ABC's new dramedy stars Lauren Cohan and Scott Foley as two government intelligence agents that get pushed together, despite the fact that they couldn't be more different. Frankie Trowbridge (Cohan) is a tough-as-nails CIA agent, while Will Chase (Foley) is a sensitive FBI agent coping with a bad break up. Like Frankie, Will Chase isn't based on a real person, but the character should still seem familiar.
Because Whiskey Cavalier isn't based on a true story, it follows that Will Chase isn't 100 percent based on any one specific person. That being said, series creator David Hemingson has said he drew inspiration for Will from people he knew in real life, as well as other characters from fiction. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Hemingson explained that he envisioned Will as a sort of "woke James Bond." He described the idea for the character as "a sensitive James Bond as opposed to the dude who is constantly a coldhearted Lothario[.] What if we flipped it and made him an emotionally intelligent super-spy?" And so, Will Chase was born.
Bond wasn't Hemingson's only inspiration for Will, though. "I sort of look at this show as Mission: Impossible smashes into Cheers," Hemingson told EW, "with basically Scott Foley as Diane Chambers and Lauren Cohan as Sam Malone."
Finally, Hemingson told EW that he's met a number of people within the government intelligence community, but he chose to liken Will to one particular friend. "I have a friend who is an FBI agent, but he's a sensitive FBI agent. He would go off and do these really exciting things and then we'd talk about his relationship with his girlfriend," Hemingson explained. "The people I've encountered in the intelligence world ... want what we all want in life, which is love and connection. But their business, which is the business of suspicion, makes it almost impossible. It's this interesting disconnect: You've got these highly intelligent, very brave people who oftentimes are lonely because of the nature of what they do ... That made me go, what would happen if we injected some romance and some emotional intelligence into the lives of these spies?"
Meanwhile Scott Foley, the actor who plays Will, said the character is basically the antithesis of Jake Ballard, who he previously portrayed on Scandal. "[Will] is a heart-on-the-sleeve spy," Foley said during an appearance on Good Morning America in February. "He is in touch with his emotions. Just the opposite of what Jake Ballard was on Scandal. If Jake was strong and stoic, never talked about his feelings or emotions, Will Chase is just the opposite, and it's so much fun to play."
While it's interesting to look at all the inspirations and connections that might have gone into creating Will, what seems even more interesting is looking at all the other action heroes from whom he's so different. Whiskey Cavalier has an exciting opportunity to break the mold when it comes to the most common male stereotypes of this genre. Hopefully that mission winds up going more smoothly than the situations their characters are thrown into on the show.