In the present (1992), elderly Linda Voss (Melanie Griffith) is interviewed by a BBC documentary team about her experiences before and during World War II. She explains that, growing up in New York City as a young woman of Irish people/German Jews parentage, she always dreamed of visiting Berlin and finding her family members there. In 1940, Linda applies for a job as a secretary with a major law firm, but is rejected because she did not graduate from a prestigious women's college. As she leaves, however, Linda impresses the supervisor by demonstrating that she speaks fluent German language, and she is hired as a translator for Ed Leland (Michael Douglas), a humorless attorney. She soon becomes suspicious of his strange behavior and mysterious whereabouts, and begins to suspect that he is actually a spy, and they eventually become lovers. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, when America joins the war with the Allies of World War II, Ed emerges as a colonel in the Office of Strategic Services. Linda accompanies him to Washington D.C., but he is suddenly posted away, leaving her alone and devastated. Assigned to work in the War Department (US), she hears nothing of Ed until one evening in a night club, when he reappears with an attractive female officer. Reluctant to resume their affair, he does re-employ her. Ed and his colleagues need to replace a murdered agent in Berlin on very short notice. Despite knowing little about intelligence work, Linda volunteers and Ed is persuaded by her fluent German and passion to contribute to the war effort. Her mission is to bring back data on the V-1 flying bomb.