Jack Ryan (character)

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Jack Ryan
First appearance
Created byTom Clancy
Portrayed by
  • Emmet William Ryan (father, deceased)
  • Catherine Burke Ryan (mother, deceased)
  • Special Agent Dominic "Enzo" Caruso, FBI (nephew)
  • Captain Brian "Aldo" Caruso, USMC (nephew, deceased)
Spouse(s)Caroline "Cathy" Muller-Ryan
  • Olivia Barbara "Sally" Ryan
  • John Patrick "Jack" Ryan Jr.
  • Kathleen "Katie" Ryan
  • Kyle Daniel Ryan
ReligionRoman Catholic

John Patrick "Jack" Ryan Sr. KCVO is a fictional character created by author Tom Clancy and featured in his Ryanverse novels, which have consistently topped the New York Times Best Seller list over the years.[1] Since Clancy’s death in 2013, four other authors have continued the Ryan franchise and its other connecting series with the approval of the Clancy family estate: Mark Greaney,[2] Grant Blackwood, Mike Maden, and Marc Cameron.[3]

The son of a Baltimore police detective and a nurse, Jack Ryan is a former U.S. Marine and stockbroker who became a history teacher at Boston College in Boston, Massachusetts. Ryan later joins the Central Intelligence Agency, as analyst and occasional field officer, eventually leaving it as Deputy Director. He later served as National Security Advisor and Vice President before suddenly becoming President of the United States following a terrorist attack on the United States Capitol. Ryan went on to serve two non-consecutive terms and mostly dealt with international crises in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.

Jack Ryan has been portrayed in Clancy’s film adaptations of four of his novels by Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, and Ben Affleck. In 2014, a reboot of the film series, titled Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, starred Chris Pine. The Jack Ryan film series have an unadjusted worldwide gross revenue of $788.4 million to date,[4] making it the 57th highest-grossing film series.[5] John Krasinski is the latest actor to play Ryan, in the Amazon Prime web television series of the same name, which premiered on August 30, 2018.[6]

Early life[edit]

Ryan was born in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1950, the son of Emmet William Ryan (1922–1974), a Baltimore Police Department homicide lieutenant and World War II veteran. The elder Ryan had served with the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division at the Battle of the Bulge in western Europe. His mother, Catherine Burke Ryan (1923–1974), was a nurse. Without Remorse mentioned that he had a sister, who lived in Seattle. After graduating from Loyola High School (now Loyola Blakefield), a Roman Catholic Jesuit prep school in Towson, Maryland in suburban Baltimore County, Ryan attended Boston College, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics (with a strong minor in history) and a commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps (via Officer Candidate School). While waiting for the Corps to assign him, he passed the Certified Public Accountant exam.[7]

After officer training at Marine Corps Base Quantico in Quantico, Virginia, he went on to serve briefly as a Marine infantry Platoon leader. However, his military career was cut short at the age of 23 when his platoon's helicopter, a CH-46 Sea Knight, crashed during a North Atlantic Treaty Organization exercise over the Greek island of Crete. The crash badly injured Ryan's back. U.S. Navy surgeons, at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, inadequately repaired his back. This led to a lengthy recovery process (during which he became addicted to pain medications) after which, complete with a permanent disability and wearing a back brace, he left the Marines. He passed his stockbroker's exam and took a position with Wall Street investment firm Merrill Lynch's Baltimore office.

His parents died in a plane crash at Chicago Midway International Airport, 19 months after his crash in Crete. He developed a fear of flying that persisted for years.

The film version of The Hunt for Red October changed his education background to being a 1972 graduate of the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland, 20 miles south of Baltimore in the state capital. In the 2018 Amazon Prime series, Ryan's Ph.D. is in economics rather than history.

Civilian career[edit]

While managing clients' portfolios, Ryan began to invest his own money, banking on a tip he had received from an uncle about the workers' takeover of the Chicago and North Western Railway, making about $6 million off his $100,000 initial investment. He did so well that one of Merrill Lynch's senior vice presidents, Joe Muller, came to Baltimore to have dinner with him, with the objective of inviting him to the firm's New York City headquarters near Wall Street. Also present is Muller's daughter Caroline, nicknamed Cathy, then a senior medical student at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. They immediately fall in love and get engaged.

One night, while having dinner with his fiancée, Ryan throws out his back. Cathy takes him directly to Dr. Stanley Rabinowitz, professor of neurosurgery at famed Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, to be evaluated. Rabinowitz later operates on Ryan's back and cures his chronic pain in relatively short order (in a later novel, the surgeon is credited as Sam Rosen, a doctor introduced in Without Remorse). Ryan subsequently persuades the government to terminate his disability checks. Cathy later becomes an ophthalmic surgeon at the Wilmer Eye Institute of The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a Professor of Surgery at Johns Hopkins.

After creating a net worth of $8 million, Ryan left the firm after four years and enrolled at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. for six doctoral courses in history. He does a brief stint at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, then accepts a position at the U.S. Naval Academy as a civilian professor of history. In addition, he has also written books on naval history: Options and Decisions, Doomed Eagles, and Fighting Sailor, a biography of World War II Admiral William "Bull" Halsey, in which he justifies Halsey's actions during the Battle of Leyte Gulf.

First CIA work and career[edit]

Following a recommendation from Father Tim O'Riley, a Jesuit priest and professor at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., to a Central Intelligence Agency contact, Ryan was asked to work as a consultant for the agency, although officially employed by the MITRE Corporation. He agreed and spent several months at agency headquarters in Langley, Virginia, where he wrote a paper entitled "Agents and Agencies", in which he maintained that state-sponsored terrorism is an act of war. He also invented the canary trap, a method for exposing an information leak, which involves giving different versions of a sensitive document to each of a group of suspects and seeing which version is leaked. By ensuring that each copy of the document differs slightly in its wording, if any copy is leaked, then it is possible to determine the informant's identity.

These accomplishments come to the attention of U.S. Navy Vice Admiral James Greer, the CIA's Deputy Director for Intelligence. The expertise of Ryan's report, plus the application, persuaded Greer to offer him a permanent job in the CIA, but Ryan declined.

Patriot Games (1987)[edit]

While in London with his family, Ryan stumbles upon a kidnapping attempt on the Prince of Wales and his family, which is orchestrated by Irish terrorist group Ulster Liberation Army. He foils the attack by killing one gunman while injuring another and gets wounded in the process. Ryan is later knighted by Queen Elizabeth II as an honorary Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order; in the books, some British characters call him "Sir John" even though honorary knights are not permitted to use the style of "Sir".[8]

Sean Miller, the Irish gunman Ryan wounded, was sentenced to life imprisonment but is freed by his ULA compatriots. Embittered over the failure of the kidnapping attempt, he exacts revenge on Ryan by attacking his wife and daughter. After pleas by Greer, Ryan agrees to join the CIA in a permanent position as an analyst, originally to gather intelligence on the ULA. Later, Miller and his men stage another kidnapping attempt on the Prince and Princess of Wales, who are visiting the Ryan family in their Maryland home; however, they are overpowered by the combined efforts of Ryan, his friend Robert "Robby" Jackson, and the Prince as well as law enforcement and naval officers who are nearby. After the ordeal, Ryan's second child Jack Ryan Jr. was born.

Red Rabbit (2002)[edit]

Ryan's first CIA assignment is to London as a member of a liaison group to the British Secret Intelligence Service. Initially called in to assess the Soviet government and economy, Ryan is later tasked to assist in the defection of a KGB communications officer who has discovered that his boss Yuri Andropov had ordered Pope John Paul II's assassination. Although Ryan and a small team of British SIS agents helps the "Rabbit" and his family get to the West, they fail to prevent the attack on the Pope (which actually happened in real life in 1981). Nevertheless, the pope is only wounded and his would-be assassin captured, while the British execute his Bulgarian handler. "Rabbit's" defection proves to be a major coup for both the American and British intelligence agencies. Ryan soon afterward suggests a nonmilitary long-term strategy to help hasten the Soviet Union's collapse and the end of the Cold War.

The Hunt for Red October (1984)[edit]

Captain First Rank Marko Ramius, the Soviet Navy's top submarine commander, takes command of the Красный Октябрь (Krasny Oktyabr, or in English, Red October), the newest Typhoon-class ballistic missile submarine, with which he plans to defect with his officers. Having briefly met Captain Ramius at an embassy function several years before, Ryan is asked by Admiral Greer to brief the President's National Security Adviser Jeffrey Pelt and his staff in his first trip to the White House on Ramius' background and the deadly new capabilities of Red October's' secret revolutionary silent jet propulsion drive system. Ryan recognizes that the renegade ethnic Lithuanian captain may want to change sides rather than attack the West and works to establish contact with him at sea while on board the tailing American submarine USS Dallas and work to get him and his sub secretly to the U.S., eventually succeeding.

The Cardinal of the Kremlin (1988)[edit]

Ryan is reassigned to the CIA headquarters at Langley and becomes Admiral Greer’s special assistant. He is sent to Moscow as part of the American nuclear weapons reduction (START) team, and later engineers the extraction of CARDINAL, CIA’s highest agent-in-place, from the country. Along the way, he also forces KGB chairman Nikolay Gerasimov to defect due to his anti-American nature, which could jeopardize the arms reduction talks once he becomes General Secretary. His plan involves a disinformation campaign that shows himself under SEC investigation for insider trading, which provides an opening for Gerasimov to help Ryan defect to the Soviet Union and work for the KGB.

Clear and Present Danger (1989)[edit]

Ryan is promoted to acting DDI when Greer is hospitalized with cancer. Despite this, he is not made aware of a highly covert and illegal CIA operation encouraged by the President claiming domestic drug abuse was a "clear and present danger" to American security, and approved by corrupt National Security Advisor Admiral Cutter. This operation targets Colombian drug lords in South America using light infantry troops of Hispanic descent and occasional precision air strikes with sophisticated "smartbombs", in what is usually considered a law enforcement area. Ryan works with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to rescue a small group of American soldiers cut off in Colombia, forcing him to miss Greer's funeral. Also in this operation, he first met the U.S. government operative John Clark, with whom he would become friends. Around this time, Ryan also runs afoul of Elizabeth Elliot, international affairs advisor to then-presidential candidate Governor of Ohio J. Robert Fowler, and one of Cathy Ryan's former professors.

The Sum of All Fears (1990)[edit]

Ryan reaches his highest post at the CIA, Deputy Director of Central Intelligence. His career is jeopardized when Fowler becomes President and Elizabeth Elliott, Fowler's lover/manipulator, becomes National Security Advisor. They not only deny Ryan any credit for an innovative Middle East peace plan (basically turning Jerusalem into a Vatican-like city co-ruled by three Christian, Jewish, and Arab/Muslim mayors), but also panic when Palestinian and former East German terrorists detonate a nuclear bomb in Denver during the Super Bowl and nearly plunge the world into a Soviet-American nuclear war. Ryan defuses the nuclear crisis by commandeering the Washington-Moscow hot line and convincing the Soviet Premier (through his friend Golovko) that the crisis is a setup. He then refuses to confirm Fowler's order to launch a nuclear missile at Qom (thus preventing the attack), where the Iranian ayatollah lives. The crisis and Elliot scandal drives Fowler to resign. On this note, Ryan retires from the CIA and flies to Riyadh in Saudi Arabia to witness the execution of the surviving terrorists, and is then honored by the U.S.'s Middle Eastern allies by being presented with the sword used to execute the Iranian terrorists.

The film again departs from the novel, by presenting a younger, unmarried Ryan, an intelligent mistress-free Fowler, a Greer-like Cabot, and the nuclear bomb is detonated over the city Baltimore instead of Denver. It also changes the identity of the terrorists from Iranians to neo-Nazis.

Debt of Honor (1994)[edit]

After a brief stint as a stockbroker, Ryan returns to government service as the National Security Advisor, restoring honor to the job that Cutter and Elliot disgraced. It has been two and a half years since Fowler resigned and his vice president, Roger Durling, is now well into his own term. Jack and the administration must deal with a second war between the U.S. and Japan, as well as an attack on America's economic infrastructure. After a clean sweep of Japan's forces in the South Pacific, Vice President Ed Kealty is forced to resign after a sex scandal and President Durling taps Ryan for the job. Ryan accepts the job on the condition that he will only serve until the end of Durling's term, and sees this as a way of ending his public life. Only minutes after Congress confirms Ryan, though, a Japanese airline pilot deliberately crashes a 747 into the U.S. Capitol building during Congress' joint session, killing most of the people inside, decapitating the U.S. government, and elevating Ryan to the Presidency.

First Ryan administration[edit]

The Ryan Cabinet
PresidentJohn Patrick RyanDebt of HonorThe Bear and the Dragon
Vice PresidentRobert Jefferson JacksonThe Bear and the DragonThe Teeth of the Tiger
Secretary of StateScott AdlerExecutive OrdersThe Bear and the Dragon
Secretary of TreasuryGeorge WinstonExecutive OrdersThe Bear and the Dragon
Secretary of DefenseAnthony BretanoExecutive OrdersThe Bear and the Dragon
Attorney GeneralPatrick MartinExecutive OrdersThe Bear and the Dragon
Chief of StaffArnold van DammExecutive OrdersThe Bear and the Dragon
National Security AdvisorDr. Benjamin GoodleyExecutive OrdersThe Bear and the Dragon
Chairman of the
Joint Chiefs of Staff
General Michael MooreExecutive OrdersThe Bear and the Dragon
Director of the
Central Intelligence Agency
Edward FoleyExecutive OrdersThe Bear and the Dragon
Director of the
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Daniel E. MurrayExecutive OrdersThe Bear and the Dragon

Executive Orders (1996)[edit]

The reluctant yet determined Ryan administration emerges as Ryan slowly rebuilds the government. He is faced with Kealty's political trickery, as the former Vice President disputes his legitimacy as the nation's chief executive by publicly stating that he never actually resigned, when in fact a member of his staff had secretly taken the resignation letter from the office of the now-dead Secretary of State and destroyed it. Initially the lone voice of opposition to Ryan's policies on live television, he later enlists disaffected CIA intelligence officials (affected by the reduction in force at the agency in favor of more field operatives) to procure classified information on Ryan from his time in the CIA. He then suborns NBC news anchor and fellow Ryan critic Tom Donner into ambushing him with questions about his CIA career in a televised interview. Donner later realizes his mistake and publicly apologizes to President Ryan, while Kealty's challenge eventually fails in court.

Along the way, Ryan also has to deal with the dictator of the new United Islamic Republic (a coalition of Iran and Iraq), the Ayatollah Mahmoud Haji Daryaei. The ayatollah regards him as a weakling and seizes the opportunity to stage a multi-pronged attack on the country: a biological attack using a weaponized strain of the Ebola virus, a kidnapping attempt on his youngest daughter Katie, and an assassination attempt on himself through an Iranian sleeper agent disguised as a Secret Service bodyguard; with the U.S. overwhelmed by a multitude of crises, he believes that he can invade Saudi Arabia with little military opposition from the U.S. While the attempt on Katie was swiftly averted by the FBI and the Secret Service, the Ebola epidemic causes Ryan to declare martial law and enforce a travel ban that becomes instrumental in killing the virus, since it cannot survive in the American environment due to its fragile nature. He later deploys what is left of the American military to assist Saudi and Kuwaiti forces in repelling the UIR military, which also becomes successful. The would-be assassin is later arrested on the spot by the FBI after attempting to kill President Ryan inside the Oval Office.

Ryan Doctrine[edit]

At the end of Executive Orders, Ryan, in the tradition of Presidents Monroe, Truman, Carter and Reagan, issues a foreign policy doctrine which largely defines his administration's international perspective. The Ryan Doctrine states that the U.S. will no longer tolerate attacks on "our territory, our possessions, or our citizens," and will hold whoever orders such attacks accountable.

This statement comes soon after the Ebola attack on the U.S. ordered by Daryaei. Ryan announces the new doctrine on television, momentarily cutting away to show Daryaei and his UIR advisors being incinerated by laser-guided bombs launched from two F-117s, on Ryan's orders. Therefore, the Ryan doctrine supersedes the executive order put in place by President Ford, which forbids the assassination of foreign heads of state. Ryan, however, believes it is a more ethical alternative than total war, since it punishes the person responsible for the attack instead of the people he rules.

Within the books, the Ryan doctrine is not officially invoked after Daryaei's death (although Ryan threatens to use it on the Chinese leadership in The Bear and the Dragon, should anything happen to American citizens living in China as a consequence of the Siberian War).

The Bear and the Dragon (2000)[edit]

Ryan has completed Durling's term as President and has campaigned for the next election, which he wins. He retains most of his emergency Cabinet and has Robby Jackson as Vice President. He has to deal with the attempted assassination of Golovko, who is now head of Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service (formerly the KGB). This turns out to be an attempt to sow confusion in the Russian government because of China's designs to annex Eastern Siberia, where geologists had recently discovered a large amount of oil and gold. These events lead to the inclusion of Russia into NATO and the assistance of U.S. forces in the Sino-Russian conflict (although attacks on NATO members outside the Atlantic should not trigger Article V).

When the Chinese begin losing the war, U.S. forces target their strategic assets. A U.S. submarine sinks a Chinese ballistic missile submarine, causing the Chinese Politburo to panic and increase the readiness of their 12 land-based ICBMs. U.S. forces do not have the ability to destroy the silos, as they could only use deep-penetrating bombs, which had all been used to destroy Chinese bridges to disrupt the People's Liberation Army's (PLA) logistical support. This causes the U.S. and Russia to send a joint RAINBOW-Spetsnaz team to destroy the silos. They destroy 11 of the 12 ICBMs, but one of them manages to launch and head towards Washington, DC, and with Ryan taking a command initiative at an Aegis missile cruiser, the ICBM is intercepted by ABMs from the USS Gettysburg.

With the PLA's looming defeat in Siberia, which they were about to learn about via live UAV broadcasts from the CIA through the Internet, student demonstrators in Beijing raid a Politburo meeting, causing reformist minister Fang Gan to take control and arrest the war's perpetrators, making peace negotiations with the U.S. and Russia, and beginning China's transition to democracy.

The Campus[edit]

Following this, Ryan apparently completes his term and refuses to run for a second elected term. Robby Jackson thus campaigns to become the first African American President, but he is assassinated by the Ku Klux Klan on a trip to the South, enabling Kealty, his opponent, to become the next President by default. Before Ryan leaves office, he creates The Campus, a covert counter-terrorism organization that fronts as Hendley Associates, a financial trading firm. He also writes 100 presidential pardons for its members, with Attorney General Pat Martin's assistance.

Second Ryan administration[edit]

Dead or Alive (2010)[edit]

In his retirement, Ryan is living easy with a net worth over $80 million. He is working on two versions of his memoirs, one for immediate release, and another detailing his CIA career to be published posthumously. However, he becomes increasingly frustrated with the direction in which President Kealty is taking the country, although he is initially publicly silent. Ultimately, he announces that he will come out of retirement to run for a second full term as President as a Republican candidate. Despite having originally not being involved in the Campus's activities due to his high-profile status, he gradually becomes more directly linked to the Campus's operations, aiding them from behind the scenes on occasion. Here, Ryan learns his elder son, Jack Jr., is a field operative of the Campus, which he reluctantly accepts.

Locked On (2011)[edit]

Ryan then campaigns against Kealty, facing off against him in various televised debates. It quickly becomes apparent that Ryan will win the election, as the majority of Americans had never entirely accepted Kealty. Despite the efforts of Paul Laska, a high-profile Czech-American billionaire and a devout enemy of Ryan, and key members of the Kealty administration who labelled Ryan's longtime friend John Clark a fugitive in an effort to expose the Campus (as well as tying Ryan to it by association), Ryan narrowly wins the election, overcoming all of Kealty's efforts to harm him. The President-elect now prepares to undo the damage the Kealty administration has done.

Threat Vector (2012)[edit]

Ryan initially finds his return to the presidency easy and without struggle following his re-election, but things quickly start to take a turn for the worse. Angered by a contraction in economic growth, the majority of the People's Republic of China Politburo Standing Committee members turn against their procapitalist President Wei Zhen Lin. Wei attempts to commit suicide when a coup is undertaken by other committee members. Only when Chairman Su Ke Qiang orders PLA tanks to defend Wei did he agree to promote and support Su's expansionist policies, in exchange for Su's ongoing protection. The expansionist policies - which include the annexation of Taiwan and the expansion of China's territory into the South China Sea - are finally revealed to the world after several months. The Ryan administration is vehemently against the new policies, and President Ryan himself decides to take action by supporting Taiwan, along with India, Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines, which would also be affected by an expansion of China's territory.

A devastating series of cyber attacks on American infrastructure occurs, enacted by the "Ghost Ship" - a Chinese state-sponsored version of the Campus, using assets of the Chinese Ministry of State Security and Divine Sword Special Forces. The attacks serve to compromise the nation's national security apparatus and weaken the United States' resolve. The Campus helps track the attacks to China, and local investigation pinpoints the exact building where the Ghost Ship is currently quartered. President Ryan orders the destruction of the building, decapitating China's cyberwarfare abilities.

Ryan makes contact with Wei and warns him that the cyber attacks are considered an act of war on China's part. Wei repeatedly denies the claim, and reiterates he is supporting Su, though Ryan guesses correctly Su is controlling Wei since saving him from the attempted coup. Ryan appeals to Wei as a businessman to understand what he is doing will destroy China. After a lengthy, unusual pause, Wei responds that he must discuss Ryan's claims with Su, providing exact details of when and where Su will be travelling to address the politburo in regards to the war effort. Ryan takes the information as a request from Wei to have the United States assassinate Su. A team from the Campus, with support from the Russian FSB, and working with a local rebel force in China, stages an attack on Su while he is traveling in a motorcade. Su is assassinated by a U.S. sniper, but the event is made to look like Su's own men turned on him. Ryan announces a blockade of China's oil supplies until the war effort is abandoned, calling upon Wei and the politburo to accept defeat.

President Wei accepts that the expansionist movement has failed and the United States has won its second war with China, and decides to take his own life after realizing the politburo will move against him without Su's protection. Wei botches the suicide by accidentally shooting himself in the cheek, but ends up choking to death on his own blood. Wei and Su's deaths mark the end of the war in the South China Sea, and Ryan emerges the clear victor in the conflict.

Command Authority (2013)[edit]

Ryan and his administration contend with the Russian Federation, currently led by their new President, Valeri Volodin. Volodin is established as a dedicated communist opposed to the West, seeking to restore Russia as a strengthened Soviet Union. Volodin moves to establish ties with Iran and China, reunify the nation's state security services under the FSB, and most notably annex Ukraine. Those opposed to his actions are replaced or assassinated by Russian government forces or elements of the "Seven Strong Men", a Mafia group that is now easily the most powerful and dangerous criminal underworld faction in Russia. When the FSB and SVR are officially merged following their director's assassination, Volodin makes the announcement that FSB director Roman Romanovich Talanov, Volodin's enigmatic enforcer, is the nation's new intelligence chief.

Sergey Golovko, having retired from the SVR and effectively exiled from Russia for acting as a high-profile Kremlin dissident against Volodin and his policies, succumbs to poisoning from a radioactive agent while at a private lunch at the White House. Ryan's old friend dies the next day, but on his deathbed, Golovko relays his concerns of Talanov's unknown background and mysterious connection to Volodin to Ryan. Ryan resolves to decipher Talanov's history and work out his links to Volodin, hopeful the answers behind his swift rise to power can be used as leverage against Volodin. As armed conflict becomes increasingly likely, Ryan focuses on the growing armed standoff in Ukraine and absorption of Crimea, with the rest of Ukraine facing imminent Russian invasion. An investigation following Golovko's death implicates the SSM working with the FSB. It also possibly identifies Talanov as a mysterious ex-GRU assassin who operated for the KGB during the Cold War, code-named "Zenith". Ryan is personally alarmed by these discoveries - he became involved in the Zenith affair in his time with the CIA as a MI6 liaison officer, during an investigation into a string of deaths in Berlin. Ryan ultimately sensed an unknown Russian operator was at work behind the events in Berlin, but he was encouraged by MI6 Director General Sir Basil Charleston to let it go. The mystery of Zenith was left unsolved for 30 years, and remained the sole remaining mystery of Ryan's intelligence career.

Operational assets of the Campus, with Jack Ryan Jr. leading the effort (much to his father's displeasure and trepidation for his safety), ultimately confirm Talanov was Zenith, and Volodin, a senior KGB officer at the time, still acts as his control officer. As young men, they were employed by members of the KGB and GRU leadership who knew the Soviet Union would eventually fall, but made a plan to survive and prosper in the chaotic aftermath, so they could seize control of the nation and turn it back to communism stronger than ever. After siphoning billions from Soviet programs to achieve it, Volodin double-crossed his co-conspirators and had Talanov kill them all so it would be theirs alone. Others were killed to maintain the safety of their black funds, including the bankers killed by Talanov during the Zenith affair so as to prevent exposure to the rest of the KGB. Talanov is also the secret leader of the Seven Strong Men, having been sent undercover with the SSM - placed in a gulag, Talanov worked his way up to become a charter member and leader of the Seven Strong Men, and through them become FSB director for the SSM's benefit and control of the government, when in actuality the SSM was a tool for Volodin's policies.

These discoveries are made with the help of former MI5 officer Victor Oxley, "Bedrock" - an off-book MI5 asset who operated as an assassin during the Cold War in similar fashion to Talanov, aka Zenith. Oxley's final mission before his disappearance was to hunt down and kill Zenith, but instead found Ryan Sr. about to be killed by a German Stasi team working with Zenith. Oxley interfered and saved Ryan's life, but was captured, driven away to Russia, brutally tortured by the KGB, and then imprisoned in the same gulag where Talanov ultimately was placed, accidentally hearing of Talanov being Zenith from other inmates. Oxley and the Campus team confront his traitorous control officer Hugh Castor, who confirms the entire story and protected Volodin and Talanov's secret in exchange for a cut of their black funds, but Castor gives up what he knows for protection by the American government, knowing Talanov will have realized Castor deceived him over the leverage he had. However, Talanov realizes this faster than Castor anticipated - a Spetsnaz team attacks Castor's property, and kill Castor and Oxley, the latter sacrificing himself for Jack Jr.

As the Russian invasion force pushes into Ukraine, the Campus team and Delta Force operators arrest Dmitri Nesterov, aka "Gleb the Scar", an SSM capo who is Talanov's second-in-command and who was behind Golovko's poisoning. With Nesterov and the Campus's acquired information in hand, Ryan makes contact with Volodin and confronts him with implications he could be politically destroyed by what he has learned about Zenith and Talanov's ties to the SSM: claiming (falsely) to have suitable evidence gathered that will ruin his government and the invasion, and he must distance himself from Talanov as the Campus has exposed him as a government spy who has been using them all along. Volodin pulls back his troops; in exchange, the United States keeps what evidence it has secret. Volodin also forces Talanov to resign from the FSB after his criminal dealings are made public and the SSM turns on him. Despite the promise of protection, Volodin arranged for Talanov to be killed - he is fatally stabbed by a civilian member of his guard force to earn the Seven Strong Men's favor. The stalemate of Russia and the United States is left ongoing.

Ryan, at this time, is in his mid-sixties and world-famous; and is looking forward to retirement back to the shores of Chesapeake Bay once and for all.

Support and Defend (2014)[edit]

Dominic Caruso, a Campus operator and FBI agent and one of Ryan's nephews, targets the source of a classified intelligence leak that led to the deaths of retired Israeli commando and his family who he had befriended while on leave from the organisation for training. Ryan orders an FBI counterintelligence investigation and identifies Ethan Ross, a bitter narcissist and mid-level staffer for the National Security Council, as the source. Ross goes on the run with a microdrive containing enough information to dismantle America's worldwide intelligence efforts. Caruso pursues Ross across the world, with Ryan mentioned as having made Ross America's #1 fugitive. Despite interference from the Russian FSB and Iranian Quds Force, Caruso kills Ross, recovers the drive and has the Revolutionary Guards officer who masterminded the leak arrested by the U.S. military.

Full Force and Effect (2014)[edit]

Ryan and his administration contend against North Korea, now led by the insanely paranoid and incompetent Choi Ji-hoon, who attempts to start production at a rare earth mineral deposit found in their territory, and use the resulting trillions in wealth to purchase nuclear weapons technology. Despite public indifference, political backlash and the sabotage of a key United Nations vote (by a corrupt defense contractor hired by the North Korean Reconnaissance General Bureau) to strengthen sanctions against the Hermit Kingdom, Ryan perseveres on the grounds North Korea's success would endanger global security. After successfully stalling the mine from beginning production by ordering the technology shipment seized by the U.S. Navy, Choi makes the decision to order his RGB director to assassinate Ryan to eliminate his interference. During a visit to Mexico City, Ryan suffers an assassination attempt on his motorcade, which barely fails, and he escapes with minor injury. North Korea's involvement is exposed due to the Campus team investigating (but one operator is killed in the process). Further, the DRPK's mining director defects to the United States, and Ryan uses his knowledge of Choi's actions to arrange a deal with Chinese President Ling to publicly expose Choi's inept leadership - Choi is deposed and secretly executed.

Under Fire (2015)[edit]

Ryan sanctions an operation in Dagestan between the CIA, masterminded by Jack Jr.'s childhood friend Seth Gregory, and the SIS, coordinated by legendary operative Raymond Wellesley. The operation is to push Dagestan to full independence and sovereignty from Russia by forcing out their corrupt President Nabiyev, and promoting the instalment of his Interior Minister, Rebaz Medzhid, in his place. The operation goes off-the-rails when Wellesley attempts to dismantle the operation with the SVR's assistance. Jack Jr., who is in the country and becomes wrapped up in the events, works with Seth (who is killed by one of Medzhid's traitorous bodyguards) and the CIA to successfully launch the revolution and gathers the evidence necessary to have Wellesley arrested by SIS for his treasonous actions. President Ryan and his international counterparts force President Volodin to back down rather than put down the Dagestani rebels with military force.

Series overview[edit]


Jack Ryan has been featured in 21 novels which have been written by Tom Clancy, Mark Greaney, Mike Maden, and Marc Cameron. Clancy solely wrote most of the novels up to 2010, from which his next novels were co-written with Greaney and Grant Blackwood. After Clancy’s death in 2013, Greaney and Cameron took over the character in their own respective contributions to the franchise; Maden briefly featured Ryan in his own entries in the spin-off Jack Ryan, Jr. series.


Actor Harrison Ford, who portrays Jack Ryan in two films in the series

Five films based on Clancy novels featuring Jack Ryan have been produced. The movie portraying the earliest incarnation of Ryan (fifth film chronologically) is titled Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit and stars Chris Pine. Released on January 17, 2014, it follows Ryan's move from his accident in the Marines into his CIA career. Jack Ryan is also portrayed by Alec Baldwin in the 1990 film The Hunt for Red October, Harrison Ford in Patriot Games (1992), and Clear and Present Danger (1994), and Ben Affleck in the 2002 film The Sum of All Fears.

In the novels, Patriot Games occurs before The Hunt for Red October, though the order was reversed in the film versions. Additionally, The Sum of All Fears is not part of Baldwin/Ford series, but rather an intended reboot of the franchise which departs significantly from the chronology of the novels. It takes place in 2002, whereas the novel takes place in 1991/1992. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is a second reboot of the franchise and departs from all previous films.


Actor John Krasinski, the latest to play Ryan

It was announced by Deadline that Carlton Cuse and Graham Roland will be working with Michael Bay and his production company Platinum Dunes and Paramount Television on a Jack Ryan TV series for Amazon.[9][10] On April 29, 2016, Deadline announced that John Krasinski will star as Jack Ryan in the series.[11] On August 16, 2016, Amazon Studios announced they had given a series order for a 10-episode first season of Jack Ryan.[12] On November 4, 2016, Abbie Cornish was cast as Cathy Muller in the series.[13] On January 6, 2017, it was reported that Morten Tyldum will direct the pilot.[14] In February 2017, it was announced that The Americans director Daniel Sackheim would direct multiple episodes and produce the series.[15] The series premiered on August 31, 2018, and is said to be inspired by the Harrison Ford Jack Ryan films.[16] Four months before its premiere, the show was renewed for a second season.

Video games[edit]

Many video games based on the series have been made, some based on the novels, some on the films, and some on the spin-offs. In addition, Ryan is a featured character in many of the Rainbow Six video games.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bosman, Julie. "Tom Clancy, Best-Selling Master of Military Thrillers, Dies at 66". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
  2. ^ Burch, Peggy. "Memphis-based writer Mark Greaney keeps thrills alive in Tom Clancy universe". Memphis Commercial Appeal. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
  3. ^ Steck, Ryan. "Exclusive: Big Changes Coming To The Tom Clancy Universe In 2017". The Real Book Spy. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
  4. ^ "Jack Ryan Movies". Box Office Mojo. IMDB. Retrieved September 3, 2013.
  5. ^ "Movie Franchises". The Numbers. Nash Information Services. Retrieved September 3, 2013.
  6. ^ Agard, Chancellor (January 30, 2018). "Watch Amazon's explosive 'Jack Ryan' Super Bowl ad before it airs". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
  7. ^ [1] Archived February 9, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ "The Monarchy Today > Queen and public > Honours > Knighthoods". The official website of the British Monarchy. Archived from the original on December 31, 2011. Retrieved 2015-05-21.
  9. ^ Andreva, Nellie (September 22, 2015). "Jack Ryan TV Series From Carlton Cuse, Michael Bay's Platinum Dunes & Paramount Chased By Nets".
  10. ^ Andreva, Nellie (September 30, 2015). "'Jack Ryan' TV Series From Carlton Cuse & Paramount TV Lands At Amazon".
  11. ^ Andreva, Nellie (April 29, 2016). "John Krasinski To Star In 'Jack Ryan' Amazon TV Series From Carlton Cuse & Paramount TV".
  12. ^ Nolfi, Joey (August 16, 2016). "Amazon greenlights 10 episodes of John Krasinki's Jack Ryan series". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 17, 2016.
  13. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (November 3, 2016). "'Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan': Abbie Cornish Cast As Female Lead In Amazon Series". Deadline.com. Retrieved November 4, 2016.
  14. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (January 6, 2017). "'Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan': 'Passengers' Morten Tyldum To Direct Amazon Series". Deadline. Retrieved January 6, 2017.
  15. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (January 20, 2017). "'Dan Sackheim Joins 'Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan' As Director & Executive Producer". Deadline. Retrieved February 7, 2017.
  16. ^ Travers, Ben (July 29, 2017). "'Jack Ryan': Amazon's TV Series Is Inspired by the Harrison Ford Movies, Debuts March 2018". Indiewire. Retrieved July 30, 2017.

Further reading[edit]