Season 3 Episode 7

God Help Your Friends

Aired Saturday 9:00 PM Jun 03, 1970 on ITV
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Episode Summary

God Help Your Friends
Callan delves into his bag of dirty tricks to disrupt a romance between a government worker and a suspected spy.

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  • It may be true love or it may be a sneaky plot by an enemy sympathiser against a high-level interpreter. It doesn't matter - there will be no wedding. Hunter will make sure of it by assigning Callan and Cross to break up the romance any way necessary.moreless


    Ah, romance. You don't see that often in this show but here it is in all its glory. Mark and Beth, obviously in love, are making plans and googly eyes at each other. They will marry soon and honeymoon in an exotic Eastern Bloc country. Love is grand.

    Except Hunter says this engagement must be stopped and both Callan and Cross are assigned the task. Beth is a top secret clearance interpreter (who isn't?) and Mark a possible informer and sympathiser with Russia. Not a match made in heaven. Callan is disgusted at the depths his job makes him sink to but Cross thinks it sounds like fun. They discuss how to go about the task and it's obvious Callan is uncomfortable with the idea. He wonders if just maybe it is possible Mark really loves Beth. Cross is scornful.

    Beth is told by her boss to inform the security department in future when she wants to marry someone and she is annoyed they are intruding in her private life. If only she knew.

    Callan makes Lonely break into Mark's flat to find anything incriminating they can use against him. Lonely strikes gold in the form of saucy photos and letters to another woman. Callan is dismayed not only that they found something, but it is also exactly what they wanted to ruin the romance.

    Over at Beth's flat, Cross sits in his car and waits for the two lovebirds. Mark and Beth are inside cooing at each other and Mark asks about her day at work. An innocent enough question, perhaps. She tells him about the nice new man who started work there that morning - a Mr.Cross.

    By the time Mark and Beth arrive at his flat, Lonely is breaking into Beth's place to plant the letters and photos. Mark makes a phone call - which might be suspicious or innocent enough - which revolves around gaining information and playing someone along. Mark's friend Janet turns up is all over Mark like a floozy as if Beth was not there. Beth is uncomfortable but says nothing, trusting Mark completely. When Cross appears at Callan's flat he's disappointed he missed reading the juicy letters. Callan is curious and asks what Cross thinks of Beth now that he has met her in person. Is she a nice person? Cross agrees she is 'nice' and says it like it is an insult. Callan seems to wonder how nice it is to do something so wrong to someone 'nice'.

    Beth discovers the letters and photos incriminating Mark and is horrified.

    Hunter keeps badgering Callan for results and wants to know why it is taking so long to split up the couple. This just makes Callan even more annoyed but he continues his plan.

    Beth talks with Mark and tells him she thinks she is being followed - but he laughs it off as too much top secret work. Then Beth confronts him over his relationship with his ex-girlfriend Janet, the one in the letters and photos. They argue and he leaves - and Cross watching from his car is overjoyed. He tells Callan, Callan tells Hunter... but it's a premature celebration. A little later Beth and Mark meet up and reconcile.

    Cross sees beth at work the next day, happy and singing. She tells the boss she is moving the wedding date forward. Cross is annoyed, but Hunter is angry. Hunter blames Cross and Callan for bungling the job so completely it has caused the opposite effect. Beth offers to help a foreign diplomat with a late translation for a meeting the next day but has to cancel a dinner with Mark to do so. The diplomat offers to buy her a meal before they settle down to work and, as they book at a local restaurant, Cross informs Callan.

    Immediately Callan rings Mark and convinces him to go to the restaurant. When Mark sees Beth dining with the diplomat he stomps off in a jealous fit. Hunter is not happy a diplomat was involved but is assured the goal is in sight. He wants his result at almost any cost. Callan is increasingly bitter about the task and says the happy couple no longer trust each other. He reminds Hunter there are other ways of killing people than with a bullet.

    Beth tries to call Mark but he won't take her calls and she is frantic. She sends him pleading letters but he never receives them. Callan and Cross listen to the phone conversation Mark had. Cross thinks it proves Mark is a spy but Callan thinks it just proves he is a part-time journalist. Cross believes their actions in breaking up the couple are as much for her benefit as for the country's, helping her out so she doesn't get hurt. Aloud Callan reads one of her intercepted, tearful letters and ask if she sounds like she is being helped out.

    Beth calls Mark from work as Cross eavesdrops and begs to talk face to face with Mark to sort out their problems. Cross worries they may reconcile.

    Later Beth and Mark are in her flat and they manage to sort out their misconceptions and jealousy. Then they start to wonder how Mark knew what restaurant she was at and how his old love letters appeared in her flat. Suddenly they realise they are being manipulated, but by whom and why? Watching from the car is a fed-up Cross. It seems the couple are together again. Callan appears and produces flowers, delivering them to an overjoyed Beth. Mark expects they are from him – but he reads the card which says they are from the diplomat. This is the final straw for Mark and he leaves for good. Beth is in hysterics. Another job well done.

    When Callan points out in the paper that the engagement is off, he and Cross expect Hunter to be pleased. Hunter just gripes about expenses and says it doesn't matter anymore because it's all academic now. Beth was taken to hospital that morning after overdosing on sleeping pills. She's dead.

    Now Callan is really annoyed at his job, his boss and himself for doing such a loathsome task. It was never going to end happily and he knew it - they all did - but he was the only one who seemed to care. He spits that Hunter should send a wreath – which Hunter says he will do as he is actually a close friend with Beth's father.

    God help your friends, Callan snarls.

    As Callan says, there are more ways to kill people than with a bullet. There are also many ways to hurt people - including yourself if you start to care about the people in your job. Cross and Hunter have no problems with the dirty aspects of their work, even when Hunter is a close friend of the family, but Callan as usual is concerned by the rightness of his actions. To Callan his work doesn't have to be justifiable to anyone else - but he does have to justify it to himself. In this case he cannot. No one wins.moreless

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Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (6)

    • Lonely: I nearly jumped out of my skin.
      Callan: Well, that wouldn't do any harm.

    • Hunter [ on plans to stop the wedding ]: And what steps will you take if this action fails?
      Callan: Hard to say, sir. I expect we'll think of something.
      Hunter: What exactly?
      Callan: Oh, for God's sake, sir, it's not our job anyway! Don't worry, it'll be something in full accord with the honourable practices of this department, sir.

    • Callan: You know I really will have to buy you some deodorised soap. Just keep your distance, will you?
      Lonely [ sulking ]: Well, I live in just one room.
      Callan: You could live in a public baths, it wouldn't make any difference, would it?

    • Callan [ on the target's motives ]: You don't think it's just possible that he might love her?
      Cross: I think it's just possible that he might love Moscow more.

    • Callan [ on being tasked with breaking up an engagement ]: Oh, what a lovely job!
      Hunter: You're paid.
      Callan: Well, I suppose you want me to chat her up?
      Hunter: You will stay away from her, Callan.
      Callan: How am I supposed to do the job if I don't see the subject?
      Hunter: Cross will take the girl.
      Cross: Thank you, sir!

    • Hunter [ on the target ]: It's odd, you see. The fellow's a professional bachelor. Self-appointed God's gift to women… [ looking pointedly at Cross ] Cross!
      Cross [ beaming ]: Thank you, sir!

  • NOTES (0)