J. J. McCall is an agent with the F.B.I.
She is a very successful agent and has been for nearly a decade, years of which spent working in the counter-intelligence division. Her specialty has been finding Russians stationed in the U.S. and turning them to work for the Americans. Over the years she has found more than a couple who have been positioned high enough in the Russian FSB to provide some excellent data.
Her greatest gift, though, is often one of her biggest irritants, literally. Just like her mother and grandmother before her, McCall has almost a Second Sight when it comes to lies and it comes in the form of an itch. Tell a white lie to her and the skin on her arms will tingle just a little. Tell a good one and she will have the annoying desire to scratch. Tell a whopper and the itching will spread throughout her whole body. It is not something she likes having but it is a trait that she has used to ferret out some very good undercover agents.
A tall, good looking Black woman, McCall is the product of an unusual pairing. Her mother was for many years until her death an F.B.I. agent as well. Her father, though, was often on the other side of the authorities as a member of the Black Panthers. How the two met and fell in love and started a family would make a great story on its own. As McCall points out in at least one instance, saying her father was an ex-Black Panther was like saying someone was an ex-Marine - there is no such thing. Her father's distrust of the police has mellowed somewhat over the years due to having a wife and a daughter as one but the word mellow needs quotes.
To say that McCall is a force of her own is an understatement. With her gift of knowing a lie when she hears it, something she has felt best to keep to herself, she can speak her mind, and does often, and back it up. Since she knows her talent is best left unknown, she uses it in more subtle ways. Depending on the situation, when she hears a lie she might choose to pounce but she more likely will move on and gradually erode a story until the truth comes out. Watching her at work with suspects is truly a joy.
Watching her deal with her bosses, though, is not so fun. For all its advances in Equal Opportunity, the ability for a Black woman to crack the glass ceiling is slim. The fact that this African-American woman knows the garbage coming from the lips of her supervisors when they tell her how much she is needed in the field, and sometimes cannot refrain from commenting (harshly) just adds to the problem.
McCall thinks about quitting. Every week she seems to vow it will be the last one. But it isn't because despite the extreme frustration of being held back and knowing it, she is still very, very good at her job and loves it.
Catching spies can be fun.