When a spy picks up an object, they will always hold it in a particular hand:

Picking up an object requires that the corresponding hand(s) be empty. (Books are a special case: after a spy takes a book and before they return it, they open it and begin reading, so both hands must be free to take or return a book.) Certain missions require the spy to hold a specific object (Fingerprint Ambassador, Inspect Statues, Swap Statue, Transfer Microfilm), so the spy may have to get rid of a different held object first before they can do these missions.

Some actions require the spy's hand to be empty to do them:

  • To bug the ambassador, the spy's hand that is closest to the ambassador must be empty.
  • Purloining the guest list requires the spy's left hand to be empty (because doing so may require taking a drink).
  • The spy checks their watch (and adds time) with their right hand, and can't do that while holding the briefcase (this, if possible, would be ill advised as the spy must give the briefcase back to the ambassador anyway).
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