All the references, lovingly collated


Where are we at?... (2.40)

Bobby: Where are we at?

Hall: Couldn't establish internal surveillance.

Bobby: Fuck.

Wendy: We knew Taylor wasn't gonna leave a key under the welcome mat.

Bobby: Who set up their security, fuckin' George Smiley?

George Smiley OBE is a fictional character created by John le Carré. Smiley is a career intelligence officer with "The Circus", the British overseas intelligence agency. He is a central character in the novels Call for the Dead, A Murder of Quality, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Honourable Schoolboy, and Smiley's People, and a supporting character in The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, The Looking Glass War, The Secret Pilgrim and A Legacy of Spies. The character has also appeared in a number of film, television, and radio adaptations of le Carré's books.

Le Carré created Smiley as an intentional foil to James Bond, a character whom he believed depicted an inaccurate and damaging version of espionage life. Short, overweight, balding, and bespectacled, Smiley is polite and self-effacing and frequently allows others to mistreat him, including his serially unfaithful wife; these traits mask his inner cunning, eidetic memory, mastery of tradecraft, and occasional ruthlessness. His genius, coupled with other characters' willingness to underestimate him, allows Smiley to consistently achieve his goals and ultimately become one of the most powerful spies in England.

The character is held in high esteem in England, where he has become a pop-culture icon on par with Bond. The Guardian has called him "the sort of spy [England] believes it ought to have: a bit shabby, academic, basically loyal, and sceptical of the enthusiasms of his political masters."