During the party scene of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011), Control and his team are shown singing the Russian national anthem.

Smiley approached the window and saw someone groping a woman's butt. He felt shocked and turned his face away:

enter image description here

Why was Smiley shocked by seeing this?

1 Answer 1


The woman being groped is Ann, his wife.

George Smiley's relationship with his wife is famously complex / bizarre over the books they appear in.

In the movie he is currently estranged from Ann. They are not living together. He is aware that Bill Haydon had an affair with her in the recent past and that memories of this appear in the movie.

Another important scene relating this is where George remembers discovering Bill at his house, clearly getting dressed and looking embarrassed, surreptitiously forcing his feet into his shoes. He makes a weak excuse about returning a painting to her. In the books we are told that he is a cousin of Ann, so has some legitimate reason to know her. The painting is the one that we see Smiley spend time looking at.

Bill Haydon in George Smiley's house

  • 2
    Possibly worth adding that the flashback scene occurs much earlier in the timeline than the scene where Smiley discovers Bill at his house and might be one of the first times he realises Anne is having an affair with one of his colleagues.
    – matt_black
    Commented Jun 4, 2022 at 20:14
  • Yeah, I welcome your comment pointing that out, and it does make sense given his reaction. However I've never read the book I am wondering how we can definitely tell that from the movie? They are both flashbacks. This movie is a masterpiece of leaving things unsaid, for the audience to work out on their own, so I may have missed something.
    – iandotkelly
    Commented Jun 5, 2022 at 14:36
  • Also worth to mention is, that the affair was specifically created by Haydon so that Smiley would feel biased against him and hence disregard any suspicion as an evidence of his bias ...
    – Edheldil
    Commented Jun 6, 2022 at 12:58

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .