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Agent Cross makes a mess of an attempted assassination of the KGB agent Palanka, and an innocent man dies in Palanka's place. Unfortunately Callan was an observer to the man's death and is summonsed to appear in the Coroner's Court.
The Section decide that they will use a man previously injured by Palanka, a Czech national by the name of Karas, as bait to lure Palanka out of hiding.
Callan gives his evidence to the Coroner, and the verdict satisfies all those concerned.
Police Officer: (to Callan) I realise you've had a nasty shock. Very few people ever experience violent death.
Callan: (drily) They don't know how lucky they are.
Callan: (to Hunter) You'll excuse me saying sir, you are a bastard, sir.
Callan: (to Hunter) Look, we've killed an innocent man. Why don't you go down to the Coroner - you tell him! And while you're at it why don't you tell the widow and the kids, eh? We're awfully sorry, you see we were after this other fellow ...
Hunter: You've been around long enough to know that this Section can function as it does primarily because few people know we exist. I do not intend to widen that social circle.
Callan: (furiously) We're trained to treat people like numbers, like ciphers, dispensible, indispensible, white file, blue file, red file, yellow file... !!
Hunter: It's the only way we can work.
Callan: (sarcastically) All in the public interest.
Hunter: In the end, yes.
Callan: Well, what about my bloody interest?! Listen, mate, if I go down there to that Coroner and get copped for perjury, are you going to help me? Not on your nellie. I tell you, we're all numbers, we're all bloody zombies!
Hunter: You're the best man in this Section, Callan, probably the best it's ever had, but for one thing - you became deactivated because of over-involvement.
Callan: Because sometimes I showed a normal amount of human emotion, sir.
Callan: Oh, stuff it.