Autumn 1941. FBI Assistant Director Harry Guttman is asked to a secret meeting with American diplomat Thornton Palmer. When Palmer tells him that the Soviet Union has been infiltrating the highest levels of American government Guttman is sceptical. But Palmer is adamant that the Soviet secret service has recruited Americans and that $50,000 has recently been wired by Russian intelligence officers in New York to a Japanese bank in Los Angeles.
Out in LA, Special Agent Jimmy Nessheim isn't happy. His enlistment in the army has been blocked on medical grounds and he's working a soft desk job that bores him rigid -- he's the FBI adviser to a studio that's making pro-FBI movies. He is delighted to be asked by Guttman to trace some Russian money that came west to a Japanese bank, and he has a local half-Japanese informant named Billy Osaka, who's willing to help. But then Osaka disappears in mysterious circumstances, right after telling Nessheim he's discovered something important.