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10 Things "I" Would Change in The F.B.I.

Updated on August 1, 2014

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.”

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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?”


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    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 3 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hi, UMHiram,

      Wow, you are so sweet in your comment. I loved it. I haven't heard from the President yet for me to take over the F.B.I., so I guess I will wait some more.

      Please keep in touch with me.


    • UMHiram profile image

      Unique Hiram 3 years ago from Midwest

      Love this Hub Kenneth, voted up. I love the changes that you would make to the organization. #epic

    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 3 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama


      Oh you are so right. I LOVED that show. You have reminded me of such warm memories of a time in my life when things were really simple and laid-back.

      I thank God that I found you on HP and you are my Dear Friend as well as a terrific writer and wonderful follower.

      And THIS is the TRUTH.

    • Ann1Az2 profile image

      Ann1Az2 3 years ago from Orange, Texas

      Actually, I just now saw it! lol I just got the idea from your description of what you would change. It just seemed to fit. Crockett was the ultimate in cool.

    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 3 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Ann . . .

      You are so sly. I had a feeling someone would see the Miami Vice reference in the text.

      Very wise, my friend. I am so glad that I have you as my friend and follower.

      You made my night.

    • Ann1Az2 profile image

      Ann1Az2 3 years ago from Orange, Texas

      I think Efrem would have enjoyed this tribute, Kenneth! I didn't know he had died until I read this. I see him on TBN all the time, reading from the Bible. I remember seeing him on TV when I was a teenager.

      I love your changes - most of which Crockett and Tubbs took care of on Miami Vice in the 80's! lol

    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 3 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Dear sheilamyers,

      My good friend, how I agree with your comment on how easily these agents can be identified.

      Even undercover, a cop gives off "that" vibe, I guess for lack of a better word I guess that comes from intense training, but maybe a looser, laid-back attitude might help them get more thugs, eh?

      But as for me, no thanks. Criminals would know right off that I am a scared old guy in need of some coffee.

      Sheila, thank you so much for all of your comments.

    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 3 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      old albion,

      Thank you for the input and was he really on 77 Sunset Strip, with Ed Byrnes? "Cookie, can we borrow your comb?" I was just a kid when, well, we won't go there. I do not want my friends to think I am elderly.

    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 3 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      grand old lady (who is NOT old)

      I was talking about the real F.B.I., not the show, but now that you mention it . . .these would be great for the show too.

      Thanks for the idea.

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 3 years ago from Philippines

      Your suggestions would improve the TV show a lot and modernize it, some degree. Now the real FBI....

    • profile image

      sheilamyers 3 years ago

      You have a humorous way of presenting the facts, but those facts seem to be true. I say it that way because the only thing I know about the FBI is from what I see on TV dramas and read in novels and, as I know, fiction incorporates some of the truth, but there's a lot a fake stuff mixed in. One thing I'm sure of is you hit on the truth when you indicated that when you run into an FBI agent he/she looks like an agent. Who are they fooling? It's like when I was stationed at Bethesda Naval Hospital and the Secret Service was there. What's the secret? Who else wears those fancy suits and walks around with the wire stuck in their ears? You know them when you see them.

    • old albion profile image

      Graham Lee 3 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Kenneth. I also remember Zimbalist in the series he was first class. I think I prefer his FBI to yours however:)

      Do you remember him in 77 Sunset Strip I wonder.