Edward Wilson, the only witness to his father's suicide and member of the Skull and Bones Society while a student at Yale, is a morally upright young man who values honor and discretion, qualities that help him to be recruited for a career in the newly founded Office of Strategic Services (OSS, the predecessor of the Central Intelligence Agency). While working there, his ideals gradually turn to suspicion influenced by the Cold War paranoia present within the office.

Eventually, he becomes an influential veteran operative, while his distrust of everyone around him increases to no end. His dedication to his work does not come without a price though, leading him to sacrifice his ideals and eventually his family.