The television series character has a recently deceased father, Sir Boniface Fogg, who was a towering figure at the centre of British Intelligence during the latter part of the Napoleonic Wars and became a close confidant of both Horatio Nelson and the Duke of Wellington.
After Napoleon's defeat and the Congress of Vienna (1815), Boniface sought to ensure there would never be another World War by creating a network of agents to act as the secret guardians of the British Empire... and thus of the Pax Britannica that protected the known world.
Boniface wanted his two sons, Phileas and his younger brother Erasmus, to follow in his footsteps. Boniface might have had his wish if he had not sent them both on a mission which resulted in the death of Erasmus and the destruction of Phileas' ideals. Thereafter, Phileas reacted violently against his father's view of the world and turned to a life of pleasure. His faith in "the system" had been fatally undermined. He saw no point in devoting his life to an Empire that was prepared to sacrifice its own citizens in so cavalier a manner.
As a result of his early experiences, Phileas has seen the evil in men's souls and emerged into a state of detachment which gives him a special perspective on life, and a wisdom of his own. He takes satisfaction in his skill as a swordsman, his accuracy with a pistol, his ability to finesse an opponent at bridge.