FBI investigations and FBI agents are often used as inspiration by writers as they pen climactic crime stories and heart-thumping thrillers.

However, most people, including writers, have never met a real FBI agent. The only connections they have with the FBI are the ones they make through books, TV, and movies. When real FBI agents call someone on the phone or show up at a business or residence to investigate actual cases, the response or cooperation they receive is often influenced by the last book that person read or TV show they watched about the FBI.

How does anyone know if these portrayals are accurate or full of clichés and misconceptions? Why not just eavesdrop on the FBI? Problem solved.

FBI Retired Case File Review, a true crime-crime fiction podcast, features interviews with retired FBI agents regarding the high-profile cases they worked during their Bureau careers. Podcast listeners step behind-the-scenes to experience what it’s like to be a special agent while eavesdropping on in-depth discussions with retired agents, such as undercover agent Joe Pistone, aka Donnie Brasco; former chief hostage negotiator Gary Noesner whose memoir is the basis for the new 6-part TV series Waco; the case agents of the Unabomber, Madoff, Polly Klaas, Robert Hansen, Watergate, and Oklahoma City bombing investigations, as well as many fascinating but not as well-known FBI cases. Each interview allows listeners to hear directly about the bravery, integrity, and dedicated service of FBI employees.

During the episodes, comments are often made regarding clichés and misconceptions the agents see and hear about the FBI. Episodes 50 and 100 focused exclusively on what authors and screenwriters sometimes get wrong. Here are a few of the questions addressed: Does the FBI investigate local murders? Is it true they don’t play well with other law enforcement agencies? Are FBI profilers in the field hunting serial killers? Do agents fly around the world on private jets?

Several months after FBI Retired Case File Review launched in January 2016, public statements made by former FBI Director James Comey pushed the agency into political discussions. When some members of the public and media began to question the FBI’s independence, the purpose of the podcast expanded beyond simply entertaining listeners to strengthening the public’s confidence in the FBI. As news organizations post conflicting reports about the FBI, these transparent and unfiltered interviews are needed more than ever, don’t you think?

FBI Retired Case File Review is available for subscription on Apple Podcast/iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher and other popular podcast apps. Each episode’s show notes featuring photos and links to articles, books, and videos related to the cases reviewed can be accessed at jerriwilliams.com.

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