Colonel Heller is a fictional Isthmian Military colonel and head of security for Franz Sanchez’s drug cartel. The character appears in the 1989 James Bond film Licence to Kill, portrayed by actor Don Stroud, and was also featured in John Gardner's accompanying novelization.
Beyond being head of drug kingpin Franz Sanchez's security and possessing ties to the Isthmian Military, very little of Heller's background is provided. In a deleted scene from the theatrical release, included in John Gardner's novelization, CIA informant Pam Bouvier mentions that Heller is an "ex-Green Beret colonel", a former member of the United States Army Special Forces. Like his Cartel associate Truman-Lodge, he is wanted in the United States.
Around the time of his brief incarceration by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Sanchez had arranged to buy four Stinger missiles (unidentified prototype missiles in the novelization) from the Contras; threatening to shoot down an American airliner if the DEA didn't back off. Felix Leiter gave Bouvier a letter at his wedding, granting Heller immunity if he got the Stingers back. He initially went for the deal, but panicked and reneged on the deal after Bond's failed assassination attempt on Sanchez's life. Preventing his inadvertent meddling in a narcotics investigation into Sanchez's activities, 007 is kidnapped by members of the Hong Kong Narcotics Agency and is taken to a secluded safe house. Their MI6 contact tries to sedate Bond for transport back to London, but the Isthmus military, under the command of Heller, attacks the house with a tank; killing the occupants and liberating a bound and unconscious 007 - assuming him to be an ally.
They bring him back to Sanchez's palatial residence, where the spy tricks Sanchez into believing the narcotics agents to be the assassins. Divulging his identity as a former British agent, he sets in motion a plan to frame one of the drug lord's associates, Milton Krest by planting $5 million of Sanchez's drug money in his ship, the Wavekrest. Having checked Bond's background, Heller confirms his identity and arranges Sanchez's meeting with Krest that evening. His men discover the incriminating money on-board the ship and he assists Sanchez in his murder of Krest via a decompression chamber. The following day Heller accompanies Sanchez, Bond and a group of Oriental business associates to the Cartel's main distribution center. There, 007's cover is blown and he sets fire to the narcotics laboratory. While being fed along a conveyor belt towards an industrial grinder, Bond directs Sanchez's paranoid attention to Heller's absence during the fire, stating "That's the last you'll see of Heller and your Stingers". The drug lord finds Heller in the middle of moving the Stingers from his helicopter, who claims that he was "making sure they were secure". Sanchez tells him to move the Stingers to his car, whilst looking knowingly at his enforcer Braun. Shortly thereafter, Heller is impaled on the forks of a forklift and rammed through a wall.
Behind the scenes
- Gardner, John (2012). Licence to Kill. Orion. ISBN 978-1409135760.
- Deleted Scenes [DVD]. Licence to Kill: Ultimate Edition: MGM (1999).