Ed Killifer Traitorous DEA Agent in Licence to Kill
Ed Killifer is a DEA agent and associate of Felix Leiter, who turns traitor after taking a $2 million payoff to help drug lord Franz Sanchez escape from U.S. custody. Played by American actor Everett McGill in the 1989 James Bond film Licence to Kill, the character re-appears in John Gardner’s accompanying novel.
DEA Agent Ed Killifer is at the wedding of partner Felix Leiter and his wife Della, where he applauds James Bond and Felix for their successful capture of Franz Sanchez.
Killifer later taunts Sanchez about his mistake of stepping foot in the United States, where he can’t simply offer a million-dollar bribe and escape, as he might in South America. Unfazed, Sanchez doubles his bribe offer to whoever sets him free.
Killifer’s apparent outrage at this leads his colleague, Hawkins, to restrain him, while he angrily assures Sanchez that a prison cell awaits him in Quantico.
During Sanchez’s transfer from Florida to Virginia in an armored car, Killifer is accompanying him. Unexpectedly, Killifer assaults the driver with his shotgun, causing the car to lose control and plummet off Seven Mile Bridge into Key West’s deep waters.
Killifer and Sanchez then make their escape in a Shark Hunter II submersible, courtesy of Sanchez’s associate, Milton Krest.
After reaching Krest’s Ocean Exotica warehouse, Sanchez pays Killifer with a suitcase full of cash. Krest proposes killing Killifer, fearing he knows too much, but Sanchez rebuffs him, valuing loyalty over money.
Now caught up in the brutal world of drug trafficking, Ed Killifer witnesses the torture of Felix Leiter, his former colleague, who is slowly lowered into a Shark Tank. Shocked, Leiter realizes Killifer’s betrayal, but Killifer dismisses his former friend’s shock, stating that a two-million-dollar bribe is too tempting to pass up.
Later, as Ed Killifer awaits pickup at Krest’s warehouse, the sound of gunshots alerts him, and he sees Bond killing two guards. Killifer corners Bond with a revolver and reveals the trap door used to dunk Leiter. Just then, Leiter’s fisherman friend, Sharkey, emerges from another trap door, knocking Killifer off balance.
Bond seizes this chance and pushes Killifer into the shark tank. Hanging precariously over the water, Killifer pleads with Bond to save him, offering to share his bribe money. Bond retorts, “You earned it. You keep it, old buddy,” and throws the suitcase of money at Killifer.
This causes Killifer to lose his grip and fall into the shark tank, where he meets his end at the jaws of the same shark that mauled Leiter, the man he betrayed for quick money.
Everett McGill, born on October 21, 1945, is an American actor recognized for his potent portrayals of military figures and villainous characters. Rising to fame in the 1970s with TV shows like The Guiding Light, McGill marked his cinematic breakthrough with his role as Naoh in Quest for Fire.
His performances in films like Silver Bullet, Field of Honor, Heartbreak Ridge, and Licence to Kill further established him in Hollywood.
McGill also had a fruitful collaboration with director David Lynch, notably in Dune and Twin Peaks. After retiring in 1999, Everett McGill was persuaded by Lynch to return for the 2017 Twin Peaks revival.