As an individual with absolutely no military or police training, I’ve learnt everything I know about being a spy from TV, movies, and video games. While that information may not be entirely accurate, I feel like John Krasinski‘s take on the character Dr Jack Ryan has neatly filled in some of the knowledge gaps I had.

If you’re new to the show, Jack Ryan is based on a character created by renowned author, Tom Clancy – a name you may recognise if you consider yourself a gamer. The writer’s works have been adapted into movies like Clear and Present Danger and video game series like Ghost Recon, Rainbow Six, and more.

Jack Ryan centres around, well, Jack Ryan, a mild-mannered CIA financial analyst hot on the tail of a terrorist considered to be “the next Bin Laden”. While he considers himself somewhat of a desk jockey, his top-notch work drags him around the world in pursuit of a deadly terrorist organisation with links to ISIS.

By the second season, Jack is quite literally going all over the world, taking on a political conspiracy rooted in Venezuela. Here’s what the show has taught me about being a spy in the modern world so far. Oh, and just a heads up, there are some mild spoilers ahead.

You get picked up from parties in helicopters

During the first episode, Jack attends a birthday party for his former boss and gets busy flirting with the host’s daughter, Cathy, when a helicopter suddenly swoops in and lands on the lawn. Everyone at the party is all like, ‘what the fuck is going on here’ and Jack is all like, ‘oh man, is this for me?’

Yes, it is for him. One of the helicopter men walks through the crowd yelling “DR RYAN?” and everyone’s like, ‘yooo who is this Dr Ryan?’ And Jack’s up the back timidly raising his hand like, ‘hey, I’m Dr Ryan’ and you can see that Cathy is hella impressed and then Jack gets swept away into the chopper to go do spy stuff. It whips ass.

Cathy’s into it, folks.

What I’m trying to say is, spies have access to the best Uber rides of all time, which always results in bangin’ spy clout.

You get to go bloody everywhere

Over the course of the first season, Jack goes to France and The Middle East, but by the time we hit the wild second season of Jack Ryan, old mate’s off to locations like Moscow, London, and Venezuela.

Whether it’s lush jungles or the cinematic Red Square, the scale of global operations we get to see through Jack’s eyes are staggering. They’re no tourist walk in the park, either, he gets up to some absolutely insane stuff, particularly by the time we see him lurching around Venezuela as a full-blown agent rather than an analyst.


Grenades can get you out of a sticky situation

As something of a video game connoisseur, I can tell you that grenades are great for getting out of a pinch, particularly in competitive titles like Rainbow Six: Seige (thank you once again, Tom Clancy). As it turns out, spies really get a lot out of these explodey utilities as well.

The clever thing about Jack’s use of a grenade in the first season is that he doesn’t even have to make it go bang, he simply pulls the pin and holds in the air, holding an entire room hostage, including himself.

I won’t give too much of the context away, because spoilers and that, but I will say that the scene will have you clenching your cheeks harder than you ever have before.

Yam yam.

You have to trust your gut instincts… A lot

There are plenty of skills you’d have to learn in order to become an effective spy, but there are also certain traits you simply can’t teach, like razor-sharp instincts.

Jack and his colleagues will often trust their guts when tracking down bad guys, and a lot of the time, it leads them in the right direction. Sure, it’s a skill that can be honed with experience, but I feel like you need to have a pretty strong base to build on, you know?

The only useful instinct I have is knowing which beer will be the one that turns me into a bumbling nuisance at the end of the night.

Me contemplating that last schooner.

You should probably know multiple languages

As we mentioned, this job literally takes you all over the world, so knowing at least a little bit of a few different languages is pretty damn handy. In fact, I’d wager it’s fairly close to mandatory.

I mean, think about it. The last thing you want in a dire situation is to not understand what people are saying. Jack himself may not be fluent in Arabic, French or Spanish, but he certainly knows enough to get by.


And look, I’m sure there’s way more to being an actual spy that I’m missing here, but it’s always cool to see a slightly more realistic depiction of such a job on TV.

Image: Amazon