00 Agent

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In Ian Fleming's James Bond novels and the derived films, the 00 Section of MI6 is considered the secret service's elite. A 00 (typically read "Double O" and denoted in Fleming's novels by the letters "OO" rather than the digits "00") is a field agent that holds a licence to kill in the field, at his or her discretion, to complete any mission. The novel Moonraker establishes that the section routinely has three agents concurrently; the film series, beginning with Thunderball, establishes the number of 00 agents at a minimum of 9.

Inspiration[edit]

The origins of the Double O title may date to Fleming's wartime service. According to World War Two historian Damien Lewis in his book Churchill's Secret Warriors, agents of the Special Operations Executive (SOE) were given a "0" prefix when they became "zero-rated" upon completion of training in how to kill. As part of his role as assistant to the head of naval intelligence, Rear Admiral John Godfrey (himself the inspiration for M), Fleming acted as liaison[1] to the SOE.

Description[edit]

In the first novel, Casino Royale, and the 2006 film adaptation, the 00 concept is introduced and, in Bond's words, means "that you've had to kill a chap in cold blood in the course of some assignment." Bond's 00 number (007) was awarded to him because he twice killed in fulfilling assignments. (This differentiates from deadly force used by non-00 agents in the course of self-defence or offensive action; plus, in the original time frame of the novel—the early 1950s—many MI6 agents would have had recent war service.) In the second novel, Live and Let Die, the 00 number designates a past killing; not until the third novel, Moonraker, does the 00 number designate a licence to kill. Thereafter, the novels are ambiguous about whether a 00 agent's licence to kill is limited, with varying accounts in Dr. No, Goldfinger, and The Man with the Golden Gun.

Per Fleming's Moonraker, 00 agents face mandatory retirement at 45; John Gardner contradicts this in his novels, depicting a fifty-odd-year-old secret agent. Sebastian Faulks's Devil May Care features M giving Bond a choice of when to retire.

Fleming himself only mentions five 00 agents in all. According to Moonraker, James Bond is the most senior of three 00 agents; the two others were 008 and 0011. The three men share an office and a secretary named Loelia Ponsonby. Later novels feature two more 00 agents; 009 is mentioned in Thunderball and 006 is mentioned in On Her Majesty's Secret Service. Other authors have elaborated and expanded upon the 00 agents. While they presumably have been sent on dangerous missions as Bond has, little has been revealed about most of them. Several have been named, both by Fleming and other authors, along with passing references to their service records, which suggest that agents are largely recruited (as Bond was) from the British military's special forces.[citation needed]

In the films, the 00 section is a discrete area of MI6, whose agents report directly to M, and tend to be sent on special assignments and troubleshooting missions, often involving rogue agents (from Britain or other countries) or situations where an "ordinary" intelligence operation uncovers or reveals terrorist or criminal activity too sensitive to be dealt with using ordinary procedural or legal measures, and where the aforementioned discretionary "licence to kill" is deemed necessary or useful in rectifying the situation. The World Is Not Enough introduces a special insignia for the 00 Section. Bond's fellow 00 agents appear receiving briefings in Thunderball and The World Is Not Enough. The latter film shows a woman in one of the 00 chairs. In Thunderball, there are nine chairs for the 00 agents; Moneypenny says every 00 agent in Europe has been recalled, not every 00 agent in the world. Behind the scenes photos of the film reveal that one of the agents in the chairs is female as well. As with the books, other writers have elaborated and expanded upon the 00 agents in the films and in other media. In GoldenEye, 006 is an alias for Alec Trevelyan; as of 2019, Trevelyan is the only 00 agent other than Bond to play a major role in an EON Productions film, with all other appearances either being brief or dialogue references only.

List of 00s[edit]

The following lists are of the known 00 agents of the British Secret Service who exist in the Ian Fleming novels & short stories, the officially licensed novels, the EON movies, or in the official video games or comic strips.

00 Agents from Ian Fleming's Bond stories[edit]

00-agent Name Description
006 Unnamed 006, a Royal Marine commando, is mentioned in the novel On Her Majesty's Secret Service.
007 James Bond James Bond is the only agent 007. In the novel You Only Live Twice, Bond was transferred into another branch and given the number 7777, suggesting there was no active agent 007 in that time; he is later reinstated as 007 in the novel The Man with the Golden Gun.
008 Bill In the novel Moonraker, 008 (called "Bill" by Bond) is mentioned as being on recuperative leave after returning from a mission behind the Iron Curtain.

In the novel Goldfinger, Bond thinks to himself that 008 would likely avenge Bond by killing Goldfinger. As Bond thinks this, he ruminates that 008 is "a good man, more careful than Bond."

009 Unnamed Referred to in the novel Thunderball. Referred to in the movies Octopussy, The World Is Not Enough and Spectre.
0011 Unnamed Mentioned in the novel Moonraker as vanishing while on assignment in Singapore.

00 Agents from Bond stories by other authors[edit]

00-agent Name Description
001 Edward Donne Referred to in the Raymond Benson novel Doubleshot, Edward Donne is the only known agent 001.[citation needed]
004 Frederick Wardner, Scarlett Papava A 004 appears in the Benson novel The Facts of Death.

In the Sebastian Faulks novel Devil May Care, Bond girl Scarlett Papava is unveiled as 004, replacing the previous agent who was killed in Berlin.

005 Stuart Thomas Was 005 until defective eyesight impaired his marksmanship, and he was made head of Station G (Greece) in the Kingsley Amis novel Colonel Sun.
006 Major Jack Giddings In The Moneypenny Diaries: Guardian Angel, 006 is named as Major Jack Giddings and second to Bond in the 00 section.
007 James Bond As above. In the John Gardner novels, agent 007 is the remaining active 00-agent as the section was disbanded in the 1980s. This was later contradicted in the Raymond Benson novels.

In Anthony Horowitz's continuation novel, set before the events of Casino Royale, an unnamed agent 007 is murdered, which leads to James Bond taking over the code-number in Forever and A Day, thus marking his first ever assignment as a 00-agent.

0010 Unnamed Referred to in the Benson novel The Man with the Red Tattoo.
0012 Sam Johnston Although unmentioned on screen, Benson's The World Is Not Enough novelisation has Bond investigating 0012's death at story's start (seen in a photograph of a dark-haired man, in the film).

00 Agents from the Eon film franchise[edit]

00-agent Name Description
002 Bill Fairbanks, John A 002 first appears in Thunderball. He is shot through the neck and killed by Francisco Scaramanga, in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1969 (film version: The Man with the Golden Gun 1974).

In The Living Daylights film, another Agent 002, named "John", played by Glyn Baker; was training at Gibraltar, with 004 and 007. 002 was "killed" and eliminated from the exercise when he landed close to a waiting SAS guard.

003 Unnamed 003 first appears in Thunderball. Either he or another 003 is found dead, in Siberia, in A View to a Kill.
004 Unnamed 004 first appears in Thunderball, where he is played by Frederick Warder.

In The Living Daylights, either he or another 004 accompanied 002 and 007 to Gibraltar; he is murdered by a false KGB agent who tags the body with "Death to Spies" in Russian after his support rope is cut and he is sent plummeting down a cliff to his death.

005 Unnamed 005 appears in Thunderball.
006 Alec Trevelyan A 006 first appears in Thunderball, where he is portrayed by Peter Roy. When 006 was used again thirty years later in GoldenEye it was not mentioned whether this was meant to be the same character or a replacement.

In GoldenEye 006 was named Alec Trevelyan, the main antagonist in the film, and portrayed by Sean Bean. In a mission at Arkhangelsk, he was apparently shot and killed, but later reveals that he faked his death. He heads the Janus crime syndicate which plans to steal the GoldenEye satellite from the Russian Federation, intending to use it to cripple Britain due to a financial meltdown. His motivation for these plans was a personal one: avenging his family, who were all Lienz Cossacks, betrayed to the Communists by the British government after World War II had ended. He also begrudged Bond's not allowing him time to escape the Soviet chemical weapons factory they were sent to destroy at the beginning of the film. Trevelyan is killed after Bond drops him from the antenna above the satellite dish, and the subsequent destruction of the facility.

The GoldenEye novelisation was written by John Gardner.

007 James Bond See above.
008 Unnamed In Goldfinger M threatens to replace 007 with agent 008. Later in the film, Bond tells Auric Goldfinger, "...if I fail to report, 008 replaces me.", and Goldfinger replies, "I'm sure he'll be more successful."

In The Living Daylights, M again threatens to replace 007 saying "I'll recall 008 from Hong Kong".[2] In the movies, 008 is the only agent (other than Bond) that is not always killed doing his job.

009 Unnamed 009 first appears in Thunderball. Either he or another 009 (dressed as a clown) was killed by Mischka and Grischka after the opening credits in Octopussy by throwing a knife into his back as he tries to escape them.

In The World Is Not Enough, M assigned another 009 to kill Renard; despite putting a bullet in his head, Renard lives, with the bullet slowly killing off his senses.

In Spectre, Q laments that a new Aston Martin originally intended to be used by 007 has been reassigned to 009 following Bond's destruction of several buildings in Mexico City. A switch inside the car labelled "Atmosphere" is later revealed to begin playing 009's personal choices in music.

0012 Sam Johnston Although unmentioned on screen, Benson's The World Is Not Enough novelisation has Bond investigating 0012's death at story's start (seen in a photograph of a dark-haired man, in the film).
Unknown Nomi Appears in No Time to Die, who has been a veteran 00-agent for two years by the time the events of the film take place.
Unknown Unidentified Two films, Thunderball and The World Is Not Enough, have scenes in which Bond joins groups of other 00 agents for briefings. In Thunderball, only fleeting glimpses of these individuals are provided. In The World Is Not Enough several are visible as they receive instructions from M and her assistant, Bill Tanner, including one female 00 agent.

00 Agents from computer and video games[edit]

00-agent Name Description
003 Jack Mason In the Everything or Nothing video game (2004), 003 is Jack Mason, who is shot in the gut and killed by Nikolai Diavolo, a villain connected with the villain Max Zorin from A View to a Kill.
004 Aidan Flemmings In the GoldenEye video game, on the Silo mission briefing, Q mentions to 007 to "remember to treat the timed explosives with respect – you remember what happened to 004 in Beirut"; it is unclear whether he speaks of another agent or one of the ones in the EON films.
007 James Bond See above.
008 Bill Timothy In the video game James Bond 007, 008 gives Bond an exploding pen before dying.
Unknown Jonathan "GoldenEye" Hunter A former 00-agent featured in GoldenEye: Rogue Agent. He was shot in the right eye, and was dismissed by MI6 for "reckless brutality". He joined up with Auric Goldfinger against the shooter, Dr. Julius No, and eventually received a gold-hued artificial eye as a replacement, which granted him several hidden abilities. After killing both Goldfinger and Dr. No, he becomes Ernst Stavro Blofeld's personal bodyguard. The game takes place in an alternate universe[citation needed].

00 Agents from other official media[edit]

00-agent Name Description
007 James Bond See above.
008 Bill Timothy 008 is mentioned to have been murdered in the comic book VARGR for which 007 himself avenges the death of his colleague by taking the life of the latter's killer.
009 Peter Smith The graphic novels Deadly Double and Serpent's Tooth feature a fourth Agent 009. In early 2016, there were rumours about a 13-part Netflix series starring Mehzeb Chowdhury as 009 agent Cyrus Varten. This was revealed to be a social experiment conducted by Mehzeb himself to gauge the audiences' reaction towards an extended Bond universe.
0013 Briony Thorne A female 00-agent appearing in the comic strip Fear Face (published 18 January 1971 to 20 April 1971 in The Daily Express). Thorne is revealed to be a double agent for China.
Unknown Agent York Killed in the comic strip River of Death (published 24 June 1969 to 29 November 1969 in The Daily Express). Agent York is a 00 agent but his number is not revealed.
Unknown Suzi Kew A recurring character in the Daily Express comic strip series of the 1960s and 1970s, Suzi Kew is a 00 agent but her number is not revealed.

False 00 Agents from Casino Royale (1967)[edit]

The 1967 film adaptation of Fleming's first novel, Casino Royale, spoofed the EON film series. As part of its storyline, Sir James Bond (David Niven), after having assumed the position of M, mandates that all MI6 agents - male and female - be renamed James Bond 007 in order to confuse enemy agents of SMERSH.

00-agent Name Description
007 Evelyn Tremble Baccarat master. Portrayed by Peter Sellers.
007 Vesper Lynd Bond's former lover. Portrayed by Ursula Andress.
007 Miss Moneypenny Daughter of Bond's retired secretary, with the same name as her mother. Portrayed by Barbara Bouchet.
007 Mata Bond Illegitimate daughter of Bond and Mata Hari. Portrayed by Joanna Pettet.
007 The Detainer A female agent who ultimately is the one to defeat the villain, Dr. Noah. Real name unrevealed. Portrayed by Daliah Lavi.
007 Cooper An agent who closely resembles the stereotypical image of Bond. Portrayed by Terence Cooper.
007 Jimmy Bond Nephew of Sir James Bond who, tired of being looked down upon (due to his short stature and meek demeanour), creates the persona of Dr. Noah, head of the evil organization SMERSH. As his duplicity is not known until late in the film, he technically falls under his uncle's naming edict. Portrayed by Woody Allen.
007 "James Bond" Prior to renaming all MI6 agents, Sir James mentions that the agency had given "my name and number" to another individual. Two dialogue references are made to this Bond: one has McTerry (M) expressing concern that he may be targeted by assassins; later in the film, it is said that he has left the service and entered the world of television.


See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lewis, Damien (2 October 2014). Churchill's Secret Warriors: The Explosive True Story of the Special Forces Desperadoes of WWII. Hachette UK. ISBN 9781848668546. Retrieved 17 February 2020.
  2. ^ "It was instinct. - I'll recall 008 from Hong Kong | The Living Daylights quotes". Subzin.com. Retrieved 12 November 2012.