MC@Work: Reality Check

From hard-hitting news producers to terrorist-hunting CIA agents, the range of careers held down by our favorite female characters on TV has never been wider. But just how realistic are these portrayals? Marie Claire asked real-life pros to weigh in.

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May 9, 2013 1:20 PM
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Kent Smith/Showtime

The Job: CIA Officer

HOMELAND: Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes)

WHAT THE SHOW NAILS: People skills. "Intelligence-gathering is human beings getting information from other human beings," says J.C. Carleson, a former officer with the CIA's Clandestine Service and author of the recently published Work Like a Spy (Penguin). "It's not about gadgets. It's labor-intensive and psychologically demanding."

WHAT'S PURE FICTION: The superhero agent. "Carrie's job is a combination of about four different jobs at the CIA. But Carrie does it all, and that doesn't happen." Another implausibility: the dynamic between Carrie and her supervisor Saul (Mandy Patinkin). "There's no way someone that senior would be as involved in her work."