Martin Wells worked on the Cicada program to alter candidates who were susceptible to hypnotic triggers, such as an image, word, or sound, to obey a set of commands when responding to such triggers. He was able to develop a regimen that turned candidates into sleeper agents, incredibly skilled spies, who would go into deep cover and carry out orders when "activated". When Wells retired, he became a hypnosis performer.
When several "cicadas" began to awaken across the world, CIA agent Matt Edwards sought out Wells in order to better understand what was happening. Although skeptical of the concept of cicadas at first, Wells demonstrated that he had hypnotized his bartender to give him free drinks whenever he told him happy birthday, and identified a mass shooter from three days prior as a Cicada that had been activated. Wells then agreed to go interview that cicada with Edwards.
Following Edwards into Stephen Haynes' old apartment, Wells discovered a room where Haynes habitually locked himself up, going into a rage every night and attacking the walls around himself. Wells remarked that Haynes probably cracked and went insane, whereas other Cicadas might remain functional.
When Wells actually interviewed Haynes with Edwards, Wells took a calm, professional approach to interrogating him, asking cutting questions that brought out more thoughtful responses from Haynes than Edwards' direct and brunt questions did. Wells managed to ferret out that a target package had been sent for the people he murdered, which activated his training and compelled him to action.
Seeing Wells achieve some success, Edwards bulled ahead and demanded to know who sent Haynes a target package, which prompted him to angrily outburst, "we don't ask why!" Wells managed to calm Haynes enough to perform a psychological ploy on him, resurfacing Haynes' memories. This allowed Wells to rapidly gain information about how Haynes was inducted into Treadstone, until Edwards once again cut in and demanded an answer to his previous question, which caused Haynes to begin to break down. He babbled that he didn't want to hurt anyone, but that he couldn't stop himself, and even though Wells advised Edwards to stop, Edwards bulled ahead yet again asking even more direct questions until Haynes had a seizure.
Before seeing Haynes in his hospital bed, Wells asked Edwards for assurance that the CIA wouldn’t come after him later. Edwards gives Wells his word, and the two go in to see Haynes. Haynes himself is in markedly good spirits, grateful that Wells "flipped a switch" and let him start to remember his past, even the fact that he is a father. He explained, lucidly, to Edwards that the CIA made him forget his past life and replaced it with a cover, and when Edwards offered to help him remember more, Haynes accepted.
Wells once again performed a psychological ploy on Haynes, and although he asked about the woman who reactivated Haynes, Haynes only remembered the name of his daughter, Lilah Jane. They managed to steer Haynes back to memories of the woman who activated him, at which point he relives his horror at receiving another target, failing to resist the program embedded in his mind. He begged his handler to "please let me sleep" and not to "send me back into the hunt".
Wells saw Haynes in distress and insisted on calming him again, but for the last, fatal time, Edwards bulled ahead and demanded that Haynes answer his questions. At that point Haynes cracked, ripped through the shackles of his hospital bed, kicked Edwards across the room, smacked the elderly Wells in the chest, slammed Wells' head onto the ground, & then stomped on it, crushing Wells' skull and killing him.