Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
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Note: Please read this synopsis if you want to understand what is going on in the film. It does contain spoilers. The synopsis is taken directly from Wikipedia.

In October 1973, Control (Hurt), the head of British Intelligence ("the Circus"), sends agent Jim Prideaux (Strong) to Budapest in Communist Hungary to meet a Hungarian general who had promised to deliver valuable information regarding a mole in British Intelligence. However, Prideaux is shot and captured by Soviet agents. Amid the international incident that follows, Control and his right-hand man George Smiley (Oldman) are forced into retirement. Control, already ill, dies soon afterwards.

Percy Alleline (Jones) becomes the new Chief of the Circus, with Bill Haydon (Firth) as his deputy and Roy Bland (Hinds) and Toby Esterhase as close allies. They had already initiated a secretive operation called "Witchcraft" to obtain valuable Soviet intelligence. Control and Smiley had mistrusted the material produced by Witchcraft, which is being shared with the United States in exchange for valuable American intelligence.

Smiley is brought out of retirement by Oliver Lacon, the civil servant in charge of intelligence, to investigate a claim by Ricki Tarr (Hardy), an MI6 operative thought to have defected, that there has been a long-term mole in a senior role in British Intelligence. Control had held this suspicion as well. Working outside of the Circus, Smiley chooses Peter Guillam (Cumberbatch) and retired Special Branch officer Mendel to assist his investigation and begins to interview people who left the Circus about the same time that he and Control did.

One is Connie Sachs, who had been sacked by Alleline after claiming that Alexei Polyakov, a Soviet cultural attach in London, was a Soviet spy. Another is Jerry Westerby, who had been duty clerk on the night Prideaux was shot. Westerby says that on that night he called Smiley's house for instructions, but Ann, Smiley's philandering wife, had answered. Shortly after, Haydon arrived at the Circus and said that he saw the news on the tickertape at his club. Smiley realizes that Haydon must have heard the news from Ann, confirming his suspicion that the two had been having an affair.

Smiley comes home and finds Tarr hiding there. Tarr tells him that he had been sent to Istanbul to investigate a Soviet agent named Boris. Tarr found that Boris had no significance, but that Boris's wife Irina was also an operative and seemed to have information. So Tarr overstayed in Istanbul and started having an affair with Irina to gain her trust. Irina, however, knew who Tarr was, and asked to trade informationspecifically, the name of a mole who existed in the top ranks of the Circus and who worked for a KGB spymaster named Karlafor a new life in the West.

Tarr sent Irina's request back to London, but the reply, coming after several hours, ignored Irina's request and ordered him to come home immediately. Tarr then finds that Boris, as well as the British station chief in Istanbul, have been killed. Tarr saw Irina captured by her employers; he was subsequently accused of defecting and of murdering the British station chief, so went into hiding.

Guillam is sent by Smiley to steal the Circus logbook for the night Tarr called: he finds the pages for that night are cut out, suggesting that Tarr's story is true.

Prideaux, who was secretly returned by the Russians but sacked from the service, is now in hiding, working as a language teacher at a boys' school. Prideaux reveals to Smiley that the purpose of the Hungary mission was to get the name of the mole. Control had codenamed the suspects "Tinker" (Alleline), "Tailor" (Haydon), "Soldier" (Bland), "Poorman" (Esterhase) and "Beggarman" (Smiley himself). Prideaux tells how he was brutally interrogated under the direction of Karla and gave in, and also how he saw a blonde female prisoner, Irina, being shot in front of him. However, says Prideaux, the Soviets already knew of Control's investigation into the mole, and were only interested in finding out how far that investigation had progressed.

Smiley learns that Alleline, Haydon, Bland and Esterhase have been regularly meeting Polyakov the "Witchcraft" source at a safe house to get material. At every meeting, Polyakov gives these men supposedly high-grade Soviet intelligence in exchange for low-grade British material that helps him maintain his cover with the Soviets. In reality, however, one of these men is the mole, and is passing along substantive material, including American intelligence, and Polyakov is his handler. The material Polyakov passes along is mostly "chicken feed", with just enough substance to persuade the Americans to share information with the British.

Smiley gets the safe house's location by threatening to deport Esterhase, who was formerly Hungarian and would surely be treated as a traitor there. Smiley then sets a trap by having Tarr appear at the Paris office implying he knows who the mole is and is ready to give the name. The mole hears this, and immediately arranges with Polyakov to meet at the safe house to ask the Soviets to kill Tarr. Smiley waits at the safe house and captures the mole: Haydon.

At the Circus interrogation centre in Sarratt, Haydon reveals that he seduced Smiley's wife on Karla's orders, in order to distort any suspicions Smiley may have had of Haydon. Haydon also reveals that Prideaux confided in him about Control's suspicion of a mole right before Prideaux left for Hungary, since they were close friends. The Circus makes plans to exchange Haydon back to the Soviets, but Prideaux, having learned of how Haydon betrayed him, kills him. Smiley is restored to the Circus as its chief.
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