The tumultuous early history of the Central Intelligence Agency is viewed through the prism of one man’s life in The Good Shepherd, starring Matt Damon and directed by Robert De Niro.
Edward Wilson (Matt Damon) understands the value of secrecy—discretion and commitment to honor have been embedded in him since childhood. As an eager, optimistic student at Yale, he is recruited to join the secret society Skull and Bones, a brotherhood and breeding ground for future world leaders. Wilson’s acute mind, spotless reputation and sincere belief in American values render him a prime candidate for a career in intelligence, and he is soon recruited to work for the OSS (the precursor to the CIA) during WWII.
As one of the founders of the CIA, working in the heart of an organization where duplicity is required and nothing is taken at face value, Edward's idealism is steadily eroded by a growing suspicious nature, reflective of a world settling into the long paranoia of the Cold War. As his methods are adopted as standard operating procedure, Wilson develops into one of the Agency’s veteran operatives, all the while combating his KGB counterpart. His dedication to his work comes at an ever-increasing price and eventually forces him to sacrifice everything he holds dear in pursuit of his job.