In February, 2001, Robert Hanssen, a senior agent with 25 years in the FBI, is arrested for spying. Jump back two months: Eric O'Neill, a computer specialist who wants to be made an agent is assigned to clerk for Hanssen and to write down everything Hanssen does. O'Neill's told it's an investigation of Hanssen's sexual habits. Within weeks, the crusty Hanssen, a devout Catholic, has warmed to O'Neill, who grows to respect Hanssen. O'Neill's wife resents Hanssen's intrusiveness; the personal and professional stakes get higher. How they catch Hanssen and why he spies become the film's story. Can O'Neill help catch red-handed "the worst spy in history" and hold onto his personal life? Written by
In the film, Hanssen has surreptitiously videotaped himself having sex with his wife and instructed O'Neill to mail the tape to his friend James Hofsteller in Germany. Actually, Hanssen set up a closed-circuit camera and monitor (using equipment belonging to the FBI) so his friend, whose name is actually Jack Hoschouer, could watch during his visits to the Hanssens. See more »
When Robert Hanssen is making his final "dead drop" of government secrets in a metro DC park in February, the sound track includes the distinct sound of robins singing. Robins do not migrate into the DC area until many weeks later. See more »
Sunday, the FBI successfully concluded an investigation to end a serious breach in the security of the United States. The arrest of Robert Hanssen, for espionage, should remind us all, every American should know, that our nation, our free society, is an international target, in a dangerous world.
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I keep reading comments referring to O'Neill as an FBI Agent. Eric O'Neill was never an FBI Agent, but rather just a support employee. That's part of what makes this movie so exciting with an almost "David and Goliath" quality. O'Neill was thrust into one of the most important cases in FBI history with virtually no undercover experience. His ability to hang in there and keep his cool in the midst of that stress and strain was simply amazing and he deserves a lot of credit.
This movie was a very accurate portrayal of the FBI culture and the events which took place regarding the investigation and arrest of Robert Hanssen. They even got the look of the HQ interior down pat.
There are a few *very* minor inaccuracies.
1) The FBI does not have mailboxes outside their office doors. 2) The real parking garage is a lot shabbier looking than the one in the movie. 3) There is no policy against FBI Agents drinking in their personal lives. 4) There is no "25 Year" wall. 5) Dennis Haysbert's character of Dan Plesac was introduced as "FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge" as if it were a big deal. It's not. An ASAC is one step above a Supervisor. Now, if he'd been introduced as "FBI Assistant Director" that would have been a much higher status position.
But everything else in the movie was amazingly accurate. As usual, do not rely on Wikipedia for your facts. I read it and there are some blatant mistakes in there.
Overall, I loved the movie. Very well-paced, well-written, well-acted, intense and riveting.
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