There have been many fiction and non-fiction portrayals of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, from which the following is only a small sample.
In 1965, Warner Bros. Television produced a long-running television series called The F.B.I., based in part on concepts from their 1959 film The FBI Story. The series, which ran until 1974, was taken from actual FBI cases, told through the eyes of fictitious agent Louis Erskine (played by Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.). Epilogues to most episodes included Zimbalist stepping out of character to warn viewers of the FBI's "Ten Most Wanted Fugitives" (this was years before Fox's America's Most Wanted). After the show was cancelled, WB TV continued to produce TV movies based on the FBI. Recent disclosures of memos by the FBI under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that the real FBI had casting control over the show. Both Bette Davis and Robert Blake were banned from appearing citing "confliting policial" differences on crime in general. In 1981, the show was completely revived with entirely new cast and production crew as Today's F.B.I., with Mike Connors, but it only lasted one season. A remake of the original series, to be called The F.B.I., is in pre-production by Imagine Entertainment for airing on the Fox network in the Fall of 2008.
From 1990 to 1991, the television series Twin Peaks featured the fictitious FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper, beginning with the investigation of the murder of small-town homecoming queen Laura Palmer, and included repeated references to the FBI.
The Fox TV network has produced some of the longest television shows based on the FBI to date. From 1993 to 2002, the popular television series The X-Files, which concerned investigations into paranormal phenomena by two fictional characters known as Special Agents Dana Scully and Fox Mulder. This also spawned two feature films; The X-Files: Fight the Future, in 1998 and The X-Files: I Want To Believe in 2008.
Beginning in 2001, the fictional Counter Terrorist Unit (CTU) agency in the TV drama 24 works with and is patterned closely after the FBI Counterterrorism Division. A new show Standoff has premiered about negotiators in the Critical Incident Response Group (CIRG). Today, America's Most Wanted still runs people on the FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives.
In 2005, Fox aired Bones, a forensics and police procedural drama in which each episode focuses on an FBI case file concerning the mystery behind the human remains brought to a forensic anthropology team at the fictional Jeffersonian Institution by FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth.
CBS has aired a number of shows that portray the FBI. In 2002, Without a Trace, about the fictional FBI missing persons unit in New York City. In 2005, CBS launched two series: NUMB3RS, about FBI agents who collaborate with a mathematics professor who is the brother of the Lead Special Agent in Los Angeles, and the other called Criminal Minds, about the agents of the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU). In 2006, CBS launched the short-lived drama Smith, where FBI agents were in pursuit of a group of professional thieves. CBS' show NCIS often features FBI collaboration and/or good natured jurisdictional arguments.
The 2006-2007 anime Death Note, based on the eponymous manga series, features eleven FBI agents brought in to help the Japanese police solve a string of murders.
The 2007 Spike TV series The Kill Point featured the FBI in early episodes, one agent being fatally wounded in a shootout with the antagonists and another briefly taking over the role of primary negotiator in the ensuing hostage situation.
In 1952, Columbia Pictures released Walk East on Beacon!, a motion picture regarding the activities of the Bureau in their hunt for Communist spies in the city of Boston, starring George Murphy. Released during the height of 1950s anti-Communist hysteria in the United States, by its pedantic narrative, its presentation in the style of a documentary, and its basis in a story written by J. Edgar Hoover published in Reader's Digest, the film can only be viewed as propaganda of the most blatant fashion.
In 1959, Warner Bros. and director Mervyn LeRoy produced a film about the FBI entitled The FBI Story. It told the history of the FBI from the point of view of a fictitious character, Chip Hardesty (played by James Stewart). FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover served as consultant on this film, which forced director LeRoy to reshoot several scenes that did not meet with the FBI's approval.
A movie produced in 1988 named FEDS, gave an insight into how women train at the FBI Academy. This movie is in limited release and can only be found on VHS. Also that year Mississippi Burning was released. A film that chronicled a fictional account of the investigation into a civil rights murder case.
The 1991 Orion Pictures movie sequel to Manhunter, The Silence of the Lambs starred Jodie Foster as an FBI Agent Trainee in pursuit of a serial killer. The film received five Academy Awards, including Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Actress - Jodie Foster. The movie spawned another sequel, but Jodie Foster did not retake her role.
The 1992 film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, a prequel/sequel to the television series Twin Peaks, included the character Special Agent Dale Cooper as well as several other FBI agents, but to a more limited degree than during the television series.
The game Destroy All Humans features parodies of 1950s era FBI members (known as Majestics) acting in a similar role to the GTA series (appearing if the player causes too much mayhem). They wield the same technology as the alien protagonist, Crypto.
The character "Gman" from the Half-Life series is so named for his resemblance to a stereotypical member of the FBI (suit, tie and brief case) as well as his strange demeanor and conspiratorial nature.
In the game Saint's Row, after getting 3 "stars", the FBI come with a black SUV with sirens and lights. When they come out of the SUV, they are white males with all-black suits with guns.
In the game Psychonauts, one level is set in the mind of an incredibly paranoid milkman. The level is crowded with men with long coats and hats who pretend to do normal chores in and around their house, but fail miserably(which in turn is rather funny).