Clear and Present Danger/YMMV

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

  • It Gets Better
  • Literal Genie: Cortez confesses everything after he's captured in exchange for immunity from US prosecution, since trying to figure out which laws he broke would've involved a huge political mess. So in a gleefully ironic moment, he's "repatriated" to the Cuban intelligence service that taught him all of his tricks and that he betrayed.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Cortez, Cortez, and again Cortez. The man very nearly gets away with manipulating several drug cartels and the US forces sent to hunt them by playing them like a fiddle. He's no coward, either: his Crowning Moment of Magnificent Bastardry involves setting up an assassination attempt on himself and then manipulating the cartel into trusting him. Holy shit.
  • No One Gets Left Behind: ultimately played straight.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: the US uses a lot of morally questionable and highly illegal methods to combat the drug trade, and some of the methods actually work. On a smaller scale, law enforcement agencies--the Coast Guard and an Alabama police department--use similarly extralegal tricks to bring about justice, and the climax features Jack Ryan and the Pave Low crew disobeying orders to rescue the soldiers. Clancy notes that success doesn't justify the illegal nature of many of those actions.