Dorwin was recruited by Vasili Nikolaevich in 1958, when Vasili was in America on a student visa. As part of his company's expansion into the Department of Defense's Strategic Defense Initiative program, he has access to top-secret research on lasers. He is highly valued for this, Arkady warns Vasili that the Soviets cannot lose him as it would destroy Dorwin's network within the company (two scientists, three executives, two support personnel).
In March 1981, Dorwin suffers a nervous breakdown after the death of his wife of 36 years. Elizabeth conducts a security check on him at home under the guise of VISEOTech internal security, and later tells Claudia he needs to meet with his handler soon, because he would crack under real questioning. Meetings between handlers and agents have been suspended, due to the FBI changing the encryption codes on their radios leaving the KGB unable to tell if they are being followed.
Increasingly paranoid and desperate to speak to the one man he trusts, Dorwin calls Vasili at the Rezidentura, a conversation picked up by an FBI phone tap. The KGB, torn between the risk that Dorwin's emotional instability presents, and the value of his access and network, ultimately decide to have him killed. Elizabeth kills him with a single shot to the head. Staring at his body, she appears to reflect upon his death with regret.