Adam Drake is an attorney.
He is also a special operative for Homeland Security tasked with taking the fight to the enemy. But officially he is an attorney and if asked about what he does, that is what the answer will be.
As the series begins, Drake is one year mourning the passing of his much adored wife, Kay, from a quickly spreading ovarian cancer. His law practice, once doing quite well, is suffering badly from the many days he fails to see any reason to go to the office, putting in an appearance largely when his much put-upon secretary can shame into it.
Before his wife's passing, he had built up a promising reputation in Portland, Oregon, proudly doing so without using the name of his highly influential father-in-law, a Senator from that state. Prior to that he had worked successfully in the district attorney's office for five years putting away guys that he knew did not belong on the streets.
But before that there was another period of his life he seldom discusses and which was not in official records, at least not those available to most citizens. He had just graduated from law school and had passed the Oregon bar exam two days before 9/11. When the Towers went down and the Pentagon was attacked, his plans for the law seemed not so important. Fighting back did. He enlisted in the Army.
His father had been a Green Beret and though his passing when Drake was young meant he grew up without a dad, he did not lack for a male example. And when the opportunity came after his own enlistment to become a member of the elite group, he was more than ready. His innate skills combined with his tenacity brought him to the attention of higher-ups and soon he was moved into the most elite of Army organizations, Delta. He served his country well for many years.
All things must end and his time in the military did just that. Eventually he reentered civilian life, worked as a prosecutor for a time, started his own practice, met and married Kay. Unfortunately, that too ended.
It is hard to say how long he might have continued his slow spiral downward after Kay's passing. When he got a call for a favor from his father-in-law to help investigate a suspicious death, it was with reluctance and very little motivation that he agreed. Then the people behind the killing decided he needed elimination as well and they came after him. Suddenly the motivation was there and the reluctance was gone and the old Drake was back and he was ticked.
Having someone who is capable of and willing to bend the law to do right is very useful. If that person is a lawyer well experienced on both side of the bench and knows well what he can and cannot justify is even better. Drake is such a man and when he is asked to work unofficially for DHS, he is now quite ready to say yes.