Sam McCready is an agent with MI-6.
Seeming a big long in the tooth to some but knowing he was still more than capable of doing his job, and more importantly likely to still do it better than most, McCready has no interest in retiring. Unfortunately, someone high up in Whitehall has decreed that, with the Cold War coming to an end as the 1990 start, many of the shadow soldiers of the SIS are no longer needed and should be put out to pasture. McCready is their first target.
The problem with McCready, the powers that be seem to feel, is that while his actions in the defense of England has been in the past quite strenuous because that was what was needed with the KGB playing even harder. Now with glasnost and the new era of detente, with Warsaw Pact countries breaking away from the Soviet influence right and left, people who play hardball, like McCready, are not the right sorts to have in play. Operatives like McCready rock the boat too much. Moreover, with his forced departure, those still around will get the message - play nice or you, too, will be given the boot.
While McCready is not ready to retire or to take a side post teaching new recruits, one of his proteges is even more vocal in his opposition to the ousting and demands a hearing to show how a man like McCready is still needed, and that provides the context for the handful of adventures we are given of McCready in action.
When we first meet him, McCready is in his mid to late 50s, still physically fit but wearing the baggage of thirty years working in the shadows and going up against some very nasty people.