters, particularly the United States,
Season 3 has recently become available on DVD, but
it is being marketed as "Set 1" or "Volume 1" of Callan.
In addition to this, some reviewers, aware that Callan enjoyed two seasons before the colour DVD episodes, are proclaiming that the first two seasons, including DEATH OF A HUNTER are lost.
For the benefit of the "Set 1" viewers, who may like to know what happened before WHERE ELSE COULD I GO begins, and for any other fans of Callan who may find it useful or interesting, what follows is a comprehensive description of the episode, complete with matching screen captures.
DEATH OF A HUNTER is clever, superbly acted, and is surely the most harrowing Callan adventure of them all.
Death of a Hunter opens with Callan walking the streets, visiting houses and shops, showing people a photograph. Unbeknown to Callan, a man is watching him from a doorway to a block of flats, and someone is photographing each interaction. At one point Callan shows the photograph to the man in the doorway, but the man shakes his head. After Callan walks off, the man nods to a woman watching from a nearby window as if to confirm something.
In the room with the woman is a man smoking. She picks up the phone as the man from the doorway enters and confirms that it is Striker they are looking for, and that Callan is in possession of a clear photo. The man smoking is Striker, and he says it’s a good job he went to ground. The woman, Susanne, confirms to someone on the phone that “they’re on to Striker”. She also seems to agree to an order. She hangs up and tells Striker he is to break cover and make himself seen around the district. She adds, “It’s confirmed: we kill Hunter.”
Callan visits the Section and on his way in he encounters Hunter’s secretary, Liz, who tells Callan he is expected. In Hunter’s office, Callan marks a street address on a wall map and says that Striker was seen there that morning. Hunter tells Callan to watch him, see where he goes and who he speaks to. Hunter tells Callan to take a room opposite Striker’s and watch him.
Callan wants to know why he has to do this when there is a department available for surveillance. According to Hunter, there are no men to spare for such a job because the Soviet president is due to visit the country in two days and everyone is otherwise engaged in security duties. Hunter says, “Besides, you’re the only man I can trust.”
Callan is incredulous and wants an explanation. Hunter is unwilling to explain, but Callan suspects that Hunter’s life is under direct threat, and he all but refuses to maintain surveillance on Striker all by himself as such a job is impossible. Tempers flare and Hunter orders Callan to sit down.
Back in Striker’s room, Susanne is on the phone again. She confirms that Callan has taken a room directly across the way, something that is obviously supposed to be known only within the Section. She is told to find out everything about Callan. She hangs up and tells Striker he can go out tonight. Callan is sure to follow him, and this makes Striker nervous. She explains they only want access to Callan’s room to plant bugs.
Sometime later, Callan is in his room watching the other room in the building opposite. He has a tilted chair barring his door. There is a knock and he draws his revolver. The visitor is Hunter who says that he called earlier but Callan was out. The bugs have been planted and the people in the other room are listening in. Callan had followed Striker to the pub, but didn’t go in.
Hunter wants Callan to break into Striker’s flat. Callan advises Hunter that Striker’s block of flats is an “opposition house”; it turns out the man who was in the doorway, who denied recognising Striker, is the landlord, and Striker is his tenant.
For such a job, Callan will need Lonely. Hunter explains that Striker transmitted that afternoon, using a “one-time” code, which means there must be a one-time codebook somewhere in his flat, and which the Section needs. Callan thinks that taking the codebook will tip off Striker, but Hunter suggests he get Lonely to steal it, have it photographed, then get Lonely to put it back.
In the other flat, Striker is worried about the impending break-in, but Susanne says enigmatically, “Let him come.”
Later, in Callan’s room, he is telling Lonely about the job. Lonely is very nervous about breaking into the room while the occupant is in there sleeping. Lonely thinks Callan is “off his rocker” but then he has another look at the money he has been given and agrees to do it. Callan tries to explain to Lonely what he is meant to be searching for in the room: some papers, a pad, maybe a book, with a series of numbers and/or letters, perhaps in blocks.
Callan recalls a story of a break-in told to him by Lonely, about Lonely breaking into a country castle and robbing a bedroom of its jewels while “her ladyship” was amorously engaged with a man right there in the room.
Lonely searches the room with a flashlight. A man is on the bed, his arm dangling over the edge. Lonely finds a small metal cashbox. On his hands and knees at the side of the bed, he notices something and finds it is a pool of blood. The blood has run down the dangling hand to drip on the floor, and the man in the bed is quite dead. Lonely looks into the face of Striker, the eyes lifeless and staring.
Lonely’s nerve goes and he hurries from the room in a panic. From his own window, Callan sees Lonely racing across to him. Turning the light on, Callan opens the door to let Lonely in. Lonely is almost hysterical but he still has a grip on the cashbox and he gives it to Callan. Lonely wants to get right out of it, but Callan reminds him the job is only half-done; the box has to be returned.
Lonely refuses and tells a shocked Callan that the man in the other flat is dead.
Meres is woken in the dark by a phone call. “Charlie here,” says Hunter’s voice. He gives Meres some instructions. Meres can hardly believe his ears: “Do what, sir?”
Back at the building Callan is staying in, Lonely comes running out of the main entrance, dashes across the road in the dark, and is nearly clipped by a car. The car pulls up in front of the flats, followed by a van, as Lonely watches. One man from the car and two from the van quickly enter the building. Another car races past Lonely from where he is watching and pulls up near the other vehicles. Meres gets out and runs into the building.
On the ground floor landing, Meres is greeted by the other men. The well-dressed one from the first car presents his identification and introduces himself to Meres as Haynes from “Section Three”. Meres confirms that Hunter told him Section Three were handling this case, and that he should co-operate, but Haynes defers to Meres. Meres asks, “Is he upstairs?” and Haynes replies, “Yes.” Meres says, “Let’s get it over with, shall we,” before starting up the stairs.
In his room upstairs, Callan is trying to pick the lock of the cashbox. The men knock on his door and he hides the cashbox out of sight under his mattress. Before Callan can open the door, Meres and the other men burst in, one of them holding a gun. Callan is quite confused and wants to know what they want. Meres explains that they are arresting Callan on a charge of espionage. Callan is completely dismissive of this seemingly ridiculous statement, tells them to get lost, and turns away. The Section Three man with the gun clubs Callan from behind. Callan is seriously hurt and slumps against the chair where his gun is hanging in its holster.
Meres is furious but Haynes insists that Callan was going for his gun. Meres tries to help Callan as the phone starts ringing. Haynes answers it then offers it to Meres, telling him it’s Hunter. Callan finally succumbs completely to the blow and Meres leaves him lying on the floor so as to take the phone. It’s obvious Meres is not happy with what is happening.
A slightly doubtful Meres is given orders to collect Snell and take him to headquarters. Meres asks, “But what about Callan, sir?” He listens to further orders then hangs up. Meres is supposed to collect Snell while Haynes and the others are to take Callan in. Haynes wants to know who Snell is, and Meres tells him, “A head-shrinker who’s good at getting questions answered.”
It is lighter out now; early morning. Lonely is still watching from across the street as Meres emerges and drives off. The other men come out dragging an incapacitated Callan and put him in the back of the van. Because of the angle of sight, Lonely hasn’t noticed that the man they have dragged out is Callan.
Once they have driven off, Lonely dashes across the road and back up to the flat. He calls for Callan but of course there is no answer. He absently picks up Callan’s skeleton keys off the dresser, then, Lonely being Lonely, notices the hiding place of the cashbox and takes it out from under the mattress.
In the back of the van, Callan is lying on a stretcher and Haynes gives him an injection. Callan starts to come around, but he is in pain. Haynes apologises for what happened, but explains, “We thought you were going for a gun. Toby Meres said it was a gun. And you do carry a gun.” Callan lets this sink in, then asks whose idea of a joke this is. Haynes is puzzled. “Joke?” he asks. The arrest, Callan means. “No joke, my friend,” says Haynes.
Callan is somewhat out of it, but his anger rises, and he can’t wait to get to Hunter to see “whose guts we can have for garters”. He notices Haynes hand the hypodermic syringe to another man, and the sight of this shocks him.
Back at the Section, Meres is in Hunter’s office on the phone. Hunter is not there. Meres is snapping at Liz, Hunter’s secretary, that she must be able to get someone from Section Three for him to talk to. At that moment Hunter walks in with his coat over his arm, and Meres terminates the call.
Hunter asks, “What is it, Meres?” as he hangs up his coat. Meres announces that Snell is in New York and has been for the last three days. Hunter says, “I know” as he walks around to stand behind his desk. Meres growls, “Well, excuse the impertinence, sir, but why the hell ask me to collect him?”
“Who asked you?” says Hunter absently as he looks through some papers. “You did,” replies Meres. Now Meres has Hunter’s full attention. Hunter slowly sits down. “Did I?” he asks. Meres mentions the arrest of Callan, Haynes and Section Three. Hunter is aghast. He says, “Wait a minute! Tell me about Haynes, and Section Three, and arresting Callan. Because I’m damned if I know anything about it.” Meres is chagrined.
In the back of the van, Haynes asks Callan if he is feeling better. The drug is kicking in. Callan mumbles, “Floating…” Haynes informs Callan they are taking him to the office, to headquarters, and that when they get there Hunter will want to have a little talk. “You remember Hunter, don’t you, Callan?” asks Haynes, and it is becoming apparent that some sort of brainwashing has begun. “When you wake up,” says Haynes, “you’ll be in Hunter’s office. And then you’ll talk to Hunter.”
Callan slowly wakes, and he is sitting in a chair with Haynes talking at him, right into his face, telling him he is in Hunter’s office, sitting in front of Hunter’s desk. With Callan well under the influence of the powerful drug, Haynes starts to show him photographs of faces on a screen and ask him questions.
Callan admits he was going from door to door, looking for a man called Striker, under Hunter’s orders. Haynes laughs at Callan, scoffs at him, and Callan’s characteristic anger rises to the surface, but it is dampened by the drug, and he is forced to look at more faces. Haynes aggressively confronts Callan with faces and names. Supposedly Callan was photographed talking to enemy agents.
The phone rings and Haynes talks to someone. He then informs Callan that Striker is dead. “I know,” says Callan. Haynes accuses Callan of killing Striker, and tells him that Striker was a colleague of his, a friend. Haynes says that if Callan killed him, he’ll take Callan apart. “You can try that anytime you like,” snarls Callan.
Haynes tells Callan that Striker was amassing evidence of a “leak” in Hunter’s office, and that Callan is a main suspect. Haynes winds Callan up to the point of rage, and the confrontation becomes physical. Haynes makes as if to strike Callan, and Callan rises from the chair. “You try it!” But he is very weak, and once on his feet, he merely slumps back down into the chair.
Callan wants to know where Hunter is. “He’s coming,” says Haynes. In the meantime, the woman, Susanne, walks into the room.
In Hunter’s real office at the Section, Hunter and Sir John Harvey are giving Meres a dressing-down. The upshot is that the “other side” now have Callan. Because of Meres’ unwitting co-operation, Callan thinks the real Section has arrested him.
Meres tries to defend himself. “It sounded like you, sir,” he says to Hunter, referring to the phone call he received in the night. Hunter is not impressed. There are dozens of men who could sound like him over the telephone, he believes. “He did use the code name, sir,” says Meres.
Sir John is furious that at this moment, Callan is probably blabbing all he knows about the job he was on. Meres is adamant: “Not Callan, sir.” Hunter wants Meres to find Lonely to see what he knows, which probably isn’t much.
Lonely is back in his own room with the cashbox when he hears a siren, and a speeding car pulls up in the street below. Hurriedly he hides the cashbox and tries to act nonchalant as men come running up the stairs.
Back at the phony Section, Callan is laid out on a bed in a horrible little cell-like room. Susanne is discussing the effects of the drug with Haynes. While Callan is conscious, the drug will make him responsive to suggestions for two hours at a time. Aside from allowing them to plant suggestions in Callan’s mind, the drug also lowers his creative ability, making it harder for him to lie, and easier for him to tell the truth. “And he’ll believe anything we want him to believe,” confirms Susanne. She also tells Haynes in passing that the size of the dosage they’re giving Callan may kill him.
Haynes goes to work on a semi-conscious Callan again, then gets him to his feet to return to “Hunter’s office”. Elsewhere in the same building, in a room much like a police cell, Lonely is sitting at a table sipping a drink. The guard on the door looks for all the world like a rozzer.
In the fake Hunter’s office, Callan is slumped dejectedly in a chair, drugged to the eyeballs, with Haynes standing beside him, and Susanne behind him. Callan looks up towards the door as footsteps approach, and the guard appears with Lonely. The guard is holding Lonely’s arm with one hand, and the cashbox with the other.
Haynes torments Lonely with the threat of “charges” being laid. Standing before Callan, Lonely admits Callan put him up to the break-in and told him to look for some papers. Lonely repeatedly says that the man in the room was already dead when he broke in. Lonely starts to crack and pleads with Callan to get him off the hook, as he is up for a charge of murder.
Haynes sends the guard away to open the cashbox then continues to interrogate Lonely in front of Callan. Haynes wants a description of the papers Callan had Lonely searching for. The cashbox is brought back in, opened, and Haynes confirms the contents as Striker’s. The guard takes Lonely out, and as he goes he says, “I’m sorry, Mr. Callan.”
Haynes turns Callan around in the chair to face the desk where Susanne sits and wants to know exactly what Callan was looking for in Striker’s flat. Callan has questions of his own. Haynes confirms that he and the girl Susanne are part of Section Three and that they are investigating a “leak” in Hunter’s department. Haynes says that Hunter requested their assistance. He asks again about what Callan was looking for.
Now Callan confirms he was looking for a cypher pad for Hunter. Haynes points towards the doorway. “The next man to come through that door,” says Haynes, “will be Hunter… We’ll see who’s telling the truth.” Haynes impresses upon Callan again that the next person to come through the door will be Hunter.
A man walks into the office and he stands behind Callan. It is clearly not Hunter. There is a moment of veiled tension as the three anticipate Callan’s reaction upon seeing the man. Callan swivels the chair around and we see through his eyes that it is indeed Hunter.
Haynes tells phony Hunter, “He’s not talking yet, sir. But he will.” Callan slowly stands. “It’s about time you turned up,” he growls at phony Hunter. Callan’s speech is slurred and he is unsteady on his feet. He wants to know why Hunter hasn’t told the Section Three people what he was supposed to be doing for him. Phony Hunter says to Callan, “You tell them”
Callan blabs his orders from Hunter, that he was supposed to find a man with the help of a photograph, that he found the man, and that his name was Striker. Hunter had told Callan that he thought Striker was connected with the traitor in the department, someone high up, and that Striker was a radio operator for the “opposition”.
Phony Hunter patronises Callan in conspiratory tones with Haynes, then leans in close to Callan and tells him everything he said was “utter rubbish”. Callan’s expression is one of helpless confusion.
Now they put relentless pressure on Callan, accusing him of talking to Soviet suspects and showing them not a photograph but “something”. Callan insists the paper in his hand was the photograph of Striker and that he spoke to ordinary citizens during his search. Susanne confirms she followed Callan for a week and photographed his encounters. She says he could have been showing them anything. Callan is getting more angry and distressed. He makes entreaty to phony Hunter to no avail. Haynes accuses Callan of being a link man in a cell of Soviet agents. He wants to know who it is in Hunter’s office Callan is working with. Callan’s distress deepens. “I told you, I am working for HIM!” he rages, indicating phony Hunter.
Now Haynes ties in the London visit of the Soviet president and tells Callan they know he was ordered to arrange the assassination of the president upon his arrival. The lack of logic in this does not escape Callan and he wants to know, if he is a soviet agent, why he would want to do a thing like that. Haynes counters that there is a group high up in the Soviet presidium that wants the president “removed” because of his increasing friendliness with the West.
Haynes really puts the pressure on. Callan pleads for a glass of water. He cries that he can’t think as Haynes keeps at him. The accusations become so vociferous that Callan rages then finally holds his head in helpless agony.
Phony Hunter is sitting at his desk, and the three of them, Haynes, Susanne, and “Hunter” engage in a mock conversation implicating Callan in the treason. Haynes confirms with phony Hunter that the Soviet president flies in “first thing tomorrow morning”; they have to work fast to prevent Callan’s supposed plot. On the way out of the office, phony Hunter tells Haynes, “Concentrate on breaking him.” Haynes appears to relish the prospect.
Two grim men are summoned who begin beating Callan. At his pitiful cries of agony, Susanne closes her eyes.
Later, emerging from the black depths of unconsciousness, Callan hears a voice saying his name, and he sees Hunter before him. With a sadistic expression of amusement, Hunter tells him to admit everything. Callan is lying ignominiously on the floor of the office where the thugs have left him. Hunter is holding the mike of a tape recorder at him.
Hunter leans forward in a whisper. “Say you’re in charge,” Hunter tells Callan. “Say there’s a killer. Give a false description. A false name. Help yourself, Callan.”
Callan doesn’t move. He has been too badly beaten. But he is able to hear. Phony Hunter sits back in a chair. Another man is in the background. Hunter, speaking loudly now, confirms with this man that Haynes and Susanne have left the building to get food. He establishes that the building is empty save for the three in the office and Lonely in the cells.
At the mention of Lonely by the other man, phony Hunter orders, “Get rid of him! Permanently…” With a terrific effort, Callan manages to raise one hand, but he is helpless in his distress at this order. The other man leaves to carry out the order. Alone with Callan, “Hunter” leans closer with the microphone again and, whispering, asks if Callan would like to save Lonely. “Lonely can’t hurt me,” phony Hunter says. “I might as well let him go free.”
Callan can barely move or speak. He mumbles an accusation. Grinning sadistically, Hunter admits he is the leak, that it took him years to get to the top. Hunter wants to stay at the top. He wants Callan to admit to the espionage charges on tape and he will let Lonely go free.
The other man enters and announces that he has Lonely just outside. Hunter gives Callan a last chance. Callan tells him what he can do with himself. All of this has been captured on the tape. With a gesture, Hunter tells his man to go ahead. Callan lies helpless as he hears gunshots. With incredible will power, he starts to move, gets up onto his hands and knees. He forces his black-and-blue body to the doorway, says Lonely’s name, then collapses completely.
In the Section, Meres has been looking at Callan’s file. He wants to know if Hunter is writing Callan off. Callan has been missing for a week. Hunter confirms only he and Callan knew what Callan was working on, and that Callan could tell them a lot if they can make him talk.
Over the intercom, Hunter’s secretary confirms “clearance on Meres”. “I’ve been suspect, sir?” asks Meres. Hunter says that everybody in the department has been suspect, that there has been a leak, and it’s someone who has been in the Section for a long, long time. Meres asks if Callan was working on it. Hunter confirms Callan is “clear,” not a suspect.
Meres wants to know how Hunter uncovered the leak, and Hunter replies, “When I was in Moscow.” Meres says that if they make Callan talk, they’ll know their man, the “leak”, is in jeopardy. “Exactly,” agrees Hunter. “Then we’d never find him.”
Back in his cell at the phony Section, Susanne is with a battered and feeble Callan, asking him if it’s worth it to be stubborn and not talking. She tells him he will “crack” anyway, sooner or later, and that everyone does.
Callan wants to know what he could tell them. Susanne tells him: who he has arranged to attempt the assassination in the morning, and when exactly. Callan asks if Susanne would believe him if he told her it was Hunter, that Hunter framed him. Susanne is sceptical and says there is a mountain of evidence against Callan.
She says that even Callan’s own friend Lonely is going to testify against him in court. “How can he?” asks Callan. “He’s dead.” Susanne thinks it’s rubbish. Callan tells her that Hunter had him killed. “He’s at home,” says Susanne. Callan wants to know if she took Lonely there herself. Doubt crosses her features. She says no. It’s what Callan expected: “You just take Hunter’s word for it.”
Callan gets up as best he can and goes over to where Susanne is perched on the bed. He establishes that Susanne, who supposedly took the photographs of Callan talking to enemy agents that Haynes is accusing him with, didn’t actually see the agents up close but merely snapped the people Callan spoke with using her telephoto lens. In effect, she hasn’t seen the Soviet agents in question with her own eyes. Callan also gets her to admit that she did not process her films herself, or even give them to the lab boys herself. She gave them to Hunter, she says. The implication is that the photographs being used to accuse Callan are not the same photographs Susanne took.
Of course, Callan knows he did not meet and talk with enemy agents. And it seems as though Susanne is starting to doubt the official line. Callan wants to make a deal with Susanne. He wants her to check if Hunter gave her film to the lab boys himself. She wants to know what he will do in return. He will do anything she wants, say anything she wants, as long as she checks up about the film.
Callan, defiant, wants to know what makes her think everyone has a “cracking” point. “Take it from me,” she says. “I know.”
Later, back in phony Hunter’s office, Haynes is interrogating a distressed man who admits to being a long-time enemy agent. Two other men are holding Callan in a standing position, and Susanne is sitting on the desk. Haynes swings the agent’s chair around to face Callan and demands to know if Callan is his cell leader. The man says no. Haynes demands his name, which is Andrews. Haynes yells at him that they know Callan is his cell leader. Andrews can’t confirm this because he never got to meet the cell leader.
Just then phony Hunter walks in, whom Callan still sees as the real Hunter. Haynes tells “Hunter” that Andrews is the first of the opposition network, that they got him an hour ago, but that he is pretty small fry. Phony Hunter tells him to carry on, then walks to his desk. Callan seems to come to life. Physically he’s a wreck, but he sees “Hunter” and says, “Stop him. Play that tape. He’s the one. He admitted it. The tape was still running.”
“Don’t you think it’s time you stopped that act now, Callan?” asks phony Hunter. “Nobody believes you.” Callan’s rage is just about the only thing keeping him going. “Play the tape!” he snarls. Seemingly for the benefit of the other men in the office, phony Hunter says that the tape in question is an extract from a top secret conference at Cabinet level, and he will play it if they want him to. Of course, Haynes tells him there is no need to.
Haynes physically abuses Andrews and demands he admit that Callan is his spy cell leader. Andrews gives in. Callan says he has never seen Andrews before. Haynes describes Andrews as a pro, just like Callan, only that Andrews knows how much easier it is to co-operate. Callan’s rage spills over again. “I’ve never seen him before in my life!”
Haynes takes out a revolver and shoves the muzzle up under Andrews’ jaw. He asks Andrews, “Who is going to make the assassination attempt tomorrow?” Andrews plainly does not know. Haynes says he will happily kill him if he refuses to answer. Andrews is cracking under the pressure, and when Haynes asks if he does know there is going to be an assassination attempt, Andrews agrees that he does, and that Callan told him this. The interrogation reaches a frenzied pitch, with Haynes trying to get more damning admissions about Callan, when Callan rouses himself to insist the culprit is Hunter.
One of the men holding up Callan is ordered by Haynes to take Andrews away, and Callan collapses against the remaining guard. As Andrews is led out, Callan reaches out towards Hunter in a paroxysm of anger, yelling, “You bastard!” He actually manages to drag the guard part-way across the room, then collapses into the chair vacated by Andrews. The guard makes as if to strike Callan, but he stays his hand as the physical effort has cost Callan dearly, and the threat has passed.
Haynes holds the gun to Callan’s head. He says he has three hours left, and if Callan helps him, Callan will live. Callan is completely defiant. Haynes changes tack and gives the gun to Susanne. “Kill him,” he orders her. She begins to protest, that they don’t know for sure about Callan’s involvement. “Damn it, girl,” he says, “we’ve got a job to do! I must have that information within three hours.” He tells her that if Callan is actually innocent, they will pray for his soul. But the order stands.
Callan is still insisting the man they want is Hunter. Haynes steps away and Susanne leans close to tell Callan he was right, Hunter didn’t give the films to the lab. Haynes comes over because of the delay and asks her for the gun. She moves to carry out the order to kill Callan. She tells Callan she is sorry, cocks the gun, and puts it to Callan’s head. At the height of Callan’s anticipation, the hammer falls on an empty chamber, and he collapses emotionally.
The phone rings and Haynes takes the call. He tells the people in the room, “Hold it!” Once off the phone he tells them the opposition agents they wanted to arrest have disappeared, as if they had been tipped off.
At that moment, into this fake Section, and into the phony Hunter’s office, strolls Sir John Harvey, the real Hunter’s confidante and Section official. “Good day, Hunter,” says Sir John to the phony Hunter who is still sitting at the desk. He glances at Callan, a veritable wreck of a man by this time, and asks casually if he is interrupting anything.
“What time do we leave to meet the President?” asks Sir John, and phony Hunter tells him, “Eight, from here.” An order is given to take Callan down to the cells. Following Susanne, a guard half-drags, half-carries Callan across the room, but at the door, Callan finds the strength to look back and growl his defiance in phony Hunter’s direction. The fake Hunter, Haynes, and Sir John are left standing in the office. “You’ve got to hand it to Callan, sir,” says Haynes. “They made him pretty tough.”
Speaking about what has been done so far to brainwash Callan, Sir John asks, “Enough?” Phony Hunter shakes his head. “Not half enough.”
Down in Callan’s cell, it goes on. Callan is slumped at a table. Susanne dismissed the guard, and she makes sure Callan, despite the state he is in, sees her give the revolver to him to take away. Callan starts needling her about shooting someone in cold blood, meaning him. She says she didn’t. He says, “You tried.” She takes the view that a quick, clean bullet would have been better than what Haynes has in store for Callan. She knows how far he can go.
She also tells Callan of when she had been captured and interrogated during the Hungarian Uprising and what she went through, as if to prove she knows what she is talking about. “They were fond of their work,” she says, “especially with girl prisoners.” Callan seems unimpressed. She goes on, “I know it’s better to be dead than go through that.”
“Yeah?” says Callan. He hardens. “Well I’m going to go through that and live!”
His strength ebbs once more, and he asks her about her photographic film again, and she confirms that Hunter did not take it to the lab. In a conspiratory manner, she works an angle on Callan that if she hadn’t tried to shoot Callan, Haynes or Hunter would have, and she would have been discredited. While they trust her, she can carry on investigating on Callan’s behalf.
Callan is slurring his words. “Hunter… didn’t get the film processed officially.” Then he asks her, “You believe me?” She says, “Perhaps.” Callan reminds her about the tape, that Hunter put it on the desk. He is adamant: get it and play it, he tells her. She says she’ll try. She stands and leaves the room. Callan does not see her pleased smile.
In his terrible physical and mental state, Callan gets up as best he can and moves to the bed where he collapses. Susanne opens the door and, seeing Callan is effectively unconscious, comes into the room. It is time for his next injection. As she administers the drug, Callan stirs, but does not open his eyes. She leaves quietly.
Susanne returns, this time calling his name and telling him to wake up. In his drugged state, Callan listens as Susanne leans over him, telling him repeatedly that the tape has gone from the office. She also shows him some photographic film she found, telling him he was right, that her film has never been processed, implying that the pictures incriminating Callan are fakes.
At that moment, phony Hunter enters the room holding a gun, with a lackey in tow. “Hunter” holds the gun on Susanne while the second man gets Callan to his feet and sits him down in the chair as a stupefied witness to the proceedings. The man binds Callan’s hands behind him around the back of the chair. Susanne confronts phony Hunter. “There’s no point in pretending anymore, Hunter!” says Susanne.
Callan’s senses are swimming, but he hears enough. “Only you and Callan know,” says phony Hunter. “Who’s going to believe Callan?” Susanne appears to recognise the implied threat. “You can’t frame me,” she says incredulously. But it is worse than that: the henchman advances on Susanne and strangles her with a sash during a brief struggle. A distressed Callan suffers through the murder, but he is physically helpless to interfere.
Now the lackey frees Callan’s hands then leaves the cell. Callan slumps at the table while “Hunter” seems to threaten him with the gun, but he aims the revolver at the ceiling and fires two shots in succession. This brings Haynes and another guard dashing into the room. “I caught Callan free and attacking Susanne,” explains phony Hunter. “How is she?”
Haynes examines Susanne then grimly asks “Hunter” to leave him alone with Callan. Callan struggles to his feet, trying to tell Haynes that Hunter did it, slurring his words and hardly able to stand. “You’ll never get anything out of him now, sir,” says Haynes to phony Hunter. “You’ll have to cover your presidential visitor as best you can.”
Haynes is itching to deal with Callan. “Hunter” tells him it has to be an “accident”. Haynes confirms that it will be. Phony Hunter leaves Callan alone with Haynes and the guard.
In Lonely’s flat, Meres is waiting by the window. He is alone. He seems to have been waiting for some time. He goes to the door to leave, when he hears footsteps coming up the stairs. He stands just behind the door, then Lonely enters. Meres strikes the door in a fury, slamming it shut. “Where the hell have you been?” he shouts at Lonely. “I’ve been searching all over for you!”
Somewhat offhand, buzzing around the flat, Lonely explains that the rozzers have kept him locked up for three days, not even allowing him to see his lawyer. Meres’ mood worsens. He stops Lonely in his tracks with a threatening gesture. He is very sceptical about who has been holding Lonely. “The cops,” insists Lonely, “the law.”
Meres is not impressed. “Now don’t you give me that.” He has been to every nick in the city. “Which station were you at?”
Lonely is becoming more nervous. It wasn’t exactly a “nick”. It was that “warehouse place”. Lonely says, “Oh, they’re coppers all right. It’s where Mr. Callan is.” Now Meres is beside himself. He demands to know where. “In the warehouse place,” Lonely insists, as if Meres ought to know it. Lonely doesn’t know where this “warehouse” is, as he was taken there in a closed van and brought back the same way.
In a burst of anger, Meres takes his temper out on Lonely’s chattels. Meres appears to focus. He wants to know what they wanted Lonely for. “Murder,” replies Lonely, explaining the charge, “but Mr. Hunter…”
Meres grabs Lonely by the lapels. “Hunter?” asks Meres, incredulously. Lonely says, “He let me go… He says it was all a mistake.” Meres drags Lonely off to the Section.
Back at the fake Section, two men are loading Callan into the back of a van. They slam the doors shut on him. One of the men asks the other if one of them should ride in the back with Callan. Aware that Callan is able to hear what they are saying, the other man says there is no need, Callan will never come to. “Which is a pity,” he says. “I’d rather like him to be awake when he goes under for the last time.”
They drive off with Callan lying almost helpless in the back. Despite his smashed face and battered body, he struggles to move. He knows he must get out of this predicament. He tries the van door and finds it unlocked. He opens it and leans out, but the van is moving and he shuts it again.
The van stops for a red light and Callan makes his move. He opens the door and, with a burst of determination, dashes off to the side of the road and conceals himself behind a low wall. The men see him go and are pleased. They drive on.
Callan, looking like a hobo who has been run over by a truck, enters Lonely’s flat and immediately turns over the mattress where he has a revolver hidden, wrapped and taped to the underside. He checks the load and staggers out.
In the real Hunter’s office, at the genuine Section, Hunter is at his desk and Meres is pacing. Lonely doesn’t know anything useful, but Meres has deduced that “someone” is having Callan on. Hunter and Meres cannot figure out why all this trouble is being taken over Callan. They just don’t know what it’s all about.
Unconvincingly, Meres suggests interrogation, but Hunter says no, there are quicker ways. “No man could last a week,” he says. Hunter is deeply troubled. He orders a full red alert. “We’re in for some trouble.” Hunter pulls open his desk drawer to reveal a pistol.
In a dark room, the fake Hunter, Susanne, Haynes, and the henchmen are sitting or standing idly, waiting, some smoking. The phone rings and Susanne grabs it. Callan has been spotted leaving Lonely’s place. Phony Hunter says that all they can do is wait. Haynes asks, “Will Callan make it?” Phony Hunter replies, “I think so.” He seems very calm and sure.
“What will happen to Callan?” asks Susanne. “Hunter” replies, “They’ll kill him, touch wood.”
Callan, meanwhile, has made his way to the grotty, forsaken school buildings that secretly house the Section. He is forced to duck out of sight as Liz, Hunter’s secretary, leaves carrying her bag. He has his gun in hand.
Using his insider’s knowledge, he makes his way unseen to Hunter’s office. Hunter is at his desk, working, concentrating. His pistol is on the desk, within reach. The dishevelled and battered Callan bursts in and Hunter rises from the desk in complete shock. “Callan!”
Callan, a superb marksman with a revolver, musters his strength and fires a single shot. It kills Hunter and he falls across the desktop. Unceremoniously, Callan pushes the body so that it rolls onto the floor. He sweeps Hunter’s pistol from the desk and his anger rises. He aims the revolver again, to shoot the body of Hunter, but Meres’ voice can be heard, shouting, “Callan!”
Callan swings his gun around, aiming for the doorway where Meres is just appearing. Meres goes straight into a combat crouch, his gun in hand. “Callan, don’t!” In his drugged and beaten state, Callan is absolutely no match for Meres, and Meres fires twice, cutting him down.
The agony seems to catch Callan by surprise. He is slumped against the desk as Meres comes out of his ready position and approaches, still cautious at first, then concerned. Meres puts his hand to the terrible wounds and, uncharacteristically, has become emotionally distraught. He gets out the words: “Oh,” then, “Why, David? Why?”
Haltingly, agonisingly, Callan tells Meres, “Hunter… is going to kill the Soviet President…” Meres tells him, “The President went home three days ago. You’ve been missing for a week.”
Callan, his mind and body shattered, his face almost unrecognisable, manages one last, bitter grin. “Toby,” he manages to say, “I’ve been… had.”
UPDATE: 26 January, 2010
A friend of mine and fellow Callan fan asked me if I think Meres' reaction at the end rings true.
"While I know he and Callan do sometimes seem almost on friendly terms, I would have expected a far more aggressive or even matter of fact response from him, not the great concern he shows."
My response as follows:
On the face of it, it seems out of character. You would think he finally has his big chance (remembering his jealousy of Callan, rivalry bordering on hatred) to shoot Callan for a legitimate reason. He can kill Callan, be the hero, AND be top dog in the Section. What a great deal.
But my theory has to do with brotherhood. Brothers can be intense rivals, they can have disagreements that bring up very negative emotions. I have no doubt rivalries between brothers lead to hatred. (Brother killing brother is an archetype, supposedly the first murder according to the Bible)...
I also have no doubt that if a man shot his brother, whom he hates because he is jealous, he may well instantly regret it, and find out that there were other strong feelings under the surface that he didn't recognise.
I think it's important to remember that Meres hates Callan not because of something Callan did to him, but because he is jealous, and because he would like to be the top man. He never will be with Callan around. But then, deep down, he obviously admires him.
Bang bang, instant regret. I think it fits.
Just my theory. I mean, they could have had Meres act any which way. He could have grinned in triumph.