This series, along with "Tinker, Tailor..." was, is, and will remain the defining work in the Cold War genre. Who better to have played Smiley than Sir Alec Guiness? Who better to have scripted this tour through the dismal, melancholy world of British Intelligence, and the silent fight they waged against the Soviet Union to no applause and less appreciation than David Cornwell? Stodgy and correct; quiet and demure, Guiness' Smiley defined the real-world application of high-stakes spy work as no 007 lark ever could. The screenplay, supporting cast, cinematography and score did what I wouldn't have believed possible: top "Tinker, Tailor."
The die was cast for me as a teenager reading "The Looking Glass War," and has been solidified with these books and the splendid television movies produced since. I watched as our PBS stations aired "Smiley's People" not long after "Tinker, Tailor," and once more in syndication on local channels. I have not seen it since, and that is a great shame. A former American Cold Warrior who saw my share of the clock's chime at midnight in desolate places while watching the Soviet Navy's every move, I ask again -- I implore the holders of the series' rights -- release this (and Tinker, Tailor) in the United States, please! So many here no longer understand or care to know what those years were like, and Smiley's People can in some small way enlighten while it entertains.