Why Amazon's 'The Family Man' Is Unlike Any Other Spy Story


Just as the title suggests, The Family Man's Srikant is, at surface level, a family man. He's a mild-mannered father of two and a loving husband — but he's also harboring a big secret. The boring government desk job he tells his family about is actually a cover-up for his work in a covert cell of India's National Investigation Agency. It's a juicy story perfect for those in search of a new, action-packed thriller — made even juicier by the fact that, while The Family Man isn't based on a true story, it does draw at least partially from real life.

As co-creator Raj Nidimoru (one half of the writing team professionally known as Raj and DK), told scroll.in, part of the show's inspiration came from his uncle, who was an intelligence officer. "He never made a big deal of it, and it was funny how he made up stories when people asked him what he did for a living. He would say, I am a shoe salesman or, I am a garment exporter. It left an interesting impression on me," Nidimoru said.

However, he clarified that the character of Srikant is not based on his uncle. "It's just a parallel idea we had to another idea of writing about a common man with a government job and the usual middle-class problems. What if this relatable guy had an extraordinary job?" Nidimoru explained.

The two did talk to several former agents and read up on real cases while researching the story, but the rest of the show is about as factual as the average episode of CSI or Law & Order. It's basically the antithesis of most spy stories we've become accustomed to: yes, there are helicopters, shootouts, and chase scenes, but a lot of The Family Man is about Srikant managing the mundanities of everyday life.

"The idea is to not show a spy when he is on the job, but what he does when he is not working," Nidimoru's writing partner Krishna DK told scroll.in. "What would James Bond be doing when he's not saving the queen? If he was living in Chembur and riding a scooter, would he be as cool?"

From the looks of the trailer, the answer is yes. And The Family Man star Manoj Bajpayee, who plays Srikant, seems to think so too — even if he's nothing like the character himself. "[Srikant] is very funny. He always makes sure to keep his family and relatives are all together," Bajpayee told The Statesman. "Unlike Srikant Tiwari, I am not a multitasking person and am somewhat less funnier than him."

He does, however, similarly put his family first. "If you know you’ve a family, they become a priority at times and you should understand the priority," Bajpayee continued. "I never mix one priority with another. I prioritize my responsibilities and that's how I manage it."

And ultimately, that's the core of the story. Srikant isn't a super suave secret agent galavanting across the world, he's a regular dad who just so happens to have a huge, high-intensity job. That feels more true to life than anything else in the show.