Genre: History, Autumn 22
Duration: 2 x 60’ + 1 x 90’
Year of Production: 2022
Production Company: White Pine Pictures, with Beetz Brother Film Productions & PMA Productions
Commissioned By: ZDF Arte, Germany / Super Channel, Canada
Deception, dirty tricks, and the birth of the deep state
The Con tells the gripping and dramatic true story of the largest and most elaborate espionage operation ever mounted by one country against an ally. It’s a story about dirty tricks, sex, lies and manipulation that, while set in 1940, will resonate with viewers familiar with the ‘fake news’ and underhand tactics that are deployed today to sway public opinion.
It examines the extraordinary story of British Security Coordination (BSC), which began operating under cover of a UK passport office in New York in 1940. Churchill, the new British Prime Minister, enlists a novice spy, Bill Stephenson, to run it. His objective?
Build a network of 1000 agents - mostly young women - to spread fake news and undermine pro-Nazi sympathisers to bring the US into the war in support of Britain. It’s illegal, unconstitutional and violates American neutrality laws. But it was supported by President Roosevelt and a success. When the US entered the war, Stephenson turned the entire operation over to the Americans who christened it the Office of Strategic Services, forerunner of the CIA. This is the birth of the ‘deep state’.