Resurrection in Callan and The Eagle (Ørnen: en krimi odyssey)

Callan (British Spy) and The Eagle: A Crime Odyssey (Danish Crime Fighting Special Unit) might seem two very improbable places to find analogies of Christ’s resurrection.

When we wrote The Cross Is Not Enough it was much longer than what was eventually published. In chapter four where we explore analogies of Christ’s resurrection in pop culture, we also spoke about Callan and The Eagle: A Crime Odyssey (Ørnen: en krimi odyssey). Space limitations meant we had to drop them out.


Edward Woodward (1930-2009), (starred in The Wicker Man, Breaker Morant, The Equalizer) was the star of the British cult-TV series Callan (1967-72).  Callan is an espionage agent working for a mysterious government agency merely known as the Section. At the end of the second series the story ended on a cliff-hanger: Callan is wounded and very close to death.

The first episode of the third series of Callan is called, “Where Else Could I Go?” It opens with Callan having recuperated from his wounds. His boss Colonel Hunter muses: Does Callan still have what it takes to be ruthless? Hunter says to a subordinate James Cross that he will give Callan three days to see what happens. Cross who is skeptical says, “It will take a miracle.” Hunter retorts, “Resurrections usually are.”

Notice that Hunter allows for three days for Callan’s metaphorical resurrection?


The Eagle: A Crime Odyssey (Ørnen: en krimi odyssey) won the International Emmy Award for the best non-American drama series in 2005. The Eagle is the nickname of Hallgrim Hallgrimsson a half-Icelandic and half-Danish lead investigator of the RSA an International Criminal Investigation Unit. In episode eight Hallgrim is stabbed in the chest and in hospital dies and undergoes a near death experience (NDE). After Hallgrim returns to his body some of his colleagues gather around his hospital bed. His subordinate colleague Villy Frandsen opens a bottle of wine and offers a toast: “To Hallgrim’s resurrection.”

Both Callan and Hallgrim Hallgrimsson have experiences that take them to the threshold of death. Both return to fullness of life. Both characters are flawed men. Their work in espionage and international police work involves frequent violence and sometimes dubious ethics. They seem very unlikely to qualify as Messianic figures. Nevertheless the scripts of both stories make allusions that echo Christ’s resurrection.

Check out our book and especially chapter four to see other examples we discuss. Can you think of any other resurrection analogies from TV series or movies? Drop us a note below.