Traitor was the third episode of Series D it was first broadcast 12 October 1981. This episode featured the reappearance of Servalan after her apparent death in the destruction of the Liberator in Terminal.
The Federation is rebuilding its empire at a breakneck speed and the planet Helotrix is its latest conquest. Avon and the crew are intrigued. How could the tenacious Helots have caved in so quickly? Just what is the Federation's new weapon? What has happened to Servalan?
The Scorpio crew are concerned to receive a report that Helotrix has been easily reconquered by the Federation. Avon suspects a new weapon is behind the Federation's expansion and decides to take the ship to Helotrix to investigate.
On Helotrix, Colonel Quute , the Federation officer who serves as second-in-command to the General in charge of the forces, interrogates a prisoner, Igin, part of the rebel group led by Major Hunda. Igin is oddly docile, explaining he was sent to try and find a way into the city. Quute releases him but his progress back to the rebel encampment is followed by a Federation Tracer. Another rebel, Avandir, notices his approach and Hunda orders him to hold position until nightfall. When Igin remains motionless for some time, Quute, believing he is with the other rebels, orders an artillery strike which kills him.
Meanwhile, the General shows the new governor, Practor, to his quarters, where they are met by Leitz, the aide of Commissioner Sleer, who is in charge of the Federation's pacification programme. Practor identifies a portrait of Servalan to Leitz, recalling that after her death many of her followers were rounded up and killed by the High Council. When Practor is alone, someone enters the quarters and kills him, also destroying the portrait.
Avon sends Tarrant and Dayna down to the surface, with orders only to observe and not get involved in resistance activities. However, they instantly join up with Hunda, after witnessing a rebel shot by Federation troopers with a medical laser which renders him docile. Hunda explains the Federation have been treating the population with pylene-50, a drug which induces obedience. They accompany Hunda to meet his Federation contact, who turns out to be Leitz. Hunda and Leitz work out a plan to get the rebels into the city through a tunnel and Leitz also informs Tarrant and Dayna of the location of the bunker where pylene-50 is produced. Meanwhile, a group of brainwashed Helots sent to check the rebels are dead are ambushed and defeated by the rest of Hunda's group led by Sergeant Hask.
Leitz informs the General of his meeting with Hunda: He has been bringing rebel groups down from within on Sleer's orders and tells the General to mine the tunnel. Meanwhile, Tarrant and Dayna arrive at the bunker and nearly use a booby-trapped entrance key. They meet a disabled scientist, Forbus, who is being slowly poisoned by Sleer to force him to produce pylene-50, which he invented as a muscle relaxant. He has set up explosives under the bunker which he intends to detonate and take Sleer and Leitz with him. Tarrant and Dayna realise that Leitz intended for the booby-trap to kill them and has betrayed the rebels. Although he has been unable to find a cure, Forbus gives them a vaccine to immunise against pylene-50.
Avon has assigned Orac the task of researching engine developments to improve Scorpio. However, his link with the Helotrix computers is discovered by the Tracer. The General orders ships launched to search for Scorpio. Avon, Vila and Soolin initially believe Tarrant and Dayna have been found, but on learning the truth Avon decides to take Scorpio down below the search pattern.
Ignoring an order to return to the ship, Tarrant and Dayna warn Hunda and the rebels of the trap and the tunnel is empty when the General detonates the explosives. With the rebels equipped with the vaccine and Tarrant and Dayna providing support, they launch a full attack on the city. The group is confronted by Sleer, who turns out to be Servalan, but the medical lasers are ineffective. The General and Quute are killed in the ensuing battle but Servalan and Leitz escape.
Servalan confronts Forbus and kills him. Leitz enters, having realised that Serrvalan killed Practor to hide her identity from the regime that replaced her. He asks for Practor's position in exchange for his silence. Instead, Servalan kills him too. Meanwhile, Tarrant and Dayna return to Scorpio with the news Servalan is still alive. After initially reacting with disbelief, Avon takes comfort in the fact that now he can kill her himself.
- Avon - Paul Darrow
- Vila - Michael Keating
- Dayna - Josette Simon
- Tarrant - Steven Pacey
- Soolin - Glynis Barber
- Slave/Orac - Peter Tuddenham
- Servalan - Jacqueline Pearce
- Leitz - Malcolm Stoddard
- Colonel Quute - Christopher Neame
- Major Hunda - Robert Morris
- Practor - John Quentin
- Forbus - Edgar Wreford
- General - Nick Brimble
- The Tracer - David Quilter
- Avandir - Neil Dickson
- Sgt. Hask - Cyril Appleton
- Igin - George Lee
- Stunt Co-ordinator - Terry Forrestal
- Production Manager - Rosemary Crowson
- Production Associate - Frank Pendlebury
- Production Assistant - Joan Marine, Rena Butterwick
- Assistant Floor Manager - Christopher Moss
- Film Cameraman - Fintan Sheehan
- Film Recordist - Mike Savage
- Film Editor - Sheila S. Tomlinson
- Videotape Editor - Sam Upton
- Visual Effects Designer - Jim Francis, Andy Lazell
- Video Effects - Robin Lobb
- Graphic Designer - Doug Burd
- Properties Buyer - Francis Smith
- Technical Manager - Terry Wild
- Senior Cameraman - Dave White
- Vision Mixer - Nigel Finnis
- Studio Lighting - Warwick Fielding
- Studio Sound - Malcolm Johnson
- Special Sound - Elizabeth Parker
- Costume Designer - Nicholas Rocker
- Make Up Artist - Suzanne Jansen
- Music By - Dudley Simpson
- Series Created By - Terry Nation
- Early drafts of the episode featured Cally in the role given to Soolin.
- This is the only fourth season episode aside from "Rescue" and "Blake" in which Blake is mentioned.
Binnegar Heath sandpits, near Wareham.
To be added.
- Servalan was apparently killed in Terminal (which the rest of the crew have informed Soolin of). Although this episode establishes that she survived, no explanation is offered until Sand.
- Forbus recognises Tarrant and Dayna as members of the Liberator crew, unaware the ship was destroyed at Terminal.
- It is unclear at what point Servalan lost the presidency, although it must have been after Death-Watch. Practor mentions her as being killed in the rear guard action at Geddon, which does not appear to be a reference to Terminal. The Crossfire trilogy expands upon this plot point.
- The idea of Servalan eliminating all those who can identify her is continued in Animals and Sand.
Avon: All Tarrant has to do is ask a few questions in the right places. Even your Tarsian Warg Strangler might manage that.
Vila: You think so? Well, you'd better give him a list of questions and then a map to find the right places.
Avon: Tarrant is brave, young, handsome. There are three good reasons for anyone not to like him.
Avon: If I'm wrong, you can say "I told you so." Provided you speak loudly and quickly.
Home video releases
- Original BBC video release (Volume 21) in 1992.
- Fabulous Films video reissue (Volume 21) on 5 July 1999.
- DVD release as part of the Series 4 box set on 24 April 2006.