Op-Center is an agency of American Intelligence.
Tom Clancy, With his name guaranteed to attract readers after the phenomenal success of his Jack Ryan series, joined with a fellow writer, Steve Pieczenik, to create another book series dealing with international events. This new storyline was intended to be more than just books, however. To maximize earnings potential, it also included television.
In 1995, not only was the first book released but also a four-hour, two-part miniseries on NBC. It was certainly considered for a regular weekly series but in the end the two-parter was the lone entry. It starred Harry Hamlin as the lead character and had the highly skilled Wilford Brimley and Rod Steiger, and the always delightful Kim Cattrall. According to some sources, the screenplay itself was drafted by Mr. Clancy who had been less than happy with previous filmed versions of his books.
Though a television series did not come out of the mini-series, the published works continued long after the television movie disappeared. Mr. Clancy's participation, however, grew quite small as the crafting of the plots was left to Mr. Pieczenik and the writing was done by Jeff Rovin. In fact, a lawsuit filed in July of 2003 by the former wife of Mr. Clancy and the recipient in the divorce settlement of 25% interest in the series challenged Mr. Clancy's involvement. It was claimed that Mr. Clancy, fearing the sales of the series were hurting his Ryan series, was trying to close the enterprise down. The battle continues as of this writing.
The premise behind the movie and the books is a bit different. In the movie, Op-Center was an obsolete government agency being dismantled until a crisis saves it. In the books, it is vital, thriving bureau tasked with handling international incidents, especially terror related.
In both, the head of the agency is Paul Hood, a man whose pedigree is quite long, starting with a successful stint as an investment banker, changing to a position as Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, and ending as a popular mayor of Los Angeles. After a short time in early retirement, he responded when the President asked his help running Op-Center.
Helping Hood run Op-Center are a small but important cadre of supporting characters but Hood remains the primary force behind the agency and behind the books about it.