Why Archer Is Getting Away From The Spy Business

Since FX’s animated spy comedy Archer debuted in 2010, the show has continued to be a wild send-up of action adventure dramas and the characters who usually populate such stories. After many seasons as international spies, and one season as a drug cartel (don’t ask), the Archer crew is changing things up again by moving to Hollywood and becoming private investigators. So, why the swing away from spying? Archer writer and creator Adam Reed, who also voices Ray Gillette on the show, has some very good reasons for switching things up on screen.

The underlying reason was to provide some escapism for me, to get away from the geopolitical spike. The news has gotten a little more grim, and it was harder and harder to find ways around accidentally stepping into what already was or what could potentially crop up and be like, ‘Oh that’s a serious thing now.’ You know, like ISIS.

Adam Reed spoke to HitFix in anticipation of the debut of Season 7 of Archer, and when asked, let them in on why he felt the need to step away from what had been the very foundation of the show for the newest season. Considering that the show was, primarily, about spies taking on dangerous missions in far flung locations across the globe, Reed’s comments about the new direction of the show make quite a bit of sense. While national and world politics can be a great source of comedy, those things can also make it hard to find any lighter moments. Reed and his team had certainly already, completely by accident, stepped into something that became a real world concern when they named their fake spy agency the International Secret Intelligence Service, which does, unfortunately, shorten to ISIS.

Archer originally focused on the adventures of super-spy Sterling Archer; a suave and self-centered James Bond type who works for his mother, Malory, at the spy agency she runs. His missions usually involve his off-again-on-again love interest and fellow super agent Lana Kane, and other ISIS co-workers, Ray, Cheryl, Pam, Krieger and Cyril. The action comedy later took the main characters on a season long arc as wanna-be drug kingpins and then thrust them back into espionage with jobs at the CIA.

Seeing as how the previous season ended with the team running afoul of the CIA and actually getting blacklisted, it’s pretty clear that Adam Reed had a new line of work in mind for the Archer crew for a while. And, if spy skills are transferrable to any other line of work than private investigations, I simply can’t think of what that line of work would be. If Archer and his pals can make it out of heated international espionage situations alive, then they can surely watch for evidence of a cheating spouse or two.

Adam Reed also noted in the interview that our favorite former spies will be in the private dick business “beyond this season,” so the Hollywood adventures won’t be ending any time soon. What do you think; will private investigating be enough of a DANGER ZONE for you to keep watching Archer, or do you need more high-level spy craft in your animated spoofs? Let us know in the comments.

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Adrienne Jones
Senior Content Creator

Covering The Witcher, Outlander, Virgin River, Sweet Magnolias and a slew of other streaming shows, Adrienne Jones is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend, and started in the fall of 2015. In addition to writing and editing stories on a variety of different topics, she also spends her work days trying to find new ways to write about the many romantic entanglements that fictional characters find themselves in on TV shows. She graduated from Mizzou with a degree in Photojournalism.