A Suspect File is one of the various documents Max Remington keeps in order to track the process of a plot in a game of Covert Action. It contains all the information collected about a single enemy agent. Suspect Files can be reviewed through the Check Data menu.
A Suspect File is created for an agent whenever Evidence is collected that pertains to that agent. Until then, the suspect's details may appear in other files, such as Clues, but only Hard Evidence can generate a new suspect file.
The Suspect File is simply a way to arrange all the collected data in a neat, easy-to-read format. It contains the basic information about the agent at the top, including his name and location, the Role of that agent in the plot (if any), and below that any actions that agent has performed that Max has any idea about.
At the top of the Suspect File is the agent's name - assuming it has already been discovered. If data about a suspect has been collected, but his/her name has not already been found, this will say "Agent X" (replace X with any randomly-selected letter used to identify only that agent).
The suspect's name is followed by his/her Rank, if it is known at all. Rank has little actual relevance in the game, as it does not accurately describe the agent's role in the plot and does not indicate whether or not he/she is involved at all. However, it can be used to determine which targets might be better to investigate early. Also, the rank of the Mastermind is always "Mastermind", the same as their Role. Ranks are usually much easier to determine than Roles.
Upon verifying the suspect's location (the city he/she is in), it will appear on the Suspect File. This lets you know which city in the current Theatre of Operations this agent resides in. This information can help you do a basic search in that city for more information, assuming you do not already have the suspect's Affiliation as well.
This shows the Organization this agent is affiliated with, assuming you already know it. Knowing a suspect's affiliation is very useful even if you don't know their location - you might be able to find the location be Breaking-Into Hideouts belonging to that organization, especially if you Hack a computer and run the suspect's name through it.
Knowing both the Affiliation and Location of an agent will allow you to look for their Hideout more efficiently. Remember that you do not always know where the hideout is in that city, and may have to locate it first.
Usually discovered last after obtaining all other basic information about a suspect. This lets you know where the suspect was recruited and by whom - giving you the name of the agent who recruited them. The location of recruiting appears to be completely irrelevant and has no bearing on where to find either agent. However, if you do not already have the name of the recruiting agent, this gives you a strong lead to follow.
Red Herrings do not have recruiting information, as they are not involved in the plot.
This is a visibly separate line that displays the Role of a suspect in the current plot. If a suspect's role has not yet been discovered, this line will always show "Unknown". Knowing the role of a suspect can give you a general idea of what they might be expected to do during the current plot, though knowing the Role Archtype (which isn't shown on the Suspect File) is considerably more helpful.
A Red Herring will have a role of either "NOT INVOLVED" or "Red Herring" shown on their Suspect File once it has been confirmed that they are not involved in the plot. There is no difference between these two.
The bulk of the Suspect File contains information about all the actions this suspect has performed that Max already knows about. Each event is comprised of several elements, which may be discovered separately of one another.
Most common are messages sent or received by the suspect, which will (when fully investigated) will show the name of the agent at the other end of the message, their location and affiliation, and the date on which the message was sent, followed by a the content of the message (if decrypted or otherwise eavesdropped).
Meetings between agents are recorded the same way.
Red Herrings do not show any events on this list since they don't actually do anything.
- Main article: Evidence
Info may be added to the Suspect File whenever hard Evidence is collected about that suspect. Such evidence can be collected in a myriad of different ways:
- Photographing Containers during Break-Ins
- Hacking Terminals during Break-Ins
- Interrogating other suspects
- And so forth.
Whenever such Evidence is collected, you will usually get a pop-up of the suspect file with a small box explaining the nature of the new data collected, which will then appear on the file.
There are some circumstances where the game will fill in the blanks for you using data gathered from other files.
Another example is collecting a Personnel File for an organization. It will automatically create new Suspect Files for any agent on the list that does not already have one, and fill in the Affiliation and Location data in all Suspect Files pertaining to the agents on the list automatically.
However, this is not always the case - sometimes the player has to make deductions on his own. A good example are Clues: Lets say you have a Suspect File for a suspect called "Ismail Baader", but have no other information about him. You then discover all pieces to a clue that leads to an "Ismail Baader", and describes his affiliation, location, and possibly even his role in the plot. The game does not automatically add this info to the Suspect File, despite there being an obvious connection between the clue and the suspect (via his unique Name). The player is required to make that connection himself.