Series / Agent Carter

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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?
Peggy Carter: Agent.

Agent Carter is a television series 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 Whigham, 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.

In Season 2, the setting shifts to 1947's southern California, with Peggy uncovering a new conspiracy while working for the new Los Angeles SSR branch. D'Arcy as Jarvis and Cooper as Stark return, along with new castmembers Wynn Everett as Whitney Frost, Lotte Verbeek as Ana Jarvis, and Reggie Austin as Jason Wilkes.

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. 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.

The first season, consisting of eight episodes, aired from January 6 to February 24, 2015, while the second season, consisting of 10 episodes, aired from January 19 to March 1, 2016. The series was cancelled on May 12, 2016 after its second season.

Agent Carter contains examples of:

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    A-D 
  • 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.
    • In his single comics appearance, (a "weird science" type story in Tales of Suspense #25), Jason Wilkes plans to sell his inventions to the Dirty Commies. His live action counterpart is briefly framed for this and later temporarily throws his lot in with Whitney out of desperation, but is a good guy.
  • Adaptational Wimp: In-universe with the radio show. Peggy's character is reduced to being a Damsel in Distress nurse who keeps getting kidnapped by Nazis. She is naturally irritated.
  • Affably Evil: Joseph Manfredi is very chipper and personable in spite of being a murderous mobster who might beat you to death if you cross him.
  • 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.
  • Alliterative Family: The siblings Michael and Margaret 'Peggy' Carter.
  • Almost Dead Guy: Unfortunately Brannis's voice synthesizer is broken. So he draws a clue in the dirt next to him.
  • 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. Even Sousa, who came closest to respecting her abilities, saw her as "the girl on the pedestal", rather than an actual person. (And when he stops putting her on a pedestal she's "transformed into a daft whore").
  • Amazon Brigade: Leviathan's Black Widow program.
  • And Starring: Shea Whigham (Chief Dooley) in the OBB. Dominic Cooper (Howard Stark) always gets billed under the "Special Guest Star" citation separated from the regular guest cast list every time he appears.
  • 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, Krzemenski, 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.
  • Arc Villain: Dr. Fennhoff for the Season 1. He masterminded the theft of Howard Stark's inventions and framed Howard for the sale of his dangerous tech on the black market as revenge because Howard invented the chemical that killed his brother.
  • Armor-Piercing Slap: Jarvis and Peggy have to question Howard Stark's ex-girlfriends, who don't hold back at expressing their outrage over The Casanova who loved and left them. Cue Jarvis getting repeatedly slapped in the face as a handy surrogate for his boss. When Peggy intercepts one slap, he gets kicked in the shin instead. Averted when Peggy herself gets angry at Howard; she flat-out punches him.
  • 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 Dwarfs 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.
  • 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.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: The symbols in the book Peggy reads in Episode 3, Cryptology Semiotics, don't correspond to any real life runes. Instead they're actually fake ones made for The Mortal Instruments.
  • 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.
  • Batman Gambit: Sousa's use of earplugs before fighting Fennhoff. It gives the bad doctor the impression that he can use his hypnotism, which allows Sousa to get close enough to punch him out.
  • Battle Butler:
    • Jarvis is well and truly capable of assisting Mr.Stark when it comes to mixing drinks as well as underworld dealings and investigation. Howard loans him to Peggy in the pilot. The second season reveals that he's studied boxing, judo and fencing, apparently in hopes of being useful in another adventure.
    • Even one of the telephone switchboard girls of the SSR is shown to have a pistol hidden under her desk.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: Peggy poses as a New York Health Inspector to investigate the dairy factory for the truck with the explosives.
  • Been There, Shaped History: The Council of Nine in season 2 organized the Wall Street crash of 1929, triggering The Great Depression, and it's implied they're behind a lot of other historical events.
  • Berserk Button: Manfredi will beat you to death with his bare hands if you say something even unintentionally disparaging about his true love, Whitney Frost.
  • Big Bad: Season 1 Dr. Ivchenko Season 2: Whitney Frost
  • Black and Gray 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, the Leviathan organization is clearly, unambiguously evil, but its leader turns out to have moralistic motives behind their murders.
  • 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.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: When Angie introduces Peggy to the residents of the Griffith:
    Angie: That's Mary; She's a legal secretary at Goodman, Kurtzberg, and Holliway.
    Angie: Evelyn is a lounge singer at a club in midtown.
    Angie: That's Sarah. She's a slut.
  • 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.
    • Jarvis says he has no desire to spend the rest of his life as a disembodied voice, foreshadowing J.A.R.V.I.S. from the Iron Man films.
    • Dottie says she might become an SSR agent next. This is a reference to Black Widow doing the same. She also seduces Howard Stark for information like Black Widow did to Tony Stark in the comics.
  • Campfire Character Exploration: The fifth episode has the Howling Commandos, Peggy, and the other SSR agents hold a campfire and share war stories before their mission. Thompson, up until now depicted only as a bully, also shares the story of how he got his WWII medal, though he's not entirely truthful about it, having found out later that the enemy soldiers he had "saved" his troops from were actually surrendering.
  • 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 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.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • In the Contrast Montage that opens the series, we're shown a close-up of two bullet scars in Peggy's shoulder. This proves significant for the Chekhov's Boomerang above.
    • 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.
  • Chickification: In-Universe example. In the Captain America Adventure Hour, Peggy is turned into Betty Carver, a triage nurse and generic Damsel in Distress.
  • 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.
  • Cloth Fu: Peggy uses a piece of white cloth when fighting against Dottie in the finale, to tangle her arms and keep her from using her knife.
  • 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 The 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: It explains how Zola came upon the brainwashing technology used on Bucky Barnes in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and it also explains the brainwashing method used by HYDRA in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which Daniel Whitehall refers to as "The Faustus Technique".
    • When Hugh Jones asked Peggy her name, she answered "Agent", and in "The Blitzkrieg Button", Agent Thompson says that the most important part of the name of the late Raymond Walter Krzeminski was Agent. In The Avengers Tony Stark joked that Agent Coulson's first name actually was "Agent."
    • Howard Stark is mentioned in a newspaper as a "Millionaire, Playboy... Traitor?", similar to Tony Stark's self-description in The Avengers.
    • Edwin Jarvis mentions meeting his wife in Budapest, the same location where a Noodle Incident occurred in The Avengers:
      Natasha Romanov: This is just like Budapest all over again.
      Clint Barton: You and I remember Budapest very differently.
  • 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...
  • Contrast Montage: Peggy's Morning Routine in peacetime is contrasted with her kicking ass and taking names during World War II.
  • 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.
    Hayley Atwell: 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, which host the SSR New York Office.
    • The Auberbach Theatrical Agency serves as front for the SSR LA Office.
    • The Arena Club is a male only social club for wealthy individuals and serves as front for the meetings of the Council of Nine.
  • 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.
  • Crocodile Tears: Angie uses these on the SSR when helping Peggy escape.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Dottie kills Mr. Mink by snapping his neck before he even has time to fire his gun.
  • Cut Short: In the wake of the show's Cancellation, several plot threads are left at least partially unresolved, including who shot Jack, why, and if he survived; the full potential and implications of Zero Matter; Dottie still at large; the mystery of the Arena Club pin; if Daniel Sousa is in fact Peggy's future husband; what was in the M. Carter file (and which Carter it referred to); and perhaps most importantly of all, the actual founding of S.H.I.E.L.D.
  • 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: Dottie. Unlike Peggy, an SSR agent, Dottie is a professional assassin and graduate of the Black Widow program.
  • 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 17 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 Black Widow.
  • 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.
    • 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 government 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 with 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.
    • Season 2 breaks the ice on racism with Dr. Jason Wilkes, a self-made black physicist who grew up in a poor family of Southern California farm workers and had trouble finding a job after the war since scientific laboratories were unwilling to hire a black man. Detective Henry calls him "the janitor" after their first meeting, and at one point, when he and Peggy go into a diner to use a telephone, the proprietor assumes she's in danger and calls Wilkes "boy". Wilkes makes it clear this isn't the first time it's happened:
      Carter: A quick jab to the right eye will adjust his attitude tremendously.
      Wilkes: Won't get us anywhere. Besides, it's not like he's a rare specimen. You gonna punch all of L.A.?
    • Sousa also refers to black people as "colored", but it's pure semantics, since Sousa is one of the nicest and most progressive characters in the show. Colored was actually the polite way to refer to black people in The Forties, but by modern standards is considered racist or at least archaic.
  • Desk Jockey: Samberly accuses field agents of looking down on support staff like him. They do, but he's also a bit of an obnoxious person as well.
  • 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.
    • "It's a Good Day" is playing faintly in the background in the automat during "A Sin to Err". It then gets much louder once a fight breaks out.
  • 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.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Peggy is on the phone to Jarvis, but has to wait impatiently while he attends to something else. While she's on hold, music is playing because Jarvis has placed the telephone receiver next to the radio. Brannis was right: she's not going to like the future.
  • 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.
  • The Dragon: Dottie is a product of Dr. Fennhoff's Black Widow program and his chief minion.
  • Drugged Lipstick: The "Sweet Dreams" lipstick, which causes temporary unconsciousness to anyone who's kissed by it. Peggy uses it while disguised to knock Spider Raymond, and later Dottie steals it and uses it on Peggy before attempting to 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.
    • Samberly repeatedly accuses field agents of not giving lab techs like him the respect they deserve. He has a point, at first, but his protests become so petty that it eventually becomes clear that he's just a complainer.

    E-L 
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Happy Sam Sawyer thinks that "Howling Commandos" is a pretty stupid nickname. Peggy isn't too thrilled with Dum Dum's suggestion of "Miss Union Jack", either.
  • Enfant Terrible:
    • The lone child Peggy and the Howling Commandos find at the Russian facility is one, easily killing Junior and Agent Li, and would likely have killed Dum Dum with a knife if not for his body armor stopping the blade.
    • Dottie and the other girls in 1937 at the same facility were shown to be trained to be this, even killing each other if ordered to do so.
  • Entertainingly Wrong: Between their blatant biases (such as about Stark's guilt and Peggy's competence) and just not having all the facts, the SSR often jumps to the wrong conclusions. Combined with the parts they get right and their rather effective following of the leads they do have, this winds up causing a lot of trouble for Peggy.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: Isodyne Energy is a villainous organization that was nonetheless the only company to agree to hire a black physicist. It's eventually revealed that the company only employed him because he'd be too reliant on his job to complain about all of the dastardly work going on there.
  • Evil Counterpart:
    • In season one, Dottie is this for Peggy. Both she and Peggy are secret agents, as well as skilled Action Girls. They both use other people's underestimations of their skill to their advantage. Peggy does this by using her coworkers' sexist assumptions about her abilities while Dottie does this by Obfuscating Stupidity and acting like a ditzy Country Mouse. Both are capable of flawless American Accents when undercover. They are also both Only Known by Their Nickname. But they use different fighting styles, with Dottie relying on She-Fu acrobatics, whereas Peggy relies on her fists, Improvised Weapons, and brute force. Additionally, Peggy chose to become a secret agent, while Dottie was Brainwashed into becoming a Child Soldier at a young age by her Russian trainers.
    • In season two, Whitney Frost. Like Peggy, her mother discouraged her unladylike talents and people don't take her seriously, which she sometimes takes advantage of to manipulate them. While Peggy is a physical fighter, Whitney is a scientist and uses hired thugs. Whitney also recognizes Peggy as being very similar to her, insisting she be targeted before she creates too many problems for them.
  • Exact Words: Dooley calls "everyone" to the briefing room, telling Peggy to "cover the phones." Peg promptly calls the switchboard and has all calls forwarded to the briefing toom, and with the phones thus covered, heads in for the briefing.
  • Eye Scream:
    • Dottie kills a man by putting his own dentist’s drill through his eye.
    • Midnight Oil is stated to usually lead to that. We see at least one case during the theater test, thumbs to the face style. It seems to be a common action under its effects, as Dr. Fennhoff, a survivor of the Finow massacre, said he found his brother's body with his eyes gouged out.
  • Fake Guest Star: Both Lyndsy Fonseca (Angie) and Bridget Regan (Dottie) only missed two episodes in the first season, yet they'weren't included in the main cast list.
  • Faking the Dead: What the SSR think both Sasha Demidov and Leet Brannis did, as both were members of the Red Army who were listed as KIA during World War II in the Battle of Finow. Adding to the mystery is that Colonel Mueller said that the Nazis didn't participate in the Battle of Finow, since the Russian forces had already been massacred by the time the Germans got there.
  • Fantastic Nuke: Nitramene, it has a blast radius of 500 yards after which it creates a vacuum that causes an implosion as matter rushes to fill the void that it has created.
  • Feminist Fantasy: It's the first MCU production with a female lead, and makes a point of the era's sexism. One of the commercials even advertised it as another entry in ABC's tradition of Strong Female Characters like Sidney Bristow and Olivia Pope. This is perhaps best represented by it passing just about every major test involving portraying female characters in a positive way in the first episode.
  • Finish Him!: A woman gives a young Dottie this as a signal to snap her fellow student's neck.
  • First Love: Whoever "the husband" turns out to be, this show makes it painfully clear that a part of Peggy's heart will always belong to Steve Rogers.
  • Five-Man Band: The main SSR agents in Season 1:
    • The Leader: Chief Roger Dooley
    • The Lancer: Jack Thompson, Dooley's Number Two.
    • The Smart Guy: Daniel Sousa, who is more capable of deduction than the other two.
    • The Big Guy: Ray Krzmienski, a dim but strong agent.
    • The Chick: Peggy Carter, who is more capable than the rest of the other agents but treated like a secretary.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Thanks to Captain America: The Winter Soldier, a few fortunate and not-so-fortunate events are inevitable, including Peggy and Stark's survival past the 40s, and HYDRA infiltrating S.H.I.E.L.D. from its very inception. Stark will eventually marry a woman named Maria and father Tony, the future Iron Man, before dying along with his wife in an "automobile accident" actually set up by HYDRA. Likewise, Dr. Anton Vanko — who we meet in the first episode, as a friend of Jarvis's — will ultimately be deported by Stark after attempting to profit from one of their inventions, leading to the events of Iron Man 2 where his son Ivan will go on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against Stark's son. And regardless of Leviathan's fate, its Black Widow program will continue for at least several more decades (and possibly even still in the present day MCU), eventually giving rise to Natasha Romanoff among its alumni.
  • Foreshadowing: Dottie killed Mink by combining Murderous Thighs with Neck Snap and landed with a Three-Point Landing. All are Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow's favourite moves. Episode 5 confirmed her identity as the one of the first Black Widows.
  • The Forties: The season is set post-WWII in 1946. The writers describe it as an ambiguous period before the Cold War officially took off.
    McFeely: We have a tendency to think of history as this fixed thing. "Oh, that's right. Good guys won, 1945. Then it was the 50s." It's just not the case. Everything was up for grabs for quite a while, and murky. We didn't know we really won.
  • Freudian Trio
    • Howard Stark is the Id, constantly preoccupied with women, technology, and using his technology to woo women.
    • Edwin Jarvis is the Ego, doing damage control for Howard and maintaining his estates while Howard is away, but assisting Peggy in her missions.
    • Peggy Carter is the Superego, attempting to rein in Howard's impulsiveness and Jarvis' nerves, while remaining in complete control in the field.
  • A Friend in Need: In "A Sin to Err", Angie keeps Peggy from being caught by the SSR. Particularly remarkable since she had no idea what was happening, just that her friend was in trouble, so she did not even hesitate to help.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: The SSR has two. There's Thompson, the misogynistic Number Two to the Chief, and Krzeminski, an even more misogynistic Fat Bastard adulterer that even Thompson doesn't like.
  • General Ripper: The late General John McGinnis, whose morally heinous actions led to the main conflict of the first season.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • "Now Is Not The End": When Peggy claims their job has pressing after-hours demands, Jarvis responds: "So does my wife."
    • During "A View in the Dark," Ana Jarvis comments on her husband's strengths and weaknesses: "He's never more lethal than when he's flat on his back." Then she smacks him on the ass.
    • In "A Sin to Err", Peggy muses that Stark has a tendency to "prematurely evacuate".
    • If you know what "SNAFU" stands for, then episode seven's title becomes this.
    • Also in "SNAFU", Dooley wonders if the contents of the vial he's holding will "spice up an old-fashioned." Which is, yes, a cocktail...but it's also period slang for a handjob.
    • The thing with the carrot under Good Cop, Bad Cop below probably qualifies.
    • Peggy calls Howard Stark a wankernote  several times.
  • The Ghost: Jarvis' wife doesn't appear until the Season 2 premiere.
  • Gilligan Cut: A version of it - in a flashback to Peggy's childhood, we see her mother admonishing her to behave. Cut to adult Peggy...
    Mrs. Carter: One of these days, you're going to have to start behaving like a lady.
    (cut to 1947, where Peggy is eating a sandwich in Howard's lab)
    Dr. Wilkes: (muttering) Four...
    (A glob of mayonnaise falls though Dr. Wilkes' hand and splatters onto the page)
    Peggy: (with her mouth full) Oh, sorry! I'm starved.
  • Good Cop/Bad Cop: After a crooked Roxxon employee is nabbed, Agents Dooley and Thompson interrogate him and take on the respective roles. Dooley shows the crook a carrot and a stick, and offers him the lighter "carrot" deal where the crook spills the name of his boss and thus gets off easy. When the crook refuses, Dooley takes the carrot and leaves... and Thompson takes over, makes the crook bite down on the stick, and promptly starts beating him black and blue to confess, breaking the stick in half in the process. One of the other agents quips that he'd hate to see what would've happened if Dooley had left the carrot.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: Peggy uses straightforward punches and Improvised Weapons, in contrast to Dottie's acrobatic martial arts.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Thankfully, we don't see much of how the theatre full of movie-goers met their ends at each other's hands after being dosed with the "Midnight Oil" gas from Item 17. Judging by the reactions of the people who were lucky enough to arrive late to the aftermath, however, it was particularly horrific.
    • We switch scenes before we can see Dottie take a dentist drill to a man's eye.
  • Gretzky Has the Ball: The male agents are poring over some photographs from a nightclub and ask Carter if a man in the background of one of them is legendary baseball player Joe DiMaggio. Carter says she can't tell — she doesn't follow boxing. This ends up settling a wager over whether or not she knows anything about sports.
  • Hate Plague: The elusive "Item 017" turns out to be canisters of gas that can cause an extreme version of this, where people kill each other in fits of homicidal rage. Once the villains get their hands on this they deploy it in a theater to test its effectiveness, as it has been in storage for a while.
  • Have a Gay Old Time: Season 2 introduces some antiquated Forties lingo. Sousa calls Detective Henry a "homicide dick" (slang for detective) and also refers to black people as "colored", the politically-correct term for the day.
  • Hidden Depths: Krzeminski and Thompson are both sexist Jerkasses, but Krzeminski apparently kept both a wife and girlfriend happy and Thompson is haunted by killing enemy soldiers despite being lauded for it. Depth doesn't have to make them likable.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: In "A Sin to Err", Peggy is taken down by a female secret agent in disguise who she underestimated, with a kiss from her own drugged lipstick. Just like she did to a bad guy in an earlier episode.
  • Hollywood Encryption: Peggy is able to decipher a message encrypted via a one-time pad near instantly just by deducing that the original message was in Russian. In real life, a one-time pad message is based on a random cipher and thus is mathematically impossible to decode if one doesn't have its specific cipher.note  The cipher being there with the message is unlikely, since the guy initially hired to hack spent hours with no results trying to crack the code and presumably would have recognized a Cyrillic alphabet cipher even if he didn't understand the words.
  • Hollywood Healing: Peggy gets impaled in "The Atomic Job". In the following episode, which starts the next day, she can barely walk. In the episode after that, which only takes place a few days later, she's perfectly fine.
  • Hope Spot:
    • "The Iron Ceiling" has Peggy finally go on a mission, get to hang out with friends, and finally get some respect from her fellow coworkers as she deserves. Then Sousa discovers evidence that she's a double agent, and in the next episode she's hunted and branded as a traitor.
    • "A Sin to Err": Angie magnificently distracts the SSR agents looking for Peggy by using their own sexism (and helplessness in the face of women crying) against them, and it seems like Peggy is in the clear. Then, she runs into Dottie in the hallway, who uses Peggy's own knockout lipstick against her. The SSR agents interrupt her before she can kill Peggy, but it allows them to capture Peggy and Dottie to get away scot free.
    • Also in "A Sin to Err", Sousa interrupts Fennhoff's first attempt to hypnotize Dooley into being his unwilling puppet. The very next episode, Fennhoff succeeds perfectly, and in the process steals a dangerous MacGuffin from the SSR labs, strolls away a free man, and leaves Dooley to die from an exploding vest.
  • Hypno Pendulum: Fennhoff's ring seems to serve as one. He uses it to hypnotize anyone who hears him speak to them too long.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • Jarvis threatens to shoot Leet Brannis — who’s driving the milk truck Peggy is fighting on top of — if he doesn’t pull over. Seconds later Peggy uses her attacker’s gun to shoot down into the truck, nearly clipping Jarvis.
    Jarvis: (shouting up to the roof) For God’s sake will you please stop shooting things?!
    • As Peggy steals food at lunch to give to Howard, she sees Angie approaching and tries to hide her stolen food. Angie doesn't notice, but then she and the other girls immediately start boasting about all the ways they know to steal food, even difficult to hide entrees like a whole chicken or gravy. When they offer to help Peggy take some, Peggy denies that she has any interest in stealing.
  • Improperly Placed Firearms: Carter identifies the weapon used to kill Krzeminski as a Soviet Korovin TK pistol. Dottie (who's implied to have been the assassin) only uses a Walther PPK. Though it would make sense to dispose of a weapon used to kill a US government agent.
  • Improvised Weapon: Carter uses these a lot. At one point, Carter uses a stapler to beat up a crook. Later, she uses a suitcase to make a suspect on the run trip, and even later, she uses part of a crate to beat up a Mook.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: After defusing the first nitromene bomb in her bathroom, Peggy hastily grabs the bottle of whiskey she'd brought in (one of the ingredients in the neutralization formula) and pours herself a glass. Shame she never gets to drink it.
  • Instantly Proven Wrong: After Peggy and Jarvis kidnap Mr. Hunt, a Mook who'd made an attempt on their lives, they return to the Stark estate, with Hunt in the trunk, to find Chief Sousa waiting for them. Since this was an unauthorized (and very illegal) mission, she tries to keep him from finding out, even when knocking from the inside of the trunk starts.
    Peggy: We...caught a possum on this property earlier this morning. Vicious little creature.
    Hunt: (from the trunk) Let me outta here!
    Peggy: Or I have a man stashed in the boot.
  • Interrogation Montage: In "SNAFU", three SSR agents interrogate Peggy Carter separately, each using a different approach — Sousa (betrayed colleague), Thompson (Fire-Forged Friend), Dooley (Worthy Opponent). Carter's answers are cut between the three of them, but form a single dialogue.
  • Interquel: The show takes place between Captain America: The First Avenger and (besides the rest of the movies) Captain America: The Winter Soldier. However, this is also a Prequel to the Agent Carter one-shot.
  • Irony:
    • A crook working with the bad guys turns out to be a fan of "The Captain America Adventure Hour". A moment later Peggy bursts in and promptly starts beating the tar out of him, while her radio counterpart "Betty Carver" cheers on Captain America as he beats up Nazis.
    • "A Sin to Err" ends with Peggy's colleagues finally not treating her any differently because she's a woman, just like she's wanted the whole series... after she's been arrested and they're about to interrogate her for working with Stark.
  • I Work Alone: Peggy's attitude at the beginning of the series, especially after her roommate Colleen is killed. Luckily, Jarvis talks her out of this mentality.
  • Karmic Death: The Leviathan Agent "Green Suit" who killed Peggy's roommate had a love of nailing people's hands to tables with a knife; Peggy kills him by nailing his hand to a truck filled with explosives with a knife.
  • Karma Houdini: In spite of murdering several people, Manfredi's only punishment is seeing Whitney Frost go crazy.
  • Kicking Ass in All Her Finery: Basically all the time, save for the episode "The Iron Ceiling" when she dons combat gear, as Peggy is often wearing narrow skirts and high heels on missions, but especially in Now is Not the End, in which she fights a couple of mooks while wearing a long dress.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: In order to get a vantage point for sniping, Dottie goes to a dentist's office under the pretext of a job interview. The Dentist is a sleazy creep who seems to have been planning to persuade her to have sex with him in order to get the job and perhaps would have outright tried to assault her, given that the "interview" was being conducted in an empty office at the end of the day. Dottie was definitely planning on killing him from the outset, but his behavior may have played a role in the manner in which she killed him.
  • Kung-Foley: Lampshaded with in-universe foley effects. Peggy beats up a crook while the Captain America radio show is playing, and her punches are intercut with shots of the radio show's foley artists making sound effects by hitting slabs of meat and crushing lobsters.
  • Le Parkour: Sousa has a You Have Got to Be Kidding Me! expression when an agent of the Black Widow program escapes down a stairwell by leaping down the balcony rails.
    Sousa: She's...she's coming down the stairs and she's coming fast!
  • Large Ham: Angie, natch, since she's an aspiring actress. Her hamminess comes in handy when she distracts the agents with her Crocodile Tears and helps Peggy evade the SSR.
  • Last Name Basis: Peggy and Jarvis always address each other as "Mr. Jarvis" and "Miss Carter." Jarvis is also on a last name basis with just about everyone. In company, he and his wife refer to each other as "Mr. Jarvis" and "Mrs. Jarvis."
  • Legacy Character:
    • Edwin Jarvis, Howard Stark's butler whom Tony's AI aide J.A.R.V.I.S. will be named after.
    • Dottie is effectively a previous Black Widow, and "The Iron Ceiling" gives some backstory on the Black Widow program that eventually gives rise to Natasha Romanoff decades later.
  • Lighter and Softer: Agent Carter has its dark moments, but in general it's the most lighthearted of the MCU's tv shows. It's no coincidence that the scenery and outfits are much brighter and more colorful here than in the other shows.
  • Literal Metaphor: A man being interrogated by the SSR is literally shown a carrot and a stick. After he refuses the plea deal, Dolley takes away the carrot.
  • The Lost Lenore: Steve is this to Peggy (even though the audience knows he's not really dead but merely frozen).

    M-R 
  • MacGyvering: Jarvis tells Carter that in order to defuse a nitromene explosive, it has to be sprayed with a compound made from a variety of chemicals, but he doesn't know how she's going to find them on short notice in the middle of the night. She figures out that the chemicals are all ingredients of various things she has at home, and so is able to make the necessary compound from the contents of her makeup cabinet, some cleaning supplies, and a bottle of whiskey.
  • Made of Explodium: Molecular Nitramine, one of Howard Stark's "bad babies" that is compared in power to the A-bomb. One grenade's worth of nitramine (coupled with a storage of a few dozen more such grenades) is enough to blow up an entire refinery in an enormous explosion, then implode it into a ball about three feet in radius. So just think what a full-size bomb's worth would do.
  • Madonna–Whore Complex:
    • Seems to be a dominant mindset, to varying degrees, amongst Peggy's sexist colleagues at the SSR.
    • Even extends to the Griffith's owner-operator, Miriam Fry, who sees young women's "purity" as paramount, to the point of publicly Slut-Shaming and evicting any tenants who dare to have men as guests.
  • The Mafia: Joseph Manfredi in Los Angeles is an Italian-American mobster who cooks pasta with his mother when he's not beating people to death.
  • Married to the Job: Peggy claims she is this when asked if she has a man.
  • May I Borrow a Cup of Sugar?: When recommending an apartment to Peggy, Angie says she'd be right next door if she needed to borrow a cup of sugar.
  • The Mole: Ivchenko. He pretends to be the SSR's information source on Leviathan while secretly working for Leviathan and with Dottie.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • Peggy walks in on a bunch of SSR agents arguing over which angle they should view the nightclub photos (a couple of which show her carrying out one of her unsanctioned missions) from. Just as she worries that she's about to be busted, they call her over... to ask whether she thinks that an unrelated man in the photo is star baseball player Joe DiMaggio.
    • During a tense scene in which Peggy is trying to open the drawer those photos are kept in without being noticed, the phone startles her and she bangs her head on the table.
    • While Ivchenko is running free at the SSR and planning something sinister with Chief Dooley, Peggy and Jarvis are locked in the interrogation room and comedically bickering over how to smash a mirror to effect their escape.
      Jarvis: Wait. What if there are people behind this mirror that we're breaking?
      Peggy: Then they may get hurt, there'll be a spray of glass.
      Jarvis: I see. One... Two... Wait! What if those hypothetical people behind the mirror have guns?
      Peggy: Then we may get hurt, there'll be a spray of bullets.
  • Mook Horror Show: The fourth episode starts off in the POV of the Mooks who have Howard Stark held captive. One of their fellow Mooks is knocked out by some killer in the shadows, and when they try and find out who did this to him, they only end up being knocked out by the same killer, who, of course, is none other than Peggy. The scene is complete with spooky background music, too!
  • Murderous Thighs: How Dottie disposes of Mr. Mink.
  • Musical Episode: The opening of "A Little Song and Dance" lives up to its title.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • In the pilot, Peggy disguised herself with the long blonde hair look she originally had in the comics. Additionally, the voice actress playing her in the "Captain America Adventure Hour" is also blonde.
    • Leet Brannis shares his name with a minor comics crook from the 40s, an enemy of the Whizzer.
    • Among Peggy's roommates is Mary, a lawyer from Kurtzberg and Holliway, the same law firm that She-Hulk works at.
    • Dottie claims she's training to be a ballerina. In the comics, Black Widows were implanted with false memories of being ballerinas.
    • "Junior" Juniper is the comics is best known for being the first Marvel hero to be Killed Off for Real. Sure enough, Junior's dead by the end of the episode.
    • "Happy" Sam Sawyer takes his name from the company commander of the Howling Commandoes in the comics.
    • When trying to come up with a Howling Commando-style nickname for Peggy, Dugan suggests she call herself "Miss Union Jack." In the comics, Union Jack is a British legacy hero, and all three of the men who used the identity have been close friends and staunch allies of Captain America. James Montgomery Falsworth, the British Howling Commando from Captain America: The First Avenger, was the WWI-era Union Jack in the comics.
    • In a flashback, Dr. Ivchenko is shown reading The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus. In the comics, he is a supervillain codenamed Doctor Faustus.
  • Never a Self-Made Woman: Played with. Peggy is absolutely a self-made woman. The problem is, this trope is so enforced in the minds of her superiors and coworkers that they all assume she got her job with the SSR by virtue of her relationship with Captain America; their relationship never got any farther than planning a first date before Cap crashed Schmidt's plane into the ice. The truth, as Jarvis points out, is much closer to being the opposite: Cap got the opportunity to prove himself because of Peggy, and he depended on Peggy for support and guidance.
  • Nice Hat:
    • Carter wears a bright red Stetson Aviatrix at the start of the first episode. It's prominently featured on the posters, and is pretty much a required component of any Peggy Carter cosplay.
    Rose: Love the hat.
    • Invoked in the second season premiere when we see a woman in a red hat and blue pantsuit walking with purpose. We assume it's Peggy, only to find out it's her Arch-Enemy Dottie Underwood robbing a bank.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • The SSR commits a blunder that will have repercussions decades down the line when they decide to put Dr. Fennhoff in the same cell with Dr. Arnim Zola.
    • Basically all of Howard's inventions that we see are ones created to do good that end up doing something horrible instead.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed:
    • Howard Stark, an expy of Howard Hughes, is hauled in front of a post-war Congressional committee and grilled about accusations that he worked against the American government, in much the same way that Hughes himself was in 1947.
    • Howard Stark also goes through women like tissue paper, as Hughes did, and he dabbles in motion picture production and direction, as Hughes did. So far Howard Stark has not shown the extreme OCD and germophobia that were characteristic of Hughes.
  • Noodle Incident: Carter apparently spent a week in New York City's sewers in 1942. She tells Jarvis she'll tell him the whole story about it some other time.
  • No Periods, Period: An Averted Trope in an invoked example. Knowing how sexist her coworkers are, Peggy uses "ladies' matters" as an excuse to have a sick day from work. This does allow her to leave without them questioning what would probably be suspicious activity.
  • No Smoking: Despite taking place in the 1940's, nobody is seen smoking.
  • Not in Front of the Kid: When Thompson beats up a crook for information, Dooley recommends that Peggy step out to avert her lady eyes. This word of caution hardly makes sense, considering she just saw someone shot dead two nights before, not to mention she's been in a war.
  • The Not-Love Interest:
    • Angie fulfills several of the roles typical of the love interest in action, spy, and superhero films. She gets annoyed when the hero's double-life keeps them from spending time together, provides Peggy with emotional support after Ray is killed, and helps Peggy escape from the SSR agents hunting her without ever questioning her innocence.
    • Also, the relationship between Carter and Jarvis is such that one could easily imagine them becoming a Battle Couple... Except that Jarvis is Happily Married, and no romantic potential between the two is ever hinted.
  • Not So Different: In s2e04 "Smoke and Mirrors" the flashbacks show that Peggy Carter and her adversary Whitney Frost are both quite similar. They're both women who aspire to much more than the gender roles of the early 20th century would like them to.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Averted. After getting easily flipped by Peggy, Jarvis reverses her hand of assistance, trips her and ends up on top, only for Jarvis's wife Ana to appear. However, being Happily Married and knowing Jarvis so well, Ana immediately realises what has happened.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Peggy 'accidentally' reveals that Dooley is lying about not having the missing car report that Javis filed, to stop him cracking and confessing all. This is Played for Drama because she's been trying to prove her worth, only to end up reinforcing Dooley's belief that a woman can't make a good SSR agent. Dottie Underwood plays the trope straight by acting The Ditz.
  • Opposites Attract: When Peggy finally meets Jarvis's wife, she is surprised to find out that she is quite lively, colorful and even kind of loud, as opposed to the stiff, proper Jarvis. Regardless, they seem to be a very happy couple.
  • Origin Story:
    • Set before S.H.I.E.L.D. was officially formed.
    • We see the origins of Black Widow as well. Turns out Russia had a training program for girls as young as nine to turn them into agents/assassins as far back as the 1930s.
  • Outrun the Fireball: Carter and Jarvis at the Roxxon refinery explosion/implosion.
  • Outside Ride:
    • In the first episode, when running out of a factory about to explode, instead of having Jarvis stop the car to let her get inside, Peggy jumps on top of it.
    • In the second episode, Green Suit jumps on top of the truck that Peggy, Jarvis, and Leet Brannis are in.
  • Parenthetical Swearing:
    • When Thompson tells Carter to file some reports because she's much better at that kind of thing than he is, Peggy responds, "What kind of thing is that, Agent Thompson, the alphabet? I could teach you. Let's start with words that begin with 'A'."
    • At her diner Angie is yelled by a rude customer who is apparently a regular. She tells Peggy that during her work hours she's not allowed to say exactly what she'd like to call him.
  • Playing Doctor: Seeking a disguise, Peggy chooses a stethoscope with Labcoat of Science and Medicine from the closet in Stark's boudoir.
    "Oh this could be useful... (off Jarvis' expression) Oh don't be lewd!
  • Platonic Life Partners: Peggy is one of the few women Howard Stark doesn't actively hit on and their dialogue indicates that he firmly considers her to be a friend. Although she claims he tried to kiss her on V-E Day and she made their boundaries clear by throwing him into the River Thames, she told that story to Agent Sousa to convince him that Howard doesn't like boats knowing quite well he made his getaway on a boat. Given how she clearly still feels about Steve, it's clear her willingness to risk being charged with treason to help him is an indication of this trope on her part, and given how Steve felt about her, we can guess Howard's intentions as well.
  • Poison Ring: Played with and ultimately subverted. Agent Dooley goes to Nuremberg to interrogate a German officer who is facing imminent execution by hanging. He pops open his watch to reveal that it is a fake watch that holds three cyanide tablets. He offers one to the German officer, who then talks. As he's leaving, Dooley pops the watch open again in the presence of a guard and offers the guard a breath mint.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: The Arena Club is a racist, sexist, and classist cabal of rich white (mostly) old men. They want to recruit Howard Stark into the fold, but seeing that he's none of the three politically incorrect qualifiers (except the middle one to some degree), he knows he's an ill fit.
  • Power Glows: All the dangerous tech stolen from Stark's vault seems to glow in one color or another. For example, the Nitramine glows orange and the Constrictor glows a bright green.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Peggy delivers one to Green Suit just after pinning his hand down to the truck full of explosive nitromene with a knife, and just before leaping off of the truck.
    Peggy: This is where I get off.
  • Pretty Little Headshots: The preferred execution method used by Leviathan agents.
  • Product Placement: In-universe, The Captain America Adventure Hour manages to squeeze a mention of the brand and model of sewing machine "Betty Carver" uses right in the middle of the action. (This was the standard method of advertising used by old-time live radio shows, as prerecorded commercials did not yet exist.)
  • Protagonist Title: Not a hard guess who the main character is.
  • Race Lift: Happy Sam Sawyer is African-American, in contrast to the comics, where he is a white man.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Due to the aforementioned Madonna–Whore Complex, Peggy is looked down upon and often pushed aside by her superiors and coworkers, who at best dismiss her as a young lady who simply hasn't learned that as a woman her proper place is either at home raising kids and making dinner or doing something not dangerous (like fetching coffee and reports) since anything dangerous is "man's work" or at worst think she's trying to use her relationship with Captain America to get ahead in an environment that is no place for a woman. Ultimately Peggy ends up using this to her advantage, since everyone either sees her as "a stray kitten" or "a secretary turned damsel" actually makes it easier for her to sneak around and do her own investigating.
    • "The Blitzkrieg Button": Sousa struggles to get a homeless man to tell him what he saw, even after he talks about their shared service in WWII. The man still refuses to talk to cops. Thompson simply bribes him with a bottle of whiskey and a burger.
    • A sad case with Sousa in "SNAFU": even an honest-to-god Nice Guy like him is still going to have some sexist leanings in the setting the show has; he might respect Carter, but he still views her with a Madonna–Whore Complex.
    • Similarly, in "Valediction", while Thompson and the SSR honestly acknowledge Peggy's good work Thompson still takes all the credit when a politician shows up to congratulate the person responsible for stopping the attack. No one at the SSR stops him or, besides Sousa, even seems perturbed. For what it's worth, Thompson does look a little uncomfortable taking credit for Peggy's accomplishment.
    • Jason Wilkes may be a brilliant scientist, but in the 1940s he still has to deal with an incredible amount of casual racism everywhere he goes.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: The show's depiction of sexism seems over-the-top by today's standards, but Agent Carter takes place well before the women's liberation movement and at a time when traditionalist attitudes toward a woman's "place" actually were that common. As happened to Colleen in the first episode, the prevailing attitude was that the ladies did their part while the men were at war, but once the war was over, they were expected to go back to their proper "sphere" as wives and mothers, as though the war never happened. And most women Peggy's age, if they weren't stay at home wives and mothers, were either secretaries, teachers, waitresses or nurses.
  • "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.
    • And to Howard Stark in "The Blitzkrieg Button". It causes Howard to risk coming out of hiding to prove otherwise.
  • Remember the New Guy:
    • Overlaps with Red Shirt. If a new SSR agent appears, he's dead by the end of the episode.
    • The Howling Commandos has had a roster change, with "Dum-Dum" Dugan being the only original member.
  • Rogues-Gallery Transplant: As Peggy doesn't have much of a Rogues Gallery in the comics, most of non-Canon Foreigner villains are from other Marvel franchises.
    • Doctor Faustus, for instance, is best known as a Captain America villain.
    • Madame Masque, the Big Bad of Season 2, is best known as an Iron Man and Hawkeye villain.
  • Rule of Three: Peggy and Jarvis confront three of Howard's exes in "A Sin to Err." The first two slap Jarvis; the third is blocked by Peggy so she kicks Jarvis in the shins instead.
  • Running Gag:
    • Carter accidentally knocking out men she wants to interrogate.
    • In the second episode, “The Captain America Adventure Hour” seems to be played everywhere Peggy goes, much to her annoyance.
    • In S2, the aspiring artists that keep walking in to the fake talent agency that serves as front for the LA office of the SSR, which include tap dancing twins and a sad clown.
    • S2: Jarvis' ongoing battle with Bernard the flamingo, who he refers to as 'the devil in pink'.
  • Uptown Girl: Angie briefly freezes out Peggy when the latter turns down her invitation to move in next to her, and then climbs into an expensive car driven by Jarvis, assuming she's motivated by snobbery.

    S-Y 
  • Sacrificial Lamb: Peggy's first roommate is killed in just her second scene to demonstrate how ruthless Leviathan agents are.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Agent Krzeminski bites it after only three episodes, followed by Chief Dooley in the penultimate episode.
  • 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.
  • Second Love: One thread running through the series is Peggy's slow movement towards finding this after Steve's death in Captain America: The First Avenger. She spends much of Season 1 learning to let go of him, and Season 2 places a few love interests in her way. Turns out her second love is Daniel Sousa.
  • 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.
  • She-Fu:
    • 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. Consequently her battles with crooks look extremely brutal.
    • Played straight with Dottie, courtesy of being a Black Widow.
  • Shout-Out:
    • 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.
    • invokedWord 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 does 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 were real, but 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.
  • Signature Move: Dottie pretending to surrender and then roundhouse-kicking someone's gun away.
  • 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 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.
  • Snark-to-Snark Combat:
    • Peggy and Jarvis engage in this almost constantly when they're on screen together.
    • Thompson vs. Carter, when they're forced to work together on the Russia mission.
  • 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. This was to counteract the suffocation effect of the "Midnight Oil" gas released when they were in the Battle of Finow.
  • 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.
  • Stealth Pun: Beginning in Season 2, when Sousa was promoted from the SSR's New York office to the chief of the Los Angeles bureau, he kept a Brooklyn Dodgers cap in his office. The Dodgers themselves would move to Los Angeles prior to the 1958 Major League Baseball season.
  • 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.
    • In the season 2 finale stinger, Thompson is shot by an unknown assailant who retrieves his folders before leaving.
  • Stock Footage: The first episode includes footage from Captain America: The First Avenger, as Peggy remembers her last conversation with Steve Rogers.
  • Stock Schtick: Lampshaded by Sousa. "So I walk into this diner...this isn't a joke..."
  • Straw Misogynist:
    • Among the men, there's only really Howard, Jarvis, Sousa and Jason Wilkes 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".
  • 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.
    Fazekas: 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.
  • 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.
  • Subliminal Seduction: The "Black Widow" trainees are shown learning to speak English from watching Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. When Peggy Carter finds the training room, she runs a few frames through the projector and finds the words INSTALL FEAR.
  • Tastes Like Friendship: Subverted with Dottie Underwood. In a flashback to her childhood in the Black Widow program, she shares some bread with a fellow inmate in their Orphanage of Fear, only to Neck Snap her during training.
  • 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.
  • They Fight Crime: She's a Badass secret agent and WWII veteran. He's a domestic butler. Together they clear Howard Stark's name and fight Leviathan!
  • Title Drop: One that was used quite a bit in in the advertising.
    Hugh Jones: What's your name, darling?
    Peggy: Agent.
  • 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.
  • Tykebomb: We are introduced to a Soviet program to create these in "The Iron Ceiling". Dottie is a graduate.
  • 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. It's actually 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.
  • Tragic Keepsake: Played for Drama with the vial of Steve Roger's blood; it has great potential scientific benefit, yet Peggy is understandably reluctant to hand it over so Howard Stark can exploit it for profit.
  • Uncertain Doom: In the Season 2 finale, Jack Thompson is shot in the chest. With the show's cancellation, we may never know if he survived or not.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Peggy's coworkers and superiors are all genuinely convinced that behind her bluster she's just another fragile English Rose who needs to be protected because she hasn't "grown up" and "learned her place" as a woman. As Peggy points out in the penultimate episode everyone ignores her unless she has coffee or reports because they all think of her as a "stray kitten" in need of shelter or a "secretary turned damsel" in need of protection. Thompson himself only realizes that Peggy is quite the badass when he finally sees her pick up a machine gun and start shooting people alongside her war buddies the Howling Commandos.
  • 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.
  • Vagueness Is Coming: In the first episode, the Nebulous Evil Organisation is introduced in suitably ominous terms.
    Leet Brannis: Leviathan is coming.
    Peggy Carter: Who?
    Leet Brannis: They'll tell you themselves soon enough. You're not going to like the future; such as it is.
  • Waif-Fu:
    • While not exactly a "waif" 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.
  • Wedding Ring Removal: In an episode that has flashbacks of Peggy's younger years in England, she was engaged to be married, turning down an opportunity to take work in the field undercover, which her brother had recommended her for. After word comes that her brother has been killed in action, she packs her bags and leaves, taking the letter offering the position and leaving her engagement ring in its place.
  • 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.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Pretty much everyone calls Peggy out on breaking Dottie Underwood out of prison in "Life of the Party". Herself included.
  • 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. In Season 2 it is revealed that at least some of them are the work of Dr. Samberly, the SSR's resident Gadgeteer Genius, although that still doesn't account for the provenance of all her toys.
  • 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.
  • Women Are Delicate:
    • Part of the sexism of the time period that prevents Peggy from getting ahead - all her male coworkers are genuinely, legitimately convinced that she must be weak and helpless and unsuitable for field work simply because she's a woman. Even some women of the time period believe this, such as the land lady who runs the building Peggy ends up staying at.
    • This is how Dottie continually gets the jump on even trained agents: they just don't think she's capable of overpowering them.
  • 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, Get Me Coffee: Most of the SSR thinks Peggy is only good for getting them coffee, and reports.
  • You Talk Too Much: Implied when Dooley finally gives Peggy an assignment and her response is Stunned Silence.
    Dooley: Well look at that. You really can keep your mouth shut when you try.


Alternative Title(s): Peggy Carter

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Series/AgentCarter