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Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye

Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye is a Canadian-American co-produced television police drama. It premiered in the US in 2002, and in Canada in 2003 and ended in May 2005 as it was slated for non-renewal by PAX TV. Most filming took place in Toronto, Ontario.

Sue Thomas was created by Dave Alan Johnson and Gary R. Johnson for Pebblehut Productions Inc., loosely based on the true experiences of the real Sue Thomas, a deaf FBI undercover specialist. It was distributed by CTV in Canada, PAX TV in the US, and the Hallmark Channel in the UK. Yuri Yakubiw was the cinematographer, Bill Layton the art director.

The series was once known as Lip Service. The actress who plays Thomas, Deanne Bray, is deaf in real life. The show's theme song is Who I Am, which is sung by Jessica Andrews and was written by Brett James and Troy Verges.

A deaf woman's unique talents land her in an FBI Surveillance team.

Special Investigative Analyst Sue Thomas

Sue Thomas is a charming young deaf woman who is able to communicate in both English and American Sign Language. She applies for, and is accepted, for a position with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in Washington, D.C.. She leaves her home in Ohio and drives to Washington, picking up her first hearing dog, Levi, en route.

Thomas' parents are concerned that she will not be able to cope with life so far from everything she has known, despite the fact that they have strongly encouraged her in living in both a hearing and deaf environment. Her mother fought for her daughter to have every opportunity to live life to the fullest, which has made Sue a very independent young woman. She speaks, signs, reads lips, sings, plays the piano and ice skates. Sue has a college degree from an unspecified university.

Thomas arrives at her job only to find she has been assigned to "Special Projects", with the mundane task of analyzing fingerprints. However, she has no intention of wasting her life examining fingerprints and marches into the personnel office to tell them exactly what she thinks. Having done this, she finds the man she has been telling off is not personnel, but a Special Agent, Jack Hudson. Fascinated by the confident and forthright young woman, Hudson meets her at lunch, where he tests her skills by having her lip-read Myles who is seated some distance away outside. After which, Thomas is taken on as part of Hudson's "team", and she becomes a Special Investigative Analyst.

Series finale

The series finale found Thomas being offered a job in the New York office, as a Senior Investigative Analyst in the Counter-Terrorism department. A "plum assignment," it was met with mixed feelings by the team members, as well as by Thomas herself. Torn between the life she has built with the D.C. team and the prospect of a new and exciting career, she spends most of the episode in contemplation.

Initially, she decides to take the job, and we see her memories of the past three years in a montage, highlighting each team member in turn, and showing many memories of them all together as well. In the end, Sue decides to stay where she was, with the people who had become her family. A running theme through the episode was "Everything Old is New Again"... perhaps a hopeful foreshadowing of a resurrected show someday.

The show ended with a title slate saying, "The End... for now." The abrupt ending to the show was due to a lack of funds, rather than poor ratings. The Johnson Brothers, executive producers, have stated that they have not given up on the idea of the show, but it has been a year (2006) since the actors' contracts expired, so a resurrection in the near future is unlikely.

In Canada, the series continues to air in daytime repeats on CTV.

Main team

The team are experts in reconnaissance and surveillance.

Special Agent Jack Hudson

Jack Hudson (Yannick Bisson) is the unit leader, and as such generally takes the lead in the team's cases. A lawyer from Wisconsin, he approaches his job as a Federal Agent with a burning drive. He is strongly attracted to Sue (who reciprocates) but unable to act due to their working relationship- he is her Training Agent and line manager. Everyone in the office can sense the severe chemistry between the two, but Jack and Sue refuse to go against the Bureau's policy. The two do have a firm, if complicated, friendship. His closest friends are Special Agents Manning and Gans.

Special Agent Bobby Manning

Bobby Manning (Rick Peters) is a charming Australian. He provides a much-needed sense of humor and is best mates with Jack. They are similar ages and share a love of sports and the single life. Bobby is also a recovering gambling addict, and still attends Gamblers' Anonymous. However, only Jack knows about this, as it could effectively mean the end of Bobby's career with the FBI. In season 3, Bobby split from his girlfriend of two seasons, journalist Darcy D'Angelo (Polly Shannon), when the latter accepted an offer of a high profile job in Los Angeles. Shortly after this, he and Tara discover a mutual attraction. Bobby is highly protective of the women he works with. When he was a child, his father left his mother, but she has since remarried. Bobby is close to both his mother and stepfather, who still live someplace in Australia.

Special Agent Dimitrius Gans

Dimitrius is the father figure in the office, and the senior agent in terms of age and experience. He is the only married member of the team, and has two children: Tanya and Davy. In season two his wife, Donna, suffered a miscarriage of what would have been their third child. "D" often assumes the role of acting supervisor when the unit's normal supervisor is called out of the office.

Special Agent Myles Leland III

Myles is a Harvard-educated Bostonian with all the charm of a backbencher. He has a high opinion of both himself and his skills, and considers himself a cut above the rest of the team. He suffers a serious lack of a sense of humour, and is often the butt of the office jokes and other practical jokes. From the start he mistrusts Sue's place on the team and actively tries to have her removed. This backfires and Sue ends up saving Myles' place on the team. Over time Myles' relationship with Sue improved significantly. He once dated Lucy, but when she found out he was cheating on her, she dumped him. Their working relationship is polite, but frosty. Myles has a difficult relationship with his parents and only recently started forging a proper relationship with his sister, Anne.

Special Agent Tara Williams

Tara is the unit's computer expert, adept at tracking perpetrators via bank records, computer hard drives, GPS tracking and other cyber-sources. Tara is a fully trained and armed Special Agent. However she can give the impression of being shy, dizzy, and a ditz when immersed in her world of computers. She is best friends with Lucy and Sue, and they often go out together. She has dated Stanley Abbott, a steganographer who works for the National Security Agency. In a 2 episode series, "The Actor" & "Planes, Trains, And Automobiles", Tara dates a movie star named Adam Kinsey. However, when Stanley shows up to help break code and work with Tara, her and Adam's relationship ends. In season 3, she and Bobby Manning discovered a mutual attraction.

Lucy Dotson

Lucy is Sue's roommate and best friend. She is the team rotor, the unit's office manager and "base coordinator." Lucy is a student of ASL. She is close to her mother, although her father died some years ago. She is also close to her paternal grandmother. Lucy also dated Myles briefly, which ended badly.

Levi

Levi is Sue's hearing dog, a Golden Retriever. He has helped to solve several cases, and is protective of Sue and loving to everyone. He is very clever and playful.

Main cast

Series Regulars

  • Jack Jessop – Charlie
  • Troy Kotsur – Troy Meyers (actor is Deanne Bray's husband in real life, is also deaf)
  • Eugene Clark – Ted Garrett, the team's supervisor from the second half of Season 1 through midpoint Season 3
  • Jonathan Wilson – Howie Fines, Sue's first informant, whose eager attitude often annoys the agents
  • Sammi Bourgeois - Amanda Duffman, a deaf girl who befriends Sue.

Crew

Cultural significance

Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye is one of the few television series to have featured a deaf lead character working a regular job not connected with an institution "for the deaf", such as Gallaudet University. More than that, both Sue and Lucy earned a reputation for building bridges between the deaf and hearing worlds. Viewers could see this in their relationship as roommates, and also in at least one episode in which Sue invited Lucy to join her at a social club for the deaf, all of whose members communicated exclusively by means of ASL.

The series gained two divergent fan bases- one primarily deaf and interested in issues affecting the deaf, and the other primarily hearing and interested mainly in the issues that the team's cases touched on, such as international terrorism, slavery, or domestic abuse. Many members of both fan bases visit the same Internet forums, which has provided more opportunities for mutual understanding between deaf and hearing persons, although the two sometimes disagree on topics.

For example, the repeated references to a possible romantic attachment between Jack Hudson and Sue Thomas irritated many of the show's deaf fans, which they saw as a distraction that cheapened the character and her story. The actual Sue Thomas is not known to have formed any romantic attachments with any other present or former Special Agent of the FBI.

In addition, the Sue Thomas character's explicit Christianity received much attention in the dialogue. This is something that the actual Sue Thomas would have appreciated, since after leaving the FBI she became a missionary.

It is also noteworthy that in nearly every episode (or at least ones in which the plot revolves around a terrorism and counterterrorism activities), the "villains" are Arab Muslims plotting terrorist acts against American interests.

Other Facts

  • There is one episode "Billy The Kid" where the real Sue Thomas, who was actually a consultant of the show, plays a deaf actress named Deanne in a cameo role. She meets "Sue Thomas" in the hospital and has a quick chat with her. She also appears in the last episode in the same role.
  • As well, the "real" Sue Thomas, using the name Sarah Kim, plays another character, Sally Weddingston, in the episode entitled "Bombs Away" (Season One, Episode Two - See here http://imdb.com/title/tt0712790).
  • The spouses of the lead actors have also appeared on the show - Troy Kotsur, who is Deanne Bray's husband has appeared as Troy in the episode called "The Signing" and Chantal Craig who played Officer Diana Grove of the DCPD is married to Yannick Bisson, who plays Jack Hudson.

External links

  • http://www.suethomasfbeye.com official page of real Sue Thomas

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