In the cold war, a lawyer, James B. Donovan is recruited by the CIA and involved in an intense negotiation mission to release and exchange a CIA U-2 spy-plane pilot, Francis G. Powers. The pilot was arrested alive after his plane was shot down by the Soviet Union during a mission and stays in the company of a KGB intelligence officer, Rudolf Abel, who was arrested for espionage in the US.—Gusde
Soviet agent Rudolf Ivanovich Abel sent and received coded messages that were hidden inside such things as hollow U.S. coins, bolts, and batteries. The FBI first became aware of Abel’s activities in 1953, when Abel’s incompetent junior colleague Reino Hayhanen carelessly spent a hollow nickel that ended up in the hands of a paperboy. The Brooklyn newsboy who got the nickel thought it felt too light. He dropped the nickel on the sidewalk, and it popped open, revealing a piece of microfilm with a coded message inside. After Hayhanen’s blunders, Abel lost confidence in him and sent him back to the U.S.S.R., which would not have gone well for Hayhanen, who defected in 1957. He showed the FBI how to crack the code and it was Hayhanen who gave up Rudolf Abel. The “Hollow Nickel Case” was also dramatized in The FBI Story (1959).