10 Things "I" Would Change in The F.B.I.
The late J. Edgar Hoover, appointed Sept.1924 - May 2, 1972
Current F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, Sept. 4, 2013 - present
Writer’s note: I have to be honest. The original title of this story was, “Things I Hate About The F.B.I,” but after some serious soul-searching brought-on by reflecting upon the passing of Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., I just didn’t want to go that route. Kenneth).
Have you ever, be honest, talked to an F.B.I. agent either on the phone or in-person? Did you pay close attention to how this agent spoke? Sharp, crisp, precise easily describes how the F.B.I. agents are trained to speak—even the female agents lose some of the femininity in their voices.
How "I" remember the F.B.I.
I guess it’s been this way since the legendary J. Edgar Hoover took over this then-fledgling crime-fighting organization and molded it into his image when he was appointed the F.B.I’s first director in 1924 and held that position until his death is May 2, 1972.
Hoover was just as the movies and books portrayed him: tough, precise, and a total-disciplinarian. What he said went. Hoover’s word was law in and out of the ranks of America’s then-most-powerful crime investigation organization. It has been said that in the years after Hoover’s demise that the C.I.A. had shadowed the F.B.I. in complete power and authority.
I got my first taste of the F.B.I., (a Quinn/Martin production), the series, in 1970 on ABC Television that was a mirrored-image of the real F.B.I.—no frills, no nonsense, and just business as usual. I do not see how this show lasted from 1965 until 1974, but I guess the ratings system in those days were not as demanding as they are today.
The late Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., starred as agent, "Louis Erskine," on ABC TV's, the F.B.I.
This symbol means "it's all over," to lawbreakers
I had a lot of respect for Zimbalist
The F.B.I.’s leading man, Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., (November 30, 1918 - May 2, 2014), was perfect for the part. Zimbalist, “agent Lewis Erskine,” was clean-cut, nice-looking and had “the” look of a Hollywood legend. To my knowledge, in all of the years that I have watched television, I have never seen Zimbalist cast as a villain. Zimbalist “boss” on the F.B.I was veteran actor, Phillip Abbot who filled the role of “Arthur Ward,” was also cast perfect as the tough, demanding boss of “Erskine,” and his agents.
The last television work I remember him doing was reading a daily Bible verse on the mega-sized TBN, Trinity Broadcasting Network. And like all of his previous roles, he had “that” voice that you were compelled to hear everything he was saying.
But times and tastes change. This is just one of the sad areas of life. And I must tell you that this hub is in no way written in any light of harsh jesting or disrespect toward the F.B.I. or Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., but if “I” were, for some comical reason, appointed as Director of The F.B.I, I would make some tough, needed-changes, and by doing so, the F.B.I. would regain its most-powerful and respected crime investigation organization in the world and make the C.I.A. take lessons from my organization.
The F.B.I. cast: (from left), Stephen Brooks; Lynn Loring and Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.
F.B.I. agents in action
So in honor of J. Edgar Hoover and Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., I proudly present . . .
“The 10 Things That I Would Change About The F.B.I.”
Clothing would change from the obscure suit and tie wardrobe to a more laid-back wardrobe maybe with a silk shirt, loafers, and pleated pants. I say if an agent works for me, I want him to be comfortable. A comfortable agent is a productive agent. But I wouldn’t take away their RayBan’s. They can keep those because they would match their new, hip wardrobe.
Transportation would go from a nondescript Ford as they used on the show, to a Chevy Corvette convertible because Vett’s look good and they can run like the wind. The cars on the F.B.I (show) seldom caught a criminal running away from a crime.
The lingo would definitely change from: “Sir, this call’s for you,” to: “Hey, buddy. You need to talk to this cat.” And put in the “cool” effect as opposed to the stuffed-shirt image.
The stiff-neck image would go to an image of F.B.I. agents with life oozing through their veins. And agents would have real lives. One agent might get a nasty call from his wife who hasn’t seen him in days due to him working a secret stake-out. I would give that over-worked agent two weeks off with pay to satisfy his wife’s need for his attention. I wouldn’t be a tough boss, but a sensitive boss.
Women agents would be put on a fast-track to promotions of “Inspector” status almost overnight. Even on the show, every agent or inspector was a male. You see? I would have women being treated with the same respect as the men.
Agents’ retreats would be a mandatory part of an F.B.I. agent’s career. Every month I would arrange for agents to have weekend retreats to refresh and renew themselves with massages, real massages. Not by prostitutes. They would also get spa treatments and anything they wanted for retooling themselves for my “new” F.B.I.
Retirement with pension would begin with an agent who has worked 15 years. No agent would leave my organization with burn-out, shot nerves, and without a family.
Agents would receive monetary or public recognition for their work on high-end cases—unless the case called for them to not give-out their identities.
Undercover agents would have “the” best in disguises, make-up, and fronts in order to catch the master criminals faster. Have you seen the out-of-date disguises the F.B.I. agents (shown on television documentaries) wear today? Laughable. Not when I start doing things my way: the modern way.
F.B.I. agents who work for me would be allowed to wear moustaches, goatees, full-beards, and moderate long-hair. I have nothing against clean-cut F.B.I. agents, but they stand-out too much in the crowd. My new-look F.B.I. agents would blend in perfectly with any crowd thus arresting more thugs by catching them off-guard.
I already have my acceptance speech written. “Thanks, Mr. President. I gladly accept this nomination. Now let’s talk some big-budget changes over lunch.”
Coming soon . . .”Seven Reasons Why Most Security Guards in Malls Are so Irritable?”
More by this Author
Like him or don't like him, you have to admit that Billy, The Kid was more than interesting. He was the most-complex, yet simple of our American icon. Hate him? No. Here are reasons why.
Whittling. You have a stick and a knife. Then use the knife to whittle-away the bark and grain of the wood. Not a contest. Not a sport. Read this and find out what "I" know about whittling.
Riding with Dr. Thompson was not boring, but now it's over.