Robert Harland is an agent for MI-6.
At least, he had been for many years more than a decade before the series opens. He had been a spy working for that agency when he was caught in Czechoslovakia during the last days of that communist regime. Tortured and beaten by their security personnel, he was finally freed but then faced months of rehabilitation in an Austrian hospital slowly regaining a body broken by their techniques of interrogation. When he was healed enough to be discharged, he returned to London and the Department but everyone knew with his cover blown like it had been, his days as an agent were finished.
His career now over, he looked what else was available for him. Single and alone except for a sister, he began to rebuild his life. His training before going into Intelligence work had been as an engineer for which he had received a degree and he returned to it and soon got a good job working for the Red Cross. After ten years with that relief organization, Harland made a switch to do a quick study for the U.N. a job that led to another and another and three more years had passed.
Harland is nearing 50 when the series begins. He has returned to very good physical condition. He is described as a big man with a well-defined jaw and a serious but handsome face. He ias light brown fair which he keeps cut very short, revealing without care a receding hairline.
His days as an agent, putting his life on the line, was long over. He was content with life, one that had an interesting but hardly dangerous line of work. Then reality pushed him back to his old profession.