We all secretly want to be FBI agents.
But – let’s be completely honest – we’re not entirely sure what that actually entails.
We mostly just think it’s a legitimate way to be like a cool movie spy, running around and taking down bad guys.
Which, actually, is semi-accurate.
Thankfully, Quantico (that’s a TV show all about FBI agents, by the way), balances the reality of becoming an FBI agent with all the exciting stuff.
Here’s a few things you should probably know about being an FBI special agent before you make it your dream job.
1. Every FBI special agent has to go through an intense 21 weeks of training
There are tests. There’s training. The agents get to know the other agents working towards the same mission.
It’s a bit like a very long summer camp, except much, much harder.
That’s where we meet everyone in Quantico.
2. That training takes place in Quantico, Virginia
Yes, Quantico is a real place, not just the name of the show. It’s all real.
3. The first female agent was Alaska P. Davidson
At age 54, Alaska P. Davidson was asked to be the FBI’s first ever female special agent. She served alongside two other women for two years, and then was made to leave by J. Edgar Hoover, who declared that he had no work for a woman.
Thankfully the situation’s not so rubbish now – which explains why there are badasses like Alex Parrish running around and doing big things.
4. A special agent can’t have any secrets
Everyone training alongside them is a master of interrogation and investigation.
If someone’s keeping a secret, it’ll come out pretty quickly. That’s where the drama comes in.
5. They’ll need to go through intense background checks to get on the training
Every single agent goes through a rigorous background check to make sure they’re not a risk.
6. And they’ll need to know how to master a polygraph
Could you be totally honest when someone’s questioning you about your darkest secrets?
Or could you keep your heart and blood rate totally steady while you lie your face off?
7. Agents are required to be armed at all times
Once they’ve made it through their training, that is. Would you trust skilled masters of deception with a gun before you were sure they were being entirely honest?
8. There are loads of acronyms and special lingo agents need to know
Who has time to speak in full words and sentences when you’re running around doing high stakes stuff?
9. Plus they’ll need to be fluent in their alpha bravo charlie
Yes, that’s an actual language with a specific words to represent each letter – not just whatever word beginning with that letter comes to mind.
Mind-blowing, we know.
10. The training isn’t just interrogation and shooting
There’s also the academic side of things: behavioural science, fundamental law, how to conduct cyber investigations, and loads of other not as exciting stuff.
Thankfully the characters in Quantico have enough personal drama to keep those bits interesting.
11. Agents-in-training now use specially created virtual reality
This bit’s pretty cool.
The FBI has their own virtual reality simulator called VirtSim, which creates a 360-degree environment for agents-in-training to immerse themselves in a task environment.
12. Every FBI special agent has to be fit
The training includes constant checks on each agent’s ability to do plenty of push-ups, speedy sprints, and long runs.
It’s important for agents to be fit enough to escape danger and chase down people they need to capture, so every agent needs to be in the best possible physical condition.
13. There’s a lot of sexual tension
We’re talking about a bunch of adrenaline-filled people in peak physical fitness.
Of course there’s going to be some sexy stuff.
14. They really do risk their lives
They run past explosions, dodge bullets, and generally do a bunch of scary stuff to protect the people.
15. FBI special agents are truly badass
All the cool, impressive, and life-risking things you see special agents do in Quantico? That’s pretty true-to-life.
Potential agents are selected from thousands of applicants, purely down to their aptitude and special skills in interrogation, investigation, and generally being brilliant.
Quantico is bought to you by ABC Studios
Season 1 available on Sky Box Sets, NOW TV and Virgin TV
Season 2 returns to W Channel 2nd March