Mr. Lavender is the head of the NIA.
That acronym stands for the National Intelligence Agency which is, just before the first recorded adventure takes place, a small but highly efficient cog in the American clandestine community fighting the Soviets and other enemies of or threats to the U.S. As stated it is led by Mr. Lavender, a former operative himself.
Though its name would imply it is a standalone organization, and it definitely operates that way, it is apparently an autonymous branch of the Department of Justice, at least according to the id badge that Lavender displays when needed, complete with a gold shield and the designation of 'Special Agent'. This could actually be the case but then again, considering the subtefuge that Lavender and his team will employ regularly on their missions, it could be a clever misdirection.
'Masquerade', used to encompass the dozen adventures we have of this group, is possibly the cover term for the current policy of the NIA to makes use of ordinary civilians who are chosen on a per-mission basis to assist Lavender and his two remaining agents.
I say 'remaining' because most of the other operatives of the NIA have been eliminated by a very nasty KGB agent who is working his way up the ladder in the organization by removing his opposition in the NIA. Most have been dispatched by the time we are introduced to Lavender and we will watch his novel approach to taking on his nemesis.
"The United States of America would like to invite you to come spy with me." So say Mr. Lavender at the beginning of each episode. He does so just before he presents a business card with an impressive looking governmental seal at the top and a brief invitation in an attractive script font saying, "You are Cordially Invited TO SPY for The United States of America". The offering is done with a small but friendly smile at the end.
Mind you, at the same time this dapper looking man in his mid-50's is making this interesting offer to all of us, showing this card so nicely and officiously in one hand, he is holding a very nasty-looking automatic complete with silencer in the other. The implication is quite obvious.
In addition to the attractive offer of being able to help the country, each civilian is promised one year's salary for what hopefully would just be a few days' work, assuming the untrained amateur is able to survive whatever plan Mr. Lavender came up with. The 'untrained', of course, refers to a lack of skills in being an operative - each invitee is quite trained in his or her own line of work, be it a teacher, plumber, musician, or whatever. That person is brought onto the team for that one mission and would likely never be approached again.
The two agents, both with alliterative names, Lavender still has are both fairly young people (late 20's or very early 30's). Casey Collins is a very attractive woman who tends towards a touch of sarcasm or peevishness. Danny Doyle is a handsome and athletic looking man who shows a constant eagerness for activity. Both have been operational for some time, judging by the ease with which they work with Lavender and the confidence they demonstrate.