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In Ian Fleming's James Bond novels and the derived films, the 00 Section of MI6 is considered the secret service's elite. A 00 (typically read "Double O") agent holds a licence to kill in the field, at his or her discretion, to complete the mission. The novel Moonraker establishes that the section routinely has three agents concurrently; the film series, beginning with Thunderball, establishes the number of 00 agents at a minimum of 9, with the likelihood of more.

Origin of nomenclature[edit]

Although pronounced "Double-O", the O refers to zeros. In the British and Commonwealth armed forces, soldiers and officers are assigned identity numbers; the United States military does likewise. During Ian Fleming's work in Vichy France, an agent's anonymity was imperative, and, when the agent was military, it was convenient to use the last three digits of the agent's number as identification.

In World War II, Britain's Special Operations Executive agents did not have identifiers assigned to them such as the 00 or related 'systems' of nomenclature. Specific agents would be known to high command by their own names, and when deniability was at stake, their service numbers in long form, or else by invented codenames.

For the sake of romance and memorability, Fleming used the 00 and mystical number 7 for James Bond – himself a shell for the reader to inhabit.[1]

Description[edit]

In the first novel, Casino Royale, and the 2006 film adaptation, the 00 concept is introduced and, in Bond's words, means "that you've had to kill a chap in cold blood in the course of some assignment." Bond's 00 number (007) was awarded to him because he twice killed in fulfilling assignments. (This differentiates from deadly force used by non-00 agents in the course of self-defence or offensive action; plus, in the original time frame of the novel—the early 1950s—many MI6 agents would have had recent war service.) In the second novel, Live and Let Die, the 00 number designates a past killing; not until the third novel, Moonraker, does the 00 number designate a licence to kill. Thereafter, the novels are ambiguous about whether or not a 00 agent's licence to kill is limited, with varying accounts in Dr. No, Goldfinger, and The Man with the Golden Gun.

Per Fleming's Moonraker, 00 agents face mandatory retirement at 45; John Gardner contradicts this in his novels, depicting a fifty-odd-year-old secret agent. Sebastion Faulks' Devil May Care features M giving Bond a choice of when to retire.

Fleming himself only mentions five 00 agents in all. According to Moonraker, James Bond is the most senior of three 00 agents; the two others were 008 and 0011. The three men share an office and a secretary named Loelia Ponsonby. Later novels feature two more 00 agents; 009 is mentioned in Thunderball and 006 is mentioned in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, and GoldenEye as an alias for Alec Trevelyan. Other authors have elaborated and expanded upon the 00 agents. While they presumably have been sent on dangerous missions as Bond has, little has been revealed about most of them. Several have been named, both by Fleming and other authors, along with passing references to their service records, which suggest that agents are largely recruited (as Bond was) from the British military's special forces.

In the films, the 00 section is a discrete area of MI6, whose agents report directly to M (The World Is Not Enough, which introduces a special insignia for the 00 Section). Bond's fellow 00 agents appear receiving briefings in Thunderball and The World Is Not Enough. The latter film shows a woman in one of the 00 chairs. In Thunderball, there are nine chairs for the 00 agents; Moneypenny says every 00 agent in Europe has been recalled, not every 00 agent in the world. As with the books, other writers have elaborated and expanded upon the 00 agents in the films and in other media.

List of 00s[edit]

This list is of the known 00 agents of the British Secret Service who exist in officially-licensed novels, cinema, video games, and comic strips.

Novels[edit]

00-agent Name Description
001 Edward Donne Referred to in the Raymond Benson novel, Doubleshot, Edward Donne is the only agent 001.
004 Frederick Wardner, Scarlett Papava A 004 appears in the Benson novel The Facts of Death. In the Sebastian Faulks novel Devil May Care, Bond girl Scarlett Papava is unveiled as 004, replacing the previous agent who was killed in Berlin.
005 Stuart Thomas Was 005 until defective eyesight impaired his marksmanship, and he was made head of Station G (Greece) in Colonel Sun.
006 Major Jack Giddings 006, a Royal Marine commando, is mentioned in On Her Majesty's Secret Service. In The Moneypenny Diaries: Guardian Angel he is named as Major Jack Giddings and second to Bond in the 00 section. Alec Trevelyan is another 006 featured in the novelisation to GoldenEye.
007 James Bond James Bond is the only agent 007. During You Only Live Twice, Bond was transferred into another branch and given the number 7777, suggesting there was no active agent 007 in that time; he is reinstated as such in The Man with the Golden Gun. In the John Gardner novels, agent 007 is the remaining active 00-agent, the section was disbanded in the 1980s, later contradicted by Raymond Benson's novels.
008 Bill In the novel Goldfinger, Bond thinks to himself that 008 would likely avenge Bond by killing Goldfinger. As Bond thinks this, he ruminates that 008 is "a good man, more careful than Bond." In the novel Moonraker, 008 (called "Bill" by Bond) is mentioned as being on recuperative leave after returning from a mission behind the Iron Curtain.
009 Unnamed Referred to in the novel Thunderball
0010 Unnamed Referred to in the Benson novel The Man with the Red Tattoo.
0011 Cederic Mentioned briefly in the novel Moonraker as vanishing while on assignment in Singapore.
0012 Sam Johnston Although unmentioned on screen, Benson's The World Is Not Enough novelisation has Bond investigating 0012's death at story's start (seen in a photograph of a dark-haired man, in the film).

Films and other official media[edit]

00-agent Name Description
002 Bill Fairbanks A 002 first appears in Thunderball. He is shot through the neck and killed by Francisco Scaramanga, in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1969 (film version: The Man with the Golden Gun 1974). In The Living Daylights film, another Agent 002, played by Glyn Baker, was training at Gibraltar, with 004 and 007.
003 Jason Walters, Jack Mason 003 first appears in Thunderball. He is found dead, in Siberia, in A View to a Kill. Another (unrelated) MI6 agent is Jack Mason, 003 who is shot in the gut and killed by Nikolai Diavolo, the villain, in the Everything or Nothing video game (2004). Diavolo is connected with the villain Max Zorin from A View to a Kill.
004 Aidan Flemmings 004 first appears in Thunderball. Played by Frederick Warder, 004 accompanied 002 and 007 to Gibraltar in The Living Daylights film; he is murdered by a false KGB agent who tags the body with "Death to Spies" in Russian after his support rope is cut and he is sent plummeting down a cliff to his death. In the GoldenEye video game, on the Silo mission briefing, Q mentions to 007 to "remember to treat the timed explosives with respect – you remember what happened to 004 in Beirut"; it is unclear whether he speaks of another agent or the one listed above.
005 Stuart Thomas 005 appears in Thunderball.
006 Alec Trevelyan 006 first appears in Thunderball, where he is portrayed by Peter Roy. When 006 was used again, he was named Alec Trevelyan, and served as the main antagonist in GoldenEye, where he was portrayed by Sean Bean. In a mission at Arkhangelsk, he is apparently shot and killed, but later reveals that he faked his death. He heads the Janus crime syndicate which plans to steal the GoldenEye satellite from the Russian Federation, intending to use it to cripple Britain down to a financial meltdown. His motive for these plans was a personal one: avenging his family, who were all Lienz Cossacks, betrayed to the Communists by the British government after World War II had ended. He also begrudged Bond's not allowing him time to escape the Soviet chemical weapons factory they were sent to destroy at the beginning of the film. Trevelyan is killed after Bond drops him from the antenna above the satellite dish, and the subsequent destruction of the facility.
007 James Bond See above.
008 Bill Timothy 008 first appears in Thunderball. In Goldfinger M threatens to replace 007 with agent 008. In The Living Daylights, M again threatens to replace 007 "I'll recall 008 from Hong Kong".[2] In the film Goldfinger, Bond tells Auric Goldfinger, "...if I fail to report, 008 replaces me." In the movies, 008 is the only one (other than Bond) that isn't always killed doing his job. In the video game James Bond 007, 008 gives Bond an exploding pen before dying.
009 Peter Smith 009 first appears in Thunderball. Mischka and Grischka kill him (dressed as a clown) after the opening credits in Octopussy by throwing a knife into his back as he tries to escape them. In The World Is Not Enough, M assigned another 009 to kill Renard; despite putting a bullet in his head, Renard lives with the bullet slowly killing off his senses. The graphic novels Deadly Double and Serpent's Tooth features a fourth agent 009.
0012 Sam Johnston Although unmentioned on screen, Benson's The World Is Not Enough novelisation has Bond investigating 0012's death at story's start (seen in a photograph of a dark-haired man, in the film).
0013 Briony Thorne A female 00-agent appearing in the comic strip Fear Face (published 18 January 1971 to 20 April 1971 in The Daily Express). Thorne is revealed to be a double agent for China.
Unknown Jonathan Hunter "GoldenEye" A former 00-agent featured in GoldenEye: Rogue Agent. He was shot in the right eye, and was dismissed by MI6 for "reckless brutality". He joined up with Auric Goldfinger against the shooter, Dr. Julius No, and eventually received a gold-hued, synthetic orb as a replacement for his right eye. After killing Goldfinger and Dr. No, he becomes Ernst Stavro Blofeld's bodyguard. Unlike other 00 agents listed here, GoldenEye only appears in the non-canon video game GoldenEye: Rogue Agent. The game takes place in an alternate universe.
Unknown Agent York Killed in the comic strip River of Death (published 24 June 1969 to 29 November 1969 in The Daily Express). Agent York is a 00 agent but his number isn't revealed.
Unknown Raoul Silva Main antagonist in the film Skyfall. Raoul Silva is presumed to have formerly been a 00 agent, preceding James Bond as M's "favourite" agent.
Unknown Suzi Kew A recurring character in the Daily Express comic strip series of the 1960s and 1970s, Suzi Kew is a 00 agent but her number is not revealed.
Unknown Dawes An agent killed during the pre-title sequence of Live and Let Die.
Unknown Hamilton Another agent killed during the pre-title sequence of Live and Let Die. He was stabbed by an unnamed assassin in New Orleans.
Unknown Baines Third agent killed during Live and Let Die's pre-title sequence.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kingsley Amis, The James Bond Dossier, 1960
  2. ^ "It was instinct. - I'll recall 008 from Hong Kong | The Living Daylights quotes". Subzin.com. Retrieved 12 November 2012. 

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/00_Agent — Please support Wikipedia.
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