Set in 1960, The Courier begins as Oleg Penkovsky (Merab Ninidze), a Soviet military intelligence colonel, makes an incredibly bold move by sending clandestine word to the American embassy in Moscow that he is willing to provide military secrets to the United States and Great Britain. Lacking faith in the stability of Russian leader Nikita Khrushchev (Vladimir Chuprikov), Penkovsky fears that the escalating arms race could result in nuclear war, and commits himself to providing all of the information that he can to the CIA and MI6. The issue faced, however, is physically making that happen.

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