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|“||Now this might be difficult for you to grasp, but I am a patriot. And a patriot is one who makes the right moral choice. Sometimes it takes a strong man to make that choice. One boy cannot survive on his own. One of nature's mistakes weighed against the lives of thousands of our people.||„|
|~ Nicholas Kudrow|
Lieutenant Colonel Nicholas "Nick" Kudrow is the main antagonist in the 1998 film Mercury Rising.
He was portrayed by Alec Baldwin, who also played Fred Frenger Junior in Miami Blues, Jed Hill in Malice, Mark Cordell in The Juror, Donald Trump in Saturday Night Live, Makunga in Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, Dennis in The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, Blake in Glengarry Glen Ross, Kennebrew Beauregard in BlackKk Klansman, and Larry Quinn in The Cat in the Hat.
Kudrow holds the military rank of lieutenant colonel and serves as the commander of the NSA department known as Division. He is also the head of the MERCURY project, the world's most advanced encryption code. When Kudrow learns that a nine-year-old autistic boy named Simon Lynch has deciphered the code (after one of his associates put the code in a puzzle magazine to tempt readers to try and crack it), he sees this as a major liability and orders his second-in-command, Peter Burrell, to kill Simon. Burrell shoots the boy's parents but is unable to find Simon, but he is later found by FBI Special Agent Art Jeffries who takes it upon himself to protect Simon, though he is able to frame Jeffries for kidnapping the boy. Later, Kudrow orders Burrell to kill two of his associates Dean Crandell and Leo Pedranski when Crandell of them reveals the MERCURY code's existence to Jeffries and Pedranski later writes a private letter on a typewriter to him and the Senate Oversight Committee.
However, while Burrell succeeds in snatching the letters, the carbon paper used to type the letters that was thrown in the trash was recovered by Pedranski's girlfriend NSA analyst Emily Lang and was taken to the F.B.I. where Jeffries' friend and fellow agent Tommy Jordan (who is aware that Jeffries is innocent) discreetly has her meet with Jeffries and shows them both the carbon paper allowing them to gather evidence on Kudrow and his illegal activities as it has Pendranski's fingerprints on it. Following a personal encounter with Jeffries at his home who demands Kudrow lay off Simon, he taps into a phone call between Jeffries and Jordan about Jordan following Jeffries advice towards getting Simon into Witness Protection. Kudrow then poses as a U.S. Marshal with Witness Protection and takes over custody of Simon at the GEX Skydeck of the IBM Building after talking with FBI Special Agent in Charge Joe Lomax and an angry Jordan. However unknown to him, after he left Jordan showed the evidence to Lomax and states he ran it through the lab confirming to Lomax that Leo Pedranski's fingerprints were on it and officially verifying the evidence against Kudrow.
After taking over protection of Simon from Stacey Siebring, the woman Jeffries left in charge of him, as Kudrow, Burrell and Simon are about to board a helicopter, Lomax viewing this in the IBM Building's security room, gives his approval and an FBI task force led by Jordan charges in with Kudrow leaving Burrell to hold them back. Jeffries then appears from the helicopter and fights Kudrow on the helipad. Kudrow attempts to shoot Simon but Jeffries tackles him to the ground and he drops his gun. As he and Jeffries fight, Simon retrieves the gun and hands it to Jeffries. Just as Jordan and the F.B.I. team move in after killing Burrell, Kudrow makes one last attempt on Simon's life by preparing to throw him off the edge of the building, but Jeffries shoots Kudrow in the chest, mortally wounding him. Jeffies then retrieves Simon just before Kudrow plummets from the top of the building and crashes through the glass roof of the lobby, to his death.
Kudrow is presented as a extremely ruthless, psychopathic and corrupt official who will stop at nothing to maintain his post. This is seen as he has no qualms killing an autistic innocent boy just for accidentally deciphering the code. He also killed his employees just for denuncing his illegals means to eliminate Simon and did not react in the slightest when Burrell died at the hands of the FBI. Kudrow is also xenophobic, calling Simon "a nature's mistake" and also "retard". Despite him claiming he is doing this for the good of the USA, he is in reality a hypocrite doing this just to avoid repercussion from his superiors and to attain a promotion. Like many psychopaths, he is able to maintain an air of control and fake politeness, as seen with Simon when he sees him for the first time (in order to kill him directly). Kudrow has a sophisticated side to himself, as he likes to collect many kinds of wines in his cellar. He has also a wife but how their relationship is unknown. However, he mentions that she says his people skills are "quick and tasteless", implying he is superficial to her.
- Alec Baldwin appeared in this film due to a contractual obligation to Universal Pictures. Baldwin had previously backed out of a film for Universal and signed an agreement promising the studio another film. Years later, this film was presented to him and he did it to avoid further litigation.
- The scene in Kudrow's wine cellar has Kudrow accusing Jeffries of watching too many SUV commercials. The irony of this is that both Alec Baldwin and Bruce Willis have done voice over work for those types of ads. Willis has done ads for the Toyota Tundra and Baldwin has done ads for Chevy/GMC.
- The film was released on Alec Baldwin's 40th birthday.