Versatile character actor Harry Townes is afforded a rare top-billed assignment in Operation Manhunt. Townes is cast as the real-life Igor Gouzenko, who while working as a code clerk in the Soviet embassy in Ottawa was instrumental in smashing a Red spy ring operating in Canada. The film recounts Gouzenko's disillusionment with the Communist party line, his decision to cooperate with federal officials, and the efforts by the KGB to put him out of the way permanently. Operation Manhunt was produced by Matty Fox, the head of Motion Pictures for Television, and was originally intended for a simultaneous theatrical and TV release. The story of Igor Gouzenko was previously dramatized on a bigger-budgeted scale in 20th Century-Fox's The Iron Curtain.