Eric O'Neill (Ryan Phillippe) is a junior FBI agent assigned to work undercover as an assistant to senior agent Robert Hanssen (Chris Cooper), who - he is told - is suspected of sexual deviancy.
At first, Hanssen insists on formal relations between them. He often complains about the FBI bureaucracy and states that people who fire guns are chosen for senior positions over people, like himself, involved in matters of national security. He calls the bureau's computer systems outdated and criticizes the lack of coordination with other agencies. After a while, Hanssen becomes not only a mentor but also a friend to O'Neill. When O'Neill finds no evidence of Hanssen leading a double life, he grows to respect his boss. Asking his handler, Kate Burroughs (Laura Linney), she reveals that the allegations of sexual deviancy are only of secondary importance. Hanssen is suspected of spying for the Russians, causing the deaths of several American agents.
Even though the FBI could arrest Hanssen on lesser charges, they want him for espionage, so they can threaten him with capital punishment for treason and force him to reveal what information he has passed on. O'Neill should obtain data from Hanssen's hand-held and keep him busy while other agents search and bug his car. The devices in Hanssen's car cause interference with the radio, making Hanssen suspicious. He tells O'Neill he thinks Russian agents keep tabs on him. Hanssen's message to his Russian handlers that he will not give them any more information, is intercepted by the FBI. O'Neill convinces Hanssen that he is not watched by anyone. So Hanssen undertakes one last drop off, and gets caught.
O'Neill is disheartened by the toll this case has taken and chooses to resign, despite the prospect of a sure promotion. Leaving his office, O'Neill runs into Hanssen in the elevator escorted by the arresting officers. Hanssen asks O'Neill to pray for him.
Best part of story, including ending:
It's based on a true story.
Best scene in story:
Where it is revealed that the sexual deviancy allegations are only a cover story. Schemes behind schemes.
Opinion about the main character:
He is led easily.