After joining the FBI from the Naval Intelligence, Joseph D. Pistone developed himself as a skilled undercover operative. Pistone was chosen for the role after leading a fruitful campaign in which the FBI apprehended some of the most lucrative robbery rings. There was no going back for Pistone at this point, and when the chance to uncover a ring of truck hijackings and Mafia presented itself, Pistone was willing to put his talents to use. His cover character was a jewel thief from Miami, Florida. Pistone familiarized himself with the trade of jewel theft and the tactics deployed by professional burglars in the job. Once the stage was set and Pistone was ready to go under with the “wise guys,” his identity was scrubbed, and he assumed the identity, Donald Brasco.
Donnie Brasco begins his operation by hanging out at the local social joints such as social clubs and bars in the crime hotspots. His efforts paid off as he was introduced to a criminal gang by the bartender in one of the bars. Brasco begins his work with Jilly Greca’s crew which at the time was closely associated with the Colombo crime family. In the course of operations under Greca’s crew in hijackings and theft of merchandise, Brasco meets Anthony Mirra. Mirra is part of the Bonanno crime family which has more influence than Greca’s crew. For Brasco, this is a golden opportunity which he embraces as he spends more of his time with Mirra.
Brasco manages to become close with Mirra and in the course of their interactions, he met Benjamin Ruggiero, aka Lefty. Brasco and Lefty develop a close friendship following their partner, Mirra, being sent back to prison. Brasco builds his reputation based on his impressive earnings and trustworthiness which is a valuable trait in the business. His success is associated with the “Kings Court Bottle Club” in Florida that fostered a good relationship with the Santo Trafficante and Bonannos. Brasco’s efforts are noticed by the top ranks of the Bonnanos, in particular, captain Dominick Napolitano, aka Sonny Black. Sonny is impressed and is among the senior members willing to sponsor Brasco to become a member of the mafia.
On a personal note, Brasco has his struggles which results from his deep undercover role that denies him the privilege of seeing his family. Brasco would spend months away from his family, his wife and three daughters.
On the mafia family front, Brasco is caught in a conflict over his “ownership”. Lefty claims he owns Brasco based on the fact he first met Donnie while Mirra claims he is the one responsible for bringing him into the family, and Sonny Black bases his ownership claim on his position and role as a captain in the family.
Six years into the operations, the waters of the mafia world become murky and treacherous as three powerful captains of the Bonanno family are gunned down by members of the crime family. It raises the stakes and the need to pull Brasco out of the operations. However, Donnie insists he has to stay to prove a point to the mafia “wise men” that they can be infiltrated and destroyed. A day is set for pulling the plug on the operation.
Donnie’s final act to become “a made man” is to execute Anthony Indelicato, aka Bruno. At this point, the FBI pulls out Brasco and reveals his true identity as an Agent to Sonny Black. The news is unbelievable to the mafia, and Sonny passes the information to his bosses who order the execution of the members who brought Donnie into the family. Sonny Black and Mirra are executed, but Lefty escapes when he was arrested before a meet.
The operation ended as a success after Pistone collected evidence to interdict 200 plus mafia men and 100 successful convictions.