It is about how the investigation of an FBI agent (Poitier) about Soviet agents leads a young man (Phoenix) to discover that his parents are spies. In the meantime, they must face a rogue Soviet agent, Scuba (Richard Lynch), who is killing KGB agents.
This film features examples of:
- Comically Small Demand: To get him to stop killing sleeper agents, Scuba demands $200,000. At least he's not greedy.
- Dead Partner: Roy's partner was killed by Scuba twenty years before the events of the film.
- Renegade Russian: Scuba, a Soviet agent who went rogue, killing KGB agents one by one, including "sleepers".
- Run for the Border: Karpov, the agent the Soviets sent to "reel in" Scuba, attempts to cross into the Mexican border with Scuba and Jeff/Nikita (although this is because Karpov has been sent from the Soviet embassy in Mexico City).