The film opens with video tape of an exchange between two men taking place in a parking garage which appears to be foiled by the U.S. State Department's Diplomatic Security Service (DSS), but it is unclear what has transpired in the opening sequence. Mark Warren (Wesley Snipes) is arrested after a routine traffic accident allowing police to discover he is a wanted federal fugitive by the name of Mark Roberts. While being transported to New York by plane, Roberts shares the flight with Deputy U.S. Marshal Sam Gerard (Tommy Lee Jones) who is traveling under the orders of his boss in an unrelated matter. A Chinese prisoner attempts to assassinate Roberts by shooting him with a zip gun concealed in a toilet paper holder but the attempt fails; it results in a plane crash due to the gunshot which traveled through a window, depressurizing the plane cabin. After all the other prisoners are accounted for, Gerard discovers Roberts is missing and has become a fugitive again. According to U.S. Diplomatic Security Service officials, Roberts is actually Mark Sheridan who was an operative in a mission that went bad (the video tape in the opening sequence). Sheridan was framed for murdering fellow DSS agents, resulting in his criminal record. Federal officials are attempting to find a mole in the agency suspected of selling secrets to the Chinese government. DSS Special Agent John Royce (Robert Downey Jr.) joins Gerard and his team in the search. During the search, Gerard learns that Roberts is actually Mark J. Sheridan and was likely framed for the crimes he is accused of. Eventually, he catches Sheridan and learns that Royce is the mole in the U.S. State Department and responsible for the original murders for which Sheridan was accused. Gerard kills him after he catches him trying to kill Sheridan. Sheridan is released and is reunited with his girlfriend. Gerard and his team celebrate a toast for Newman.