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The subject of this article appears in Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War The subject of this article appeared in Zombies mode The subject of this article appears in Call of Duty: Warzone The subject of this article appears in Call of Duty: Mobile
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"If he's active, something big is gonna happen. Something that could shift the balance of the Cold War."
— Adler about Perseus

Special Officer Russell Adler [1] is the deuteragonist to antagonist (player-determined) of Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War. He is a CIA agent charged with stopping the mysterious Soviet agent codenamed Perseus. Adler is described as "America's monster" with a "dark charisma". [2]

Adler is also playable as an operator in Call of Duty: Warzone upon the purchase of Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War. [3]



Born on February 12th, 1937. Russell Adler enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1955 and qualified for U.S. Army Special Forces in 1957. He was recruited into Central Intelligence Agency in 1959.

Russell Adler later joined the Special Activities Division in 1966 and was assigned to the MACV-SOG in 1967 to investigate Soviet activity in Vietnam.

After Vietnam, Adler disappeared from and only sporadically appears in the CIA's records but continued to be affiliated with a number of clandestine operations. His deep knowledge of covert tactics, fluency in Russian and German, and mastery of espionage make him one of the few key operatives that the CIA can consistently rely upon.[4] One such operation was the raid of Rebirth Island, in which he was responsible for capturing and interrogating Vikhor Kuzmin, a Soviet operative in charge of overseeing Nova 6's production on the island. Despite his interrogations, Adler was unable to force Kuzmin to disclose any critical information; in retaliation for what Lev Kravchenko did to fellow CIA operative Grigori Weaver back at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Adler stabbed Kuzmin's left eye with a knife.


On January 13, 1981, during a mission with Frank Woods and Alex Mason in Turkey, Adler discovered that the Soviet agent Perseus became active and four days later Jason Hudson tasked Adler to build a team to track down and eliminate Perseus. During his mission, he came across an injured operative of Perseus, who he subsequently captured and brainwashed into falsely believing they were a CIA agent who served with Adler in Vietnam, alongside nicknaming the operative "Bell".

Despite breaking through the conditioning, Bell still managed to assist Adler and his allies in stopping Perseus' plot to detonate nukes across Europe. Adler would take Bell to a cliffside, telling them they were a hero for making sacrifices to stop Perseus. Adler would then tell Bell that he had to make one last sacrifice, and that it wasn't personal before both of them drew their pistols on each other. The fate of Bell remains unknown, but Adler managed to survive the encounter and return to the CIA.


Adler would soon find himself confronting Kuzmin again, where would be baited by the Perseus operative into coming to the Mall at the Pines after a raid on a CIA base in West Berlin. Alongside a strike team, Adler arrives at the mall, only to be ambushed by Kuzmin and his soldiers and found Nova 6 barrels. "Stitch" would give the order to kill all of the NATO operatives - save for Adler. A firefight ensued, which ended with Adler being captured by Stitch and transported onto a helicopter.

By April 19th, 1984, Adler was reported by Kapano "Naga" Vang to be headed to Verdansk. At the same time Frank Woods, Karla Rivas , Terrel Wolf and a small strike team chased after Naga and his men near a camp in Laos.

Weeks later, Hudson contacts Wolf for a sit-rep and news on Adler. The team eventually got "skunked" hard but were able to get through heavy firefights in the camps. They eventually found a safehouse where Nova 6 barrels were being stored but upon finding them they were empty and were used to draw in Adler and the Team. They interrogate the remaining bad guys in the safe house and search for intel which all pointed to Verdansk. Hudson orders the team to head to Verdansk and "bring our boy home".

On June 2nd, Stitch has Perseus operatives Freya "Wraith" Helvig and Roman "Knight" Gray retrieve Dragovich's data on brainwashing from a base in Mount Yamantau. In the process, the duo destroyed the site so that the Soviets could blame the United States for the incident. With the data secure, Stitch intends to brainwash Adler and "entire nations" with the same method used by Dragovich and Steiner on Alex Mason. Unfortunately for Stitch, Adler was rescued on June 10th and brought back into NATO's fold.

On June 26th, two satellites collectively known as the "Jumpseat Constellation" are crashed by Perseus operative Owethu "Jackal" Mabuza. One lands in Verdansk, while the other lands in Algeria. A day after, Adler alongside Jabari Salah and other NATO operatives head to the crash site in Algeria to secure a data recorder from the satellite. Adler rushes into the firefight, acting of his own accord by stealing the data recorder and lying that it must have burnt up on re-entry.

After his outing in Algeria, Adler began working off the grid on an unknown project in Verdansk. During a private meeting between Woods and Hudson, the two came to the conclusion that Adler had been compromised. With this in mind, Hudson ordered Woods to have Mason bring Adler in.

"Oh god, what have I done?"
— Adler, upon having his mind restored

On August 2nd, 1984, Mason managed to capture Adler and bring him to the same interrogation room that Hudson and Grigori Weaver put Mason in after killing Fredrich Steiner 16 years prior. While there, Mason manages to snap Adler out of his Perseus brainwashing and back into the folds of NATO. They, along with Woods and Hudson, then travel to Verdansk to investigate a series of explosions in Verdansk.

On August 19th, Adler, along with Woods, Hudson and Mason confronted Stitch who was at Perseus' grave in the woods of Verdansk. Adler, now free of his brainwashing, confronted Stitch at gunpoint with a 1911. Stitch attempted to activate Adler's conditioning, but it failed as Adler told his nemesis that he was fixed. Stitch was unfazed, stating it was "worth a shot" anyway. Adler then demanded Stitch tell him the whereabouts of Perseus, where Stitch revealed to him that there never was any single Perseus, and that the man he had been searching for all this time had died years prior in 1983 due to cancer. Adler told Stitch that there was blood on his hands, but Stitch mocked his hypocrisy, calling him the "Scourge of Verdansk". Stitch went on to state they were on what once was the Eastern Front, talking about his people's resolve during WWII. Tired of Stitch's words, Alder resolved to killing Stitch, though the Soviet solemnly told Adler that his life no longer mattered, telling him to finish what he started on Rebirth Island before adding that he already changed the world in ways he could not imagine. With that, Adler executed Stitch with a shot to the back of the head.

Five days later on August 24th, Adler and his team visited an abandoned Nazi bunker in Verdansk, where they encountered a strange, old man with his back turned to them. They demanded the man identify himself, pointing their guns at him. The man told them to relax, and that they were on the same side. He then revealed himself to be now-retired Captain Carver Butcher of the SOE, where he talked about how he founded Task Force Vanguard. Adler motioned for the rest of his team to lower their weapons, knowing they were in the company of an ally. Butcher then went on to explain how after World War II, the Allies hunted down whatever Nazi forces remained - starting in Caldera.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War

Adler is unlocked as a playable operator for Multiplayer and Zombies modes by completing the challenge.



Name Rarity Image How to obtain
Mountain Drab Base Adler Mountain Drab Skin.webp In Multiplayer, get 10 kills with Scorestreaks or Killstreaks.
Boarding Party Rare Adler Boarding Party Skin.png Battle Pass Season Four Tier 50
Navigator Rare Adler Navigator Skin.png Operator Mission
Spotter Rare Adler Spotter Skin.png Operator Mission
Renegade Rare Adler Renegade Skin.webp Battle Pass Season Two Tier 20
Beirut Rare Adler Beirut Skin.webp Operator Mission
Bright Star Rare Adler Bright Star Skin.webp Operator Mission
Iron Delta Rare Adler Iron Delta Skin.webp Operator Mission
Lighthouse Rare Adler Lighthouse Skin.webp Operator Mission
Traveler Rare Adler Traveler Skin.webp Battle Pass Season One Tier 1
Globetrotter Rare Adler Globetrotter Skin.webp Operator Mission
Summit Rare Adler Summit Skin.webp Operator Mission
Agent Zero Epic Adler Agent Zero Skin.png Battle Pass Season Six Tier 0
Duress Epic Adler Duress Skin.png Operator Mission
Retrieval Epic Adler Retrieval Skin.png Operator Mission
Base Jumper Epic Adler Base Jumper Skin.webp Battle Pass Season One Tier 90
Stalker Epic Adler Stalker Skin.webp Operator Mission
Glitz Epic Adler Glitz Skin.webp Operator Mission
Confidential Epic Adler Confidential Skin.webp Bundle Black Ops Cold War Starter Pack
Dapper Epic Adler Dapper Skin.png Bundle Agent Adler
Detective Epic Adler Detective Skin.webp Bundle Double Agent
Gauntlet Epic Adler Gauntlet Skin.webp Bundle Field General
Ranger Epic Adler Ranger Skin.webp Bundle Scout Team
Razor Wire Epic Adler Razor Wire Skin.webp Bundle Platoon Sergeant
Red Epic Adler Red Skin.webp Bundle Shamrocked
Miami Epic Adler Miami Skin.webp Bundle Miami Nights
Sterling Epic Sterling Skin Adler BOCW.png Bundle Silver Fox
Wetlander Epic Adler Wetlander Skin.webp Bundle River Slasher
Ambassador Legendary Adler Ambassador Skin.webp Game Fuel's Exclusive Content (US only)
Gunslinger Legendary Adler Gunslinger Skin.webp Bundle Most Wanted
Life Guard Legendary Adler Life Guard Skin.png Bundle Tracer Pack: Fireworks
Tortured & Rescued Legendary Adler Tortured & Rescued Skin.png Complete all Black Ops Cold War or Warzone challenges for Hunt for Adler (initially)
Log into Warzone during Season Three (since April 30th, 2021) [5]
Cipher Ultra Adler Cipher Skin.png Tracer Pack: Brain Washed Reactive Bundle
Free Spirit Legendary Free Spirit Adler Skin BOCW.png Tracer Pack: Poison Sky Mastercraft Bundle

Call of Duty: Warzone

Adler is mentioned in several intel pieces in Call of Duty: Warzone. The intels relate to his investigation into Perseus, who had ties with Imran Zakhaev. He is also playable as an Operator with the purchase of Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War.

Call of Duty: Mobile

Adler could be unlocked for Call of Duty: Mobile as a playable character by playing the Multiplayer Open Beta of Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War. [6] He was later added in the Season 13: Winter War Battle Pass. [7] Adler is also a character in the Comics.

Adler first appears in the Season 11 Anniversary comic. Ghost, who has met up with the rest of his fellow operators in The Club after an EMP attack launched by the Five Knights, is introduced to Adler by Captain Price after he admits that they have no way to combat the new threat presented by them. Adler says that they do have ways to combat the new threat, and then inducts the operators into the United Anti-Terrorism Coalition. He ends off the statement by saying "Ladies and gentlemen, we're going dark."

Adler and the rest of the team start to plan out their assault on Five Knights locations. When asked on how they would coordinate or even reach those locations, Adler presents the team with Swiss mechanical watches, which are unaffected by EMPs. Price also notes that Adler is not the only Cold War relic in operational state in the bunker, indicating an old helicopter. During all of this, a character named Templar is preparing himself, and he appears to have a personal grudge against the operators of the Coalition. The Coalition begins striking 3 key sites of the Five Knights simultaneously; Price and Soap lead an assault team on the Communication Centre, Mara and her team storm in at the Command Center in Alcatraz, while Ghost and Tank strike a production facility in Hackney Yard.

Later, Price, Ghost and Adler discuss the aftermath of their joint operation; Mace is in a Black Site facing interrogation, Templar and Hidora are in the wind, Soap is injured but will be battle ready within a few weeks. It is further revealed that Mara made it out alive, but was wounded badly and is in a coma. Ghost admits that they won the battle and takes an oath that he will "Win the War."

As Ghost expresses grief for not being able to save Tank and the fact that they don't have enough time and intel, Adler comforts him by saying that they do have intel and mentions that there is a place in Siberia from where Makarov possibly got the Nova Gas from. He then says that it's coming all around the same way like it did during his days, and narrates his story. Some time during the Cold War, Adler led a small team into a Soviet facility in Siberia along with his friend Stansfield. They had found out crucial information about something that the Five Knights could also have gotten their hands on, and eventually carried out. However, when tried to exfil, they were surrounded by a large group of enemies, and Stansfield stayed behind to cover their escape, only to be shot dead, which Adler could do nothing but watch in horror. Back in present day, Adler finishes his story by saying that both Stansfield and Tank knew what they were doing, and so should Ghost. When Ghost questions if the research facility is of any more importance, Adler says that there might be something left in there, although it will be a long shot. Ghost agrees and says that he will take it, to which Adler responds that they will have to wait, and Ghost must not rush for revenge. Ghost in response says that this is not about revenge, and they must get the intel before the Five Knights do. Adler replies that they cannot risk to lose any more men as the Five Knights already hit other bases hard, and tells Ghost that he must be patient. Ghost takes it for an excuse to do nothing and walks away, much to Adler's dismay.

When Price cannot find Ghost, he comes to Soap asking for his whereabouts. Adler comes to them saying that he knows where Ghost is, and he is "doing something stupid". When Price asks what Adler has done, he replies that he told Ghost about the operation in Siberia.

Adler reappears again sometime later, arriving on the Ghosts' ship via helicopter. He suspects that as he hasn't heard from Price's team that has been dispatched to Texas to locate Templar, they may have most likely fallen into a trap. He discusses the matter with Captain Merrick, and then later visits their German Shepherd Riley.

Later, Adler is shown to have arrived in Texas, greeting Gabriel Rorke just as he was attempting to get his location out of Price. Rorke mocks Adler for coming to him so soon, to which Adler replies that he's brought backup, which Rorke scoffs at. Adler then says that he's brought an "old friend"--a statement that leaves Templar in denial, as he says "Impossible". The "old friend" is revealed to be Ghost, apparently alive and accompanied by Riley, who shocks everyone with his arrival as he says his famous line, "You can't kill a Ghost".

Adler attempts to prevent Rorke from escaping afterwards when he heads to an underground bunker to exfil via helicopter. He manages to graze him on the ear but fails to stop him from leaving as Dame thwarts him. Later on, when Adler leads the rest of his group outside, they stumble upon the dead body of Mara, leaving them all devastated.

Later on, Adler rendezvouses with Shepherd on his ship with Soap & Alex. Rorke manages to escape despite his ship sustaining significant damage as he drops naval mines in the UAC’s path to delay their pursuit. Adler however, isn’t concerned about his getaway as he had apparently reached out to his contacts in South America, noting that there’s only one place where he could be headed.

Adler doesn’t appear for a period of time until the UAC’s mission into Blackout. Although it’s stated by Shepherd that Adler is coordinating their attacks from another location, he is ultimately revealed to be the 5th Knight, as Ghost encounters him in a surveillance room behind a bookshelf, via a key card that Templar had given him earlier. Ghost is enraged upon learning that Adler had apparently betrayed them, but he insists that everything he’s done was for the sake of his country. He goes on to state that the whole thing is a “false flag”; a scenario where a country launches an attack on itself disguised as an enemy to start a war.


Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War

Call of Duty: Mobile


Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War

  • Adler's blood type is AB-.
  • If asked by "Bell" about the origin of his facial scars, Adler will come up with one of three lies:
    • He may cryptically answer that he was once in with the wrong crowd when he was younger, and will vaguely mention that an unnamed girl "wasn't worth it".
    • Another story told by Adler is that he was chasing a target when he tried to make a jump off the roof of a building. The jump was successful, but the landing "not so much." He then gives "Bell" advice to always know where the utility poles are.
    • He also may state that he was attacked by a tiger during a mission in 1973.
  • When discussing the archival of Soviet intel recovered in Vietnam, Adler tells Bell about his ex-wife. It is not clear whether he is joking or not.
  • The Bright Star skin is a reference to the Operation Bright Star exercises; a multinational military exercise held every two years in Egypt since 1980.
  • The Gauntlet skin is a reference to Nathan Summers, otherwise known as Cable from Marvel Comics.
  • The Beirut skin is in reference to the 1983 Beirut barracks bombings[citation needed], an event where two suicide bombers attacked two buildings being used as temporary barracks for the Multinational Forces, primarily that of the USMC and French Army.
  • The Wetlander skin is a reference to the 1986 movie Crocodile Dundee and its titular character played by Paul Hogan.
  • The Razor Wire skin is a reference to 1986 movie Platoon's character Sergeant Barnes, whom also sports similar facial scars to Adler's.
  • The Red skin is a reference to 1985 movie Invasion U.S.A character Matt Hunter portrayed by Chuck Norris.

Call of Duty: Mobile

  • In the comics, Adler tells Ghost that "You're a goddamn hero kid." This echoes Adler's words to "Bell" in the Truth ending of Call of Duty: Black Ops: Cold War.