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I just want you to know that this little thing that's happened between you and me... It was always for the greater good. Heroes have to make sacrifices. That's why when I ask you for one more, I hope you understand... It was never personal.
~ Adler revealing his true nature during the Heroic ending.
Bell, we have a job to do.
~ Adler's trigger words to Bell.

Russell Adler is the villainous deuteragonist and final antagonist of the 2020 video game Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, the secondary antagonist in Call of Duty: Warzone 1984 storyline, and the overarching antagonist in the Call of Duty: Mobile comics.

He is a CIA Special Officer and spy who was associated in a campaign of clandestine operations across the world since the Vietnam War and leading into the 1980s, all in the hunt for the Soviet agent codenamed Perseus.

He was portrayed by Bruce Thomas in motion capture.


Background and CIA Career

Trained as a Green Beret, Adler entered the CIA's Special Activities Division in 1959, after which he only appears sporadically in the Agency's records. While an undisputed leader, he is an enigma to all that serve with him.
~ Adler's in-game biography.

Born in 1937, Adler has become a mystery even to those who have worked by his side for years. His history before joining the CIA in 1959 is known only to a few within Langley; before joining the CIA, he was trained as a Green Beret. In 1967, Adler was assigned to the MACV-SOG unit in Vietnam, investigating covert Soviet activity. There he met and befriended Lawrence Sims, whom he came to trust and is considered one of his favorite cohorts.

After Vietnam, Adler disappeared from CIA records but continued to be affiliated with a number of clandestine operations. He possesses a cold confidence that commands the room. He rarely smiles, but maintains a biting, dry wit. Capable of switching between disarming charisma and emotionless brutality in an instant, Adler enjoys intimidating those around him, and excels at it. His deep knowledge of covert tactics, fluency in Russian and German, and mastery of espionage make him one of the few key operatives that the CIA can consistently rely upon. According to Alex Mason, Adler was present during the battle of Khe Sanh, and presumably met Mason and his team while there.

In 1968, Adler led the raid on Rebirth Island to rescue Friedrich Steiner so they could learn the number codes, but failed after Mason executed the scientist. Adler and Grigori Weaver continued to clear the island, and the former Adler captured the Soviet operative Vikhor Kuzmin, and tortured him for information. Kuzmin only gave his name and rank to him, and Adler stabbed out his eye, which acted as retribution for Lev Kravchenko taking Weaver's eye. Adler and the CIA then left Kuzmin on the island for dead, and Kravchenko found him, and sent him to the gulag for his failure to stop the assault.

During his career with the CIA, Adler worked with other agents from other countries, such as MI6 agent Helen Park when she was assigned to protect two British scientists. Adler was a key figure in a program that the CIA and British intelligence were working together on, and Park worked on expanding the program's development. Adler was also tasked with stopping Perseus, a Soviet spy whom is considered the "Russian Boogeyman" by the United States government. Adler spent nearly three decades trying to eliminate Perseus, and according to Jason Hudson, was close to doing so. By 1981, Adler had presumed Perseus dead, and continued to operate within the CIA, and eventually was titled as "America's Monster".

Perseus' Manhunt

On January 13, 1981, during a mission with Frank Woods in Turkey, Adler discovered the Soviet agent Perseus became active and four days later Jason Hudson tasked Adler to build a team to track down and eliminate Perseus. During the said mission in Turkey, Adler saved an nearly dead associate of Perseus who was shot by Arash Kadivar, and decided to brainwash him with the MK Ultra Program. The unnamed associate was then given the code name "Bell", and tasked with working with Adler on stopping Perseus from detonating nukes across the west. Adler chooses Alex Mason, Frank Woods, Helen Park, Lawrence Sims, Eleazar "Lazar" Azoulay, and "Bell" on his mission to stop Perseus.

While in the safehouse in Germany, Adler has "Bell" recall "Fracture Jaw", an operation where Adler, "Bell", and Sims were assigned with gathering intel and collecting a nuclear device. During the operation, "Bell" and Sims discover Soviet soldiers at the compound, and collect intel and reunite with Adler on a helicopter. After stopping Viet Cong soldiers attacking a base, their helicopter is shot down, and the trio fight against Viet Cong resistance and call in an air strike. Afterward, Adler and the team decide to go after one of Perseus' associates, Anton Volkov, a Russian mafia boss who heads a ring in Berlin, Germany. Seeing that Volkov is hard to get to, they follow Volkov's chief courier Franz Kraus, and are assisted by BND spy Greta Keller and her informant Lukas Richter. However, Richter is captured by the Stasi and reveals the identity of Keller, resulting in Kraus being informed and returning to his home. After "Bell" and Greta are captured by Kraus, Adler and the team save them as Volkov is cornered and either captured or killed by "Bell".

After the operation in Germany, Adler is tasked with helping "Bell" and Woods escape from the Zakarpatska Oblast, and learns from the latter about Hudson heading an nuclear program called Operation Greenlight. Adler and the team confront Hudson, who reveals that Greenlight is a CIA project that works as a scorched earth policy if the Soviet Union ever invaded the United States. The CIA learn that Perseus is after the sleeper agents that Nikita Dragovich programmed in the 1960s, and Adler sends Mason and Woods to Mount Yamantau to collect the list. Though Mason and Woods succeed in getting the mainframe from the facility, Hudson's superior Emerson Black reveals that Perseus wiped the mainframe. Leaving the only remaining source of information in the KGB headquarters in Moscow, Hudson authorizes Adler to extract the names from the KGB's mainframe with the assistance of the CIA's mole Dimitri Belikov.

Adler assigns "Bell" to join him on the operation, and the two manage to infiltrate into the KGB headquarters and collect the names onto a copy disc. Adler and "Bell" then escape and rescue Belikov, who was exposed as the mole by Anton Charkov or from his computers, and give the intel to the CIA. With the names gathered, Theodore Hastings is considered the sleeper agent that Perseus will re-program, as Hastings worked on Operation Greenlight. The team also gather intel that Perseus is storing the nuke in Cuba and having Hastings arm it, and is also possibly going to receive aid from Fidel Castro.

Adler and the team then go to Havana to stop Hastings from arming the nuke, but learn that the nuke was never there and "Bell" sees Perseus eliminate Hastings on camera. Park and "Bell" go to Hastings, they learn that "Perseus" had him re-programed to give him access to all of the American nukes in Europe, which he will detonate and incriminate the United States. Adler and the team escape from the compound, but Park/Lazar are left behind and killed by Tropas soldiers, as "Bell" is injured and saves one of them or leaves them both behind.

After the incident in Havana, Adler tortures Bell through intracerebral injection in an attempt to forcibly unlock his memories as to where the location of the detonation of the nukes would be. After "Bell" regains his memory with Perseus, Adler reveals that they used the MK ultra program to brainwash "Bell" to help them get to Perseus. Adler then admits that "Bell" probably hates him and the team, but asks them to reveal Perseus' location to prevent the detonation of American nukes.


Should Bell tell the truth, Adler leads a fleet to the Solovetsky Islands and spearheads an assault that dismantles Perseus' network, saving the free world. Adler continues on his mission to bring down Perseus once and for all. To tie off loose ends, Adler takes Bell to a cliffside to kill him, but just as he draws his gun, Bell draws his gun as well. Gunshots sound; the ending is left ambiguous as to if either Adler killed Bell, Bell killed Adler, or they killed each other.

Should Bell lie to Adler about the detonation site of the nukes, Adler and his team are baited to the centre of Duga, an abandoned town. Should Bell not give out any call order for the Soviet ambush, Adler executes Bell, but Perseus still detonates the nukes. Otherwise, the ambush is called. Adler is mortally wounded in the gunfire as his associates (Mason, Woods, and dependent on who Bell chooses to save in Havana, Park or Lazar) are killed. Bell and a masked Soviet soldier corner Adler to a warehouse.

Bell either executes him, or reaches for his lighter, to which Adler attacks him with a knife. Bell either loses the struggle, and dies, or Bell overpowers Adler and plunges the knife into his heart. Regardless, the nukes are detonated in Solovetsky, decimating Europe, and completing Perseus' mission.

Call of Duty: Warzone

We have to assumed he's compromised, Adler's been off grid working on something at Verdansk. We have no idea what he's been doing, we'll have to pull him in.
~ Hudson to Woods about hunt down Adler

Russell Adler is a major character, but turns into the secondary antagonist after season 3 in the 1984 Call of Duty: Warzone storyline, but has returned into a supporting protagonist at the start of season six. He was under brainwashing by Stitch, a Perseus operative who wants to create sleeper agents and get his revenge personally on Adler.

In 1984, Adler and his team were assigned to find out who raided the CIA base in West Berlin, and the team then went to the mall at Pines. At the mall, Adler and the team discovered nova 6 gas being contained, and were cornered by Kuzmin and his men. During the firefight, Adler was captured by Kuzmin and transported into a helicopter where he was sent to Laos. While there, he was tortured by Kapono "Naga" Vang, a fellow Perseus operative at his camp until it was time to transfer him to another location. By April of the same year, Adler was still a prisoner of Kuzmin and the Perseus spy network, and according to Naga, was being taken to Verdansk. While a prisoner of Kuzmin, he was brainwashed with Nikita Dragovich's numbers broadcast, as Stitch's plan were put into motion with the assistance of Freya "Wraith" Helvig and Roman "Knight" Gray.

After his rescue in Verdansk by Woods' team, Adler had already suffered from the same brainwashing that Alex Mason received from Dragovich, and that causes that Adler indirectly help Stitch because of his brainwashing to activate the number station to start the control of the sleeper agents to later become in a rogue agent in the CIA. When Stitch had Owethu "Jackal" Mabuza cause CIA satellites to crash, Adler secured the data recorder in Algeria and lied to his teammates that it had burned on re-entry. After the operation, Adler went rogue and started working on a secret project in Verdansk, and his disappearance caused Hudson to come to the conclusion that Russell was "compromised".

Adler was later captured by Mason on the orders of Hudson, and brought to an interrogation room where Hudson and Mason attempted to break his programming. He was freed from his brainwashing by Mason calling out the number sequences, and Adler expressed immediate remorse for his actions while brainwashed. Wanting to stop Stitch, Adler worked with Mason, Hudson and Woods in going to Verdansk to investigate the explosions in the city. Adler would confront Stitch in Verdansk, and learned from the Soviet that Perseus had died of cancer a year prior, showing him his grave. Angered at Stitch's actions, Adler executed him, as Kuzmin lamented that his life didn't matter as he changed the world due to the numbers program.

After executing Stitch, Adler and the team returned to Verdansk and discovered an abandoned Nazi bunker beneath the city, where they encountered Captain Carver Butcher. The captain explained that he formed Task Force Vanguard to learn what Project Phoenix was, and to deal with the remnants of the Nazi forces following Adolf Hitler's death, telling the group that they started their search in Caldera.


This guy has done more for less. He’ll look the other way.
~ Adler to Mason, his first words in the game.
That piece of trash is a lot of things, but safe ain't one of 'em.
~ Adler to Woods on Qasim Javadi.
Nowhere left to run, Qasim.
~ Adler cornering Qasim on the rooftop.
You took hostages. The rules changed.
~ Adler to Qasim.
Guess I’m the bad cop.
~ Adler if he kills Qasim.
If he's active, something big is gonna happen. Something that could shift the balance of the cold war.
~ Adler speaking about Perseus to Alexander Haig and James Baker.
We have a job to do.
~ Adler's trigger phrase for Bell.
Bell. Welcome to West Berlin.
~ Adler to "Bell", going to the CIA safehouse.
Bell. Time to wake up. It’s crank time.
~ Adler to Bell in "Fracture Jaw".
We’ll infiltrate East Berlin via the U-Bahn. A ghost station on the other side of the wall has the access point we need. From there we’ll watch Kraus as he enters the city. Once Volkov shows his face it’s kill or capture.
~ Adler in the opening of "Brick in the Wall".
Stay alert, Bell. You're the key to stopping Perseus.
~ Adler to "Bell".
Bell, listen to me. I need you to remember. Think back to our time in Vietnam. One more time. We need to finish what we started. We had a job to do.
~ Adler to Bell after giving them the injection.
That's true Bell, you pull us out to the middle of nowhere in Russia so Perseus can detonate those nukes?!
~ Russell Adler, as he confronts Bell on why he lied to him and everyone in Ashes to Ashes.
Glad to see you still care. Mind giving me a light? I'd offer you a cigarette, but you don't smoke anymore. We tried to help you with your worst qualities. I guess science still has it's limits. Looks like you made a new friend. I'm happy for you. He seems charming. He's really growing on me. I don't get bored easily kid, but you're getting good at this.
~ Russell Adler's last words to Bell before he is executed, Ashes to Ashes
I guess I'll finish this job myself.
~ Adler before executing Bell in "Ashes to Ashes" (lie path/player-determined).
Tell your boss... this is for Weaver.
~ Adler to Vikhor Kuzmin.
Oh god, what have I done?
~ Adler upon being freed from his brainwashing.


It was all for the greater good.
~ Russell revels to Ghost to be the Fifth Knight all along.
I won, Perseus.
~ Adler's last words after getting shot by Ghost.


Black Ops Cold War




  • Adler will change his answer when asked by Bell on how he got his scars. All of these are implied to be lies by Helen Park, who vaguely confirms he will change his story every time.
    • He was attacked by a tiger during a mission in 1973.
    • He "fell into the worst of the bad crowd" when he was younger, and will vaguely mention that an unnamed girl "wasn't worth it".
    • He landed on his face after jumping off a roof while chasing a target in Calcutta.
  • In his biography on both Warzone and Cold War, his citizenship is American, but his true nationality later revealed to American.
  • He is the fifth main antagonist in the Call of Duty series to be American, the others being General Shepherd, Gabriel T. Rorke, Jonathan Irons and Savannah Mason-Meyer.
    • Adler is also the first antagonist to be a member of the CIA.
    • He is also the third antagonist to be member of the US Armed forces, the others being Kevin Sparks and Marcus Washington.
  • Despite being somewhat considered as a villain, his actions are all justified and necessary for the greater good of stopping Perseus.

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