In The Matrix, Cypher enters the Matrix to speak with the Agents, then leaves again. We never see if he has an operator, and as he kills Tank and Dozer you might assume he doesn't have one.

If he didn't have an operator how does he jack in/out of the Matrix?

  • 36
    He wrote a script that can do Tank's job?
    – bitmask
    Feb 29, 2012 at 21:18
  • 4
    @bitmask - According to the Wachowskis, that's precisely what he did.
    – Valorum
    Jun 21, 2015 at 15:34
  • @Valorum Which leaves me thinking that it begs the question of why they have operators in the first place, if the job can be parceled out to a script (not contradicting: if it's canon, then it's canon). Jul 29, 2021 at 5:47
  • 3
    @CharlesRockafellor - Because the operators do more than just getting people in and out of the Matrix at a set time and location.
    – Valorum
    Jul 29, 2021 at 6:57

8 Answers 8


According to the Wachowskis, Neo interrupts Cypher writing a script (some kind of automated operator) that will enable him to enter and leave the Matrix without a human operator present.

WachowskiBros: Cypher, at the beginning of this scene, is setting up an automated system to allow him to go meet with Agent Smith.

As to how he got the jack into his head, we're left to assume that he simply reached behind himself.

  • 4
    if that were the case i'd also assume that someone else would have been able to create the same type of automated system eliminating the need for them to use a phone as a connection in later parts. it is a huge plot device. i mean you'd think they would have something like that to begin with if it were possible. i think the wachowskis didn't really think it entirely through. i think a far more plausible explanation is something to do with him working with the agents and them disconnecting him from the inside.
    – Alex
    May 7, 2017 at 13:39
  • 1
    @Alex - More plausible than what the writers said about the world that they created?
    – Valorum
    May 7, 2017 at 13:54
  • when things are not entirely clear it leaves room for speculation. my opinion is just that: speculation based on the matrix universe as we know it. i feel as though when creating large grandiose universes its difficult to cover all the basis - hence plot holes. this would account for a major one as it would eliminate the need for a phone, which functions as a measure of urgency and a plot device in and of itself; i refuse to believe that in all the time the resistance has existed nobody but cypher figured this crucial thing out.
    – Alex
    May 7, 2017 at 14:11
  • 1
    so i tend to air on the side that the bros didn't really think it through and that there is a more plausible explanation.
    – Alex
    May 7, 2017 at 14:11

I always assumed that he left a secured phone ringing from the moment he entered. Most of their hard lines are in abandoned or remote locations. He could set the phone to ring and just let it ring forever until he comes back and picks up the handset.

Based on the way answering the phone seems to instantly retrieve your consciousness, I don't believe an operator is required for that portion. The operator is only required to create a connection from your body to the hard line within the matrix. Often you call the operator to alert them you want to exit and so he can direct you to the nearest one.

  • 18
    Since he was collaborating with the agents, why would he need a 'secured line'? He might have been more lax or completely unconcerned about the security of his link.
    – Zoredache
    Feb 29, 2012 at 22:54
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    I believe hard lines are called "hard" because they actually connect to external sources from the Maxtrix. As opposed to "soft" lines which would just be inter-Matrix connections. Feb 29, 2012 at 23:09
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    I agree with this answer. Jacking into the Matrix without an operator could be possible (script?), but it's very risky since you don't have an operator on standby in case something goes wrong. Since Cypher was meeting Agents he felt safe enough to go in on his own. Mar 1, 2012 at 10:52
  • 7
    Exactly. The main functions of the Operator are to act as mission control, and to hack the Matrix to make unauthorised entrances/exits possible. If you're meeting an Agent, you don't need either.
    – Tynam
    Mar 8, 2012 at 23:56
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    The one issue I have with this is that he would have to physically plug himself into/out of the machiens they use to get into the matrix.
    – AncientSwordRage
    Sep 24, 2012 at 10:50

I don't think he does. He's reading the code directly.

Neo surprises him at the console in the middle of the night. He jumps, then quickly hides what he was doing - from which I always understood that he was in the middle of his conversation with Agent Smith. When Neo finally leaves, we see him in the restaurant, presumably finishing the interrupted conversation from before - but, as you say, there's no evidence that he was jacked in or that he had an operator.

I think that the continuation is just the same as before: he's interacting via the code, and he's so used to it that, as he says to Neo, he just sees "blonde, brunette, redhead..." - and, he tastes the steak in exactly the same way.

  • 19
    Interesting idea - but I don't entirely buy it either. The "blond, brunette" comment appears to be a bit of a joke. He's just said that the matrix has far too much data to be fed through the imaging system so they have to view it in code. But being able to perhaps send messages back and forth in code is one thing - visualizing being in a restaurant and eating a juicy steak is another. I'm sure he was able to perhaps communicate with Agent Smith via the terminals when disturbed by Neo, but I doubt that viewing the code gives him that immersive experience. Feb 29, 2012 at 22:52
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    I have to agree. During that conversation, he actually says something like "I know this is not a real stake and that the Matrix is signalling my brain...". He wouldn't say that if he was reading code.
    – HNL
    Mar 1, 2012 at 4:02
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    This is how I always understood it as well. Of course this clashes with the steak scene but I’ve always taken this as a bit of artistic liberty. Or Cypher was being figurative … after all, he was currently negotiating an endless supply of succulent steaks, his imagination might have been running wild. Mar 1, 2012 at 10:14
  • How about when Neo walks up and scares him while he's "working". He turns off the monitors on the left side..
    – calebds
    Jan 9, 2013 at 0:36
  • 3
    Cypher could be reading code during his initial negotiations with the AIs and then later schedules an actual "in-person" meeting, once the details are hammered out. Jan 29, 2015 at 21:39

I would assume that since he was working WITH the machines, and expected them to plug him back in, he would have to have reason to think they could. Likely the machines were allowing his signal in and out of the Matrix, thus preventing the need for an Operator to hack in.


An operator could have seen who he was talking to, so he didn't have an operator.

He made too much mention of the matrix telling his brain about the flavor of the steak to be interacting with the code via terminal.

Since I script things for administration purposes all the time, I have to assume that he was able to script the portions requiring an operator or otherwise perform operator functions himself remotely from inside the matrix.

If it is a hole, it really isn't that big of one.


Presumably jacking into constructs is a commonplace activity on the Nebuchadnezzar. They use it for training/planning as well as recreation. Going by Mouse' offer to "arrange a much more personalized milieu" for Neo and the woman in the red dress, we can assume that some form of construct cybersex is practiced at least by part of the human resistance community, and presumably they're not all exhibitionists, so some level of privacy is attainable when jacking into constructs. So it's likely that Cypher was similarly able to jack into the Matrix secretly for short periods of time to coordinate with the agents.

The only other alternative I can see is that the agents either provided Cypher with some alternate machine tech that let him enter the matrix in private—for instance, some kind of man-portable miniaturized headjack that Cypher could use in his room, or else he'd have to slip off the ship to an alternate full-sized jack-in station that he/the machines have hidden somewhere. The latter seems much less likely as his being completely missing from the ship would raise a lot of suspicions.


I always thought that that scene was a flashback. That he did that last time he was in the Matrix, or something like that.

  • Any support of this? It's probably the most likely explanation.
    – AncientSwordRage
    Mar 1, 2012 at 20:02
  • 2
    I'd consider it unlikely - that would mean that Tank jacked him in, he met with the agents while Tank is watching (?), then he jacked back out with some sort of excuse for what he'd been up to. At the very least Morpheus would likely have been informed by Tank that something was up.
    – Adam V
    May 16, 2013 at 14:24

I think this has to do with the agents themselves.. They create the connection for him i.e they download and upload him..

Since he is the mole, he has already given the matrix information about the ship and the connectivity protocols.

He does ask them to plug him back in. Jacking in/out is a function of the matrix so it is presumable that the agents/matrix can do so when needed.

  • But you still need to be physically plugged in by someone else, don't you?
    – AncientSwordRage
    Mar 1, 2012 at 20:02
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    @Pureferret - Evidently not. We see people plugging themselves into the matrix in several of the webcomics and animatrix.
    – Valorum
    Jun 21, 2015 at 18:08

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