Andrew Pitman is an agent with the CIA.
He is rapidly approaching retirement and is looking forward to it.
So is his wife, Alexis, though she is planning to retire from Russian Intelligence. Of course it might be also that she was really working for the Agency but that is not established so far so I do not know. What I do know is that these two are very much in love and have no secrets from each other, almost from the moment when they met years before in Rio where he was stationed at the time and she was sent with Pitman as her mission.
It is important to note that while Andrew is a very intelligent and inciteful agent, one who has risen to the position of Deputy Director for Foreign Operations, a job he thinks of as the "foreign office", the real logical thinking in the family is Alexis, aka Allie. This woman sees everything, grasps the subtlety in everything, and has the brainpower to put the pieces together in such a way as to be spooky. It is no wonder Andrew loved her so much.
Their marriage, as described early on, was now going on 25 years and was interesting in that "they made an agreement - she would help him with his work and keep from getting bored with children and social clubs, only on the condition that the charade be supported by her having children and attending social clubs."
"It was the perfect cover. They raised two foster children, she belonged to the best clubs, and she knew more about the espionage business than most professionals, with the distinct advantage of being invisible. After the children left, she worked part-time for a local book publishing firm as an editor and proofreader."
I was fascinated by Alexis, especially her training at the Higher Intelligence School in Moscow many years before when she at one point mused, "Nothing but training. Dance and karate. Poise and pistols. Knives. Anatomy. Radios. Morse code. Chemistry. Flying airplanes. Music. Elementary poisons, intermediate poisons, advanced poisons..." One interesting education.
While Andrew Pitman is supposed to be sitting a desk at Langley and running his department from there and Allie Pitman is supposed to be sitting a desk at the publishing house, they both grab any opportunity they can find to get back into the field, despite their ages.