While the star-spangled man with a plan is away, the red, white, and blue lady shall defend the USA.
Hugh Jones: I didn't know our government had such good taste in secretaries. What's your name, darling? Agent Carter
Peggy Carter: Agent.
is a 2015 miniseries set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe
. It stars Hayley Atwell
as Peggy Carter
, a British officer of the Strategic Scientific Reserve and co-founder of S.H.I.E.L.D.
who was romantically involved with Steve Rogers
during Captain America: The First Avenger
. Supporting cast includes Dominic Cooper
as Howard Stark, James D'Arcy as Edwin Jarvis, Chad Michael Murray
, Enver Gjokaj, Shea Wigham, Lyndsy Fonseca
and Bridget Regan
It is 1946, a year after the end of World War II
and the disappearance of Captain America. Thousands of trained men and women have come home from fighting, looking for a new place to use their skills. One of those is Peggy, still despondent after the loss of Steve and hampered from getting a better job by the misogyny of the times. But in between tedious office work for the SSR, Peggy is contacted by her old friend Howard Stark, eventual father of Tony Stark
, who needs her help in clearing his name and finding whoever is stealing his restricted weapons. Accompanied by his butler Edwin Jarvis, Peggy puts her skills to the test, beating up bad guys and laying the foundation of S.H.I.E.L.D. itself.
The series was initially tested out with a Marvel One Shot
of the same name released with the Iron Man 3
Blu-Ray in fall 2013, and then greenlit for full-series production in May 2014
as a stand-in for when Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
takes a midseason break. The executive producers of the show are Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters
, Steve McFeely and Christopher Marcus (writers of the Captain America
movies), and Jeph Loeb
Trailers: Preview 1
, Preview 2
, Sneak Peek
, Official Website
Tropes in Agent Carter include:
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- Acting Unnatural:
- After a botched attempt to get some risky files out of a coworker's desk, Peggy pretends that nothing's the matter by eating a scone with her legs up on her desk, completely at odds with her usual proper demeanor.
- The SSR agents who clear out the automat in "A Sin To Err" continue to act like customers, perusing the menu and sitting down, even though the suddenly near-empty restaurant is a huge tipoff that something's about to happen.
- Action Girl: Agent Carter, of course. From officer in the British armed forces to Agent/Co-Founder of S.H.I.E.L.D, and with impeccable sense of grace and fashion to boot.
- Action Heroine: Peggy Carter. Throwing punches and shooting guns are her preferred ways of beating her enemies in the course of her secret agent work.
- Adaptational Attractiveness: James D'Arcy's portrayal of Jarvis is a good sight better looking than the portly, balding man from the comics. This version is several decades younger.
- Adaptational Heroism: Roger Dooley, whose comic counterpart is a creep who had She-Hulk strip searched for his own enjoyment, is portrayed here as A Father to His Men and a Reasonable Authority Figure.
- Adaptational Wimp: In-universe with the radio show. Peggy's character is reduced to being a Damsel in Distress who keeps getting kidnapped by Nazis. She is naturally irritated.
- Affectionate Nickname: Both Colleen and Howard call Peggy "Peg." Angie calls her "English." Dum Dum suggests giving Peggy the nickname of "Miss Union Jack", but she disagrees.
- Alternate Character Interpretation: Peggy observes In-Universe that the men of the SSR see her the way they want to see her and not as she actually is - Dooley saw her as "a stray kitten" left on his doorstep that needed sheltering, Thompson saw her as "a secretary turned damsel", etc. Basically, everyone saw her as this fragile English rose that needed protecting when in truth she is twice the Badass they are - something Peggy ultimately ended up using to her advantage in her own quest to learn the truth about Howard Stark's alleged crimes, since, as she notes, everyone acts like she's "invisible" unless she's got coffee or reports.
- Amazon Brigade: Leviathan's Black Widow program.
- Anyone Can Die: Peggy and Howard Stark are protected (see Doomed by Canon/Saved by Canon) because we already know their post-1946 fates. Anyone else is fair game. Examples include: Colleen, Krzmenski, Yauch, and most shockingly, Chief Dooley who's billed as a regular but dies in the penultimate episode.
- Apologetic Attacker: Peggy apologizes profusely before attacking Thompson in order to run away.
Peggy: I'm so sorry, Jack.
- Artistic License – History: Many historical inaccuracies can be found in the show.
- When Peggy is crossing the street in the first episode, a train of R32 "Brightliner" cars is visible in the background... in 1946. New York did not see R32s in their subway lines until 1964.
- When the SSR goes through fake passports with combined movie director names, the stack includes "Federico Rossellini" as one of the names. Roberto might have been notable enough for a European to include him as an alias, but it'd be at least a year from the presumed setting for Fellini to be on enough radars to be on a non-Italian's fake passport.
- The battle of Finow is said to have been fought in "spring 1944" in Germany between German and Soviet forces. This is several months before the first Red Army troops actually entered Germany.
- In "The Iron Ceiling" Dooley makes a reference to the Vice President of the United States calling him for updates. There was no Vice President in 1946—Truman had succeeded to the White House in 1945 and, since the 25th Amendment did not exist, the post remained vacant until the next election and Alben Barkley's swearing-in in 1949.
- Also in "The Iron Ceiling", the "Black Widow" trainees are shown learning to speak English from watching Snow White and the Seven Dwarves in 1937. That movie first premiered to a limited audience on December 21, 1937 (It was not released for general distribution until February 1938). It seems unlikely that the Russians would be able to acquire the movie, approve it for use as a training tool, and get it ready for said use in a matter of ten days.
- In-Universe, the Captain America Adventure Hour has little interest in portraying the adventures of the titular hero accurately. Even setting aside the little detail of Cap's girlfriend on the show having nothing in common with his real girlfriend beyond a similar name, one episode of the show had him single-handedly saving units in the Pacific when he spent his entire Army career fighting HYDRA in Europe. If Cap was around to listen to that show, he'd probably be turning in his icy grave.
- Carter's upskirt shots are somewhat blurry, but she appears to be wearing pantyhose. These were still over a decade away.
- Ascended Extra: In the comics, Peggy Carter was little more than a Satellite Love Interest to Captain America. Then she gained a major role in Captain America: The First Avenger, and now the star of her own series. Adding to that, the same could said about the one shot; it was solely created to bridge what happened to Peggy after the war, but the fanbase loved the one shot so much they wanted to see more about Peggy Carter and her involvement in the creation of S.H.I.E.L.D.
- Badass: Agent Peggy Carter, naturally. It's a running gag how she accidentally knocks out enemies before she can interrogate them.
- Badass in a Nice Suit:
- Every SSR agent, and Leviathan Agents as well. It's the uniform.
- Peggy herself usually counts too, whether it's a pants suit or something else.
- The Bad Guy Wins: The string of episodes from "The Blitzkrieg Button" through to "SNAFU" is one long string of Leviathan's agents (Dottie and Fennhoff) succeeding perfectly at every single plot they want to execute, whether that's stealing Mink's weapon, planting The Mole into the SSR, framing Carter and delivering her into the SSR's hands, killing Chief Dooley and escaping scot-free, and then test-firing a murderous-rampage-inducing gas inside a crowded theatre.
- Battle Butler: Jarvis.
- Batman Gambit: Sousa's use of earplugs before fighting Fennhoff is actually more genre-savvyness, however he pulls out one slowling walking toward Thompson and pointing his gun at him, correctly predicting how the doctor would try to make him behave, before knocking out Fennhoff. It's quite funny when you realize it wasn't really necessary or even helpful, he was just trolling the other two.
- Bavarian Fire Drill: Peggy poses as a New York Health Inspector to investigate the dairy factory for the truck with the explosives.
- Black and Grey Morality: Other than Carter herself, the SSR folks are by-and-large chauvinistic Inspector Javerts who will often use ethically questionable tactics when questioning witnesses; meanwhile, Howard Stark and Jarvis will often keep secrets from others, including Peggy. On the other hand, Leviathan is clearly, unambiguously evil.
- Black Dude Dies First: Spider Raymond is the first corpse in the pilot episode.
- Bond One-Liner: After Spider Raymond forcefully kisses Peggy and is knocked out instantly by her poisoned lipstick:
Peggy: Well, that was a bit premature.
- Breakout Character: Peggy Carter. From Satellite Love Interest in the comics, to the first female lead in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
- Brick Joke: It's an open secret that Krzeminski cheats on his wife, and when he tries to get a night off to take "[his] girl" to a movie, Carter asks if he's taking his wife or his girlfriend. When he's killed, Chief Dooley goes to call his wife. Thompson says he'll call his girlfriend.
- In the Season 1 finale, after a long string of incorrect guesses, Howard finally remembers that "Dottie" was calling herself "Ida" during their one-night stand... well after that information was worth anything.
- Brief Accent Imitation:
- Peggy adopts an American accent whenever she goes "undercover".
- Jarvis has a much more inept go at this when calling in the tip to SSR, to keep them from recognizing his voice.
- Dottie uses a fake American accent in her undercover identity.
- Cacophony Cover Up: Peggy turns up her radio so that she can safely hammer a hole into the wall to hide the vial of Steve's blood.
- Call Forward:
- In "Time and Tide", Jarvis mentions an incident in Budapest.
- There are two references to Iron Man 2. In the first episode Howard Stark is Hauled Before A Senate Subcommittee regarding his weapons. In the last one he attends a press conference where he's praised as a hero by a government official who hates his guts.
- Cassandra Truth: Initially people don't listen to Peggy because she's a woman. Then they don't listen to her because she's been undermining the agency, conducting an independent and unauthorized investigation, for which she's been arrested. However, she does manage to convince them that she's serious when she says she spotted a mole in the organization, and go to investigate.
- Character Death:
- Chekhov's Gun: When escaping from the Roxxon refinery, the bumper of Jarvis's car is ripped off. It's later found again in the debris clump, leading the SSR to track down its license plate.
- Chekhov's Boomerang: The SSR photgraphs Peggy while she's disguised as a blonde at La Martinque, and she spends part of the second episode trying to steal the photos before learning that they're all from the back. Unfortunately, though, they still provide evidence in later episodes when Sousa is informed the woman in the photo actually has brown hair, and then sees scars on Peggy's shoulder that match those on the picture.
- Chickification: In-Universe example. In the Captain America Adventure Hour, Peggy is turned into Betty Carver, a triage nurse and generic Distressed Damsel.
- Children Are Innocent: Peggy is a firm believer of this, even stopping Dum Dum from killing a child with a hand grenade, even after said child is shown to be a cold-blooded assassin who killed one of the Howling Commandos and later shoots one of the SSR agents in the back. Then again, a grenade would have alerted every single guard in the base to their presence.
- Clear Their Name: Peggy embarks on a mission to prove Howard is not a traitor.
- Combat Pragmatist: Peggy will use whatever is at hand to take down opponents, many of whom are much larger than she is. She takes down one goon with a stapler and it apparently takes a while before doctors can remove all the staples she put into the guy's face.
- Comic Book Movies Dont Use Code Names:
- Although the advertising for the episode called the Russian Child Soldier group "the Black Widow program", it is never referred to as such in the episode itself.
- Averted with the Howling Commandos. Ramirez excitedly calls them that, though Sawyer hates the name, despite fellow teammate Pinky thinking it up. Each member of the Commandos has their own codename, including "Dum Dum", "Happy", "Pinky", and "Junior". Dugan even offers to give Peggy her own codename, "Miss Union Jack".
- In real life Peggy never refers to Steve as Captain America but her fictionalized counterpart, in the Show Within a Show, Betty only ever refers to Cap as "Captain America."
- Johann Fennhoff goes by his real name or Dr. Ivchenko, never "Doctor Faustus".
- Continuity Nod: The Geiger counter-esque device used by Peggy to detect the Nitramine is labeled "Property of A(braham) Erskine". The Nitramine is explicitly said to use Vita Ray radiation as a byproduct of its explosion. It's also in a box with a file with pre-serum Steve's photo, which Peggy received at the end of First Avenger.
- In "A Sin To Err", Peggy breaks out her strong right cross to lay out a male government employee who underestimates her, like she did in The First Avenger.
- The revelation that Dr. Ivchenko is Doctor Faustus, as well as his meeting with Arnim Zola at the end has two major examples:
- Continuity Snarl: The flashback of Agent Carter action scenes at the beginning of the first episode includes some scenes from the Agent Carter Marvel One-Shot. However, the One Shot has been said to take place after this series, which would mean its clips Peggy flashbacked to were from the future...
- The Coroner Doth Protest Too Much: At the beginning of the second episode, we see an obituary stating a woman "died suddenly in her bed". Those who saw the first episode know she did die in her bed all right, and it was sudden... but it involved a bullet in the middle of her forehead.
- Costume Porn: 40's style.
: Handmade hats and buttons imported from Paris
. 1946 tailored dresses and suits. So elegant.
- Covert Group with Mundane Front: As far as all of Peggy's civilian acquaintances are concerned, she works for the Bell Phone Company.
- Crocodile Tears: Angie uses these on the SSR when helping Peggy escape.
- Creator Cameo: At the end of "The Blitzkrieg Bomb", Jarvis sits down next to Howard Stark at a shoeshine booth. The person at the other end? Stan Lee.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Dottie kills Mr. Mink by snapping his neck before he even has time to fire his gun.
- Cyanide Pill: Dooley offers Colonel Mueller this if he gives info about what happened in the Battle of Finow. It turns out to be a breath mint.
- Dark Action Girl:
- The assassin who kills Krzeminski and the hitman who encountered Carter is evidently a woman and a part of the conspiracy, although the series seems to be trying to hide this.
- Dottie is also this. She murders Mr. Mink to get his automatic pistol and she's a prototype Black Widow. Whether she's the same person as above remains to be seen.
- Darker and Edgier:
- The blatant sexism present in The First Avenger to a much less obvious extent receives a dramatic increase for the series.
- The show's visual style is also darker. First Avenger had a very warm look, with lots of golden lighting and soft focus to make things look friendly and heroic. In Agent Carter the lighting is cooler and the lens sharper, throwing everything into contrast.
- Several events in the series up to the penultimate episode are darker than anything to go down in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in its entirety, with possibly the most disturbing thing yet being the brief glimpses of the horrific murder-orgy that followed Item 017 being deployed in a theater room.
- Death by Secret Identity: The guard at the Heartbreak who Agent Carter beat up is hauled away by Agent Kreminski, but just when he's about to go into detail about the dark-haired British woman who attacked him, they're both assassinated by an unknown hitman.
- Death Glare: Peggy gives a lot of these, such as her long Death Glare at the radio playing "The Captain America Adventure Hour" at the beginning of the second episode.
- Death Seeker: Jarvis implies that Peggy has a death wish and this is why she takes so many risks and refuses any and all effort at help or association.
- Deliberate Values Dissonance:
- While First Avenger had some brief cases of period racism and sexism, they were generally downplayed in favor of a nostalgic past. Here, though, it's made clear that the 40s had plenty of backwards ethics.
- Lots of casual sexism abounds, especially at Peggy's and Angie's workplaces. Highlighted in the second episode in the contrast between Peggy's asskicking and the recurring radio soap about the adventures of Captain America, where "Betty Carver" is a nurse and generic Damsel in Distress.
- SSR agents have absolutely no problem beating the crap out of a suspect when he won't cooperate.
- Jarvis once risked jail time and a charge of treason for helping a Jewish woman (his future wife, Anna, in fact) escape Europe. It involved illegal forgery of official goverment papers.
- "The Blitzkrieg Button":
- Howard Stark points out that he grew up in a world filled with economic, class, religious, and gender discrimination.
- Thompson straight up asks Peggy why she stays with the [SSR], because no man will ever see her as an equal. He even tells her that she's upsetting the natural order of things. He's not entirely wrong, but pretty darn close.
- "The Iron Ceiling": Peggy butts heads to get on the mission to Russia, explaining her fluency in everything Russian (both tactically and linguistically) because she lived through it for three years during the war, and she receives nothing but complaints and condescension until the chief lets her go on the mission. The men on the SSR field team, including Thompson, finally begin changing their tune when Dum Dum Dugan - who they regard in awe for his service alongside Captain America in WWII - and the other Howling Commandos readily defer to Peggy's decisions, with Dugan pointing out that she served with Cap longer than any of them.
- Destination Defenestration: Peggy throws Green Suit out of her apartment window when fighting him after he followed her to her apartment.
- Diegetic Switch:
- Toward the end of the third episode, the automat radio is playing "Someone to Watch Over Me." As the scene fades, that becomes the background music.
- Towards the end of the fourth episode, Peggy turns up the music on her radio, and this can still be heard when the scene switches to Dottie's room.
- Dirty Communists: In contrast to the Nazi-born HYDRA from Captain America: The First Avenger, the villains this time around are from the Soviet Union. Though we eventually find out their motivation is less one-dimensional than typical examples of this trope.
- Downer Ending:
- Agent Krzeminski and a captive mook being abruptly shot by "Dottie" at the end of "Time and Tide", followed by the SSR agents mourning the loss of their colleague.
- While "Dottie" is narrowly stopped from killing Peggy at the end of "A Sin to Err", Peggy is still arrested and faces interrogation by the SSR.
- By the end of "SNAFU", Dooley is dead after barely sparing the rest of the SSR from an explosive vest, "Dottie" gets away yet again, Ivchenko has waltzed right out of custody with a dangerous MacGuffin, and both Leviathan agents have just field-tested said MacGuffin on a movie theatre full of innocent bystanders, who promptly turned on and killed each other in an orgy of murderous rage.
- Drugged Lipstick: Peggy uses this on Spider Raymond in "Now is Not the End," and Dottie uses her lipstick to knock Peggy out so that she can kill her.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?:
- Peggy was a highly talented field agent for the SSR, and had been since before she ever met Steve Rogers, and yet one year after the war is over, most of her coworkers treat her like a secretary who only got into the SSR by being Captain America's girlfriend. Worse, some even speculate that it wasn't just Cap she was sleeping with for her position.
- She finally gets her respect in the fifth episode from Thompson and the SSR when she shows her skills in the field and how much the Howling Commandos respect her, leading to her colleagues finally accepting her as one of their own. This is also when Sousa realizes that she's the mysterious blonde woman he's been chasing.
- Howard Stark was one of the key figures in the SSR during the war, and was partially responsible for the creation of Captain America in the first place, and yet Peggy is the only person in the SSR who appears to even be considering the possibility that he might not be a traitor.
- Sacrificial Lamb: Peggy's first roommate is killed in just her second scene to demonstrate how ruthless Leviathan agents are.
- Schmuck Bait: Invoked by Jarvis when he has to get rid of a car. He leaves it somewhere in Hoboken with the keys in the ignition, counting on someone to come by and steal it.
- Self-Made Man: Howard claims his parents were working class people from the Lower East Side of NYC, so he had to fight his way to the top and his millions.
- Averted with Peggy. Peggy's fighting style is devoid of fancy acrobatics or thigh-crushing. Instead she relies on good old-fashioned punches, kicks, and anything around her environment. Consequently her battles with crooks look extremely brutal.
- Played straight with Dottie, courtesy of being a Black Widow.
- The ‘long-distance’ typewriter Green Suit uses to report to and receive orders from his superior is similar to the typewriter Fauxlivia used in Fringe to report to and receive orders from her superior in the other dimension.
- Angie performs a brief monologue from A Doll's House in "A Sin To Err". Dooley also name drops King Kong.
- Word of God says that Ovechkin, the Russian private seen in the flashback in "SNAFU", is a reference to hockey player Alexander Ovechkin. Interestingly enough, with the knowledge that "Ivchenko" is actually an alias, Dr. Fennhoff may have intentionally chosen it as an anagram for the soldier's name.
- Shown Their Work:
- Peggy being a 40s Action Girl follows the example of many real life female WWII agents, as well as them having their jobs being taken after the war as the male veterans came home.
- Much of the slang is period appropriate. For instance, Fazekas noted in an interview that she avoided adding the term "smart ass" since it didn't come about until the 60s but she did include "yanking your chain", finding it dated back to the mining era.
- While a retro diner is a classic setting for the 40s and 50s, this show mixes it up a little by showing an automat instead.
- Peggy's lock-picking-watch is a possibility for a real life spy gadget, as it could be based on a magnetic autodialer.
- When sneaking into the Roxxon refinery, Peggy demonstrates the correct way to scale an electric fence: jumping onto it, climbing over, then jumping off; never touching the ground and the fence at the same time.
- "Green Suit"'s typewriter that can be used to communicate with his superiors appears to be based on a teleprinter.
- The Captain America radio show has elements of real 40s ones, including in-character commercials and using meat slabs and lobsters for sound effects.
- The Griffith Hotel, where Peggy stays, is based on the Barbizon Hotel. Like the Griffith it was a hotel exclusively for women (until 1981) and allowed no men above the first floor. The Griffith even occupies the same address, 63rd Street & Lexington Ave.
- Jarvis pays a pair of goons in $50,000 in $1000 dollar bills, with the crook expressing disbelief that they really exist. $1000 bills are real, and rare because they ceased being printed after 1945.
- While the extent of the hypnosis is exaggerated (as far as we know, a real hypnotist cannot entrance an unwilling person nor get them to kill themselves), Dr. Fennhoff's/"Ivchenko"'s methods are actually fairly plausible. As shown by this video, his tactics mirror real methods to keep up a trance, including befriending the subject, keeping them in a good mood, and not demanding that they do something they show reluctance to. Him making them imagine an illusionary memory is also a real trick; a talented hypnotist can make the subject relive memories or even imagine a bedroom is an island out in the ocean. The entranced subjects also show mild signs of awareness and occasionally discomfort, which also reflect real life subjects who can override orders that feel out of character.
- Show Within a Show: An in-universe Captain America pulp radio show is popular at the time of the series, and Peggy runs into it people listening to it a few times. It's about as cheesy as radio dramas got back then, and features a heavily insulting version of Peggy herself (named "Betty Carver") as a helpless Damsel in Distress who never shuts up about how manly Captain America is. Peggy can be seen giving a radio playing it an intense Death Glare at the start of the second episode.
- Single Issue Landlord: Miriam is obsessed about protecting the virtue of her tenants, and will not shut up about her no-men rule, the importance of her keeping it, and all the ways that various former tenants of hers have tried and failed to break it.
- Slut Shaming:
- Peggy is mocked for being Captain America's "liaison" though they were barely planning their first date when he "died," and some of her coworkers are convinced that she was sleeping around with other men for her position. Worth noting here that Peggy was in a position of authority with the SSR before Steve finally got himself enlisted (she was his instructor in Basic Training), and there's absolutely no evidence she got there through any means other than her own merit. The men of the SSR simply can't imagine any other way for a woman to succeed unless it's on a man's coattails.
- Peggy's landlady takes her "no male visitors" rule very seriously. When a tenant violates it, she evicts her in front of all the other residents at breakfast.
- When interviewing Howard Stark's exes, one of them exclaims that any woman who sleeps around as much as he does would be called a floozy.
- When the SSR finds out that Peggy has been working with Howard, Dooley, Thompson, and Sousa assume it's because Peggy was sleeping with him. Jarvis anticipates that assumption and uses it in his fake confession letter. This goes back to Never a Self-Made Woman— the SSR never even considers the idea that Peggy was investigating on her own because she believes Howard, her friend from the war, is innocent, or even that, for example, he promised her money to help him. The only possible reason they can come up with for a woman taking the kind of initiative Peggy does is to please the man she's sleeping with.
- Soft Glass: Averted in SNAFU. When Dooley performs his Heroic Sacrifice while wearing the vest that is about to explode, he uses a borrowed gun to shoot out the office window to allow him to jump through them, exploding in the street.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: In "A Sin to Err," Peggy beats up the SSR agents sent to isolate her in the automat while the very upbeat "It's a Good Day" plays in the background.
- Spanner in the Works: Leviathan’s plan to steal all the dangerous tech in Stark’s vault would’ve worked flawlessly if Leet Brannis hadn’t decided to keep it all for himself and sell it to the highest bidder.
- The Speechless: Leviathan agents get their voice boxes surgically cut out.
- Speed Sex: Peggy seems quite fond of puns based on this topic.
Jarvis: [Sighs] I-it's just that with Mr. Stark's tendency to, um...
Peggy: Prematurely evacuate?
- Splash of Color: In the pilot episode, Peggy wears a bright blue jacket and a bright red hat while most of the men wear dull colored suits. According to costume designer Giovanna Ottobre-Melton, this was very deliberate:
Her trademark look is the red custom ladies Stetson Stratoliner hat, a burst of color in a sea of grey fedoras. Working in man’s world she needed to stand out, and she did that using color in her wardrobe.
- Squick: In-universe, Peggy's male colleagues react with horror to mention of "ladies' matters," a fact she exploits to keep them from asking too many questions about why she's requested a sick day.
- Strictly Formula: Averted. Unlike Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which initially relied on the Monster of the Week formula, Agent Carter avoids a weekly routine in favor of constantly changing the status quo. At first the show appeared to be going in the direction of "Howard Stark's deadly invention of the week", but then it resolved the weapons subplot in the third episode to focus more on the pursuit of Leviathan itself.
: One of the things I believe came from ABC was they didn’t want an episodic show, they didn’t want it to be Gadget of the Week or Bad Guy of the Week, which is such a nice change from five years ago. I think that because of the influence of cable and DVR and binge-watching, they’re not afraid of continuing storylines.
- Stiff Upper Lip: Peggy and Jarvis can maintain a high level of politeness even when they are about to be blown up.
- The Stinger: In the season 1 finale stinger, we find out that Dr. Fennhoff's cellmate is Arnim Zola, Red Skull's HYDRA scientist from World War II and the one who got the organization into S.H.I.E.L.D.
- Stock Footage: The first episode includes footage from Captain America: The First Avenger, as Peggy remembers her last conversation with Steve Rogers.
- Straw Misogynist: Among the men, there's only really Howard, Jarvis and Sousa who don't fit this description.
- Played with when Thompson actually points out in "The Blitzkrieg Button" that men won't respect Peggy because she's a woman. He's not entirely wrong, but pretty close, given the era. He's even slightly sympathetic toward her— he agrees that she's treated unfairly, but he points out she's upsetting the natural order of things by expecting equal treatment.
- Also played with in that it's not just men but women too that sometimes treat independent women with scorn, such as Miriam Fry, who subscribes to the philosophy of "young women are delicate flowers to be shielded from temptation".
- Stuff Blowing Up: Thanks to Howard's Stark's stolen invention nitramine, best described as a hand grenade nuke. A single one blows up an entire Roxxon refinery and a truck full of one later blows all the water out of a lake.
Howard Stark: [One handful] would level a city block. I'm not talking the short ones. Avenues.
- Stuffed into the Fridge: Captain America, for the moment anyway, and in the first episode Peggy's roommate, Colleen. Both of them together are responsible for Peggy's (Our hero and protagonist's) immense degree of angst.
- Stylistic Suck: The Captain America Adventure Hour radio serial is so over the top and ridiculous it comes across as comical with its cheesy melodrama and exaggerated portrayal of "Betty Carver" as a hapless Damsel in Distress.
- Tim Taylor Technology: A recurring design flaw in all the dangerous tech Howard kept in his secret vault was being ridiculously overpowered for its intended purpose, becoming dangerously unstable as a result. The Nitramine, the Constrictor and the Heating Vest all qualify.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Peggy delivers a pretty effective one to her colleagues in episode seven, "SNAFU", saying, basically, that she had to conduct her own investigation because everyone thought she was worthless and that she was able to do so because everyone, as a result, ignored her. Sousa, who had some respect for her from the beginning, and Thompson, who learned to respect her in Europe, both look distinctly uncomfortable.
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Peggy apparently believes that using a hand grenade to kill a ten-year old girl is overkill, but Dugan clearly disagrees.
- Tykebomb: We are introduced to a Soviet program to create these in "The Iron Ceiling". Dottie is a graduate.
- Title Drop: One that was used quite a bit in in the advertising.
Hugh Jones What's your name, darling?
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Howard tells Peggy that one of his confiscated weapons could black out a city for years, and only he can disarm it. Actually it's a vial of Steve's blood (the last in existence) disguised in a sphere. Peggy is furious when she finds out Howard lied to her.
- Unexpected Character:
- Leet Brannis was a crook who appeared in stories involving the Whizzer (a character that has rarely appeared after The Golden Age of Comic Books), so his appearance here is surprising to say the least.
- The appearance of Jerome Zandow, whose Earth-616 counterpart was known as Zandow The Strongman, a member of the WWII-era of the circus of crime.
- Carter is remarkably good at tossing around men twice her size, though she struggles sometimes. At one point, she even tosses a man out a window. In a less common example of the trope, her fighting style is much less about fancy acrobatics, and much more about repeatedly hitting people until they fall down.
- A more straight example are Dottie and the other girls from the Black Widow program.
- Wham Episode: "The Iron Ceiling", in which Carter and the Howling Commandos from The First Avenger uncover the Black Widow training facility, culminating in the most action packed and tense climax thus far in the series, Agent Thompson's Hidden Depths are revealed, and the full extent of Dottie's backstory, badassery and psychopathy are revealed.
- "A Sin to Err," in which the entire SSR turn against Peggy, Ivchenko is revealed to be The Mole, Dottie starts making attempts on Peggy's life, and Dottie is revealed to be the hidden killer.
- Wham Shot: Dr. Arnim Zola, former minion to the Red Skull and future founder of the new HYDRA, showing up in Dr. Fennhoff's prison cell in the season 1 finale.
- Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys?: Peggy has a variety of spy gadgets to help her, such as a lockpick watch or tranquilizer lipstick. Where she gets them from hasn't been said yet, though they may be either gear lent to her by Stark or SSR tools belonging to her.
- Wig, Dress, Accent: Peggy's disguise to infiltrate the club in the pilot is this: blonde wig, silver dress, American accent. Her disguise to infiltrate the dairy factory and check for a truck full of explosives consists of a change of hairstyle, a white labcoat from Howard Stark's closet, and a Noo Yawk accent.
- World of Snark: Practically everyone has some sarcasm to deliver. There's Peggy, who turned up her snark after The First Avenger, Jarvis, Angie, Howard, Sousa...
- Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Dottie delivers one to the SSR just after giving a Kiss of Death to Peggy.
- You Look Familiar: Enver Gjokaj plays Daniel Sousa, and previously had a brief appearance as an NYPD cop in The Avengers.