Agent Carter: Is ABC's Latest Marvel Hero Super in Her Own Right?

Agent Carter Ratings Premiere

Agent Carter reported for duty on Tuesday night — is ABC’s retro Marvel series a real gas?

Set in 1946, after World War II has ended (and after the events of Captain America: The First Avenger), Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s placeholder stars Hayley Atwell as the titular agent, who with all the men now back from the front lines has seen her value to the SSR (Strategic Scientific Reserve) downgraded. Instead, she is dismissed as “Captain America’s ‘liaison'” and tasked to cover phones and pour coffee.

When the SSR learnsAgent Carter that Howard Stark’s cunning creations are finding their way to enemy arsenals and the black market, they set out to find the fugitive inventor, while Peggy is enlisted by Stark (Captain America‘s Dominic Cooper) to clear his name as she hunts down his “bad babies,” with the help of his mannered manservant Edwin Jarvis (James D’Arcy). “You want a mission that matters?” Stark says to the underappreciated Peggy. “This is it.”

Serving as Peggy’s SSR foils are Chad Michael Murray (One Tree Hill), Shea Whigham (Boardwalk Empire) and Kyle Bornheimer (so many things), while Enver Gjokaj (Dollhouse) plays her one ally, Agent Sousa — a target of derision himself, crippled in the war. Outside of the office, Lyndsy Fonseca (Nikita) plays Angie Martinelli, a waitress pal of “New York Bell Company” employee Peggy.

In the first episode, Peggy — using “ladies’ things” to score a sick day — aims to get a bead on the “molecular nitramene” that’s on the black market, using the fence’s affinity for blondes to get close to and KO him (“Sweet Dreams,” indeed). She hacks his safe to find a vial of the implosive, with her SSR colleagues (and a mystery man known as Green Suit) right on her heels. After neutralizing the nitramene with a homemade solution, Peggy finds her roommate dead, then gets into quite a row with the killer, Green Suit, who vanishesAgent Carter after getting lobbed out a window and later communicates with his superior via a Fringe-like typewriter….

Using Project Rebirth’s Vita-Ray Detector to trace the nitramene cache at a refineyr, Peggy comes face to face with Leet Brannis (TV’s go-to bad guy James Frain), a mysterious gent who, like Green Suit, has a “Y” scar on his throat and speaks through a voice box. After warning that “Leviathan is coming,” Brannis makes off with a milk truck full of nitramene, while Peggy — with a lift from Jarvis — scrambles to flee the imploding factory. Later, we see Jarvis concur over the phone with Stark, “Miss Carter’s an excellent choice. I don’t think she’ll have any suspicions at all.”

As the first hour came to a close, Peggy’s rogue agenda was at risk of being found out, as pap pics from the party she crashed as a buxom blonde landed on her boss’ desk….

In Episode 2, Peggy sought out the missing milk truck, going undercover as a clipboard-wielding health department wonk, while also trying to pinch the (ultimately benign) party photos from Sousa’s desk (in a highly entertaining sequence). She’s also on the hunt for a new place to live (but is reluctant to be Angie’s neighbor, given Colleen’s grim fate). And through much of it all, she is assaulted by a highly demeaning Captain America radio play!

Carter finds the truck’s owner, McFee, at his home, where she also runs into Brannis, who demands “protection” if he is to discuss Leviathan. McFee, though strapped to a chair, flees the premises, triggering a rousing chase sequence that finds Jarvis pumping a shotgun while Peggy fights Green Suit atop the truck full of Nitramene. Peggy, Jarvis and Brannis jump from the vehicle before it shoots off a cliff and into the water, massively imploding. AgentCarter_SymbolIn the aftermath, Brannis is unable to say anything more about Leviathan, his voice box crushed in the crash, but he starts to draw a symbol in the dirt.

After Peggy and Jarvis have left, the SSR team scours the site, finding female footprints and a hotel key, while Agent Krzeminski extracts from the refinery wreckage the license plate from Stark’s car….

Want scoop on Agent Carter, or for any other show? Email insideline@tvline.com and your question may be answered via Matt’s Inside Line.

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86 Comments
  1. Azrielen says:

    That was one of the best premieres of a TV show I’ve ever seen. It came out swinging! Given its limited run, I’m so glad it did. Peggy Carter is the hero we both need AND deserve!

  2. Mare says:

    I already think Carter and Jarvis should be a couple because atwell and D’Arcy have such great chemistry
    Already hoping for a season 2!

    • Lia says:

      Why reduce any interesting relationship to a romantic one? He’s married and she doesn’t need a rebound. Peggy is struggling to show her co-workers she’s competent despite her relationship with Steve Rogers – we should be rooting for her to succeed because we know she’s great no matter if a love interest will show up.

    • Cory says:

      I have no interest in seeing Peggy involved with anyone, she’s an interesting character and doesn’t need it. Maybe if the show is big enough to get a second limited run. But the Marvel universe has so much potential and so many other places to go, it’d be excruciatingly disappointing for the writers to worry about romance.

      • Kat says:

        Agree……Steve is the love of her life and I’m perfectly happy with her not needing a new love interest. Loved the premiere!!

    • The Kaibosh says:

      Highly unlikely because in Captain America The Winter Soldier when Steve is watching the old news interview in the Smithsonian, Peggy in 1953 states that over that hard winter, Captain America “helped break that siege and saved over a 1000 men” including the man that would one day be her husband. Although some don’t want any romance in this show, its pretty much inevitable because by 1953 Peggy will be married. Logically one could assume that we will meet this person on the show and we might even extend this logic to say its one of the agents: Agent Sousa (Enver Gjokaj’s character) or Agent Thompson (Chad Michael Murray). Thompson said he fought in Okinawa which means he was in the Pacific which now rules him out since Captain America fought Germans and Hydra in Europe. I suspect that we won’t know for sure until someday somebody says something like “I was in that siege and Captain America saved us.”

      • KatsMom says:

        Excellent points. Considering Cap did save 1000 men though, it’s possible we’ll meet several folks who he rescued, which will keep us guessing as to who the future Mr. Carter will be. :)

        • The Kaibosh says:

          Perhaps but I suspect it will be one of the two agents since they both share Steve’s qualities. Sousa comes across as more thoughtful and respectful who is also physically challenged: much like skinny Steve was. Thompson is the more square jaw tough guy. Put them both together and you get much of the qualities Captain America embodies in one man. Peggy will notice the qualities and will be drawn to both of them which will only make her situation more tragic.

          • Jericho says:

            We see glimpses of some members of the Howling Commandos in the preview for the rest of the season. It could very well be one of them. Yet, there are 6 episodes left, there is zero reason that we should believe that we will see ANY serious version of her husband. Remembering that the interview is 7 years in the future.

            All in all, this was phenomenal. I love period pieces, and this one was definitely done with pizazz. I still am pretty confused about the premise considering I was under the impression Agent Carter was going to inform Agents of SHIELD in some meaningful way. We had seen her and her team in flashbacks early in the AoS season and she was definitely in charge in the SSR. We know she is/was a founding member of SHIELD. I just thought something was going to stand out as connected. There are 6 episodes left, so there is still time, but I expected it to stand our right away.

          • KatsMom says:

            I hope she’s not drawn to Thompson…unless she teaches him a few lessons along the way. Right now, he’s an ass. :)

  3. Mika02 says:

    Awesome show to hour premiere and I never looked at the clock. Agent Carter is a Fantastic Heroine!

  4. kelly says:

    Amazing premiere, Peggy is an amazing heroine and the whole cast is terrific.

  5. fernando933 says:

    I loved it. Agent Carter is so bad azz. I want a season 2 already and let it be a full season or at least 13 episode.

  6. Gabriel Anthony says:

    I wish Shield had had a great premiere like agent Carter. That was one of the best series premieres since… Idk… Flashforward

  7. Alichat says:

    Glad I wasn’t the only one who thought of Fringe when that typewriter appeared. Was expecting Sebastian Roche to come around the corner any minute.

  8. Lia says:

    Great episode, awesome performances. I’m hooked!

  9. Heather says:

    Adored it! Atwell has a star quality and she’s just as compelling on television as she was in film. I cannot wait for next week

  10. Cat says:

    I adored it! It was clever, funny, and well written. Peggy is a great heroine!

  11. Juan says:

    I love Peggy Carter and Jarvis, great characters and the dialogue is so fun.

  12. Tran says:

    I give Agent Carter an A. With Agents of SHIELD returning until March, this is what ABC needs to have another hit series for Marvel.

  13. dancmh says:

    I didn’t expect to like it but I did. Good job.

  14. Susan says:

    We loved it! We never left our chairs for the full two hours. Haley Atwell was fantastic. Actually, all of the cast did a good job, especially the actors that played Jarvis & Stark. We are already looking forward to next week’s show~

  15. Larry says:

    Seriously, one of the best crafted premieres I’ve seen in a long time. Hopefully the ratings relate to how viewers are ranking the episode.

  16. James D says:

    Outstanding I really loved it. Hayley Atwell is a treasure and should be on my TV screen from now until the end of time. Really well written good wit and tight dialogue. Seriously TV and film for that matter need more female action leads IMO, Hayley certainly handled herself well in the action set pieces. Very impressed shame its such a limited run.

  17. Seuss says:

    I loved it. Still can’t help wishing she’ll get closure with Steve Rogers even though it seems impossible, but they were so good together. Ah well. Great show and I love her friendship chemistry with Jarvis and Angie, especially Jarvis.

    • Cory says:

      Have you seen The Winter Soldier?

      • Seuss says:

        No, not yet. I only just saw Captain America over Christmas. I really liked it, which is why I wanted to watch this show. Besides Superman, I’m not a big superhero buff, but I liked CA. I want to watch Winter Soldier, but I’m just afraid I won’t like it as much. Guess I’ll have to give it a go now that my curiosity is piqued.

        • Cory says:

          On paper Captain America is one my least favorite superheros ever but… Winter Soldier is the best Marvel movie IMO (especially if you keep up with AoS and the MCU in general) and based on your comments you should watch it ASAP. :) You’ll love it I’m sure.

          • KatsMom says:

            Agreed. I never liked Captain America. I wanted to like the first movie. I sat down with an open mind, reminding myself that many of the characters that I didn’t like as a child on paper, I appreciated more as an adult on screen. The movie was OK, but all in all, I wasn’t a fan. I appreciate it more in hindsight though…seeing all the little things that now tie in to the bigger picture. Winter Soldier though? Awesome in every single way.

          • Seuss says:

            It’s on my movie queue. : )

        • Rae says:

          The whole superhero thing aside Winter Soldier is a great polital thriller, one of the best movies I’ve had the plwasure to wach.

    • Patrick says:

      Rumor is, that in either Avengers 2 or Captain America 3, there will be a time travel component which may let Cap and her get closure.

  18. Rick Katze says:

    Very tight show. With a limited number of episodes, don’t expect to see any filler episodes. Although in character, I find the radio excerpts and probably accurate, horrible to have to listen to. If it works, it would be a logical show to continue net year when AofS is on its winter hiatus. Now all the writers have to do is keep up the good work.

    • Cory says:

      Even if Agent Carter doesn’t come back for a second run, I hope they’ll continue the trend of a limited run Marvel series during every winter hiatus for as long as AoS lasts. Which I hope is a long time, as it’s gotten much better and really elevates the movies for me with the way it expands the world.

    • KatsMom says:

      Hmm…I actually liked the radio show because it provided a little ironic context for some of the scenes. “Betty Carver” screaming for Captain America to rescue her, while Peggy Carter is kicking some arse all by her lonesome was my favorite. If they can keep up those wry *wink wink* type scenes from the radio show, I like them. Without the irony though, I agree, totally annoying…just like all the recordings of the old radio shows I’ve heard (and I’ve heard way too many. My grandparents amassed quite a collection of old radio shows on cassette tape in the ’80s. Listened to them all the time…)

  19. Joey Padron says:

    like both episodes. Carter and Jarvis work well together. preview for new episodes looks good. can’t wait to see more episodes!

  20. GildedRose says:

    This was a lot of fun. I was disappointed that it’s a limited run series though. I love that Agent Carter is grounded in reality. She’s got no powers, just skill and brains & she uses both to be incredible. Loved the writing. It’s refreshing to see a show present an action based female hero in a flattering way. Peggy Carter will kick your butt, but she’ll also step in to help you or hold your hand or just speak up when she sees someone being treated unfairly. I loved that.

  21. lame says:

    That was fun. I guess the title of ” the most badass woman on tv” that was vacated by Ziva David, now belongs to Peggy Carter. Whats’ more, Carter did it while wearing a skirt!!! lol

  22. Jason says:

    Great show. Had good characters, good dialogue, and good action.

    I will say though, the lack of everyone smoking did somewhat lessen my verisimilitude. Other than that I loved the period set up…not to mention that scene of her putting on the stockings :P

  23. Luiza says:

    Amazing premiere – the best on broadcast network in a long time! Agent Carter is so badass! Love her already! Can’t wait to see what’s next…

  24. Velocisexual says:

    I’m giving it an A, it was pretty much amazing except for one issue that bugs me. I don’t find Ms Atwell’s fight scenes believable. And before people start shouting misogyny at me, Ming-na Wen has a similar build while being much older and I find her action scenes excellent.

    I loved everything else about Peggy Carter, just didn’t find that specifc part convincing and that’s what takes it from A+ to A for me.

  25. TinLV says:

    Outstanding premiere. We need a whole series of this, not just a limited-run.

  26. Dennis says:

    So good!! I give it an A for AWESOME! Such a fun and superbly paced, written hour of television.

  27. B says:

    Best female buttkicker since Buffy

  28. Jake says:

    Agent Carter far exceed my expectations. It was truly enjoyable, I couldn’t wait for the commercials to get over. I really enjoyed seeing Lyndsy Fonseca from Nikita as Angie Martinelli and Enver Gjokaj from Dollhouse as Daniel Sousa and of course Meagen Fay from Malcolm in the Middle as Miriam Fry. Cannot wait until next week. A+ show.

  29. The Kaibosh says:

    I thought that in the diner when Peggy was looking for a new place, Angie read the paper upside down a little too fast. Normally you wouldn’t think anything of it but the show took the time to cut away to the paper to specifically show the viewer that it was upside down when Angie first saw it. That means she has training which means she’s an agent for some organization. Possibly Hydra or this Leviathan organization which just another way of saying Hydra really but it could be KGB also. Or it could be nothing at all.

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      Per lore, Leviathan : Russia :: Hydra : Germany.

    • KatsMom says:

      You’re probably right. In TV land, that’s suspicious. In reality, some people can just do these things though..no training required. At least, I’ve never found it difficult to read anything upside down, and I’ve never had any “training.”

    • John NYC says:

      Well casting Lindsey as solely an automat waitress as an emotional connection for Peggy to have would seem to be, what with her Nikita credentials, peculiar.

      • herman1959 says:

        Maybe, but you could also look at it another way: Some of the best superhero/spy shows include a “normal” friend of the protagonist, The Flash is an example. Plus, since Agent Carter doesn’t have any superhuman powers, it makes more sense for her to be deeply routed in real life with normal friends and relationships.

    • Seuss says:

      Nice catch. I had this feeling that Angie might be bad but nothing more than a feeling. I don’t think they will make Jarvis bad because it would break too many hearts … but I do think they might try this with Angie. You should be a detective. That clue just whizzed right by me. Guess I’m more a Jarvis than an agent Carter. : )

      • Beckstle says:

        Jarvis probably isn’t bad but….depending on what comic book version you go with there are some interesting possibilities. :)

  30. Chad says:

    Carter can tell a General to kiss her you know what but not some dope who thinks he is the next Capt. America come on let her strut a little. She is a strong female lead let her run with it, that is my 2 cents

  31. scampi says:

    Loved it!! Loved Agent Carter. Sorry that dismissive men still get fidgety about ‘ladies things’. Jarvis great character. Great moment when he spoke of everyone needing support. Love his name. Thinking of Tony/Ironman. Hope we get as far as a peek at possible Hydra doublecrosser.

  32. KCC says:

    I hope that they keep the radio program. It is hilarious!

  33. lame says:

    If the rumors become reality, Agent Carter can take the 10 pm Monday time slot, giving ABC a continued significant presence.

    • anonymous says:

      That might be a better time slot then the current one. It’s rating weren’t bad and I suspect they will go up after DVR viewing is accounted for but they don’t match the quality of the show. I hope ABC gives this show a real chance.

  34. Rich Abey says:

    I absolutely loved! Again it goes to prove (much more that SHIELD did) that you don’t need superhuman powers to be a hero & it’s a lady to boot (as the women get so few chances to be heroes). Plus the chemistry between the cast is mostly spot on from the first scene itself, especially between Peggy, Howard & Jarvis, but I don’t see Peggy and Jarvis as a couple as some others did.

  35. b.l. says:

    At least i know where Jarvis comes from.

  36. herman1959 says:

    I just caught up with Agent Carter and thought it was awesome – I had the same feeling I had with The Flash premiere – so, basically I agree with what everyone else has said. The positives were too numerous to list, but I especially appreciated the era-appropriate gadgets like the typewriter/telegraph. I do have one question that has been bothering me: when Peggy scaled the electrified fence, it arced but she wasn’t electrocuted, why?

  37. It was as amazing as I knew it would be. Hayley Atwell is a gift, she brings such nuance to Peggy and is a dream to watch. I love Jarvis, and the agent who’s not a huge tool bag (played by Enver Gjokaj). I really like Angie, but I’m super sad about Colleen. I don’t think it was necessary to kill her (although I get what they were going for with the whole guilt – everyone around me dies bit). As a whole though, I’m so happy this show exists.

  38. Brigid says:

    AMAZING! This show was fantastic. I never looked at the clock once and was really upset when it was over. Can not wait for next week! Go ahead Agent Carter and your bada$$ girl power.

  39. John Moshier says:

    great show it must be a fantasy 40s nobody smokes but that’s what you should exspect from abc

    • bj says:

      Maybe all the actors didn’t want to become addicted to nicotine just to add a little authenticity. Filming on a smokey set wouldn’t be too good for the health either and scenes are often shot and re-shot time and time again.

  40. K says:

    Loved it (and I’m not much of a Marvel fan). While several of the period details didn’t ring true, the sexism definitely did, and the atmosphere was great overall. The cast has excellent chemistry overall (and I agree that the Peggy/Jarvis chemistry is strong, and feels like it *could* go romantic, but him being married seems to be a bar to that, which I love–it’s too cliche now for any male/female partners to end up together). It grabbed me in the same way Alias did way back when, except I marathoned that and now I have to wait a whole week. And as a grace note, I’m glad to see Enver Gjokaj back on my screen–he was outstanding on Dollhouse.

  41. Liz says:

    The typewriter stuff was the hardest to watch. Not shot very well, it was really difficult to read and there was just too much of it.
    Also, trying to figure out timeline wise where this show fits into everything. The Agent Carter one shot is a few years after this?

  42. Yuka says:

    First hour was entertaining and interesting. Second hour was a drag. A for 1st hour, D- for 2nd so overall a C!

  43. J says:

    I loved when the 2 security guards with tommy guns missed Jarvis’ car every damn time. So lame.

  44. JC1 says:

    I loved it. Peggy Carter was already my favorite female character in the MCU, and now she’s even more so. I’ve been looking forward to this ever since it was first rumored to be in development. I wish it was more than just eight episodes – honestly, I’d rather watch this than Agents of SHIELD. But I’m glad we have at least this much, and maybe it’ll get renewed.

  45. rowan77 says:

    Loved it! Great fun. I’m glad it’s a limited series, that ensures there will be no filler episodes, just a ripping good story moving at a string pace. Cannot wait until the next episode.

  46. puck says:

    I don’t understand why romance is always the #1 priority in some viewers minds. This can be a great show without all that ridiculous crap that never last for long anyway.

  47. Marvel doing what it does best: take unknown characters or sidekicks that no one cares to much about and making them mainstream characters, making them know also to people that never read comics. I love Marvel!