* [[spoiler: Irina's death.]]
** Smiley's promise to [[spoiler: Ricky Tarr that he will do his best to get her back, when the viewer knows this is hopeless, and Smiley strongly suspects as well.]]
* Jim Prideaux's story arc. [[spoiler: Shot down in Hungary, brutally tortured in Russia, then sent to work as a schoolmaster in England, where he meets a nice MoralityPet student, only to push him away. Finally he learns for certain that his best friend/maybe lover Bill Haydon is the mole, and kills him.]]
* In the mini-series, Smiley's interview with Connie Sachs.
-->"Poor loves. Trained to Empire, trained to rule the waves. Englishmen could be proud then. They could, George. All gone, taken away. Bye-bye world. If it's bad, George, don't come back. Promise? I want to remember you, just as you were. My lovely, lovely boys..."
* Due to the possibility he may be monitored by the Circus, Guillam is forced to [[spoiler: kick out his gay live-in partner]] without so much as an explanation.
* In the film, after [[spoiler:Haydon]] is caught and Smiley interrogates him, he denies that he's Karla's "lapdog." Smiley raises his voice for the only time in the entire film and screams "WELL, WHAT ARE YOU THEN?" A stunning bit of performance from Gary Oldman letting out all the emotion he'd been holding in the past two hours.