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You know.. I know this steak doesn't exist. I know that when I put it in my mouth; the Matrix is telling my brain that it is juicy, and delicious. After nine years.. you know what I realize? Ignorance is bliss.

― Cypher justifying his decision to betray his friends and re-enter the Matrix.

Cypher[1] (born Reagan) was a redpill assigned to the Zion hovercraft Nebuchadnezzar under the command of Morpheus. He also betrayed the crew of the Nebuchadnezzar to aid Agent Smith and help him acquire information about the Zion mainframe. He is the hidden secondary antagonist in The Matrix.


Search for The One[]

Cypher Helps Neo Escape

Cypher aiding Morpheus and the others in setting Neo free.

Cypher's job, as with all other operatives, was to free human minds trapped within the Matrix. Cypher was disgusted with the nature of reality in comparison to the relative comforts found within the illusory world of the Matrix.

Cypher Talks with Neo

Cypher speaks with Neo while secretly operating the system.

Although a former bluepill, Cypher had skills on the operator console that allowed him to monitor the virtual reality broadcast feeds. When Neo quietly approached from behind, Cypher was startled, then switched off one of the displays at the console. He offered Neo a drink of the crew's homemade alcohol, which startled Neo with its powerful concentration. He warned Neo to do the same thing that all other Zion operatives do when they see an Agent: run.

Meeting with Smith[]

Cypher with Smith

Cypher making the deal with Smith.

However, Cypher was preparing for an illicit face-to-face negotiation with Agent Smith within the Matrix. Eating steak, Cypher explained that "ignorance is bliss". Completely disillusioned with life outside the Matrix, and thus bitterly regretting his decision to become a redpill, he struck a bargain with Smith to return him to the Matrix and erase his memory of ever awakening from it in exchange for Morpheus[2]. He also stated his desire to be "someone important, like an actor". Despite Smith's persistence, Cypher did not know the codes to the Zion mainframe but planned a trap for Morpheus, who did.

Raid at the rendezvous point[]

Cypher Phone

Cypher dropping his cell phone into the trash can to signal the Agents.

Cypher's plan began as Morpheus took Neo to see The Oracle for the first time. He dropped his activated cell phone into a trash can, allowing the Agents to trace its location. When Morpheus returned to the Lafayette Hotel, the Agents suddenly altered the hotel's programming, replacing all the doors and windows with brick walls, ambushing the Resistance. Neo witnessed a black cat strangely repeat its own action, and mentioned, "déjà vu". This alerted the others to a possible trap, as they explained that déjà vu is a glitch in the Matrix caused when something is changed. Unfortunately, Mouse was discovered before they could react, and was killed by the police.

Cypher Car

Cypher calls Tank to ask him for an exit.

Morpheus and his team attempted to escape down through the main wetwall of the building, but dust kicked by Neo made Cypher sneeze, leading to their discovery by the police. Agent Smith possessed the policeman's body and grabbed Neo through the wall, but Morpheus jumped the Agent, breaking his hold on Neo. While Morpheus' team escaped hastily down the wetwall, Morpheus fought Smith, but was outmatched and eventually captured for interrogation.

Betrayal of Cypher[]

Cypher with Rifle

Cypher shoots Tank with the lightning rifle.

Cypher managed to separate himself from his escaping comrades and jacked out before the others at an old TV repair shop. As Tank guided the rest to the same location, Cypher picked up a lightning rifle and blasted Tank. The beam glanced off Tank's chair and Tank attempted to counter before a second blast knocked him away. Tank's brother, Dozer, attacked, but Cypher fired a direct hit and killed him. Dropping the weapon beside Tank's body, Cypher took the operator headset and called Trinity, revealing his plan to the team.

Sadistically, he unplugged Apoc and Switch's headjacks from their bodies, killing them instantly. As he prepared to do the same to Neo, darkly testing the theory that Neo can't be killed if he is actually The One, Tank managed to regain consciousness and killed Cypher with the same lightning rifle he left beside him. Just before his death, Cypher managed to notice Tank regain consciousness and aim the rifle at him at the last minute and expressed shock and disbelief that Tank could have survived a direct hit from the rifle, though Tank replied vengefully that whether or not it should have been possible for him to survive, that doesn't change the fact that Cypher is about to die.

Cypher Death

Cypher is shot and killed by Tank using a lightning rifle.

With Cypher's damage partially undone, Morpheus was later rescued by Neo and Trinity, but the Agents realized that Cypher, their informant, may have failed. Morpheus was still alive but no further communication from Cypher was received. They ordered a Sentinel strike against the Nebuchadnezzar, which was stopped moments after Neo, empowered as The One, returned to the ship after his later encounter with Agents.


As a redpill on the Nebuchadnezzar, Cypher severely despised reality and admittedly wished he had chosen the blue pill instead. He much preferred the Matrix in comparison to reality, claiming that it was and could be more real than life on the Nebuchadnezzar was. Above all, Cypher possessed no loyalties to anyone and was a self-serving hedonistic man to the end; he displayed no qualms over betraying and killing people who were close to his friends. His disillusionment with the real world might be explained by a quote made earlier by Morpheus: "We have a rule. We never free a mind once it's reached a certain age. It's dangerous. The mind has trouble letting go." If this is true, Cypher was well over that age limit (being in the real world about 9 years at his point of betrayal) when he was freed. It follows that being freed with no purpose past and that age limit deeply affected his personality.

Cypher possessed an immensely sadistic side to his personality and brought on by his need to be free of the Matrix transformed him into a homicidal maniac; after revealing his treacherous nature he proceeded to unplug and effectively murder Apoc and Switch. The single person he despised more than anyone however was his leader, Morpheus, whom he described as a "jackoff" and was effectively tired of his "bullshit" (his beliefs of The One), and as such took great joy in betraying him and wished he could have seen the Agents break him. He then accused Morpheus of lying to them all and tricking them even stating that "If you'd have told us the truth, we would have told you to shove that red pill right up your ass."

Cypher also possessed strong feelings of lust towards Trinity whom he thought he was in love with and disturbingly informed that he had dreams of her. This did not stop him however from betraying and attempting to murder her like the rest.

While Cypher hated him for catching the attention of Morpheus and Trinity, he sympathized with Neo to some extent, once the revelation about the true nature of the Matrix made Neo snap and vomit from stress, and even joked with him about regretting not having taken the blue pill. It is also notable that Cypher is not the brightest candle on the chandelier, given that in his desperate plan to sell Morpheus out in exchange for going back into the Matrix, he had no way of guaranteeing that Smith would hold up his end of the bargain.


After the events of The Matrix, the Cypherites were founded from the beliefs of Cypher; made of redpills who, like Cypher, hate reality and wish to be reinserted into the power plant. They use a bluepill as their symbol.


  • Cypher is the first villain to be human, the second being Bane. He is also the only one of the two to be a villain of his own free will, as Bane only became a villain due to Smith overwriting his consciousness and taking over his body.
  • At the beginning of The Matrix, viewers can witness Cypher's plan taking hold to return himself to the power plant.[3] Knowing that Trinity is enamored with watching the redpill known as Thomas Anderson, he allowed a call he received from Trinity to be traced by Agents. During the same call, he also implied they would kill Thomas Anderson to Trinity. This relates to what Morpheus says later about never freeing a mind past certain age. Cypher thought that Neo would not be able to cope with the reality of The Matrix at his age and would subsequently die thus they would effectively be sentencing him to certain death by unplugging him. Though Trinity understands the risks, she is willing to follow Morpheus's orders because he believes Neo is The One which prompts Cypher to ask whether she herself believes it.
  • Cypher and Smith's exchange, namely Cypher wanting to be an actor and "forget everything" as well as Smith addressing him as "Mr. Reagan", implies that Cypher was meant to represent Ronald Reagan.


  1. An archaic definition for the term, "cypher" is "zero", making the character the (human) opposite of "The One", Neo, who encounters a negative later in his adventures.
  2. Cypher's role is akin to the role of the biblical figure Judas and his betrayal of Jesus Christ.
  3. Joe Pantoliano revealed the character's motivations in an interview as having fallen into disillusion with reality. Having been one of the previous men scouted as a potential "One", he has fallen from grace and is aware of previous candidates who had died, as well as others after himself. He has gained a desire to return to the Matrix as a result of his discontent.