Starring David Schwimmer (‘Friends‘) and Nick Mohammed, ‘Intelligence’ is a British comedy series that revolves around a narcissistic and assertive NSA agent, Jerry Bernstein, who is assigned to the U.K.’s Government Communications Headquarters as an American liaison. With his myopic worldview, Jerry begins to assume his responsibilities only to ruffle some feathers of his new team members responsible for fighting cybercrimes.
The comical collaboration between people of different cultures, mindsets, and worldviews has entertainment viewers from all walks of life who may wonder if the series is inspired by real-life events or is entirely rooted in fiction. If you are also intrigued and have similar questions, you have come to the right place. Let’s explore the show’s origins and find out all we need to know!
Is Intelligence Based on a True Story?
No, ‘Intelligence’ is not based on a true story. The sitcom is created by the British actor Nick Mohammed who also plays the role of the computer analyst, Joseph Harries, in the series. Since it closely revolves around the inner workings of national security organizations (although not strictly), the writer-creator had to research a lot to ensure that he at least gets the basic technicalities right. However, the series is more about characters themselves, while the operations of the governmental organizations serve as the backdrop.
Therefore, when Nick Mohammed was asked about the show’s inspirations, the influence of his personal experience, and the cultural clash it portrays, he told Entertainment Weekly, “It wasn’t really based on anything as specific as that apart from knowing how fun it would be to have a character like Jerry act as if he’s the biggest person in the room in his brash American way in an institution that is as quintessentially British or English as GCHQ.”
At the same time, for David Schwimmer, the series offered probably the only opportunity to tap into the phenomena of American excellence that, at its extreme – probably because of ignorance – presumes that the country is the best at everything. Jerry is the archetypal American whose reasoning is muddled because of this belief; therefore, he is always arrogant and assertive as he thinks that his way is the best way.
Although the workplace-comedy is primarily about the interaction between the characters of different perspectives and upbringing, Nick had to research diligently to depict the part about security organization accurately. He got his hands on as many books as he could find about GCHQ and realized that they mostly covered events well into the past. However, the creator was struck by the idea that most information about such organizations is kept a secret, thus giving him a creative license to add more of his ideas to the plot to make it an even more captivating story.
Nick appears to have masterfully utilized the chance to be more creative in his approach and therefore deserves a lot of credit for the show’s success. Speaking about the GCHQ’s support, Nick said in a statement, “They’ve actually been very supportive, and they’re such a great organization.” Nick had met with some of the representatives before the show was even green-lit, and on one occasion, he added, “We hope that everyone at GCHQ is as excited about this series as we are.” So, even though ‘Intelligence’ uses real-life national security organizations as a backdrop, the story is entirely fictional.
Read More: Where is Intelligence Filmed?