The 1995 movie's antagonist is a shadowy crime kingpin who subtly pulls the strings of the criminal underworld. Every criminal knows Keyser Söze, and fears him, even though no one has met him and he may not, technically, exist.
The movie rocketed Kevin Spacey to an Academy Award, and in the last two decades, “Keyser Söze” has taken on a pop culture life of his own, a personification of the powerful (and possibly entirely made-up) ghosts that control our world.
As Colbert's parody clip starts, an investigator demands information.
“Yes, I do know something,” Colbert responds. “And I'm telling you everything. You're just not listening. I've been telling you for like a year. There's something weird going on between Trump and the Russians.”
The answers, he says, are on the crowded bulletin board.
As the investigator turns his head, the scene shifts to a revelatory montage, voiced by Donald Trump sound bites.
“If Putin likes Donald Trump, I consider that an asset, not a liability,” Trump says in the voice-over.
“I think Putin's been a very strong leader for Russia,” Trump says.
The camera zooms in on a clipping of a New York Times story about Trump campaign aides' contacts with Russian intelligence.
This alleged interference has sparked investigations by the U.S. House and Senate, after Michael Flynn resigned as Trump's national security adviser. The White House said Flynn had “broken trust” by not telling the truth about the talks.
And everyone's attention has obviously turned to the top of the ticket: What did Trump know and when did he know it?
Trump and Putin have been swapping praise for more than a year — even when Trump was confronted about some of the Keyser Söze-esque allegations against the Russian president.
“You know, he feels good about me, Trump said at a rally in Cedar Rapids, according to Johnson. “I feel, frankly, good about him. I think that we can do things with Russia that are to our advantage.… It's a mutual advantage.”
Trump responded: “Well, I think that our country does plenty of killing, too, Joe.”
In Colbert's parody, just like in the movie, all the clues click in the end. Overwhelmed by the revelation, the investigator drops his mug, spilling coffee.
On the bottom of the shattered pieces: Trump/Putin 2016.