Journalist Cal McAffrey is assigned to cover the murder of an assistant to U.S Congressman Stephen Collins. McAffrey’s investigation about his old friend’s assistant leads to the discovery of a cover-up that involves many prominent Washington D.C. politicians.

Kevin MacDonald directs Russell Crowe as McAffrey and Ben Affleck as Collins in the 2009 film State of Play which is based on a 2003 six-part BBC series.

The film also stars Rachel McAdams as reporter Della Frye and Helen Mirren as editor Cameron Lynne.

Russell Crowe and Rachel McAdams in a scene from the 2009 film State of Play. The two actors have also appeared in other journalism films. Crowe in the 1999 film, The Insider and McAdams in the 2015 film Spotlight. (Universal Pictures)

Rep. Stephen Collins:

Am I talking to my friend now or am I talking to a reporter?

Cal McAffrey:

I gotta be both.

Trailer of the 2009 film State of Play by Universal PicturesUniversal Pictures/Working Title Films/StudioCanal

Trivia from

  • The newspapers seen in the movie were printed on the presses of The Washington Post.
  • The movie had real journalists as extras in some scene. lists these as including  Margaret Carlson, Steve Clemons, E.J. Dionne, Jr., Katty Kay, John Palmer,Bob Schieffer,  and Bob Woodward,
  • Click the link for more on the film State of Play
  • Click the link for more on the tv series State of Play
Russell Crowe and Rachel McAdams walking in the office of the fictional Washington Globe newspaper in the 2009 film State of Play. (Universal Pictures)

You’re just seeking the truth. You’re a truth seeker. You can’t help it, that is just who you are. You’re such a hypocrite.

  You’re not interested in me. You come in here, it’s all about you and you getting your story.

Rep. Stephen Collins