An Open Letter to The Writers, Producers and Fans of TV Show Quantico

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Dear @QuanticoTV, @QuanticoWriters and #Quantico Fans,

I’m a retired agent and I have a confession. When I first heard that ABC was producing a TV show about the FBI Academy, I said to myself, “this will not be good.” I watched the first episode, but with my pre-conceived opinions immediately determined the show was not for me.

It’s possible that while viewing the season premiere I was distracted by Alex’s beautiful, thick, and wavy hair or by the nagging questions I had regarding why her uniform tops were tighter and cut lower than any of the other female trainees in her class. But regardless of those diversions, I should have watched more than one episode before determining the merits of the case, I mean show. What I am trying to say is that I apologize for pre-judging @QuanticoTV.

At the request of a few of my podcast listeners, I agreed to binge watch the show and report back on what aspects of the FBI were depicted inaccurately. I was surprised to discover that, although there were exaggerations and embellishments, for the most part, agent interactions (with the exceptions of when agents attempted and succeeded in killing other agents and innocent bystanders) and the FBI Academy were portrayed as bright and shiny versions of the real things. As an author, I certainly understand the need to employ the use of dramatic license to maintain entertainment value. It is obvious that @QuanticoTV was written with input from FBI Headquarters, or perhaps a former agent was hired as a technical advisor.

However, there are a few facts I believe #Quantico fans should be made aware of so they don’t embarrass themselves the next time they chat up a FBI agent at the ballpark, grocery store or local brew pub.

  1. FBI new agent trainees are not called NATS (pronounced gnats like those annoying tiny flying insects).
  2. New agent trainees are not all young and good-looking. The FBI prefers to hire individuals with several years of work experience, which means a new agent training class might have several really old people—up to 37 years of age. Also, the FBI has no policy against hiring unattractive people.
  3. Having sex with classmates either on or off campus is prohibited (of course I may be wrong about this and just bitter that NOBODY tried to seduce me when I was at the FBI Academy).
  4. New agents are expected to respect the personal property of classmates. Sneaking into classmates’ rooms to gather intelligence about their past indiscretions by removing files and downloading data from laptops is neither condoned or necessary. After the thorough backgrounds conducted on each trainee, no secrets are left to be revealed.

Of course, to be fair I must also note that what @QuanticoTV and @QuanticoWriters got absolutely right, and that is Alex, her TV colleagues and the real FBI’s core mission to stay ahead of the threat and to protect the American people. #Quantico is reaching a new and diverse generation of boys and girls who now want to be FBI agents when they grow up. Bring on season 2!


Jerri Williams

View posts by Jerri Williams
Jerri Williams, a retired FBI agent, author and podcaster, jokes that she writes about the FBI to relive her glory days. After 26 years with the Bureau specializing in major economic fraud and corruption investigations, she calls on her professional encounters with scams and schemers to write police procedurals inspired by true crime FBI cases in her Philadelphia FBI Corruption Squad crime fiction series featuring flawed female FBI agent Kari Wheeler. Jerri’s FBI for Armchair Detectives nonfiction series enables readers to discover who the FBI is and what the FBI does by debunking misconceptions about the FBI in books, TV, and movies. Her books are available as ebooks, paperbacks, and audiobooks wherever books are sold. She’s also the host of FBI Retired Case File Review, a true crime podcast with more than 250 episodes available for free on all popular podcast apps.


  1. Debbie LMay 19, 2016

    Like you, I didn’t think this show would be a good reflection on the FBI or the Academy. Three major misrepresentations you didn’t mention was taking a seasoned agent and putting him undercover to target a NAT. The twins going thru as one person was also pure fiction. Also, the “classmates” working together on the threat, with the command center being run by the former NAT instructors and supervisors. But as you pointed out, there needs to be some creative license.
    I’m pretty sure I won’t watch season 2. I grew up watching Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. He just has so much class….
    BTW, I’m also retired FBI and was an instructor and on staff at the Academy.


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