Sight and Sound - 11/01/2010
"[MR. PALFREY] flatters the intelligence of its viewers with carefully constructed plots, strong characterizations and a welcome unwillingness to surrender its enjoyably complex and oblique storytelling techniques to the gravitational pull of the more prosaic methods of most TV dramas..."
As one of the quintessential examples of a revisionist spy saga, the British drama series MR. PALFREY OF WESTMINSTER originally ran on ITV in 1984 and 1985. The program starred Alec McCowen (FRENZY) as the title character, a deceptively laconic and laid back Brit who refers to himself, modestly, as a civil servant, but in truth operates covertly as one of the most gifted counterespionage experts in the world. Palfrey is supervised, throughout his various missions, by a woman known simply as The Coordinator (Caroline Blakistan), who sends an assistant (Clive Wood) to keep tabs on the maverick spy. Palfrey, however, has his own highly deliberate way of doing things and refuses to conform to conventional practices. This set contains all ten episodes from the complete series, including THE HONEYPOT AND THE BEES, THE DEFECTOR, RETURN TO SENDER, OFFICIAL SECRET and THE BAITED TRAP.