Jim Halpert is an iconic television character. As a central part of The Office, a massive broadcasting success turned streaming blockbuster, that’s expected. But the character and the actor portraying him deserve credit too. Jim was funny, charming, romantic, put-upon and relatable. And the actor behind him, John Krasinski, seemed in danger of being Jim from The Office forever, no matter how many Quiet Places he starred in.
So maybe it was fear of typecasting that prompted his covert intelligence propagandist heel turn.
Krasinski stars in Amazon’s Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan series as a CIA agent. With the show’s second season heating up, videos have surfaced of Krasinski gushing over the agents he met during his research and the CIA as a whole.
here’s a clip of a jack ryan q&a shown in the video.
in it john krasinki says he comes from “a huge military family,” & wanted to do a show where he could talk to the CIA “about how *they* would like their character to be perceived.”
— (don’t laugh!) (@dewybleach) November 19, 2019
The videos reveal what the show truly is: well-produced government-sanctioned agitprop, with Jim from The Office peddling it to Amazon subscribers. Journalist Tom Secker’s video breakdown of Jack Ryan takes the show to task, explaining the CIA’s involvement in the show right down to controlling narratives. The mask has slipped even further off during the show’s second season, in which Ryan and the CIA attempt to take out Venezuela’s vicious dictator by aiding a left wing populist, flipping the political reality of the situation. And Krasinski is simply the salesman.
But why does Krasinski love the CIA so much? He might just adore the military in general—after all, he starred in the hackneyed Benghazi film 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi. Perhaps, the government identified him as an easy mark, or at the very least, as a guy who’d want to make up for being a lovable prankster during the War in Iraq.
classic John Wayne Syndrome: pampered wannabe tough guy actor goes rightwing to overcompensate for mugging at the camera at the height of the Iraq War. John Wayne always felt so guilty dodging WW2 draft for the rest of his life he tried to make up for it by making pro-war schlock https://t.co/2HY0SR4syD
— Adam H. Johnson (@adamjohnsonNYC) November 19, 2019
Still, for someone that probably doesn’t have to work again based on the royalties he makes from the Office alone, shilling CIA agitprop while ignoring the agency’s innumerable alleged offenses seems like a very conscious choice. From setting the stage for coups throughout South America to lying to Congress about torture, the CIA is worthy of enormous scrutiny and skepticism before we “say thank you for it every single day.”
The U.S. government and intelligence agencies will never run out of producers, directors and actors to peddle propaganda. Shows like Jack Ryan and movies like Zero Dark Thirty and Argo will always be made, with varying government involvement. It’s simply too profitable to ignore. And so is the bootlicking done by the stars at the center of them.