Review of The Informer (2019)

The Informer, released in 2019, is currently streaming on Amazon Prime. I confess. Based on the description of the movie—an informant is sent undercover by his crooked FBI handlers—I had already loosened the laces of my shoes before the opening credits (it’s an inside joke you’ll get if you’ve read FBI Myths and Misconceptions). However, from the start, the movie had an authentic vibe, with the field office setting, and the use of FBI procedures and acronyms (the recording preamble, ops plan, OPR). There were a few clues as to the unorthodox scenes that would follow, such as the informant insisting on using his own recording equipment (nope). But the early scene where the agents gather at a staging site in a parking lot near just before the big international drug takedown made me nostalgic for the good old days. There is nothing like that feeling of anticipation and the buzz of adrenaline when you have on your FBI emblazoned raid jacket over your protective vest, weapon with extra ammo, and a game plan to execute. You don’t know how much I miss that!

But shortly after, things took a sudden head on collision with one of my top cliches–The FBI doesn’t play well with others. SPOIL ALERT: The FBI’s informant witnesses the murder of a New York Police Department undercover cop, and it’s also transmitted and captured on the wire he’s wearing. What does the case agent and her boss do with this information? Nothing. Revealing this evidence would burn their informant and jeopardize the long-term operation. The NYPD supervisor of the officer who’s killed unravels the FBI’s involvement and cover up. The Informer is a fast-moving crime thriller. The prison scenes are full of pulse-rising action and head-turning violence. But the story premise of the FBI disregarding the death of a police officer killed in the line of duty to preserve the investigation of an international criminal enterprise was, well… offensive. I know some will say that it’s only a movie, but I wonder how storylines about corrupt agents affects the public’s view of the FBI. I welcome your comments. You can watch the official trailer here.

By the way, the ending is beautifully set up for a sequel.

Jerri Williams

View posts by Jerri Williams
Jerri Williams, a retired FBI agent, author and podcaster, jokes that she writes about the FBI to relive her glory days. After 26 years with the Bureau specializing in major economic fraud and corruption investigations, she calls on her professional encounters with scams and schemers to write police procedurals inspired by true crime FBI cases in her Philadelphia FBI Corruption Squad crime fiction series featuring flawed female FBI agent Kari Wheeler. Jerri’s FBI for Armchair Detectives nonfiction series enables readers to discover who the FBI is and what the FBI does by debunking misconceptions about the FBI in books, TV, and movies. Her books are available as ebooks, paperbacks, and audiobooks wherever books are sold. She’s also the host of FBI Retired Case File Review, a true crime podcast with more than 200 episodes available for free subscription on all popular podcast apps.

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