Adapted from one of Robert Ludlum’s bestsellers, The Bourne Identity was one of the exciting entertainments of 2002. Matt Damon played the hero, a man hauled out of the drink who digs two bullets out of his back and finds a Swiss bank account number implanted in his hip. He has no recollection of who he is, but he’s exceptionally strong and resourceful. Eventually he discovers he’s Jason Bourne, the graduate of a covert CIA program for assassins called Treadstone, and that at some deep level his humanity recoiled from a mission and he couldn’t complete it.
Bourne then teams up with Marie (Franka Potente), a young German who agrees to drive him to Paris. When the head of Treadstone puts out hits on both them, suddenly she’s bound to him and, inevitably, they fall in love. At the end of the film, Treadstone is gone (along with its chief) and Bourne and Marie have escaped the CIA’s prying eyes.
A. M. Stroud III, a former prosecutor in Louisiana, expresses regret for the role he played in sending Glenn Ford to death row in 1984. “I was 33 years old. I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning.” Stroud says he presented dubious evidence from a forensic pathologist, precluded black jurors from the trial (Ford, since exonerated, is black), and ignored the fact that the appointed defense attorney had never before tried a criminal or capital case. “I . . . hope that providence will have more mercy for me than I showed Glenn Ford,” Stroud said in a letter to the editor of the Times of Shreveport. “But, I’m also sobered by the realization that I certainly am not deserving of it” (ABA Journal, March 25).