Man: The Sympathizer character explained

Man is not only one of the Captain’s childhood best friends but also his handler. Duy Nguyễn plays Man in The Sympathizer.

Being biracial, the Captain was never fully accepted by his peers as one of their own until he became friends with Bon and Man.

Bon and Man became the Captain’s blood brothers, with the three of them pledging to be there for each other forever. 

While Bon serves in the South Vietnamese military, Man, as well as the Captain, are communists whose loyalties lie with North Vietnam during the war.

Saying goodbye to his friends

Man works as a dentist in South Vietnam, so no one suspects that he is actually a communist, passing intel to North Vietnam. 

The Captain is a mole planted in South Vietnam’s Secret Police by the North, and Man is his handler. They meet behind Bon’s back to discuss their moves.

Man makes the Captain promise him that he will find a way to get Bon and his family out of the country before the fall of Saigon. 

He then persuades the Captain to leave with the General and his group because he wants the Captain to continue spying on the General’s activities.

The Sympathizer Man
Man asks the Captain to leave the country with the General

The Captain wants to stay in Vietnam and build his country’s future, but Man believes he can be more useful in the US. 

Man stresses that the Captain has loved America since he went to college there, and reluctantly, the Captain agrees to leave the country.

However, like the Captain, Man also does not get to celebrate the country’s Liberation Day because he is caught in an attack. 

His face is burned by napalm, leading him to wear a mask at all times. The Captain keeps reporting back to Man from the US through letters containing coded messages, but Man never tells him about his accident.

However, Man never forgets his friends; he keeps a picture of Bon and the Captain inside the mask, the only place where it cannot be found. He also holds onto all the books and records the Captain left him.

Reuniting with the Captain as the Commissar 

Eventually, when the General forms an army and Bon is chosen for a recon mission to Vietnam, the Captain decides to follow Bon to protect him. 

Man asks the Captain not to come back, but the Captain pays no heed to his orders. After an unsuccessful recon mission, the Captain and Bon are captured and sent to a reeducation camp.

When Man hears about this, he requests to be transferred to the camp, where no one wants to work. Having risen through the ranks, he arrives at the camp as Commissar.

Man manages to avoid direct contact with his friends and shows leniency towards them, but he is forced to punish and torture them when they defy him, knowing that the Party is watching him.

Once the Captain figures out that Man is the Commissar who always wears a mask, Man speaks to him privately and tells him about his accident. 

Man teaches the Captain a crucial lesson: nothing is more important than freedom and independence, which changes the Captain’s perspective on the revolution.

Man still remembers the promise they made as blood brothers and values it above all else. Time and distance have not changed that.

Man helps the Captain and Bon escape while making it appear that the Captain overpowered him. For one last time, he watches his friends leave.


Also Read: Bon: The Sympathizer character explained

More from The Envoy Web