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At the end of Spy Game, Nathan Muir is seen driving away from CIA headquarters; my impression of the scene is that he's in a hurry. He peels away from the gate, and the next shot of him is driving his Porsche along an open country road -- it seems to be implied that he's going fast.

Over the past day, he's committed at least two crimes (bribery of a foreign official, forgery) and several acts that, if not technically illegal, are likely to get him into very serious trouble if for no other reason than that they have pissed off high-ranking CIA officials.

Is he supposed to be escaping? Does he seriously think he can outrun the CIA (à la Hopscotch) with no money? Or does he anticipate no real personal consequences, hoping they'll realize he ultimately did the right thing? This seems like an oversight. What is Muir up to after he leaves?

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Maybe he needs to go find Harry Duncan. When the rescue of Bishop comes to light at the CIA conference room, they say Harry Duncan's gone missing. Does this just mean he's off coordinating the op? Or is Harry Duncan really missing? – Lucia Greniccio Feb 24 '13 at 3:03
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Let's look at the options the CIA got:

  • Pursue him legally. Although he has certainly broken the law with his actions, the CIA cannot just admit that they got deceived by a single employee who invaded a (quasi) enemy country with a marine team just to enforce his own private goals. That would be quite embarrassing. I don't think the few bosses from the conference room can even tell it to the rest of the CIA.

  • Secretly punish him financially. They are surely able to do this, but what should they take, since he lost his whole money for this job. On the other hand the government didn't lose any money.

  • Secretly kill him. They won't do him any physical damage, they're just not the bunch of cliché evil-guys killing people for fun and are not depicted in that way in the movie either.

  • Secretly imprison him. They could certainly do that, but again, they would have to keep this entirely secret, since as few people as possible outside of this small conference room should know about Muir's actions. Additionally I'm not sure if imprisoning him would really buy them anything.

So considering the fact that they cannot tell anybody, not even the rest of the government or the CIA, what Muir did, and the fact that Muir used his own money and is just a poor old man now, from a pragmatic point of view they neither have many possibilities to punish him nor a large motivation to do so. They may certainly observe him in order to get sure he doesn't talk about what he did, but why should he do so.

But in the end I'm not that sure the script writers really thought about this that largely. Usually the audience just doesn't think outside of the movie's limited time frame. Think of the mandatory romance in your favourite action or adventure movie, of course they will split afterwards since they just don't fit together, but they have to kiss at the end. In the same way Muir just has to drive away from the CIA in the last moment, no matter if they know where he lives and what he's done.

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I like this train of thought. It's almost a blackmail situation -- anything realistic they do will make the situation worse for them because information will come out. They could have him kidnapped as Muir did to Elizabeth, but that would just be out of spite and is probably a waste of time. – Josh Caswell Jun 23 '12 at 18:38

That scene is in the "deleted scenes" of the DVD. They meet in Troy meets Miur in a weird place that looked like a cafe in Egypt. As Troy is reviewing Miur's ops report he comes to a question that asks to give an evaluation of Hadley's future threat. There Miur wrote "unknown". So Troy reads this questioning it in a surprised way "possible threat... Unknown?!...I want to know what are we going to do about Hadley..". Then Miur says "I'm done with Hadley!" Meaning he doesn't want to mess with her. But Troy says "Nathan, if you don't deal with her, I will.." Then Nathan says kind of angrily "yeah, why don't you fill a bus full of explosives and run her over?!" Based on that scene is that Miur makes the deal with the Chinese. He didn't seem to want to, but better than leaving Troy to do something crazy. So when Miur is asked the question if he did this on his own, this deleted scene pops up as a remembrance, both Troy and Miur remember it, and Troy breaths relief when Muir only blames himself, instead of pointing at Troy for giving the order without a "finding."

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Nathan Muir protected his Boss Troy when Nathan said that he worked alone in brokering the deal to trade Hadley for an imprisoned diplomat.

He was clearly protecting Troy and therefore he would be covered from any criminal issue

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Could you elborate this a little? My memory of the movie might be a little hazy, but I don't remember this conveyed anywhere. – Napoleon Wilson Apr 7 '15 at 14:52
I rewatched the movie recently, @NapoleonWilson, and there is a glance that Troy gives Muir after Muir says "Yup. Just me." that lends a certain amount of weight to this interpretation, but there's nothing definitive. – Josh Caswell Sep 16 '15 at 6:51

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