Amanda King. Housewife? Yes. Den Mother? Yup. Agent? Hardly. Spunky? You bet. From the moment she accepts that package from Lee Stetson at the train station to the moment he comes to offer her a ride in his new Corvette, Amanda morphs into a changed woman. Let’s take a look at how she grows from your typical suburban mother and housewife who is looking for work in TFT to becoming the Agency’s only hope in CBAH.
But before we start, I’d like to thank iwsod for the use of her lovely screen caps. Thank you, iwsod!! You saved me so much time! Also, I am using iwsod’s season 1 episode order.
In the tag of TFT, we don’t get to hear Amanda totally explain how she figured out the entire case and helped save Lee in the process. Actually, I think Billy must not have heard the whole thing either, or I’d wonder why he didn’t just hire her on the spot as a trainee agent – not as a civilian they rely on from time to time. All on her own she does this:
- realizes the words on the paper in the music box are recipe titles and researches until she finds out they are from Mrs. Welch
- uses a cover to get the air dates for each recipe from the TV station
- links each air date with the dates the agents were murdered
- figures out Lee is missing
- connects Lee being missing to air date of Pilgrim’s Peach Puff
- goes out to Mrs. Welch’s mansion only to discover Francine is the
leak and helps save Lee’s life.
- Oh, and she flies a helicopter.
Sounds like potential agent material to me! Right off the bat, we see she is persistent, a critical thinker, able to quickly make connections and is very courageous. I’ll give Billy the benefit of the doubt and consider she maybe had a bit of beginner’s luck with this first case, so let’s look at the rest of season 1 and see what develops.
Initially, Amanda is asked to help the Agency because of who she is, what she does, or where she lives. From being asked to be the “authentic” half of a suburban couple with Lee, to babysitting a smug “orphan”, to using her driveway to hide the next best thing in the government’s mobile weaponry arsenal, and to being a Bedside Bluebell for a crabby Lee, we see that Amanda is being used in ways that take advantage of her expertise.
But what we see is so much more. We see her ability to think and make connections to the job with “normal life”, her ability to get people to talk and share information, her attention to detail and powers of observation, and let’s not forget her driving skills – driving in NYC on Thanksgiving for the Macy’s parade is equal to proving your skills at LeMans and Monaco . You go, girl!
Billy must also take in these skills that Amanda is displaying and practicing, because she is rewarded and gets her first “real” spy assignment in SD: she is to be an undercover operative (messenger) at the Pioneer’s football camp where Lee is already undercover. After successfully completing her first real assignment, she is used again for her expertise. In Gift Horse, a “frumpier”- than-Francine Amanda with her PTA connection gets to show Princess Penelope around an elementary school.
Lee is in need of a beautiful woman for a date to the Quickie Chickie Snack Shack backer party in SAAB and in SBTB he needs someone who will feed his fish while away meeting women in the Caribbean.
Amanda clearly displays her people skills when she befriends Penny and gets her to open up. She also displays her quick thinking skills and comes up with a convincing cover in SAAB. Even Billy is impressed, “She’s thinking on her feet. She has instincts.” In SBTB, her observation skills are tested, but with her excellent memory and eye for detail, she comes through and she and Lee find the house where she was held captive. We also see a new skill in SBTB: she climbs up to the top of some high shelving and pushes over a tall stack of heavy tires to take out the baddies and free Lee. Amanda is growing and getting more used to being in the spy business!
After all this, she is rewarded again by Billy in TLCE by being given a short undercover assignment. Although this operation doesn’t go quite as planned, we get to witness Amanda’s bravery and common sense as well as her first aid skills.
In ROTP, Billy gives Amanda another “spy” assignment. She is asked to help Lee investigate his own murder by doing his legwork. She gets to see the seedier side of life and almost gets blown to smithereens by that nutter, Sinclair. But hey, at least she now knows the going rate for such an establishment, ahem.
By this point, Amanda has certainly proven that she adds value to Lee and the Agency beyond her expertise in being a normal, everyday mother of two housewife. She’s recognized by Billy for her ability to think on her feet and for having good instincts. Lee also must see some of this, because in IANNNHIEBAS, for the first time not borne out of desperation, Lee gives her an assignment: she is to pick up a message from the elevator guy and bring it to him at the drop at Milo’s Daffy Dogs. Unfortunately, all does not go as planned. Lee thinks he’s gotten Amanda killed, and he is significantly impacted. But Amanda, ever resilient, comes through and continues on with the Agency.
Amanda next has a series of small assignments in LAF, TAD, DR, and TM. She is asked to use her life experience plus what she’s learned from working at the Agency so far. More importantly, she learns a couple of lessons. In TAD, to her horror, she is personally used and betrayed by the Dodger so he can steal the final MAB sheet. On the positive side, she learns that she has earned some level of trust with Lee in The Mole. He trusts her to dig around in everyone’s personal business and actually gives her a badge and sends her out to interview someone on her own to get information.
Savior is a bit of a different episode, and it is another hard lesson learned for Amanda. Despite being used personally in TAD, she falls prey again and is tricked in Savior out of her loyalty and dedication to Lee. But this time it is from a professional standpoint. I think she learns that Lee is truly the only person she can trust in this business and that she needs to be wary of others who may try to take advantage of her.
In FR, Amanda is accidentally involved in the case, literally. And it is her relationship with the parking lot attendant that brings the videotape of people coming and going from the Agency to light. Once again, Amanda’s people skills are on display: she can befriend a princess or a parking lot attendant. She continues to offer up suggestions to Lee with the idea of looking for a sub-basement at the warehouse and even finds a way to help stop the baddie by taking a trick from her favorite movie, The Sound of Music, when she removes a bunch of wires from his car.
In Weekend, we see Amanda get her last assignment of the season. She gets to be Mrs. Lee Stetson at a posh resort. She continues to show how she can think on her feet when helping Lee with his “pill”.
Amanda keeps earning Lee’s trust and she is rewarded with a little freedom when he asks her to trail Valerie Tucker, one of the suspected baddies to be his eyes and ears.
The last three episodes of the season have Amanda getting involved coincidentally with the Agency (WFG – estate sale/meatloaf for a princess, FD – Dotty/Drought Cycles of Burma, and CBAH – her charity work at the Equidome). We also learn she’s been transcribing phone conversations and typing reports. In WFG, Amanda’s logical mind and keen senses help Lee crack another case. He’s impressed with her ability to glean useful clues from the tapes and even shares details of the assignment with her even though she doesn’t have a need to know.
In FD, her attention to detail and memory help the sketch artist to come up with a close enough picture to ID Carlos, and she quickly makes the connection between the book her mother “bought” and the fact that it is her mother the bad guys are after. She even shows quick thinking and good aim with the hose, which helps stop the bad guy.
CBAH makes a great season-ending episode, and I think it highlights Amanda’s professional growth. Despite the danger of being discovered as Lee’s “in” to the Equidome, Amanda comes through for Lee just like she did in TFT. With Lee tied to the bar, Amanda takes the initiative to go search for the secret formula and winds up finding a dead body. Not long after that, she realizes Lee might be in trouble and goes to find Billy to let him know. Although Billy tells her to give Lee more time, her instincts tell her not to listen. She disobeys Billy, takes out a security guard, and rescues Lee from the freezer. Wow! No Lee popsicles this season!
Despite learning a hard lesson or two along the way, Amanda has proven her value to Lee and to the Agency in season 1. She’s successfully pulled off a cover many times and has used her intuition, common sense, and quick thinking ability to help Lee solve many of his cases. She’s grown in self-confidence and street smarts and to trust in herself, despite being used and tricked. She’s shown her loyalty and dedication to Lee and the Agency and we’ve never seen her courageous spirit falter. As a result, she’s earned some trust capital with Lee and Billy. And although she still has to wear that damned Guest Pass on her lapel, Amanda King has made her mark. I think she is ready for bigger and better things in season 2, don’t you? (Not to mention a ride in Lee’s new Corvette!)
So, what do you think??? How do you see Amanda’s professional growth in season 1? What do think Lee thinks about her at the end versus the beginning? What does Amanda think about herself? We know Amanda’s kidnapping in IANNNHIEBAS impacted Lee. How does it impact her professional growth? What about her other “booboos”? Is there anything that sticks out for you? Is there anything you can relate to? Please share!! Thanks for reading!