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Citadel: Bernard Orlick Might Actually Be The Bad Guy

Contains spoilers for "Citadel" Season 1, Episode 2, "Spies Appear in Night Time"

Bernard Orlick (Stanley Tucci) is clearly the smartest person in Amazon Prime Video's spy series "Citadel." If one were to compare him to other notable secret agent characters within the genre, he'd most closely fit into the allusion of either Q from the "James Bond" franchise or "Mission: Impossible" alum Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames). But there's the possibility that this member of the fallen Citadel is a villain rather than a hero.

During Season 1, Episode 2, "Spies Appear in Night Time," Mason Kane (Richard Madden) comes to terms with the fact he was once a Citadel agent, even though he has no memory of his former life — à la Jason Bourne. Orlick tracks down and teams with Kane to retrieve Citadel's X Case, but Tucci's character is struggling with his conscience. "I think that we should tell them," Orlick says to his ex-wife and confidant Jo (Moira Kelly), as they argue over some piece of hidden knowledge that may affect Mason and his wife, Abby (Ashleigh Cummings). "She should know."

"We're not telling her," Jo insists. "Do you understand? Unless you want me to tell them what you did." Clearly, Orlick harbors a secret, but that in itself doesn't necessarily make him the big baddie on "Citadel." But when fans consider a few other factors, it will seem plausible that showrunner David Weil could be pulling the wool over streamers' eyes, in terms of Orlick's true allegiance.

Could Orlick be a turncoat hiding in plain sight?

"Citadel" is only two episodes in, but at the time of this writing, the show is warming up to fans while leaving critics out in the cold. Tucci's Bernard Orlick is arguably the most intriguing component in the spy saga's attempt to cash in on the success enjoyed by other streaming shows populating the same genre — like "Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan" and "Homeland" on Showtime. But is Orlick truly dedicated to Citadel, or is it possible he's working for their rivals?

First, the argument can be made that Orlick is a rogue agent because, unlike Citadel's top spies, Mason Kane and Nadia Sinh (Priyanka Chopra Jonas), he didn't lose his memory. It's suspicious that everyone's minds were wiped with the exception of Orlick's. True, it could be a fail-safe put in place by Citadel to leave one person with the responsibility of corralling all the other team members with memory loss and putting the organization back together.

It might also indicate a more nefarious reason Orlick was spared amnesia and tied into his and Jo's secret. Did Orlick activate the implants in the agents' throats to wipe out their memories because he realized the opportunity to kill them failed? "I'm the sort of lone survivor — the sort of spy master-ish," Tucci revealed in an interview with SiriusXM. Tucci didn't give any indication that he's actually portraying a villain during the sit-down, but that sort of spoiler wouldn't come out in early press events.

Orlick survived the Citadel purge

A second reason to suspect that Bernard Orlick could be a villain is the fact that he survived the appalling purge brought on by Manticore. And, more importantly, Orlick was the only member of Citadel to walk away unscathed and with his memories intact. Both Mason and Nadia are still alive eight years following the events of the catastrophic train crash in Season 1, Episode 1, "The Human Enigma," but those pesky devices implanted in their necks erased their identities, even though they lived through the carnage. "Regarding the plot, it's the Citadel has been completely obliterated by this other spy agency, Manticore," Tucci explained during the same interview. "And it's up to me to sort of bring it back."

According to the actor, Orlick is the last line of defense between Citadel and their rivals. But there's no sidestepping the obvious: Orlick somehow managed to be the only one not to succumb to the purge. Does that mean Orlick is the brains behind Citadel, or is his intelligence and IQ actually serving Manticore? 

And let's not gloss over the fact that Orlick somehow knew exactly where to find Mason Kane nearly a decade after the train incident. "Discovering Richard [Madden] is still alive, who was their primary spy, their top spy, and that is the beginning of the show," Tucci also said. As the evidence builds, it's looking bleak for poor Orlick, and there's yet another stone to turn over.

Orlick is imprisoned by Dahlia

Finally, Bernard Orlick might be in cahoots with Manticore, but consider the clichéd ruse to throw fans off the scent: The fact that Dahlia Archer (Lesley Manville) has captured him at the end of Season 1, Episode 2. At first glance, it certainly seems like Dahlia is the pièce de resistance when it comes to the top of Manticore's villainous food chain, but Orlick's capture may have been orchestrated to throw off "Citadel" fans. And according to Stanley Tucci's interview with Sirius XM, he and Manville don't share much screen time together in the series. So, if there's a power struggle for leadership supremacy, it's going to have to happen quickly.

Tucci told Sirius XM he and Manville spent less than two days working together. At the end of the show's second episode, it seems certain that there's some interrogating in store for Orlick. However, is this sequence being shown to serve the story, or just throw off the viewers? Tucci quickly admitted that Manville had a good time shooting the intense torture scene. "Yeah, it was fun, uh, for her," Tucci joked.

In the end, it might turn out that Dahila is the actual mastermind, but all the oddities surrounding Orlick's character may ultimately prove that he was the one behind the fall of Citadel. But there's only one way to know for sure. Find out when new episodes of the series drop each Wednesday on Amazon Prime Video.