Joe Tiplady is a part-time agent for the CIA.
It would be accurate to say as well that he is, after a time, a private investigator in Los Angeles.
And that he recently was a special educations teacher specializing in Autistic children, some of them out of control due to their condition.
And before that he was a member of the IRA fighting their war against the English and the RUC and sometimes their own people.
And one other thing that Tiplady can claim to be is a hunted man. Very hunted and very much wanted dead.
Starting at the beginning, Tiplady had joined the IRA and had trained to be a demolition expert. He was as dedicated to the cause as most of his mates, up until several of them were sent to North Korea to extend their training. That would be the turning point to his terrorist days. "Our time in North Korea made me realise that however bad the British are, however heavy the RUC, however much our people are discriminated against, it's nothing like as bad as how the regime there treats ordinary people." Returning to Ireland, it would be not long before ousted from that organization for no longer having the killing urge. Unfortunately, while one leader allowed Tiplady to leave alive, he knew that others would be after him.
How Tiplady would go from being on the run from the IRA to teaching Autistic children to working for a man named Zeke Chandler and the CIA - well, that is a very confusing sequence best read for yourself.
Tiplady is described as a big man whose "movements were surprisingly agile". "He was six foot three in his stockinged feet, heavy-boned but so light on his pins he could have made it in the ring." "His hair was thick, curly and black, like his beard, his eyes a clouded green, his complexion pale with a hint of sallowness, like a Spaniard kept out of the sun. There was tension in him, too, a sense that if you made him angry, things might not go well for you."
A note, though, on Chandler. He is a deputy director with the Agency, a Mormon with an impressive skill at languages and a predilection for not staying in his office like he has promised his much-put-upon wife many times. His action in the field is so extensive, the series could easily have been said to be his.