The Spy Who Came in From the Cold | Study Guide

John le Carré

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The Spy Who Came in From the Cold | Characters

Character Description
Alec Leamas Alec Leamas is a cynical, veteran British spy. His love for Liz Gold gives him an opportunity to salvage his life, but he can't escape the deception and manipulation of Cold War espionage he is tied to. Read More
Liz Gold Liz Gold is a Jew and an idealistic communist. She falls in love with Leamas and has a rude awakening to the manipulation and inhumanity of Cold War espionage. Read More
Fiedler A Jew and second in command to Mundt in the Abteilung, Fiedler believes in the ideals of communism and in being honest. Even so, he is manipulated by the Circus and, as a result, is sentenced to death by the communist government he has supported so fervently. Read More
Ashe Ashe is a communist agent working in London; he contacts Leamas when he leaves prison and provides him with an opportunity to become a defector.
Commissar The commissar is a female official at the prison where Liz is staying. Brainwashed by communist ideals she pities Liz and her life in Britain.
Control Control is the anonymous manipulative head of the Circus, the British secret service where Leamas works.
Miss Crail Miss Crail is a rigid librarian who hates Leamas because he flaunts the library's rules.
De Jong De Jong is a British spy working in Berlin; he is the first person to receive classified East German information from Karl Riemeck.
Elsie Elsie works for the accounts section at the Circus; she spreads the news about how Leamas has been treated unfairly by the Circus.
Frau Ebert Frau Ebert is the branch secretary of the communist community in Leipzig, East Germany, where Liz stays for a while.
Elvira Elvira is the mistress of Karl Riemeck; she may have leaked information that resulted in Karl's being killed. She is shot to death by one of Mundt's men.
Fawley Fawley works for the Circus and drives Leamas from the London Airport to Circus headquarters.
Grocer The grocer gets deliberately beaten by Leamas for not giving him credit for groceries.
Governor The governor is in charge of the prison in London, where Leamas stays for several months.
Peter Guillam Peter Guillam is a spy for the Circus, working in East Germany. His involvement in the Circus's banking scheme suggests that an East German is being paid by the Circus to defect.
George Hanby George Hanby works as the branch secretary of Liz's communist group in London. He tells a communist newspaper about Leamas's beating up a grocer.
Holten Holten is an East German official; he invites Liz to a special meeting in Gorlitz, East Germany.
Karden Karden acts as the defense counsel for Mundt at his trial. Karden's harsh interrogation of Liz casts doubt on Leamas's being a defector and helps Mundt appear innocent.
Sam Kiever Sam Kiever is a communist agent. He gives Leamas a business proposition, which enables Leamas to defect.
Man The man guides Leamas and Liz to the Berlin Wall and gives them instructions on how to cross over it.
Maston Maston is a top advisor for the Circus. He supposedly did not want to capture Mundt for fear that Mundt would provide information about how Maston botched a job.
Mundt Hans-Dieter Mundt is a former Nazi and now head of the communist East German Abteilung. He hates Fiedler for being a Jew, uses brutal tactics to kill enemy agents, and works as a double agent for the Circus, for which he is well paid. Although he arranges for Leamas and Liz to escape from prison, he kills Liz as she attempts to cross the Berlin Wall because she's a Jew.
Peters Peters is a communist agent; he interviews Leamas at a villa in Holland and later brings him to East Germany.
Mr. Pitt Mr. Pitt seems to work for the Labour Exchange in London, but likely works for the Circus. He encourages Leamas to take a job at a library.
President The president is the strict head of the Tribunal, which tries Mundt. She might want to convict Mundt, but is eventually convinced that he's innocent.
Karl Riemeck Karl Riemeck, who works as a top official for the Abteilung, becomes an informant for the Circus and eventually becomes one of its top agents. He is killed while trying to cross from East to West Germany.
George Smiley George Smiley is a leader at the Circus. He apparently has second thoughts about Leamas's operation and Leamas believes he may have tried to sabotage it. However, in reality, Smiley has devised a plan to protect Mundt, a valued double agent, and to get rid of Fiedler, a communist official who is suspicious of Mundt.
Woman The woman works for the communists, but acts like a friendly aunt as she greets Leamas at a villa called Le Mirage.
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