Howard V. Campbell (Nick Nolte) is a successful playwright living in Thirties Germany, with his wife Helga (Sheryl Lee). When American Frank Wirtanen (John Goodman) asks Campbell to pose as a Nazi sympathizer in order to pass on secrets to the US government, he agrees. Throughout the war, Campbell makes propagandist broadcasts which contain coded messages for the Americans. When the war is over, Helga having been killed in a raid, Wirtanen helps Campbell move to obscurity in New York. However, in 1961 his identity appears in a newspaper and a manhunt begins to bring him to 'justice'.