Celebrating Women Special Agents

Part 4: Who Said It? Pop Culture’s Take on Women Special Agents

A scene from The X-Files, which featured agents investigating paranormal phenomenon. Hint: the female agent pictured here said one of the quotes below.


1. “I am in a dress, I have gel in my hair, I haven’t slept all night, I’m starved, and I’m armed! Don’t mess with me!”

2. “You see a lot, doctor. But are you strong enough to point that high-powered perception at yourself? What about it? Why don’t you—why don’t you look at yourself and write down what you see? Or maybe you’re afraid to.”
3. “He was kinda of cute...for a sociopath.”

4. “Hey, you think it’s easy being surrounded by guys with guns all day?”
Male agent: “I thought you liked guys with guns.”
“I like the guns.”

5. “What are you doing here?”
Male scientist: “We’re trying to plug a hole in the universe. What are you doing here?”
“Apparently the same thing.”

6. “Sometimes looking for extreme possibilities makes you blind to the probable explanation right in front of you.”

7. “Journalist William D. Tammeus wrote: You don’t really understand human nature unless you know why a child on a merry-go-round will wave at his parents every time around and why his parents will always wave back.”

8. “A cup of tea, a German-English dictionary, and I’ll have it translated in a day or two.”

It took a while for Hollywood and television to notice that FBI women special agents had come on the scene in 1972—and to think how they might work into old and new storylines. At first, in the early 1990s, the focus was on training and new agents…and on comedy—women trying by hook or by crook to make it in a man’s profession. Now you find our women agents portrayed in a variety of decisive roles in team environments—trying to locate missing persons, analyzing evidence, analyzing the criminal mind, and, of course, investigating paranormal activity and worldwide conspiracies. We think it’s just a matter of time before women agents are cast as the operational leaders they are in real life.

- Part 1: May 12, 1972,  A New Chapter is Opened
- Part 2: July 17, 1972, Two Women Blaze a Trail
- Part 3: Early Pioneers Tell Their Stories