Obscure espionage vocabulary for $1000, Alex!

The fall TV season is about to start up, which will probably prompt me to post about the new shows. (So far: enjoying Gotham, interested in Forever, dubious about Selfie.) But there are in fact shows that air during the off-season, one of which is TNT’s Legends, also known around here as That Show Where Sean Bean Is Still Alive.

I don’t have much to say about the show itself, but I have noticed that they throw around the word “legend” a lot. The opening credits helpfully inform the viewer that a legend is a false identity used in undercover work. Now, I admit that most of what I know about undercover agents comes from watching TV, and I have no idea what kind of jargon they really use at the FBI. But on other shows where someone goes undercover, they talk about a “cover identity”, or maybe an “alias”. I can’t remember hearing it called a “legend” before, and now on this show they use the word every five minutes. Okay, we get it, that’s the name of the show!

And then I suddenly realized what that reminded me of: another show I used to watch, USA’s Burn Notice. I’ve heard of spies being “burned” in other contexts, but I don’t think I’ve heard anyone else refer to a “burn notice”. So maybe that’s just the accepted way to name a basic cable spy series. “Right, guys, we need a title for this thing. What have we got?” “Why don’t we take an obscure piece of spy jargon and make sure the characters overuse it?” “BRILLIANT!”

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One response to “Obscure espionage vocabulary for $1000, Alex!

  1. Pingback: The theme song is ridiculously catchy, though. | As Inclination Leads Me

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