Strip Search (film)

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Strip Search
Poster of the movie Strip Search.jpg
Directed by Sidney Lumet
Produced by Mark A. Baker
Irene Burns
Written by Tom Fontana
Starring Glenn Close
Maggie Gyllenhaal
Ken Leung
Bruno Lastra
Dean Winters
Music by Paul Chihara
Cinematography Ron Fortunato
Editing by Tirsa Hackshaw
Tom Swartwout
Country United States
Language English
Original channel HBO
Release date
  • April 27, 2004 (2004-04-27)
Running time 120 minutes

Strip Search is a drama film made for the HBO network, first aired on April 27, 2004. The film explores the status of individual liberties in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks and the approval of the USA PATRIOT Act. The film was directed by Sidney Lumet and written by Oz creator Tom Fontana. It stars Glenn Close, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Ken Leung, Bruno Lastra and Dean Winters. The film was first screened at the Monaco Film Premiere with Lumet in person presenting it, in the presence of Fontana.


The film is built around two main parallel stories, each containing almost identical dialogues. One story line involves Linda Sykes (Gyllenhaal), an American woman detained in the People's Republic of China, being interrogated by a military officer (Leung). In the other storyline, Sharif Bin Said (Lastra), an Arab man detained in New York City, is interrogated by two FBI agents (Winters and Close). Both characters are graduate students detained with no hard evidence and interrogated about unspecified activities which may or may not be related to terrorist plots.

In the course of the increasingly brutal interrogations, both Sykes and Bin Said are strip searched against their will by their interrogators and are subjected to a cavity search. In both cases the protagonists appear to have only tenuous connections with the suspected terrorist plots.

The film ends with the question: "Must security and safety come at the price of freedom?"


Actor Role
Glenn Close FBI Agent Karen Moore
Maggie Gyllenhaal Linda Sykes
Bruno Lastra Sharif Bin Said
Dean Winters FBI Agent Ned McGrath
Ken Leung Liu Tsung-Yuan

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