Sterling Archer

Created by Adam Reed

“Just say noir.”

No, I haven’t stretched the rules to include the spy guy STERLING ARCHER of the FX adult cartoon series Archer just because it’s popular.

Nope. In the show’s seventh season reboot (how could I have missed that?), the Los Angeles-based Figgis Agency that they all work for becomes a bona-fide detective agency. Okay, so what if every one of its eccentric and dysfunctional operatives are former agents of the dismantled American spy agency ISIS (no, not that one), or that the show’s touchstones lean more towards Ian Fleming than Raymond Chandler?

It’s still a P.I. show, right?

Still, as much as I occasionally enjoy the show’s cheeky irreverence and saucy snarkiness (and roll my eyes at some of the more juvenile crudeness), I just didn’t really think of it as a P.I. show. Until season eight. In that one, they pulled out ALL the stops, making Archer a real, rootin’ tootin’ hard-boiled P.I.

Or at least he thinks he is.

After being “killed” in the final episode of the show’s seventh season, the ego-that-walks-like-a-man returns in the following season (dubbed, appropriately enough, “Dreamland”). Apparently he’s not quite dead, but in a coma, dreaming that he’s a hard-boiled private eye in 1947 Los Angeles, out to nail the killer of his “partner,” Woodhouse. In “real” life, of course, Woodhouse was Archer’s long-suffering and long-missing valet.

Meanwhile, the rest of the regulars — at least in Archer’s imagination — are also recast: his mother, Malory, is a ruthless crimelord who runs Los Angeles, former ISIS HR director Pam is now a bruiser, his secretary Cheryl goes full femme-fatale and Archer and Lana, his rival and fellow agent, look like they’re going to be hooking up. Maybe.

Colour this one noir, or at least “noir” as it’s currently understood. In other words, be prepared for plenty of trenchcoats, fedoras, women with “legs up to here” (and garter belts and silk stockings to match), machine guns, cheap patter and enough murky lighting, dubious shadows and plot holes to hide an elephant in. And this being Archer, expect plenty of “dick” jokes.

The show’s fans wouldn’t have it any other way.


    (2010-16, FX)
    Seven seasons
    30-minute episodes
    Premiere: September 17, 2009
    Created by Adam Reed
    Starring H. Jon Benjamin as STERLING ARCHER
    with Aisha Tyler as Lana Kane
    Jessica Walter as Malory Archer
    Chris Parnell as Cyril Figgis
    Judy Greer as Cheryl
    Amber Nash as Pam Poovey
    Lucky Yates as Krieger
    and Adam Reed as Ray Gillette

    • Season Seven (The Figgis Agency)
    • “The Figgis Agency” (March 31, 2016)
    • “The Handoff ” (April 7, 2016)
    • “Deadly Prep” (April 14, 2016)
    • “Motherless Child” (April 21, 2016)
    • “Bel Panto: Part I” (April 28, 2016)
    • “Bel Panto: Part II” (May 5, 2016)
    • “Double Indecency” (May 12, 2016)
    • “Liquid Lunch” (May 19, 2016)
    • “Deadly Velvet: Part I” (May 26, 2016)
    • “Deadly Velvet: Part II” (June 2, 2016)
    • Season Eight (Dreamland)
    • “No Good Deed” (April 5, 2017)
    • “Berenice” (April 12, 2017)
    • “Jane Doe” (April 19, 2017)
    • “Ladyfingers” (April 26, 2017)
    • “Sleepers Wake” (May 3, 2017)
    • “Waxing Gibbous” (May 10, 2017)
    • “Gramercy, Halberd!” (May 17, 2017)
    • “Auflösung” (May 24, 2017)


Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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