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David Callan is the top agent/assassin for the Security Service (British counterintelligence), but he is an embittered man who performs his duties "for Queen and country" under duress. This bleak, "Spy who Came in from the Cold"-style espionage drama concentrates on the seamy underside of covert operations: assassinations, blackmail and dirty dealing. Written by
Marg Baskin <email@example.com>
Callan was a very dark series which has never been given the credit it deserved. I'm glad to see the series on DVD here in England because it is a series I would recommend to anyone who wasn't born when it first aired.
A pre-Equalizer Edward Woodward played Callan who was an agent for British Intelligence. He was no James Bond however; Callan's was a dark world where everyone had their own agenda and no-one could be trusted. Things were not black and white; there were plenty of shades of grey. Unlike James Bond, Callan didn't have a posh car, plenty of beautiful women and he didn't get to jet off to sunny locations. Callan hated his job, he had no choice but to work for British Intelligence (watch the first episodes to see why that is). He was a good man deep down and cared about people but he was constantly required to lie and deceive people and cheat. He was given the dirty jobs no-one else wanted and whilst his superior (a man called Hunter, played by various actors)knew that Callan was good at his job, he also didn't care about Callan at all. Callan was a loner.
The premise was very interesting indeed. Callan was reluctantly doing a dirty job and his emotions came into conflict with his job at times. It was fascinating viewing.
Over the years there have been many dark series where you can never be sure who is good and who is bad. In a way, I guess it is indicative of the times we are living in. However, I think it is important to remember that Callan was the benchmark for many of the dark and pessimistic shows we see today and without Callan, many of them would not have arisen.
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