John Pilgrim is an agent with the CIA.
Ex-agent when we meet him. Retired. After a long and eventful career with the Agency's Counter-Terrorism Center (CTC) he was happily living aboard his beloved Pearson 365 sloop, a sailboat named Progress. He tells a friend his only mission in life now was "to enjoy peace and tranquility for the rest of my life". Too bad the world will not be so accommodating.
We learn that his entry from the CIA was really not something he had planned but the result of a major mishap at the headquarters of the CTC known as Alliance Base, one that cost the life of the woman he loved. It was not his fault but as the one in charge, the buck landed squarely on his desk and he, to mix metaphors, had to fall on his sword.
As we first meet up with him, he is being asked by the Agency, or at least one of the powers at that behemoth organization, to come back. The invitation was soundly rejected until a series of terrorist attacks around the world reminded him how much he still cared for his country and how the lady he had wanted to spend the rest of his life with had given her life in its service. Reluctantly but with firm resolve, he agrees.
Pilgrim is a very determined man. He put himself through college by part time jobs and with a stipend from ROTC. Serving out his required four years, Pilgrim demonstrated his aptitude for Intelligence work and ended up in Afghanistan working that field. The CIA took note of his skills and when his time was served, the offer came and the transition was seamless.
Though Pilgrim is no longer a young man, he remains in quite good shape, partly because of his continued training in and love of the martial arts of jujitsu, at which he holds a sixth degree dan.