The Recruit

Factual error: In the movie Burke states that none of the computers has a floppy disk drive so that no information can be copied and smuggled out, but Leila uses a USB device. With all their technology and computer scientists, the CIA, or anyone who is semi-computer knowledgeable should know that information can be copied through the USB port and they would have been secured accordingly.

Upvote valid corrections to help move entries into the corrections section.

Suggested correction: A good number of mice and keyboards connect to the computers through the USB ports. If they took out all but two ports, and left those for the mouse and keyboard, it could be possible. If Leila pulled out the keyboard plug she could put in the USB device and copy the files. Heck, she could have even opened the computer up herself and installed a hidden USB drive (smuggling in the tools with her coffee mug of course). She would just have to be sneaky about it, and that's nothing unusual for these characters.

Not only is the original "Corrected entry" valid, it's understated. Burke actually said "Langley's computers don't have disk drives" - not just no floppy drive. In a high-security environment, such a system would be configured so that no USB port could communicate with an external drive; even more likely, the workstations would be dumb terminals - just keyboard, mouse, and monitor; and that's exactly what they appear to be in Layla's office area. So, showing a USB port built into Layla's keyboard and communicating with a USB drive belies a major part of Burke's story, and if Layla were able to do that, the system would immediately "see" it. It's the ersatz "Correction" that's mistaken, since it describes only ordinary commercial computer systems.

Factual error: Burke says Clayton graduated "top of your class at MIT, majored in nonlinear cryptography..." but MIT has no such major. In fact, there's no such field.

Factual error: Early in the movie, Al Pacino advises the recruits that they aren't there for the money, since he, as a GS15 only makes $75,000 a year. A GS15 (step 1) in Washington DC makes approximately $96,000.

Factual error: In the middle of the film, as Farrel and Pacino talk in the park, Pacino tells Farrel about a new computer virus that Langley's created. He says it uses existing wires to propagate itself and can spread through, say, an electrical wall outlet. Computer viruses are programs that copy themselves (spread) when executed - this requires specific operating systems and CPUs. Anybody even remotely knowledgeable about computers knows this. The thought that a computer virus could somehow spread through the electrical grid or infect a toaster is ridiculous, since the only part of a computer actually connected to the electrical net is the PSU, and no data goes from it to the CPU.

Factual error: After Clayton kills the man in the subway, he calls Walter using a cell phone and proceeds to tell him what just happened. Two trained CIA agents wouldn't use unsecure lines to relay that sort of information, especially when they are meeting soon.

Factual error: When James jumps on a Metro train at Union Station after killing Zack, the Metro conductor's voice is heard to say, 'Red line to Shady Grove. Next station Dupont Circle.' On the red line going towards Shady Grove, the next stop after Union Station is Judiciary Square. Dupont Circle is actually the fifth stop after Union Station.

Factual error: When Burke is explaining the exercise about following the 'rabbit', in one of the shots on the ground there's a map of the world (I think it's a political map). So, the big yellow area in Europe looks very much like the Soviet Union which doesn't exist since 1991, besides, there's no Crimean Peninsula in the Black Sea on that map.

Continuity mistake: When Colin Farrell's truck is chasing the silver VW Bug, the Bug crashes through a gate, sending debris into the truck's windshield, causing a spider-web impact break. In all subsequent shots, the windshield is undamaged.

More mistakes in The Recruit
More quotes from The Recruit

Trivia: In the book of fallen CIA operatives that Colin Farrell sees on his first day, two names (Deryck Blake and Andrew McAlpine) appear: they are the film's property master and production designer, respectively.

More trivia for The Recruit

Join the mailing list

Separate from membership, this is to get updates about mistakes in recent releases. Addresses are not passed on to any third party, and are used solely for direct communication from this site. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Check out the mistake & trivia books, on Kindle and in paperback.