Cambridge Spies

Season 1, Episode 4 of 4

The Cold War: Melinda is back and Maclean is given a new lease on life. Now posted to Washington, Moscow is determined that he make good use of his time. Under the guise of visiting his wife in the city, Maclean gains access and makes regular visits to the Atomic Energy Commission in New York. Maclean steals vital information about atomic bomb making which he passes on to his latest Soviet contact, 'K'. Melinda is not happy: she knows what he's up to and pleads then demands that he give it up. Maclean is torn: he wants so badly to get out of the whole business; on the other hand, he resents the United States exclusive control over atomic weapons - he still aspires to some idea of justice to justify his surreptitious activities. But there's another problem: Angleton - now head of counter-intelligence at the newly-formed CIA - is also back. And curious about what exactly Maclean is getting up to in America... Then all hell breaks loose: the Soviets explode their first atomic bomb. The CIA - Angleton prominent amongst them - will stop at nothing to find out who leaked the secrets. And they have one vital piece of information: a major source of leaks is said to have the code name 'Homer'. This is the code name the Soviets have used for Maclean since his early spying days. And this time, it really does seem like the game is all up for Maclean. Back in London, Philby takes control of the situation: if Maclean goes down, they all do - he must do anything and everything to protect his comrade, his friend. Much to Angleton's consternation, Maclean is sent back to London, and Philby is sent to Washington to take over the 'Homer' investigation. The irony could not be clearer, or more dangerous. Philby barely manages to keep the 'Homer' investigation from exploding out of his control, but he does it, at least for the moment. Though this does nothing to allay Angleton's suspicion, and he watches Philby like a hawk. But Philby's worst nightmare is just about to happen. Burgess - now a notorious drunk, hapless carouser, outrageous raconteur - has come to Washington. Immediately, he makes trouble when, at a dinner party at Philby's home, he exposes himself to Angleton's wife. Maclean is recovering with Melinda and their child in London. His life is considerably calmer; he has stopped getting drunk, he commutes to work every day from his suburban home, he is doing the bare minimum of file-passing and copying - he is leading, relatively, a 'normal' life. But the 'Homer' investigation won't go away. Philby is once again wrongfooted when the CIA unveils four names of possible 'Homers'. Maclean's name is on the list. Maclean, Burgess, Philby - all of them are on the brink of discovery, and oblivion. K informs Philby that Maclean must be sacrificed. And it is Philby who must do it. Philby arranges for Burgess to be sent home, where Blunt takes him on one more trip to Jermyn Street - a new coat, the old school tie, a copy of Jane Austen. Blunt tells him what he must do: accompany Maclean out of the country, get him to Moscow. What Blunt doesn't say is that Moscow has decided that it is time for the unpredictable and increasingly uncontrollable Burgess to leave too. Burgess and Maclean escape in the middle of the night. In hot pursuit; the CIA, MI5, MI6... but they fail to catch them up. And Philby and Blunt, left behind.

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