Netflix’s ‘Agent Elvis’ is set in an alternate universe where Elvis works for a secret agency. Distressed by the criminal and drug activity in the country, he turns into a vigilante. His work garners the attention of a highly covert organization called the Central Bureau, aka the TCB. Elvis later discovers he is not the only rockstar the Bureau has recruited. Several other famous people have been working for the agency in different capacities, further exhibiting its power and influence in the bigger picture. If you are wondering whether such an organization exists in real life, here’s what you should know.
Is TCB a Real Secret Service?
No, TCB is not a real espionage organization. It is a fictional agency concocted for the show, created by Priscilla Presley and John Eddie. Presley revealed that Elvis had expressed his desire to be a federal agent, most famously in his meeting with then-President Richard Nixon. “I’ve always wanted to give Elvis what he wanted and never really quite made it. He wanted to be an agent. And now he is,” she said.
While TCB is fictional, its name suggests it might be based on the CIA. The highly covert nature of its missions, which have repercussions on international politics, puts it in the category of agencies like the CIA. The mind control experiment in the Netflix series also links it to the real-life intelligence service. The fact that TCB hires famous people as its spies also gives it common ground with its real-life counterpart.
In his non-fiction book, ‘Company Man: Thirty Years of Crisis and Controversy in the CIA,’ published in 2014, former acting CIA general counsel John Rizzo revealed that the agency is known for using Hollywood’s help in its missions. “The CIA has long had a special relationship with the entertainment industry, devoting considerable attention to fostering relationships with Hollywood movers and shakers—studio executives, producers, directors, big-name actors,” he wrote.
According to Rizzo, the agency puts a lot of work into recruiting and maintaining a good relationship with its contacts in Hollywood. He said the CIA uses the National Resources Division to establish connections and recruit people. Shedding light on why the government agency would turn to the most famous people in the world for their top-secret missions, Rizzo revealed, “Hollywood people are glamorous. They get access and entre to people overseas that the U.S. government doesn’t.” He claimed that Hollywood has been used for simple things like getting their operative into another country where they had “difficulty operating” as a film crew member and getting in the same room as an influential political figure.
Speculating the reason behind the desire to work for the CIA, one of Rizzo’s colleagues said: “These are people who have made a lot of money basically making stuff up. A lot of them, at least the smarter and more self-aware ones, realize that what they do makes them ridiculously rich but is also ephemeral and meaningless in the larger scheme of things. So they’re receptive to helping the CIA in any way they can, probably in equal parts because they are sincerely patriotic and because it gives them a taste of real-life intrigue.”
Elvis Presley is said to have had a similar desire, which led him to meet with Nixon. Reportedly, he expressed his desire to be a federal agent and received an honorary badge from the President. He wanted to be “of any service” he could to help the country. Considering that the CIA has a history of hiring famous people, it isn’t far-fetched to think they could have reached out to Elvis. ‘Agent Elvis’ takes the audience through that possibility.
Read More: Were Elvis and Richard Nixon Friends? Did They Exchange Gifts in Real Life?