Slow Horses – S03E06 – Footprints | Transcript

The Slow Horses fight for their lives. Lamb shares some devastating truths with Catherine
Slow Horses - S03E06 - Footprints

Episode Title: Footprints
Series: Slow Horses
Season: 3
Episode: 6
Original release date: December 27, 2023
Plot Summary: In Slow Horses‘ season 3 finale, “Footprints,” the stakes couldn’t be higher as River, Louisa, and Catherine find themselves trapped in a tense hostage situation with the rogue agent Sean Donovan. Here’s a quick breakdown of the key plot points:

1. Catherine’s Rescue: The episode opens with River and Louisa infiltrating the secret facility where Catherine is being held captive by Sarah, a high-ranking MI5 official involved in a vast government conspiracy. They manage to free Catherine, but their escape plan hits a snag.

2. Standish’s Capture: Back at Slough House, the remaining Slow Horses learn that their boss, Jackson Lamb, has been captured by MI5 for his unauthorized mission. They decide to rescue him, with Roddy playing a crucial role in tracking down his location.

3. The “Footprints” File: Donovan reveals his true motive: obtaining a confidential government file called “Footprints,” containing explosive information about MI5 corruption and cover-ups. Catherine’s late girlfriend, Alison, planned to expose it before her suspicious death.

4. Betrayal and Double Crosses: Loyalties blur as Shirley and Marcus engage in a tense standoff with Duffy, Sarah’s MI5 enforcer. Meanwhile, Catherine confronts her own demons related to Alison’s past and her role in the conspiracy.

5. Escape from the Bunker: River, Louisa, and Catherine find themselves cornered in a hidden escape tunnel, facing imminent danger. Just when all hope seems lost, Shirley arrives in Marcus’ stolen car, providing a dramatic getaway amidst a hail of gunfire.

6. A Race Against Time: The Slow Horses split up: River races to deliver the “Footprints” file to safety, while Louisa and Catherine head back to Slough House to warn Lamb of the impending MI5 crackdown.

7. Climax and Showdown: Lamb rallies the Slow Horses for a last stand against Duffy and Sarah’s forces. As a fierce battle ensues, the episode builds to a thrilling climax that leaves the future of Slough House and its members hanging in the balance.

“Footprints” offers a high-octane, action-packed conclusion to season 3, wrapping up plot threads while leaving some intriguing questions unanswered. It sets the stage for a potential season 4, with the fate of the Slow Horses and the secrets exposed in “Footprints” yet to be determined.

* * *


[Chieftain 1] Move, move, move!

[Chieftain 2] Reloading.

[Chieftain 3] The bomb has been placed. Take cover.

[Chieftains shouting]

[Louisa] You just killed an MI5 officer.

[Chieftain 2] Well, yeah. Who the fuck do you think sent us, you stupid cow?


Your friend might still be alive.

If you wanna help him, you’re gonna need cover.

Oh, my God. How is this happening? [panting]


I can’t get to him.

[Sean] I got you.

[gunfire continues]

Three, two, one.

River! River, wake up. River, come back, come back.

[screams, grunts]

Can you hear me? River, wake up.

Come back to me, River. River, come on.

[River coughing]

Thank God. Come on.

Look at me. Look at me.

[River exhales sharply]

[Louisa] Come on.

We gotta get out of here. Come on. Stand up. Stand up.

[River groans, coughs]

[Fenwick] Breach!

Fall back. Fall back.


[breathing heavily]

Can you stand up?

[coughing] Yeah.


Duffy, come in.


[Fenwick] Can you send more men down?

What’s happened?

Stiffer resistance than expected.

Oh, for fuck’s sake, Fenwick, I thought you were professionals!

Just send them down.

You four, down below. Now.

Oh, shit. Where’s the gun?

I’ve got it.

Oh. Give me it.

No, you had your go.

[River] Gi–

Come on, you two. Let’s go.

Wait, wait. What-What about them?

It’s all right. I had a word.

[River] Hmm.

Douglas said there’s a hatch at the end of that tunnel.

Go. Go, go!


[River] Come on. Come on!


[Louisa] Why are they trying to kill us?

What the hell is in that file?


[“Strange Game” playing]

[sniffs, sighs]



[sighs] If you hear a crunch on the stairs, use this.

You, come with me.

Up. There you go. Go on.

[sighs] Here-No, no. In here.

[Catherine] What?

Go on. In there. Hide.

I can be of more use than that.

No, you can’t.

[Sturges] Why are we waiting?

[Hobbs] Because something’s off.

No lights, no sound.

She’s a hostage. No one should be sleeping.

All right, fuck this. Let’s get this over and done with.

[sighs] Fuck’s sake.

Oi, ball bag. Wait.


Standish is one of Lamb’s.


Jackson Lamb.

Who’s Jackson Lamb?

A wily old fucker. Had a run-in with him in the past.

He’s not here now, is he? So…

Just be careful, is what I’m saying.

He’s got a nasty habit of turning up places.

All right. I’ll be careful.

Look, there’s a slow kid in there and a fucking librarian.

It’s hardly like another spare part’s gonna make a difference, is it?

Just wait.

The fuck?

Fucking hell! Fucking put it out! Come on!

Fucking hell!

You good?


Fucking prick.

[Sean grunting]

I don’t think I can go on.

Just put me down, and I’ll cover you.

No. Shut up. We’re not doing that. Come on.

Come on. We’re gonna need you the other side.

Yeah. Come on. Just a bit more.

[groans] No! Stop, stop, stop!

[Louisa] Okay, okay.


[Sean groaning]

[River, Louisa panting]

Just read it.

Come on.

[Sean panting, groaning]

Take it out there.

[breathes shakily]

This is the kind of shit we claim our enemies do.

[Sean breathes heavily]

They murdered Alison to protect their reputations.

Killed Ben.

[groaning, panting]

Don’t let it be for nothing.



Just put me down there.


[Louisa stammers]

[strains, groaning]

[River] Okay. All right. Okay. [grunts]

[grunts] Thank you.

[River] All right.

Go! [panting, grunts]

[River] Come on.

[Sean] Put it out there.


I don’t think I want my job back this badly.

Hey, you said follow your lead.


I’m waiting. What’s the plan?

How are we going to save River and Louisa?

Don’t know. F-Fuck.


This was your idea, Rambo!

I thought they’d back down if we showed a bit of force, okay?

What, this was just cosplay for you?

What’s happening?

What’s happening at the perimeter? Over.

[sighs] Look, you need to sneak up,

round, behind and take him out. I’ll cover you.

Fuck off.

How about I cover you, you sneak up–

I’m getting the shit end of this. I’ll stay here and get shot at.

Yeah, and I’ve got to take out two soldiers.

What do you wanna do? Rock, paper, scissors?

All right.

N-[sighs] I didn’t mean it. We ain’t got time for that.

[Nick] What’s happening?

Look, if they call someone in to flank us or come behind, we’re fucked.

Oh, fuck.

Okay, I’ll go.


But if we make it out of this, I need you to promise me something.

Yes, I’ll help you get clean.

You sanctimonious prick.


What were you gonna ask me?

Fuck off after three,

What were you gonna say?


But what do you need?

I need you to not let those fuckers shoot me!


[gunfire continues]

You two, get to the Turbine Hall. Come on.

[breathing heavily]

[breathing shakily]

[breathing shakily]

[breathing shakily]

[breathes deeply]

[Sturges panting]

[breathes shakily]


[glass shatters]

[Hobbs grunts] Shit.

[exclaims, groans] Fucking bastard.

Oh, shit.



[breathing heavily]


[Sturges] You all right?

Yes, mate.

Fucking time of me life. [groans]


Do it.

[Chieftain 1] Firing!

Fuck, come on.

[Louisa] Shit.

What the f-fuck?

[Louisa] Forget it, forget it. The hatch is just over here!

[Fenwick] Clear.


Last man. Move.

[breathes deeply, grunting]


[inhales sharply, sighs]

[panting] Right.


What would Alexander the Great do?

Time to change the game.

[music playing on radio]

Get in!

The Ho-sold Cavalry is on its way.

Where have they gone?

Still behind that block.


This is a waste of ammo.

Make them think we’ve gone. Then we’ll blow their heads clean off.

[gun malfunctions]


She’s mine!

Check your guns, Longridge.


[Shirley groans]


[grunts, groans]

[panting] Oh, shite.

[panting, groaning]

[breathes shakily]

Shit. Fuck.

[floorboard creaks]

[grunts, whimpers]





[Sturges screams]

Ball bag?

[grunting, whimpers]

[grunting, gasping]

[Sturges] She fucking shot me.

[Sarah, Sturges grunting]

Ball bag!


[Sarah grunting]

Ball bag, was that you or…



[Hobbs sighs, sniffs]


[Sarah strains, whimpers]

[breathing shakily, whimpering]

[floorboards creaking]

[Hobbs groans]

[body thuds]

[pants] Standish, you can come out now.

Did you put me in there as bait?

God, what’s the matter? He’s dead, you’re not.

[sighs] Should’ve let him shoot ya.

Sarah, are you okay?

Uh… [stammers] …kind of.

And I just killed a man.



[vehicle engine rumbling]


[“Superstar” playing on radio]


Can you talk me through your thinking here?

Take out the bad guys.

Did I get anyone?


[stammers] We already did that.

Hello, Roddy.

[“Stars” playing on radio]

[camera shutter clicking]

What the fuck have you done to my house?

It’s a good excuse for a makeover.

What? Seriously. Insurance means you can get it done up better than before.

[Jackson] No, I don’t think insurance will cover it.

Deliberate destruction using a bus driven by a fucking idiot.

I know you haven’t got your rifle working.

Otherwise, you’d be shooting at me.

And you might be thinking I won’t shoot you.

An unarmed combatant… and a woman.

But I served in Iraq!

And I used civilians for target practice.

[both grunting]

I’ll fucking gut you for that.

[groaning, panting]

[both grunt]

[Shirley grunts]


[breathes deeply]

[gasping, grunts]

Night night, sweetheart.

[Shirley grunts]

[sighs, panting]





[Diana] Shouldn’t you have heard from Duffy by now?

He’ll call when he’s contained the situation.

[Diana] You mean when he’s murdered fellow agents at your bidding?

They’re Slow Horses.

I call it mercy killings. Putting them out of their misery.

They’re still MI5 agents, Ingrid.

You’re killing your own.

You set this whole thing in motion, sending Donovan down there.

You’re the one who should answer for their deaths.

You gave the order.

How are you gonna explain it to Home Office and the people in this building?

A bunch of disaffected MI5 agents broke into the facility to steal state secrets and were met with ultimate force. Simple.


That-That isn’t gonna wash with the press.

The press aren’t going to know.

If it were as easy as you say… then why haven’t you heard by now?

Please don’t worry about me, Diana.

I’m going to be just fine. [sighs]

Duffy is very good at his job.

You trained him well.

[Nick] Give me an update from the Turbine Hall.

[radio static]

[sighs] For fuck’s sake. Fucking learn!

Fucking learn to multitask!

Give me-Give me that fucking weapon. Get another one!

Remember, if anyone comes out of that hatch, blow their fucking heads off.

[breathes shakily]

[sniffs, grunts]

Clear. [grunts]

Not clear, fuckers.

[panting] Shit.





Now it’s fucking clear.



[Shirley grunts]

You can come out now.


That gun you gave me, it jammed.

Well, you must have reloaded it wrong.

Are you mansplaining a gun to me?

Well, it’s a rifle actually.

[Fenwick] Flushing them through.

Targets will emerge from hatch imminently.


Give me your car keys.


Your car keys!


Just throw them up here!

Keys, quick!

You’re not gonna help?

I’ve just taken out four men. What have you done?

Done nothing, love. He’s dead fucking weight!

Duffy, what are you doing firing on your fellow agents?

Shut up, I’m following orders, something you never learnt to do.

Keys, quick!


There. Go. I got this.

Not sure you have.

[Marcus] Duffy!


Fuck! Down, down, down.


We can’t get out that way.


We gotta close that door!

[Chieftains shouting]

[River] No, no, no. Back, back, back, back!

Back up the ladder!

I’m not fucking dying here today.

[glass crunches]

[gun malfunctions]



Put the gun down.

Put the fucking gun down. Now.

To think I asked you to join the Dogs, and you can’t even count the bullets in a magazine, you fucking clown.

Guess I’d rather work for Lamb than a prick like you, Duffy.

[laughs] Yeah?


Well, he’s a dead man. So are you.

[gun malfunctions]

[both groaning, grunting]

[both grunting]

[groans, straining]


[both grunting]

[both grunt]

Come on.


[Marcus laughs, panting]

You’re not a clown. Eh?

[both grunting]



Oh, shit.

Fuck. I think he broke my fucking thumb!

Get the fuck out!

I’m gonna take them out, then I’m coming back down to break your other thumb, you fucking girl.

Night night.

[Fenwick] Fuck.

[all panting]

Oh, fuck.

Okay, can someone please tell me, why is everyone trying to kill you?

Ah. [pants] For this.

You better get it out of here, no?


Appreciate that, thanks.

[Shirley] You’re welcome.

[River] Well played.

[sighing] Oh, fuck.

Is that Marcus’s?


Where is he?

[both panting, grunting]


[pants, chuckles]

I wanna hear you say it. I’m better than you! Say it!

Yeah. Yeah.

Yeah, you’re fucking better than me.

You beat me.

Fair and square.


I don’t fight fair or square.

[Louisa screams]

[Louisa, Marcus panting]

Guess now we’re even.


Yeah. [pants]

[helicopter blades whirring]

[sirens wailing]

[Diana] Duffy doesn’t seem to have contained the situation.

[line ringing]

It’s over.

[Nick] Duffy. I’ll call you right back.

It’s not just MI5 attacking its own.

You’ll have to answer to Istanbul too.

Well, if I have to go, it will be kicking and screaming.

Just make things worse and the end result will be the same.

You’ve played the game well, Ingrid.

But you have lost.

[phone ringing]

Oh. Hello?


No, it’s Catherine. He’s driving.

[Shirley] They freed you then? We were down at the facility.

Is everyone okay?

Uh, yeah, River and Louisa made it out.

Uh, he’s got some file.

[Catherine] I’m glad you’re safe.

[Shirley] You too.

I’ll see you tomorrow.

She said, “See you tomorrow.”

She ain’t Lamb though, is she?

At least the people who tried to kill us won’t be in charge anymore.

You gonna turn up?

Well, I doubt I’ll be hanging out at home after Cassie sees the state of this car.

Well, at least you got the gambling to pay for a new one.


[Roddy] Body count’s up to 18.

Sean Donovan and Ben Dunn have been identified.

They didn’t die for nothing.

Shirley said River got that file.

[Roddy] What file?

Tearney killed someone, someone Sean loved, to stop that file being leaked.

And they told you that?

Before you judge me, Roddy, I can read people.

Oh, you can read people, can you? [chuckles] Well, you kept that hidden.

Yes, they were damaged, and I helped them.

Yeah, they’re definitely damaged now. And with bullet holes.

I can live with what I did because I know Charles would have approved.

Sakes. Charles Partner.

You know, the values of Tearney’s MI5 don’t sit well with me.

[Roddy] Oh, Charles…

Cleanup on aisle four.

Messy. [chuckles, scoffs]

What do you make of it?

[sighs] Interesting tale.

It’s not a tale.

That is an account of us using an untested device that put North Korean embassy workers in hospital, as well as a few passing tourists.

One of which, by the way, is still in a coma.

Yeah, well, whatever happened in Morocco–


I’m sorry?

It was Istanbul.

That’s what I said.

No, you didn’t. You said Moro-It was Istanbul.

Look, it doesn’t matter, all right?

No, it does matter.

Details matter, remember? You drummed that into me.

Oh, I’m sorry.

I’m so-I’m sorry. Oh, I’m sorry.

I’m sorry if I’m confused by some of the details.

The point is,

if this gets out, do you know what would happen?


Tearney’s reputation will be destroyed and she’ll have to resign.

Not just her reputation, the reputation of the security services.

She had Alison Dunn killed for trying to get that out.

Sorry, what?

No, no. No… [stammers] …there was no mention of that here.

That’s hearsay.


Yes, there’s no proof.

People died today.

That’s not hearsay.

Your personal experiences are clouding your judgment.

Yeah, well, I was shot at.

So maybe, yeah, I’m taking it a little bit fucking personally. Maybe.

Sometimes the stakes are higher than your personal safety.

And sometimes you only see part of the picture.

Yeah, well, maybe I see more of the picture than you know.

Don’t be upset.

What I’ve done is the right thing to protect you.

Fill it up.

Um, look, I want to, um, say thank you for saving my life today.

Why are you being like this?

Not being like anything.

Yes, you are.

Are you pissed off because you had to come and rescue me?

[sighs] Stop pretending you don’t care about us.

I don’t know why you think I want to have this conversation.

You don’t want to have any conversation.

You’ve got that right.

Charles always said you hid your sense of duty behind your cynicism.

Ho, if-if she keeps talking, fucking shoot me.

You see? You’re proving his point.

Which is that you don’t want people to see the decent side of you because it makes you feel vulnerable.

Just g-Just get in the car.

Charles thought you were better than him.

Yeah, I was.

[Catherine] Well, he thought you were better than everyone.

He said you could be First Desk. I wonder what he’d think of you now.

Why should I give a fuck what Charles thought of me then or now?

Because he was an honorable man.

[Jackson] Oh, he was, was he?

You were his fucking secretary. What would you know?


Trust me, not everything.

I know that unlike you, he respected me.

He showed me friendship. He believed in me, and he kept me on when anyone else would have thrown me to the wolves.

Christ, you really do pick ’em, don’t you?

You wanna know the truth?

Your hero, Charles Partner, was a-a fucking traitor.

What are you talking about?

Not even an ideological one.

I-I-I could almost respect that.

But he spent the last ten years of his life selling secrets to the fucking Russians.

That was your hero, your oh-so-faithful friend.

And do you know why he kept you on?

He kept you on precisely because you’re a drunk.

Couldn’t have anyone at his side alert enough, together enough, to pick up on what he was doing.

No, he-he knew he could rely on you to take life one day at a time and never see beyond the given moment.

I don’t believe you.

Yeah, you do.

And you know the kicker?


[car door closing]

He-He-He laid a trail to make it look like you were doing the dirty.

He wasn’t saving you. He was fucking using you.

You’re lying.

Does it sound like a lie, or maybe something you’ve known all along and never had the courage to admit to yourself?

[sighs] Fuck you.

What was that? I didn’t catch it.

I said, “Fuck you, Jackson Lamb.”


Fuck the lot of you. I quit.

Please yourself.


[Catherine sobs, sniffles]


You drive.

What about Standish?

She’s walking.

It’s about 30 miles.

Just fucking drive.

[engine starts]

Where to?

You know where.

[“Strange Game” playing]

[Jackson] Oh, dear.

Back to mine then?

Oh, I’d rather bathe in the canal.

Oh, come on. [sniffs] You can buy me an ice cream.

Uh, you can buy yourself an ice cream. And don’t eat it in front of me. Ugh.

It distresses me to say it, but thank you.

For what?

Leaking the file. Ending Tearney’s reign.

Giving me the job that should always have been mine.

That has nothing to do with me. That was Cartwright.



Oh. Well, I forgive him his previous catastrophes.


I hear Standish has left.

You spent a lot of time protecting her.

Right. It’s only ’cause I don’t like meeting new people.

No, thanks.

I’m going to be meeting the new Home Secretary later.

Oh, unlucky you.

You don’t seem to be walking on air, having finally got what you want.

Well, Tearney left a terrible mess for me to clear up.

Oh, boo-fucking-hoo.

A good chunk of that mess is down to you.

There are net positives.

Oh, what, a boost for local undertakers?

How do you square all those bodies that dropped for you to get the top job?

Tearney is responsible for the kill count.

Well, it’s you in the hot seat now, Diana.

[sniffs] Yeah? That must make you happy.

All bucks stop with you.

No one else to blame when shit goes wrong, which it always does.

Well, I relish the challenge.

Do you really think that you are happier than me at Slough House?

[sniffs] Yeah, I do. And I’m fucking miserable.

[Jackson sighs]

[Molly] Lamb’s a tricky bastard.

[River] When he actually gets up off his arse, he’s quite hard to beat.

[Jackson] Fuck.

[reporter] So, you’re in charge of the rejects?

[Jackson] They don’t like being called that.

What do you call them?

The rejects.

A bomb goes off in London. It’s an Intelligence Service fuckup.

Get a new team in. We need to find out if there’s a second bomber.



[Diana] If any hint of this gets out, any credibility that the security services have left will be shot to pieces.

[River] Fuck off!

[engine stalls]

What the-[groans]

River, let me see you!

You’ve outlived your purpose.

Just get on with it.

I was hoping you’d come on board with me. Then I wouldn’t have to kill you.

You’re a fucking maniac.

I’m going back to bed.

Would you also consider a shower?

Oh, well, that’s a tempting offer, but I don’t think that’s appropriate right now.

I mean, apart from anything else, one of my team just died.

[“Strange Game” playing]


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