UPDATED September 11, 2017 to reflect new air date.
The coolest spy show on television is CNN Declassified, which rips stories straight from the headlines about spies, terrorists, and traitors.
Now in its second season, Declassified takes viewers deep inside some of the darkest moments in national security, introducing true-crime villains in one-hour recreations. The shows feature interviews with the real investigators who brought the villains to justice.
CNN is saving the best of Season Two for last: On Saturday, September 30, 2017, Declassified airs “Spy & Son,” a TV docudrama based on The Spy’s Son. I helped talk some of the coolest characters in the book to go on camera.
You’ll meet Ed Curran, who served as the FBI’s chief spy catcher inside the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency. You'll also meet former CIA officer John Maguire, the “inside man” who helped the bureau catch Harold James “Jim” Nicholson. I spent many, many hours interviewing Curran and Maguire for the book, and they are both larger-than-life characters. You won’t want to miss their dark and comical insights about Nicholson and the investigation that took the rogue intelligence officer down.
CNN is preparing a whole lot of previously unseen material on the Nicholson spy cases, including an exclusive excerpt from The Spy’s Son, for the Declassified web site.
CNN Declassified in the house
Producer Cristina Bishai visited the home office in January 2017 to talk about the Nicholson spy cases and collect photos and files and wiretaps.
The Spy & Son segment would not have happened had it not been for the vision of the series’ director, Domini Hofmann, and supervising producer Cristina Bishai. Cristina came out to my Portland writing room several months back and I was so impressed with her journalistic rigor that I gave her the keys to the kingdom – exclusive files, photos, and phone conversations secretly recorded by the FBI.
Warning: Breaking news has preempted two of Declassified’s episodes this season. CNN went live for the deadly white supremacist demonstration at the University of Virginia, and for minute-by-minute coverage of Hurricane Harvey pummeling my old stomping grounds in Texas. While Spy & Son’s September 30 air date is firm, it’s not set in stone. (I’ll update this post if it is preempted.)
Note: This post was updated on September 11, 2017.