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1pg: The story is mostly about the young woman who spear-headed the intel analysis that led to the event...

I am waiting for Netflix to send us a copy. Meanwhile, even without having seen it, I already know one thing I like about it: the central role that analysis plays.

All too often, Hollywood glamorizes black ops, James Bond style, while depicting analysts (if they appear at all) as gormless anti-social nerds who remain glued to their computer monitors. If you believe Hollywood, then intelligence services live only to run covert ops deep in enemy territory, while guzzling champagne, seducing women, and shooting up the joint. This is absurd beyond belief.

In reality, the world of traditional covert ops is grim, boring, depressing, and morally bankrupt. The primary weapon is blackmail, and the targets are people whose only fault is that they are vulnerable human beings. Practitioners suffer terrible emotional burdens, and burn out quickly. Only a small part of real intel is devoted to such activities.

"Analysis", on the other hand, is structured somewhat like a university without students. Most have doctorates or equivalent experience, speak many languages, read voraciously, and move easily from academia to government and back. Much of the work focuses on information that is just as likely to come from open sources as from secret. The focus is on two vital questions: What is really going on here, and what will happen next?

Needless to say, this is so far away from the Hollywood "spy" treatment it isn't even funny.

It's a relief to finally see Hollywood making a film about analysis. If they can do this, then maybe they can tackle the next great challenge: produce a story about a mathematician who also happens to be sane! (Yes, it is true that Numb3rs came close, but that show also had Dr. Fleinhardt to recreate the old familiar stereotype.)

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