Mike Russell
Undercover Mob Cop, Novelist

A 25-year veteran New Jersey police officer, Mike Russell is internationally recognized from his HBO documentary, “Confessions of an Undercover Cop,” which aired in the United States from 1988 to 1991.


Working undercover, Russell was infiltrating a Mafia crime family when a turn for the worst left him with a gunshot to the back of the head. Left to die in an alley, he survived and went on to orchestrate one of the biggest mafia takedowns of all time. Russell assimilated into the Genovese crime family in New Jersey by pretending to be an ex-cop fired for excessive force who now made his living from an oil delivery business. During this entire operation, he has consistently placed himself at risk and taken extraordinary steps to ensure his and his family’s safety.


Russell speaks across the country in front of universities, police training academies, security corporations, and is the ideal technical advisor to feature in films and televisions. He takes crowds inside the day-to-day operations of cops from evidence gathering, to working wires, to street operations. An expert in his field, Mike Russell inspires and awes audiences with his experience in survival and adaptability.

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Undercover Cop
How I Brought Down the Real-Life Sopranos
Thomas Dunne Books

A real-life version of The Sopranos, Undercover Cop immerses readers in the colorful yet harrowing trials of a standout cop who faced the mob on his own terms, crippled organized crime in New Jersey, and forever redefined undercover law enforcement.

Undercover Police Work: Mike Russell talks about working a case from start to finish, managing wire taps, and being out there in the open. He also speaks about the difference between undercover and street cops, as undercover cops lack the advantage of calling for help or carrying a firearm.
Praise for Undercover Cop “Russell details his encounters with many notorious figures in New York’s ‘Five Families’ and provides a good sense of the nitty-gritty tradecraft involved in undercover investigations.”
—Kirkus Reviews

"Russell’s bravery and professionalism—along with some crucial surveillance—eventually led to the busts of more than 50 “wiseguys” and public officials. This tell-all page-turner is all the better for being true.”
—Publishers Weekly

“Nobody did undercover better than Mike Russell. His story is grittier than The Sopranos, more volatile than Goodfellas. A must read.”
—George Anastasia, author of The Last Gangster and The Goodfella Tapes