That night he’s awakened at an ungodly hour with a phone call: Fennen has killed himself. Going out, he passes his unfaithful, nymphomaniac wife (Harriet Andersson) coming in, and they have an argument they’ve clearly had a hundred times before. Mason excels as the conflicted cuckold; he clearly loves his wife very much and wants to forgive her condition, but the jealousy is tearing him up inside. Pushed near breaking point in his personal life, he dives whole-heartedly into his professional life, determined to solve the mystery of Fennen’s death. If he was really loyal, why would he kill himself?
There are actually two mysteries unfolding: whether the traitor was actually Fennen or his wife (and who wrote the letter condemning Fennen to begin with), and the identity of their contact. The latter is rather obvious, but the former keeps the audience guessing right up to the final revelation. At the same time (and as much as he’d rather lose himself in his work–or drink–and forget it), Dobbs’ personal life remains hell, and his investigative talents come to hurt him in that arena when he can’t help but deduce that his wife’s latest lover is one of his oldest friends, an agent he ran during the war (Maximillian Schell). Mason does a really great job as a man grasping desperately at a professional conundrum in order to ignore a personal one–only to discover it’s impossible.