Monday, November 17, 2014

NBC starts "State of Affairs" and presents an odd personal situation for a lead CIA analyst

NBC premiered its new espionage drama “State of Affairs” Monday night at 10 PM EST with a Pilot.

Katherine Heigl plays the lead, Catherine Whitney Tucker as a CIA analyst at Langley responsible for the President’s Daily Briefing. And the president is a black female, Constance Peyton, played by Alfre Woodard.
The first episode centers around a kidnapping of the president’s son in Afghanistan.  Terrorists demand the release of numerous “brother” prisoners from Guantanamo to save the son’s life.  And Tucker had been the fiancée of the son, which would have implied interracial marriage.
The episode opens with a new employee arriving, saying he is a graduate of UNC at Chapel Hill; that’s interesting.
The activity in the office is fast paced, and it’s unlikely that the real CIA is anything like that.  At one point, Catherine is suspended, which isn’t very credible.  And there is a subplot involving foreign hacking of cellular conversations.
NBC’s main site is here
The characters seem to have grown up in this world.  It’s interesting to see how “ordinary people” can be affected by espionage, or people who work in the intelligence communities while living publicly as something else, but perhaps work with intelligence services because of something unusual in their backgrounds.  An alternative idea would be to show how young adults might be recruited gradually by stompers, to work in intelligence services.   Edward Snowden showed you don’t need college degrees to get a high paying job with the CIA.  

Update (Feb 17, 2015):  See my "cf" blog for discussion of the season finale, "Deadcheck".  

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