Agent of Influence (TV Movie 2002) - Plot Summary Poster

(2002 TV Movie)


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  • 1964. It's the height of the Cold War. Beyond the extremes of the Americans and the Soviets on opposing sides, other nations, such as Canada, are caught somewhere in the middle of the war. James Watkins is the Canadian Ambassador to the Soviet Union, and is a personal friend of the Canadian Prime Minister, Nobel Laureate Lester B. Pearson, that friendship the only reason why Watkins took the job in which he would have no interest otherwise. The CIA believes Watkins is working for the Soviets, although they have no conclusive evidence, which they promise to the RCMP they are working on getting. While the Americans want Canadian action taken to neutralize Watkins with or without that evidence, certain factions within Canadian authority see things differently. Inspector David Present, Director of the RCMP's KGB desk, wants to see that evidence from the CIA before taking any action against Watkins, Present who brings in his own biases of the times not directly related to spying per se. His immediate supervisor, Director General Inspector Chris Hayden dangles a promotion in front of Inspector Diane Fletcher to bring in, arrest and convict Watkins before he gets away, she who believes that she will give Watkins a fair shake within the process despite having her own beliefs as to his guilt or innocence. And Diane's brother, Murray Fletcher with External Affairs, is within a group sympathetic and loyal to Pearson. Although they don't believe Watkins is who the CIA believes him to be, they also know that Watkins will be a liability to Pearson come the next election if he remains Ambassador under this cloud. As such, they'd like to see Watkins quietly slip into retirement off Canadian soil without the RCMP and CIA knowing what has happened until it's happened. What happens with Watkins may be irrespective of his true guilt or innocence in the matter as each faction works on its own agenda, with issues internal to the Fletcher family affecting the proceedings.

  • This story of espionage and counter-espionage is based on the novel by Ian Adams. Suspicious circumstances surrounded the mysterious death of a Canadian diplomat. At the height of The Cold War in October 1964, John Watkins, Canada's former ambassador to Moscow and a close friend of Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson, is kidnapped and held in a hotel for questioning by the RCMP at the urging of the CIA. Several days into the interrogation he died. The official obituary claimed that he suffered a heart attack in the company of friends during a farewell supper celebrating his illustrious career.


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