Pinkerton’s Detective Agency
|Occupation:||Private detective, CIA reserve|
|First appearance:||Casino Royale|
|Last appearance:||Carte Blanche|
Felix Leiter is a former agent of the CIA, and assists Bond in his various adventures, then later becomes a private detective after suffering a catastrophic injury.
Felix Leiter is James Bond's CIA ally and friend, played a part in six of the Fleming novels. Originally from Texas, he is introduced in Casino Royale as being thin, tall, about thirty-five years old and a former member of the U.S. Marine Corps who was working with the Joint Intelligence Staff of NATO.
Live and Let DieEdit
Fleming's second novel, Live and Let Die shows that in his early twenties, Leiter wrote a few pieces on Dixieland jazz for the New York Amsterdam News. He and Bond visit a jazz club in Harlem to find Mr. Big and are captured. Leiter is let go by a henchman of Mr. Big's due to his love for jazz music.
Bond scholar John Griswold notes that in the original draft of the story, Fleming killed Leiter off in the shark attack; when Naomi Burton, Fleming's US agent with Curtis Brown protested about the death of the character, Fleming relented and Leiter lived, albeit missing an arm and half a leg. Espionage scholar Rupert Allason, writing as Nigel West, noted that Leiter's involvement in a domestic US matter was a breach of the CIA's charter, as laid out in the National Security Act of 1947.
Diamonds Are ForeverEdit
After the shark attack, Leiter returned in Diamonds Are Forever with a hook for his missing hand and a prosthetic leg; as he had lost his gun hand, he was no longer with the CIA, but employed as a private detective by Pinkertons Detective Agency, although he was on the reserve of the CIA.
Fleming had flown to the US in August 1954 to research the background to Diamonds Are Forever; his friend Ernest Cuneo introduced him to a rich socialite, William Woodward, Jr., who drove a Studillac—a Studebaker with a powerful Cadillac engine. According to Bond scholar Henry Chancellor, "the speed and comfort of it impressed Ian, and he shamelessly appropriated this car" for Leiter to drive in the novel.
Leiter was recalled by the CIA in Thunderball and is sent to the Bahamas to help Bond investigate the stolen warheads in the possession of SPECTRE. The pair investigate Emilio Largo after suspecting he may be a member of SPECTRE. The two find the wreckage of the downed RAF plane and realise Largo was the one responsible.
After reporting in, the US Navy send the ship Manta and Leiter meets with its captain, Commander Peter Pedersen. Pedersen has orders to follow order from Leiter firstly and then Bond. Leiter stays with the ship in command whilst Bond leads the frogmen attack underwater. He was unable to take part due to his condition, but seems to bear no resentment towards Bond for them.
Thunderball is Leiter's most prominent appearance in the Bond canon, gaining more dialogue and gets more involved in the action. It is also notable as it is the only time readers are shown Leiter in a position of seniority over Bond.
The Man with the Golden GunEdit
Later, Leiter shoots Scaramanga on his train and orders his investors to throw their weapons over the side. Leiter urges Bond to jump, and fast. Before he does so, the investors, terrified and gun-less stay on board as Leiter likewise jumps leaving the train to cross a bridge wired with explosives where the remaining investors are all killed.
For Special ServicesEdit
Under the post-Fleming continuation Bond authors, Leiter has also appeared on a periodic basis. After John Gardner took over writing the James Bond novel series, Leiter made an occasional appearance. In the novel For Special Services, Bond is introduced to his daughter, Cedar Leiter, who is also a CIA officer (and briefly Bond's romantic conquest).
The Facts of DeathEdit
Leiter is back living in his native Texas with his girlfriend Manuela Montemayor. Leiter aids Bond on his mission while he’s there.
The name "Felix" comes from the middle name of Fleming's friend Ivor Bryce, while the name "Leiter" was the surname of Fleming's friend Marion Oates Leiter Charles, then wife of Thomas Leiter. Academic Kerstin Jütting describes Leiter as "a cool and quiet no-nonsense character who knows 007's strengths and weaknesses well". Physically, Fleming describes Leiter in Casino Royale: "a mop of straw-coloured hair lent his face a boyish look which closer examination contradicted".
Media historian James Chapman notes that Bond's relationship with Leiter represented the Special Relationship between Britain and America, although the American Leiter is in the subordinate position to the British Bond. Academic Jeremy Black agrees, although points out that the Bond and Leiter relationship suggested "a far smoother working of the Anglo-American alliance than was in fact the case."
Academic and writer Kingsley Amis, in his exploration of Bond in The James Bond Dossier, considered that this view of Leiter was partly because of Fleming's writing, noting that "Leiter, such a nonentity as a piece of characterization ... he, the American, takes orders from Bond, the Britisher, and that Bond is constantly doing better than he". Bond scholars Bennett and Woollacott note that although the two men share adventures, it is Bond who leads, not Leiter. Leiter's role is to "suppl[y] Bond with technical support and hardware, add ... muscle where needed and money".