Artemus Newton is a retired U.S. Army officer.
Chief Warrant Officer, to be exact. Addressed by one and all during his last few years in the military as 'Chief' as befits his final rank of CWo4. He is not a spy, has never been a spy, and would look at you oddly if you intimated he would become one. And yet...
We are told right away that "All Artemus Newton wanted after 32 years in the Army was a nice quiet retirement". He had put in his papers at long last and said goodbye to a life and a career that had taken up more than half of his life. He had joined straight out of high school as a Private, an E-1, as low as you can be as all new recruits are and over the next few years he would advance in the enlisted ranks until he decided to make the move to the Warrant program.
Now at age 50, he was a civilian again, having just moved back to Illinois and set up a nice, comfortable apartment he would share with his 12-year-old cat, Gus. He would never complain about his time in the Service, enjoying immensely the people he worked with and the places he served. He might honestly say that most of his time in the military straight-forward and largely lackluster but he did those times honorably and faithfully.
But since much of his previous day job had been less than thrilling, he would not be adverse to things getting a little more interesting. He would later have second thoughts on that matter.
For a man his age, Newton is still in fairly good health. He exercises regularly and tries to eat nutritiously but he admits that with his height at 5'9", his weight should not be weighing a smidge over 200. He could still do an impressive number of push-ups but he does have to take daily thyroid medicine and a usual glass of Metamucil.
I think it is important here to point out that much of the above makes it sound like Newton is going to be a fish-out-of-water when the excitement starts happening around him. That is not the case. Newton is not a action-figure ready to blossom but neither is he a slapstick target. He is smart, observant, and not at all afraid to do what he feels it right. He is a fair amount unlucky to be in the wrong place at the right time more than once but he is also lucky enough to catch a few breaks.
One of those breaks is Alexis Lee, a thirty-something CIA agent who is an experienced member of its Clandestine Services division. This is a woman who knows how to take care of herself and does so on several occasions. She and Newton make a pretty good team.