Spies Shaken and Not Stirred

This year we’re celebrating 50 years of James Bond.  My own first memories of James Bond were from the film Live and Let Die, and the James Bond I know was Roger Moore.  The image we have of spies is the debonair James Bond coming out in his tuxedo and drinking a martini shaken and not stirred.  Beautiful and sometimes deadly women are at his beck and call.   But now there’s another image — the woman spy.

In  case you haven’t seen it, USA Network has been airing Covert Affairs, which a TV series about woman spy named Annie (played by Piper Perabo) who works for the CIA.  Spookdom!  The stories always have a lot of suspense and danger, but are characterized by Annie using her wits and knowledge to get out of trouble.  Her action scenes are great, because they feel like a woman is doing them.  They play to a woman’s strengths and weaknesses, so we don’t see Annie doing fight techniques that would only be possible with a stuntwoman.  Like it or not, men are stronger and bigger, so that means Annie has to rely on other skills than technique.  It makes for exciting action scenes because you know if she makes a mistake, she’s going to be in trouble.

I’ll admit though that my favorite character is Augie, the blind spy.  I think every time I’ve seen a blind character on TV it’s been a woman hiding behind huge dark glasses (presumably so the actor can navigate without giving away that she isn’t blind).  She’s often a witness to a crime, and the killer is coming after her — so she’s often portrayed as a victim.  Augie is far from that and has even had a few fight scenes of his own.  But the actor, Christopher Gorham, makes him really come to life.  Gorham discusses on Huffington Post his research to play the character.

But I think the best thing about the show is that the stories aren’t just about the action and spying, but they’re about the people.  Action is just action, but people and who they are make it exciting.  More episodes for the third season will show up October 16.

Who’s your favorite character?

And since it is a TV show, a video for your viewing pleasure.  This was my first impression of the show.

Linda Adams, Soldier, Storyteller

Starting November 4, I will doing a month-long session on Forward Motion on “Basic Training of Military Culture.”  The lesson plan for the course is posted here.

My article Balancing Writing and Blogging is out on Vision: A Resource for Writers.