Toby Esterhase
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Quotes for
Toby Esterhase (Character)
from "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" (1979)

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"Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: Smiley Sets a Trap (#1.6)" (1979)
George Smiley: Ever bought a fake picture, Toby?
Toby Esterhase: I sold a couple once.
George Smiley: The more you pay for it, the less inclined you are to doubt its authenticity.

Toby Esterhase: Why pick on the little guy? Why not pick on the big ones? Percy Allenine, Bill Haydon!
Peter Guillam: I thought you were a big guy these days.
George Smiley: You're the perfect choice, Toby: resentful about slow promotion, sharp-witted, fond of money. With you as his agent, Polyakov has a cover story that really sits up and works. The big three give you the little sealed packets of chickenfeed, and Moscow Centre thinks you're all theirs. The only problem arises when it turns out you've been handing Polyakov the crown jewels, and getting Russian chickenfeed in return. If that's the case, Toby, you're going to need some pretty good friends. Like us. Gerald's a Russian mole, of course. And he's pulled the Circus inside out.

Toby Esterhase: You're on a damn long road, George. What happens to you if you never reach the end?
George Smiley: With Lacon and the Minister behind me?

George Smiley: [peering out the window] Toby, you wouldn't be lying, would you? Did you bring a babysitter?
Toby Esterhase: George, I cross my heart, I swear to you.
George Smiley: What would you use for a job like this? Cars?
Toby Esterhase: No.
George Smiley: How many men?
Toby Esterhase: Eight, ten men.
George Smiley: What about one man alone?
Toby Esterhase: One? Never. Impossible.

Toby Esterhase: Listen, George. I know Polyakov works for Moscow. Of course I do, we all do. But come on, think how many operations we run this way. We bought Polyakov. He's a Moscow hood but he's also our joe. But he's got to pretend to his own people he's spying on us. We give him some little sealed packets, chickenfeed, Moscow claps him on the back and tells him he's a big man. It happens all the time. Come on, George, you know the game.
George Smiley: So are you Polyakov's agent inside the Circus?... Someone has to be.

"Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: Smiley Tracks the Mole (#1.3)" (1979)
George Smiley: Let me be blunt...
Toby Esterhase: Not YOUR style, George.

Toby Esterhase: Ultra, ultra-sensitive, in fact, Peter.
Peter Guillam: In that case, Toby, I'll try and keep my mouth ultra, ultra-shut.

Toby Esterhase: I do like the Service, George, I may be sentimental about it. But I prefer to stay in it.

Toby Esterhase: My problem is promotion. I mean the absence of it. I have so many years' senority that I feel actually quite embarrassed when these young fellows ask me to take orders from them.
George Smiley: Who, Toby? Which young fellows? Roy Bland? Percy? Would you call Percy young? Who?
Toby Esterhase: When you're overdue for promotion and working your fingers to the bone, anyone looks young who's above you on the ladder.
George Smiley: Perhaps Control could move you up a few rungs...
Toby Esterhase: Actually, George, I am not too sure he is able to.

"Smiley's People: Episode #1.5" (1982)
George Smiley: [on Grigoriev] So, how conscious is he?
Toby Esterhase: George, he's Russian, OK? The Russians think the butterflies are spying on them.

"Smiley's People: Episode #1.3" (1982)
Toby Esterhase: At a certain age a man's got to be what he deserves. I spent fifteen years at the Circus trying to be an English gentleman. You know what I am now? A cheap Austro-Hungarian in expensive clothes. I've come home.

"Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: Flushing Out the Mole (#1.7)" (1979)
[after the tape is played revealing Haydon's treachery]
Toby Esterhase: Well, that's that. Congratulations, George.
Oliver Lacon: Next step, gentlemen?
George Smiley: Would you agree with me, Percy, that our best course of action is to make some positive use of Bill Haydon? We need to salvage what's left of the networks he's betrayed.
Percy Alleline: [weakly] Yes...
George Smiley: We sell Haydon to Moscow Centre for as many of our men in the field as can be saved - for humanitarian reasons. Professionally, of course, they're finished.
Percy Alleline: Quite.
George Smiley: Then the sooner you open negotiations with Karla, the better. Well, you're much better placed to talk terms than I am. Polyakov remains your direct link with Karla.
Oliver Lacon: The only difference is, this time you know it! It's definitely your job, Percy. You're still Chief, officially... for the moment.
Percy Alleline: Very well, George.

"Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: How It All Fits Together (#1.4)" (1979)
Toby Esterhase: Peter, I am very sorry to disturb you, but we have a crisis. Percy Allenine would like a word with you.