In The Family, the Blakes/Manzonis are American nationals in a witness protection program in Normandy, France. However, they are guarded by the FBI rather than by US Marshals as is normally the case. Thrown into this mix is the presence of Tommy Lee Jones who is known for The Fugitive and its sequel, U.S. Marshals, where he plays the role of a US Marshal. I was under the impression that all the agents were US Marshals until everybody started calling them Feds.

While I suppose that the European setting simply provides a twist to the usual formula, I'd like to know the reason for this agency switch:

  1. Is it because the US Marshals are not allowed to operate outside the US?
  2. Are the Feds?
  3. Who are the Manzonis guarded by in the original novel by Tonino Benacquista?
  • 2
    What do you mean when you say Feds? In general, feds can refer to any federal agency, such as DEA, Treasury, IRS, etc. This Law enforcement thread has a discussion and the term Fed applies to many agencies: realpolice.net/forums/… Dec 13, 2013 at 20:06
  • @Leatherwing I wasn't aware of the distinction. By Feds, I mean the FBI who were usually referred to as Feds throughout the movie. Dec 13, 2013 at 20:09
  • 3
    According to the novel's description on Amazon, the family were protected by "The FBI's witness protection program", which as you know from the wiki article you linked to, doesn't exist. The author probably made the same mistakes that I would if I tried to write about French law enforcement agencies. Dec 13, 2013 at 21:13
  • In the movie it's not actually important that they are FBI instead of US Marshals. They never flash their badges, they are never shown to interact with local law enforcement, and the reason the family gets found also has nothing to do with them being FBI (e.g. a mole, database hacked,...). So, due the irrelevance of what kind of "Feds" they actually are, I'd consider it a goof.
    – Oliver_C
    Dec 14, 2013 at 17:05

1 Answer 1


The most likely answer is that the author,Tonino Benacquista, was unaware that the US Marshals are indeed capable of operating outside of the United States (they are, after all, the primary US law enforcement agency when it comes to hunting and tracking fugitives from justice) and simply wrote that the family's protectors while in hiding were an undisclosed federal law enforcement agency (e.g. 'The Feds")

Here is a line from the Allocine website about the film, which is titled Malvita in foreign release:

L'équipe n'a opéré que peu de changements sur l'histoire, modifiant légèrement les relations au sein de la famille Blake pour rendre les parents un peu plus émouvants, comme le remarque la productrice Virginie Besson-Silla. "Pour la première fois, je me suis contenté de suivre l’intrigue existante. J’ai simplement ajouté quelques dialogues pour que l’adaptation soit plus cinématographique. Mais, en toute honnêteté, la structure et les personnages étaient déjà en place", ajoute Besson.

Its rough translation is:

The team has made ​​few changes to the story, slightly changing relationships within the Blake Family to make a little more emotional parents, as noted producer Virginie Besson-Silla. "For the first time, I was content to follow the existing plot. I just added some dialogues that adaptation is more cinematic. But honestly, structure and characters were already in place," Besson says.

This is from the director of the film Luc Besson.

So it seems that little beyond minor character changes occurred in the making of the film. The overall text and intent of the author seems to be intact.



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