Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Barely Anyone Watched The Best Spy Show Of 2014

Armin Rosen at offers a piece on the TV series The Assets, a show that I enjoyed.

From 1985 to 1987, the spy war between the US and the Soviet Union reached a bizarre fever pitch.

CIA assets inside the KGB were rounded up and executed, and no one could figure out why. A disgruntled ex-CIA agent evaded an FBI surveillance dragnet and fled to Moscow, partly by using a human-sized dummy to throw off his trackers. A US Marine guard fell for a KBG honeypot and allowed a Soviet operative into the American embassy in Moscow. To top it all off, a KBG colonel defected to the US and then re-defected to the Soviets after fleeing his CIA handler while they were eating at a French restaurant in Washington, DC's posh Georgetown neighborhood.

Events that could shift the balance of Cold War were coming hard and fast, and one man was in some way connected to all of them: Aldrich Ames, a CIA veteran currently serving a federal life sentence for espionage (seen below in the photo with his wife).

The hunt for Ames — who was perhaps the most damaging mole in the agency's history — and the events surrounding his betrayal of the United States was the subject of "The Assets," an 8-part miniseries that ran on ABC in early 2014. The show's pilot was the lowest-rated premier for a primetime drama in history. No matter: the whole thing's on Netflix Instant Watch. And if you have any interest in the Cold War, intelligence, or the darker regions of human nature the show belongs on your to-do list.

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

You can also read an earlier post on The Assets via the below link:

I interviewed Sandy Grimes (seen in the above photo), the real CIA officer who helped bring down CIA traitor and spy Aldrich Ames, and co-wrote the book Circle of Treason, the book the TV series was based on.

You can read my Counterterrorism magazine Q & A with Sandy Grimes via the below link:

The above photo shows Sandy Grimes and the CIA team that uncovered Aldrich Ames.


  1. Now there is a mini-series that is news to me. I will have to track it down via Netflix because I am curious at different levels: what it factually reveals, why it might have failed with viewers, and whether or not ABC put its political spin on the production.

    Thanks, Paul, for putting this one in the spotlight for me.

    Now, without further delay, as I get myself settled for the Mississippi State and Georgia Tech game ( -- a whole lot of my money when the Mississippi State when my son went there, so I have an interest in the team --), I will simply but warmly say this: Happy New Year, Paul. May your 2015 be dominated by fair winds and following seas.

  2. R.T.,

    Happy New Year to you as well, shipmate.

    I hope your health improves in the coming year.