The Numbers Station (2013) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • A disgraced black ops agent is dispatched to a remote CIA broadcast station to protect a code operator. Soon, they find themselves in a life-or-death struggle to stop a deadly plot before it's too late.

  • When the moral values of a longtime wetwork black ops agent is tested during his last operation, he receives an unfavorable psych evaluation. Now he is given a break and a seemingly uncomplicated assignment of simply protecting the security of a young female code announcer, code resources and remote station they are assigned to. After an ambush and one phone call later, it becomes a complicated fight for their survival.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • Emerson (John Cusack) is a wet-work specialist. After an assassination, he tracks down a witness and kills him. The witness's daughter sees this, and Emerson is unable to kill her. His partner Michael Grey (Liam Cunningham) kills the girl instead. Emerson loses his will to do assassinations, and Grey re-assigns him to protect a code announcer, Katherine (Malin Akerman) at a Numbers Station. Numbers Stations are secret facilities that broadcast codes to agents in the field.

    Emerson reluctantly begins his protection task, which is boring. During a routine transit to the Station, Emerson and Katherine are ambushed. Emerson kills the would-be killers and reports in. Central control tells Emerson that the broadcaster Katherine is compromised and orders him to "retire" her. During the 4 hours they have to wait for reinforcements, he is unable to kill her, and takes care of her instead. They hear drilling from the outside - attackers are still trying to get in.

    Katherine and Emerson check the audio playback, and realize the previous shift was ambushed and forced to send special codes. Emerson explains that one-time cipher pads are used by agents in the field to receive codes, and they need to reverse the codes sent, in case they are unauthorized assassination orders. In the basement, they find one of the intruders, Max (Richard Brake), and the previous protector David (Bryan Dick), both dead. They also find a laptop connected to the communications center, which has assassination codes for all the top agency directors, including Grey.

    As Katherine works to reverse the sent codes, Emerson and she begin to bond. They realize the line to the central control center has been compromised, and the kill order was fake, too. Emerson goes back outside to retrieve a cell phone to call for help. Meanwhile, Katherine finds a clue from Meredith (Lucy Griffiths) that allows her to transmit cancel codes. Emerson finds Meredith's body outside, but Derne (Joey Ansah) gets inside. Emerson and Derne fight, and Emerson kills him. Meredith is shot, but gives Emerson the final cancellation code.

    Emerson calls Grey on the cell phone and reports that Katherine is dead, then sets explosive charges around the Numbers Station. He carries her to the car, but it doesn't start, so he carries her out of the facility gate on foot. He flags down a passing car to take her to the hospital, and realizes the driver is the fake central control operator. They shoot at each other, but Emerson survives and takes her to the hospital and passes out.

    Some time later, Emerson wakes in the hospital and finds Katherine. Grey arrives, and Emerson convinces him to let them go, since Katherine saved him from assassination. Katherine awakes, and sees Emerson watching over her. End.

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