Category Archives: Character Discussion

Posts and discussion focused on a particular character, rather than an episode or topic.

SMK How to Be A Spy Part two by Jestress: Your Fellow Agents

(Note about the Notes: These are meant to be notes for a beginning spy to introduce certain concepts of espionage. Since they are based mostly on the world of SMK, do not expect these rules to be useful in real life. They apply only to the Agency. Jestress will not be responsible for any consequences that make occur should any of you try to incorporate these concepts into your daily life. On the other hand, it could be entertaining, and if you’re successful, the CIA, NSA, FBI, MI-5, MI-6, or any number of other fun and interesting organizations or individuals may want to speak to you. But, on your own head be it.)

How to Be a Spy: A special introductory guide for new agents.
Information supplied by Field Section of the Agency.
Contributing Agents:
William Melrose (Head of Field Section, “Lancer”)
Francine Desmond
Lee Stetson (“Scarecrow”)
Amanda King

Part 2
Your Fellow Agents
Support Your Fellow Spies!
Espionage is a business where trust, or the lack of it, is everything. We expect loyalty from our agents – loyalty to our country, loyalty to the Agency, and loyalty to your fellow agents. You need to be able to rely on your co-workers to get the job done, and they need to be able to rely on you. When facing dangerous situations, your second greatest resource, after your own mind and abilities, is your fellow agents.

Working with a Partner
Most of you will eventually be working in a partnership with a fellow agent. Some agents prefer to be “lone wolves” and work by themselves, but there are benefits to having a partner. A partner can back you up in dangerous situations and help make a cover story more convincing. Workloads feel less heavy when they’re divided between two people instead of one person bearing the burden all by himself.

Not only can a partner provided needed help in handling the workload of a case, but they can also provide personal support. Espionage is often a lonely, stressful business. Agents cannot discuss their work with any unauthorized person, even with their families, and having a partner gives you someone to confide in about your missions, work related issues, and even personal feelings about the job, which can help relieve the stress.

Dividing Up the Workload
“We’ve got to divide the work.”
— Lee Stetson, Reach for the Sky

Partners share equal responsibility for the success of their missions. How you divide the workload between the two of you will depend upon each partner’s strengths and weaknesses and the tasks that you need to accomplish. One of the advantages of working with another person is that partners can complement each other. One partner may be a particularly good speaker, someone who is skilled in languages or at playing certain roles. The other partner may be more skilled with weapons, tailing suspects, or interrogation. Together, the two of them can do more than either of them could do alone.

When you are paired with another agent, speak openly about your skills and ask them about theirs. Admitting to weak points needn’t be cause for embarrassment. While you may be less skilled at certain tasks than you would like, your partner will also have weaknesses. It’s best in the long run if partners are weak and strong in different areas so the partnership can have a greater range of skills. Partners who are strong in the same areas have little need of each other, and the other person simply becomes redundant.

Appreciate your partner’s skills and hard work! Remember that when you work as a team, your partner’s accomplishments add to your own. Do everything you can to support your partner’s efforts and add to the success of your team.

dividingtheworkload

Partners and Cover Stories
“Well, it’ll look stupid, me going bowling alone.”
— Lee Stetson, Playing Possum

There are certain types of cover stories that it is impossible to pull off with one person alone. A lone, strange guest at a party would stand out like a sore thumb amid groups of friends and couples. Any cover story involving married couples or romantic partners is absolutely impossible without an appropriate partner. A regular partner can help you with any cover that involves a group activity. Because agents are forbidden to use spouses, girlfriends/boyfriends, family, and friends from outside the Agency as part of their cover for a mission, you will need someone you can count on at the Agency to reliably play the part.

Bowling 

SOSWedding2 

LeeAmandaNeighborhood 

When you work with the same partner over a long period, you begin to get to know the other persons habits, their mannerisms, and the way they think. All of these things can help you when you are forced to ad-lib while playing a cover. Partners who understand each other can communicate information subtly to each other, which can be a great advantage.

Of course, there may be times when you will have to recruit a temporary partner for a cover instead of your regular partner. For example, a partnership of two men wouldn’t be able to pose as a husband and wife or boyfriend and girlfriend. Although you may be accustomed to working with your usual partner and feel comfortable because you know the other person’s skills and habits, working with a temporary partner can be a refreshing change and offer you the chance to develop some flexibility in your own skills.

Providing Backup
“An agent never makes a move without a backup.”
— Lee Stetson, One Bear Dances, One Bear Doesn’t

In this line of work, you will frequently find yourself in dangerous situations, and there are few things more reassuring than knowing that there’s someone trustworthy with you who can watch your back. Partners can watch each other’s backs literally by providing each other with protection and assistance in combat situations.

When providing backup for your partner, communication is key. Ideally, partners should stay together, literally watching each other’s backs. They should discuss their movements ahead of time, as much as possible, so that each of them understands what they are going to do and how they are going to do it. They should also have an emergency plan for if the worst happens and they either have to fight it out or make a run for it. If a situation turns bad, there might not be time to communicate much to your partner, so it’s best if the partners each understand their roles before the mission begins.

Sometimes it is necessary for partners to separate temporarily on a mission. When this happens, communication is even more important. Each partner should understand what they will be doing and what their partner will be doing while they are apart and at what point they will meet up again. If possible, they should also find a way to communicate their status to each other in case of emergency, although that may not be feasible under all circumstances.

If you’re separated from your partner with no opportunity to communicate with them ahead of time, try to leave them a message about what you are doing or where to find you.

lifejacketmessage2

Benefits of Teamwork
Francine Desmond: “I like to think of us as one big happy team around here. Sharing in the pain, sharing in the heartache.”
Lee Stetson: “Sharing the credit.”
Saved by the Bells

Partnerships are an extension of the teamwork that is integral to your work at the Agency. Each mission we accomplish is the product of the hard work of many people in different departments throughout the Agency. Field agents depend on Ciphers and Scenarios for cover stories, Cryptology for codes, Research and Development for the equipment we use, and Accounting for management of funds (as well as individual paychecks). Within the department, individual field agents rely on each other for intelligence and support. Most of the time, agents and their partners work in teams with other agents or partnerships of agents, all providing assistance and backup. An individual partnership is much the same, but when you work with one individual for an extended period of time, you come to know the person better than you will know any of your other co-workers.

LeeAmandaFFFT 

Your partner may turn out to be the best friend you’ve ever had. They can not only provide backup in dangerous situations but in a more routine way by shouldering their part of the workload, adding credence to their partner’s cover story on a mission, helping their partner to make crucial decisions in difficult situations, and even keeping an eye on their partner’s mental and physical health. As mentioned before, espionage is a stressful occupation. Having someone to share the mental as well as the physical burdens of the job can be a real life saver. Agents who have a reliable partner are less likely to burn out than those who try to go it alone.

Some partners becomes so close that they are almost a second family. In this business, that can be both a strength and a liability. It is a strength in that partners who are close work extremely smoothly together, practically predicting each other’s moves before they make them, and providing emotional support in difficult times, both personally and professionally. However, it can also be a liability because change is a constant in this business. You may not be able to work with the same partner for every mission, and the demands of the job may place you with a different partner. Even worse is the possibility that one of you may not survive a mission. In such cases, the remaining partner feels extreme guilt, even though the loss of their partner was not their fault.

We all know the risks of our profession, and we accept them because we believe that the service we provide for our country is worth the risks. Know that your partner understands the risks as well as you do and accepts them. The purpose of your partnership is to perform your jobs well and to serve your country. Whatever else happens, as long as you both do your jobs to the best of your ability and support each other’s efforts as well as you can, you can consider your partnership successful.

A partner’s a guy who laughs at your jokes, he loans you his socks, and one day, he takes a bullet through the head for you.”
— Lee Stetson, The First Time

Disloyalty and Moles
In a profession where the ability to trust your associates is paramount, there are naturally heavy penalties for disloyalty. Having seen the benefits of working in teams and with partners, you can understand why there is extreme hatred for anyone who would intentionally harm their fellow agents and destroy their work. Dante said that traitors were destined for the lowest circle of hell, and most of your fellow agents would agree with him.

When it appears that someone within your circle of associates is leaking information or actively sabotaging missions, fingers of blame will be pointed in all directions until the traitor is found.

Although anyone could potentially turn into a traitor if offered the right bribe or pressured with the right threats, there are certain characteristics that an inside informant would be more likely to have. We’ll cover two of the most common types:

The “Faithful Servant” Type
The textbook tells us, in situations like this, it’s always someone obscure. . . . Dealing with unimportant information. Always there, but not really doing very much. Pleasant, unassuming, easy to overlook. Loyal, faithful.”
— Francine Desmond, Spiderweb
Like your dog . . .”
— Amanda King, Spiderweb

On the surface, a traitor will act friendly and helpful to gain your trust, but when you consider what they really do and their personal interests, you begin to look at the person behind the façade. They will do their work well enough to remain in good standing with the Agency, but will work on few things of real importance. Mostly, they’re hanging around in the hope of gathering helpful information for the people who are paying them.

They might genuinely believe in the ideals of the people who employ them, or they might be in it just for the money. To find out which it is, you’ll have to take a look both at their bank accounts and expenditures (which may be much higher than they should be for their salary) and at their associates and where they spend their time outside of work.

Part of the difficulty in catching this type of traitor is that they can blend in very well with their surroundings, fitting in with the regular personnel at the Agency. People trust them and often like them, although if you talk to their co-workers, they often know very little about the person’s personal life. This type of traitor is often identified both by the type of job they perform and by their activities outside of the Agency. Often, they clash.

Keep an eye on your co-workers and report anything suspicious, even if it’s someone you ordinarily like. The idea may make you uncomfortable, but the stakes are too high to risk overlooking a possible threat. National security and the lives of you and your co-workers are in danger if one of our people turn against us or if our enemies manage to slip one of their confederates into our midst.

Amanda King: “Well, I’d just like to go on the record as saying that I regard Lee as a friend. And as such, I’m a little uncomfortable in snitching and spying on a friend.”
Francine Desmond: “Oh, don’t be. That is standard operating procedure around here.”
— If Thoughts Could Kill
MargaretSpiderweb 

The Disgruntled Employees
Former agents who have been dismissed from the Agency and agents who are currently dissatisfied with their jobs are always a risk. Sometimes, they are bitter enough to help our enemies, not just for personal gain but for revenge, hoping to do as much damage to their former co-workers as possible. Inwardly, they tell themselves that the Agency is the true traitor for turning against them. If the other side is willing to pay them for their help, it’s just icing on the cake.
HarryTegernsee

DavidMole

DoubleAgent
Catching this type of traitor involves keeping an eye on current agents whose work as been suffering and have showing signs of emotional disturbance. Sometimes, people who have been reprimanded for performing poorly take it as a personal insult or try to claim that they are being unjustly accused of negligence in their work. These people are vulnerable to outside coercion, and some are angry or unstable enough to seek employment with enemies as revenge for perceived wrongs they’ve suffered at the Agency. They are extremely dangerous because they possess not only inside information about the Agency and it’s mission but because they have direct access to those missions and the agents involved.

The Agency tries to keep track of former agents whose services have already been terminated for the similar reasons, although they no longer have direct access to the Agency or it’s personnel. When they sell their services to an enemy, it’s often their general knowledge of the Agency or the Agency’s personnel that are of interest. Protect yourself and your colleagues by not sharing too much information about your personal life with people who may later turn out to be untrustworthy. Similarly, do not share information about a mission with anyone who is not currently involved with it, especially if that person no longer works for the Agency. Former employment with the Agency and past friendships are not sufficient reasons for putting yourself or your colleagues at risk. Generally, it’s best to spot people who are potential risks early. If you notice unusual behavior from a co-worker or signs of mental instability, report it to your superior as soon as possible.

The Penalties for Disloyalty
Because moles and traitors endanger not only the missions of their co-workers, but their very lives and the safety of their country, the penalties are severe. Sometimes, even the idea of sending these traitors to spend years in prison may seem lenient to the agents who have to ferret them out. Although you may be tempted to take retribution yourself by killing them once you have discovered their identity, we prefer that you apprehend them and/or report them to your superiors. Remember that one of the purposes of the Agency is uphold law and order. We do not condone vigilante justice.

Training New Recruits
It will be the duty of every agent to actively participate on a regular basis in training and screening of new recruits at Station 1.”
— Francine Desmond, quoting from the full field manual, A Class Act

Once you have passed your training and are a full agent, you will be expected to occasionally help train new recruits. It is an opportunity to pass on the skills you have learned and to prepare new agents for the work that lies before them. Their training will be very similar to yours, and you will be expected to give an evaluation of their potential and their progress.

Some of you will be instructors, and some of you will pose as “ringers” – going undercover as trainees in the classes so you can evaluate the real trainees from a different perspective. This is a simple assignment that many regular agents find enjoyable. By posing as a fellow trainee, you can get closer to the trainees, learn more about them on a personal level, and spot potential talents that even their instructors might miss.

By helping to train new recruits, you are helping to shape the Agency’s future and the future of your country!
ClassActTraining2

ClassActTraining1

Outside Confederates
Although most of your work will be done alongside other Agency personnel, there may be times when you will have to work with people outside the Agency. These people may be employees of other government departments or private security firms. You may even find yourself working with agents from other nations allied with ours. The Agency expects all of its personnel to maintain good professional relationship with all of our associates.
EmilyGeisterschloss

MrBrand
Sometimes, you will also be working with people are not security professionals. In this business, you will associate with a wide variety of people, including ordinary civilians in many different professions.

(More about this in Sources of Information – coming soon!)

Special thanks to Learjet for helping me with the posting and to Iwsod for letting me steal borrow her pictures. 😉

Thanks again, Jestress, for sharing this wonderful series of posts with us! Does anyone have any thoughts on fellow agents? Who would you like to work with? Mr Brand or Scarecrow? {Learjet: Scarecrow, Scarecrow!!}We’ll hear more from Jestress soon. Meanwhile, remember to check out the random blog posts which BJo is updating every Tuesday, and comment. Bye!

SMK food part three: Food in the Family

Welcome back to our journey through Season 1 and 2 SMK food moments. We continue our exploration of SMK food with some “character-specific” food moments.

Jamie and Phillip
We don’t get to see enough of Jamie. And we don’t see much of Phillip either, although that doesn’t really bother me cow . But when we do see Amanda’s boys, they are frequently eating or hunting for food (which makes them remarkably normal!) S2E22_Jamie_banana

As I scoured the first two seasons of SMK, I could only find one instance of Jamie eating something I’d actively encourage the Minijets to consume: a banana thumbsup  (Murder Between Friends), that staple of babies and toddlers (I don’t miss those mushed banana stains!)


I’m ok with the scrambled eggs (Murder Between Friends) S2E22_Dotty_scrambledeggs
but….Jamie’s first breakfast (or lunch?) of SMK remains a mystery – it looks suspiciously like a pile of sugar on bread 15_weeping  (the First Time)
S1E1_breakfast_Jamie
Cracklin’ Critters, while they do have the benefit of continuity through the first two seasons, do not get the Learjet Stamp of (Healthy Eating) Approval: 0 star rating0-Star
S2E19_cracklin_critters_Jamie
Oh look shocked  : the boys are helping with the shopping (Saviour), except Phillip is being nasty at the same time sigh. S1E16_shopping_boys_help
And when they’re out shopping with their mother and grandma, they just want to buy…more cookies, which I guess would make them normal in my family (Just say NO, Amanda! – Ship of spies)
S2E12_cookies_boys
and don’t take those Cracklin’ Critters, Dotty shudder
S2E12_cracklin_critters
Anyone care to guess what the boys are eating here? I’m thinking hot dogs and iceberg lettuce? Or maybe macaroni cheese? Potato salad? Help me out here, JWWM’ers crazy  (Service Above and Beyond).
S1E7_boys_snack

Dotty
As a Dotty fan, I felt it was my duty to examine Dotty’s relationship with food in more detail. Dotty seems to help Amanda out a lot with meals – while Amanda is looking after those clams in tuxes, Dotty is busy with the more mundane tasks of keeping the family feed and watered, for example making a roast chicken (The First Time).
S1E1_roast_chicken_Dotty
We are able to examine Dotty’s preparation technique when she prepares a casserole (Saviour): S1E16_meat_for_stew_Dotty
She favours chunky-cut carrots for a casserole
s1E16_carrot_chopping_Dotty

S1E16_onion_dangerous_Dotty
Her onion cutting technique makes me fear for those beautifully manicured hands.

S1E16_casserole_Dotty

 

But there it goes, safely into the oven with all of Dotty’s fingers intact:

 


Dotty is sophisticated (evidence: those beautifully kept nails)… so much so that she wears unsuitably high heels to go grocery shopping…and then drops the shopping. And she buys bean sprouts yes.
Dotty (to Amanda): Yes I know you love them. They’re so Californian! (A Class Act)
S2E9_Dotty_drops_shopping
She’s a gracious hostess, making egg cress sandwiches for Dean’s mother (I Am Not, Nor Will I Ever Be A Spy)
S1E13_egg&cress_sandwich_for_Deans_mom
a
nd offering chimpanzee owner Francine strudel, reminding Francine of what her cook Moline used to say “A strudel is an act of love. To not eat it is to reject a gift” (Saved by the Bells).
S1E8_strudel_Dotty
But Dotty is human too – who could forget her stress-eating popcorn while on the call to Amanda’s doctor during her amnesia episode laughing  (I Am Now Nor Have I Ever Been a Spy)
S1E13_popcorn_stress_eating_Dotty

Lee:
Lee has a strange relationship with food his fridge is a disgrace; the smelly cheese from the fridge horrified suburban housewife Amanda gross (The ACM kid)
S1E5_mouldy_food_fridge_Lee
He’s prepared to eat some less than appetising fare while on surveillance: Exhibit 1: snack – The ACM Kid
S1E5_surveillance_snack_Lee
And Exhibit 2: sandwich – Service Above and Beyond
S1E7_surveillancesnack_VicGreenwich_Lee
He doesn’t look too happy about eating chilli on the job (Always Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth).
S1E6_Chili_Lee
and considers a Chewy Chunky Bar no replacement for a woman (If Thoughts Could Kill).
S1E3_chewychunkybar_Lee

Am I right in thinking that many women would have a hard time choosing between a man and a chocolate bar crazy ? You can rely on chocolate in a way than you can’t always rely on a mere man…

Lee turns up his nose at jelly but Bedside Bluebell Amanda is happy to wolf it down (If Thoughts Could Kill)
S1E3_Lee_jelly_Amanda
(Comfort eating from to deal with Cranky Lee – I know exactly how she feels; I’ve often felt a strong craving for sugar after the Minijets have pushed me a little too far!)

Lee eats his beans under sufferance when wounded on the job and Amanda “persuades” him yuck  (The Long Christmas Eve).
S1E10_Lee_eats_beans
As mentioned in the previous post, being an intelligence operative is a dangerous job…especially when Amanda gets a steak while Lee struggles to eat his soup after taking a punch in the jaw (The Artful Dodger).
S1E17_soup_punched_lip_Lee
Ultimately, metrosexual Scarecrow is most comfortable with more sophisticated (and exotic wink) dining and even cooks Amanda a Japanese meal at Maplewood drive (Remembrance of Things Past).
s1E11_Japanese_meal_Lee
He prefers smelly cheese from Harrods so maybe he had stinky cheese in his fridge on purpose crazy ? (To Catch a Mongoose)
S2E1_Lee_smellycheese_Harrods
And to finish off with my two favourite (and most uncomfortable) Lee’s dinners out: that terribly awkward one (for Amanda) with his “wife” at the Cumberland (Weekend)
S1E20_dinner_at_the_Cumberland
And then dinner with Amanda (downgraded to mere “girlfriend”) and the Colonel (A Relative Situation)
S2E15_dinner_with_the_Colonel
And a cute moment between Lee and Amanda, after Lee takes a “dead” Amanda grocery shopping (You Only Die Twice) and they share a packet of popcorn.
S2E20_popcorn_Lee_Amanda

So has anyone got any observation about the food choices of the family at Maplewood Drive? Where did Lee get his eating habits from? Was it from the Colonel? Any other food moments to share from seasons 1 and 2?
That concludes this trilogy on food and drink. wave from Learjet!

 

The Big Picture. JWWM’s Journey so far: The First Time to The Boy Who Could be King

Hiya guys,

Here on JWWM, we tend to discuss the overall character/story progression in little chunks here and there as we walk through episodes and take on board what’s newly revealed in the character’s journeys. But.. this means everything is all spread out! It can be good to have a place to focus on the big picture sometimes!

So I’ll publish this blog post for discussions about the show from The First Time to The Boy Who Could be King.

I’ve previously written 2 posts aimed at an overall, broader discussion:

Amanda’s journey: from the first time to A little sex, a little scandal

Lee’s journey: from the first time… to Spiderweb

I’ve not had time to write anymore.. and I’m not likely to anytime soon!  If anyone would like to write one, I’d be happy to publish it. We don’t have to have a post though – we can use this blog post to discuss the journey so far..

 Publicity photo_the first time

 

How did we get here???!! Smile

So share and chat away.. just please don’t jump ahead [Iwsod is keeping spoiler free]. 

What do you think are the major, long running themes in the SMK story so far? [not just the love story]

What have been the big milestone moments for you so far? [we don’t need to see the story the same – don’t forget all views are very welcome!]

So glad you inspired this post Norma! I look forward to hearing from you guys when you are all back from your summer holidays or life’s other RL demands!! Bye!!