The Bricklayer Ending, Explained: Who is Radek’s Mole?

‘The Bricklayer,’ a spy thriller film ripe with action and political conspiracies, revolves around a retired CIA operative who returns to the Agency with the emergence of an old contact. Although Steve Vail has been living a civilian life for a while now as a bricklayer, the CIA comes back knocking on his door when his old partner, Victor Radek, resurfaces with a violent blackmailing scheme against the Agency. As a result, Vail must reluctantly partner up with a newbie agent, Kate Bannon, and travel to Greece to put an end to Radek’s plans to prevent an all-out war. Thus, with a tumultuous dynamic and department secrets in their way, Vail and Kate must somehow find a way to trust each other for the sake of their high-stakes operation. SPOILERS AHEAD!

The Bricklayer Plot Synopsis

Much to the CIA’s chagrin, an unnamed killer has been going after known European journalists, committing a series of assassinations. Since all journalists made a name for themselves by covering U.S. stories and were suspected to be working on uncovering secrets about the CIA before their deaths, their assassinations naturally implicate the agency. As Europeans continue to protest on the streets, the CIA tries to track down the perpetrator.

One workaholic agent, Kate Bannon, manages to get a lead from the latest assassination of German journalist Greta Becker after spotting Victor Radek, an ex-CIA operative, in the crime scene’s CCTV footage. However, as far as the agency is concerned, Radek is supposed to be dead. As such, O’Malley, Kate’s boss, reaches out to one of his former agents, Steve Vail, who carried out Radek’s neutralization assignment before his retirement.

Even though Vail is surprised to hear about Radek’s return, he refuses to work for the CIA again. Nonetheless, he soon changes his mind after the latter sends his men after him. With no other choice left, Vail agrees to the CIA’s terms and travels to Greece with Kate as his mission partner. Yet, once in Thessaloniki, Vail deviates from the CIA’s plan and crafts new covers for himself and Kate with the help of his off-the-books outfitter, Patricio.

Although Kate remains infuriated with Vail’s choices, she decides to play along for the time being. The latter continues to keep his partner in the dark and attends a gala to meet with an old flame, Tye, a high-ranking U.S. Official, and gets intel about Radek’s possible accomplice, Sten. Consequently, Vail confronts Sten in his territory only to realize the local thug has grown his enterprise significantly since their last meeting. Nevertheless, he manages to escape from his den with some help from Kate.

Finally, sick of his secrecy, Kate demands Vail to be honest with her about Radek’s history with the CIA. Kate is shocked to learn the truth about Radek’s past, the death of his family, and the latter’s ensuing killing rampage that put him on the CIA’s hit list. Meanwhile, Radek makes his lucrative demands known and threatens to leak sensitive information unless the CIA pays their ransom.

As Kate and Vail begin to trust each other, they ransack Sten’s house to look for clues and discover Radek’s next move: an attack on the Greek Journalist, Alekos Melas, in the Emporia Square. Nonetheless, the mission goes south as Radek outsmarts them, leading to the journalist’s death. Although the same lands Kate and Vail in a momentary disagreement, the two quickly work through it, arriving back on track. Yet, something sinister awaits them at Patricio’s place, where Radek has set up a track for them using the outfitter as bait. In the end, the two agents flee with their lives, but Patricio dies a brutal death, reminding Vail that his old friend, Radek, may be too far gone to be saved.

The Bricklayer Ending: Why Is Radek Blackmailing the CIA?

Radek’s blackmailing plot remains at the narrative’s center, shaping the story and driving the plot forward. Initially, Victor Radek was an operative for the Russians. However, once the job started posing a danger to him and his family, he came to the CIA, seeking asylum. As a result, the CIA hired him to perform assignments in exchange for safehouses and relocations for his wife and daughter.

However, the assignments Radek received kept increasing in danger and morality. As the man became better at his job, the Agency started assigning him assassination hits on their political rivals, like Boris Popov. Eventually, they asked Radek to kill actual political leaders, including the Greek politician Kostas. However, the man refused to work the job, knowing better than to get himself involved in international conspiracies.

In retaliation, the CIA lifted their protection from Radek’s family, allowing them to fall victim to the Russians, who had a vendetta against him. Although Radek had anticipated the same, Vail, his handler at the time, assured him he would protect his family. Nevertheless, he failed at the task, and Radek’s pregnant wife and young daughter fell victim to the Russian violence. In the aftermath, Radek underwent a killing rampage, which provided the Agency with an easy excuse to target him.

However, as the CIA sent Vail to neutralize Radek, the former allowed his friend to escape on the condition that he lie low afterward. Nonetheless, Radek had no intention of following through. Overwrought with grief and itching for revenge, Radek decided to use the very thing against the CIA that they blamed him for. With the help of an interdepartmental mole, Radek accessed the CIA’s hit list, which included the names of their targeted political rivals.

From there, Radek simply had to execute a number of assassinations, targeting famed journalists, to frame the CIA for international crimes. Furthermore, he demanded a sum from the Agency in bitcoins to plunder them even more. All the while, the ex-CIA agent planned to carry out Kostas’ assassination as the final nail in the coffin to ensure the Greeks declared the CIA as their enemy.

Do Vail and Kate Stop Radek?

After Vail and Kate’s altercation with Sten and his men at Patricio’s lair, both agents realize the urgent need to stop Radek and his plans. Even though Vail previously harbored a camaraderie with the other man, Patricio’s painful demise confirmed that the Radek he knew was long gone. Still, Vail refuses to trust O’Malley, and the feeling remains mutual.

Still, with Radek’s latest threat to leak the CIA’s hit list, the Agency can’t afford to rely only on Vail and Kate’s off-the-books mission. As a result, the duo’s adventures come to an end when Kate receives a personal assignment from O’Malley to deliver the ransom money to Radek in person. Nevertheless, by this point, Vail’s influence has rubbed off on Kate, who is beginning to distrust her agency on account of their history with Radek.

For the same reason, even after O’Malley relieves Vail from his temporary duties, Kate decides to trust the man and goes against orders for him. Once Kate arrives at the meet-up spot, she hands over the flash drive containing the bitcoins to Vail, who covertly follows her trail to the location. As such, in the end, Vail enters Radek’s den to meet the man instead of Kate.

Yet, at the meet-up spot, a pub’s backroom, Vail only gets to confront Radek through a video call on a laptop as the flash drive transfers funds into the latter’s account. Radek, who anticipated this outcome, sets off bombs around the area once the transfer is complete. Still, Vail manages to escape with his life with Kate as his getaway driver.

After a thrilling— and incredibly rash— car chase through Greecian streets, Vail arrives at a political rally held by Kostas. Realizing Radek is planning to assassinate the politician to incite an all-out war, Vail rushes against the clock to spot the man before he carries out the assassination. Ultimately, Vail spots Radek in his cameraman’s disguise and manages to kill the man before he can cause further damage. Radek, for his part, dies clutching a photo of his family and Vail to remind the agent that despite his wrongdoings, the CIA is at no less fault for their actions.

Who Is The Mole?

Vail pitches the idea that Radek has an inside source within the CIA early into the story. While Radek knew about the CIA’s plans to kill political rivals since he was assigned to one such mission himself, there’s no way he can have access to the list in its entirety. Nonetheless, at every crime scene where Radek assassinated a journalist, he leaves clues behind for people, including names of politicians on the CIA’s list. While the rest of the world only sees it as the journalist’s research, the CIA knows it’s a warning signifying that the assassin holds sensitive information against the Agency.

Vail suspects O’Malley of being the mole since Radek’s early inclusion into the Agency came under his responsibility. Therefore, he believed Radek’s latest scheme was a way for O’Malley to hide his past mistakes. Nevertheless, Kate argues that if O’Malley wanted to silence the past, he would have never reached out to Vail, the one person who knows the truth about Radek’s partnership with the CIA. The same line of thinking compels her to suspect Vail momentarily. In the end, a much different truth awaits the duo.

After saving Kostas’ life and subsequently clearing the CIA’s name, Vail pays Tey, the Station Chief. Tey and Vail already have a complicated past due to their involvement with Radek’s initial departure from the CIA. In the aftermath, the man had asked the woman to run away with him and leave the CIA behind. In turn, Tey left him hanging in favor of her career within the CIA.

However, once Vail arrives at her place in the wake of Radek’s death, a more sinister truth greets him. Although Tey attempts to pose her getaway to the Maldives as a casual vacation, Vail realizes something else is at play. Throughout the film, Tey has been helpful in Vail’s investigation. Yet, she also tried to slow him down, albeit under the guise of concern.

Ultimately, Vail realizes that Tey was working with Radek the entire time and supplied him with the CIA’s hit list in the first place. Even though Tey appears remorseful about her actions and insists she had no choice since Radek knew about her involvement in his escape. Nevertheless, just as Tey didn’t want to jeopardize her career by allowing Radek to spill her secret, she can’t have Vail do so either.

As such, Tey attempts to kill Vail by sending her men after him as she flees the country. When Vail manages to evade the same, she resorts to finishing the job herself by running him over with her car. Nonetheless, Kate arrives in the knick of time and shoots the woman dead, saving her partner’s life.

With the last loose end tied, Kate and Vail return to their regular lives, with the latter taking up Bricklaying again. On the other hand, Kate finds it difficult to remain a CIA agent after learning the Service’s reality. As a result, even though O’Malley offers her a promotion, Kate decides to quit to pursue another way to serve her country.

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