The Agency is a CBS television drama that followed the inner-workings of the CIA. The series was created by Michael Frost Beckner and was executive produced by Michael Frost Beckner, Shaun Cassidy Productions and Radiant Productions in association with Universal Network Television and CBS Productions. It aired from September 27, 2001 until May 17, 2003, lasting two seasons. It featured unprecedented filming from the actual CIA headquarters.
The show was controversial regarding its exploration of current international affairs and its treatment of the ethical conflicts inherent in intelligence work. Beckner’s pilot script, written in March 2001, posited a re-invented CIA tasked with a “War on Terror” after Osama Bin Laden’s Al Qaeda terrorist organization plots a lethal attack on the west. The pilot was to premiere at CIA Headquarters on September 18, 2001 and set to air on CBS September 21, 2001, however, the actual 9/11 attacks convinced the network to hold the pilot and instead air a later episode. That first episode was aired later as the third episode of the first season.
The September 11, 2001 terrorist events changed the way Americans viewed topical entertainment and “The Agency”, at the time, was one of the most topical offering on network television. The producers of the series quickly responded to this new American perspective on world affairs, but CBS chose to cancel the show shortly after the second season’s final episode.