In a dark, atmospheric subterranean chamber, Ian silently moves in to dismantle a bomb. This is real James Bond territory. Suddenly all hell breaks lose and tracer fire whizzes through the air. They’ve been seen. The detonator explodes. A whistle blows and the lights come up. This was obviously a training exercise. And while Ian was fast, technically he’s dead.
This is Camp X in Canada. Ian meets Col. Stephenson and William Donovan, who will ultimately be known as the ‘father of US military intelligence’. Donovan explains they’ve got the greenlight to create the CIA and Donovan challenges Ian to write a blueprint for the CIA. His imagination piqued, he does so overnight, presenting Donovan with a huge wad of paper at breakfast. Donovan jokes that he’s in the wrong line of work, he should be a writer…
Ian goes home to his Ebury Street flat to find Ann waiting for him in the bath, reading some of his private poetry – of which he is not proud. In bed Ian accuses her of spying on him and she says that he gave her no choice. She had to go in by force and take the information he required. That gives Ian an idea.
Back in the Admiralty, Godfrey starts to hint that Fleming Intelligence Commando’s idea may need to go on hold. But Fleming is determined – this is what they need. And moreover they will not only undertake covert infiltrations to capture much needed intelligence, they will be the worst of the worst, the scum of the earth, and the German’s will fear them. Godfrey knows it’s a good idea and says he’ll force it through.
Ian’s feeling buoyant as he joins Esmond out hunting in the fields. But Esmond makes it clear to Ian that he loves Ann and he intends to marry her.
At an Army Camp, Ian – with Monday – gets to work selecting the men for his Intelligence Unit. Although the see a string of able, crack-shot, highly trained soldiers, Ian and Monday are looking for the ‘real men’ who can improvise, play dirty. They happen upon Private Dixon –who in a training exercise broke the arm and nose of man to escape. Ian likes what he sees and demands more of the same. 30 Assault Unit (30AU) is born.
In the Dorchester, Ian, Ann, Esmond and Loelia play cards and Ann mentions the idea of her getting married to Esmond. To everyone’s surprise, Ian cruelly condemns the idea noting how much scandal it would cause his family name. Ann grabs Ian in the corridor and says she knows he’s playing games. The two sneak out of sight and can’t keep their hands off each other. Ann tells Ian that she’d really like to be with him, not Esmond. But Ian assures her he’s not the marrying type.
In her room Eve warns Ian away from Ann. she knows that Ian doesn’t love her, because Ian is just like her. They’re cut from the same clothe. Ian leaves angry. And finds Loelia alone – Esmond and Ann having left. Ian seduces Loelia. He takes her back to Ebury Street.
At a meeting in the Admiralty, Godfrey has a tough time sticking up for 30-AU, who have been succeeding in their missions but ruffling feathers with their outlandish behavior. AIR CHIEF MARSHALL HARRIS calls for ideas and Ian is incensed when Lt Cholmondeley presents one of Ian’s ideas as his own. A dead body, fake identity, fake “secret” documentation on its person, which the British plant in enemy waters: Operation Mincemeat, the man who never was.
Back at his flat, Ann confronts Ian about bringing Loelia back to his flat. He clearly did it to hurt Ann and now the two of them end up passionately entwined again, roughly, passionately falling into bed together. After sex, Ann wonders why it is that he won’t allow himself to love her and why she feels that she can’t love him – because if she does, he’ll end it. Her words make up the words Ian writes…for the letters to be planted on ‘the man who never was’ – the dead body with a fake identity.
Monday can’t help but notice the quality of Ian’s imagination and the similarity between this dead character and Ian himself.
Ann and Eve cross paths in the Dorchester and Eve happens to witness Ann receiving the telegram informing her that her husband Shane O’Neill has been killed in action. This is a world that Eve knows well. And while she can’t bring herself to comfort Ann, there’s a new understanding between these two women.
Monday, Ian, and Cholmondeley go to pick a body and Ian’s eye is caught by one that bears a striking resemblance to him. That’s their man.
Ian comforts Ann. In her darkest moment she tells Ian that she wants to be with him. She’s not good at being on her own. And she can’t wait forever.
In the Admiralty, Godfrey is beside himself – the man who never was worked. The Germans have redeployed troops based on the fake information on the body. As far as Godfrey’s concerned, all they need to do is get 30-AU under control. Ian demands to be put out in the field with them. Godfrey tells him that if he’s to do that, then he must undertake the ‘K-Protocol’…
This is no longer an exercise. Ian is given a revolver, live ammunition, and the number of a room in a hotel where an enemy agent is hiding out. Ian’s job is to kill him. At least he knows what the ‘K’ stands for now…
Determined, Fleming makes his way to the hotel. Loads and checks his weapon. Then enters the hotel, makes his way up the stairs. He steels himself, sweating with nerves, bursts into the room – but cannot do it. He cannot kill. Only then does he learn the man in the hotel room was a training camp agent. And it was indeed a final test. Fleming has failed.
Godfrey comforts Fleming back at the Admiralty. He’s like Godfrey – a thinker not a fighter. The good news is that 30-AU are being expanded. But there’s bad news. Godfrey’s defence of them has cost him his job. He’s being moved. Godfrey tells Ian that he’s the important one. And that those ideas are valuable and have already brought success. We get the sense that Godfrey has fallen on his sword for Ian.
Ian goes to see Ann, who tells him that Esmond plans to ask her to marry him. It’s going to happen. And Ian is going to let it happen.