Alan McQueen is an agent with the Austalian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS).
As the series opens, McQueen is in his late 30's and has been an operative for ASIS for 17 years. Prior to joining the department, he had attended university in Queensland, getting an MA in history. When he was approached to work in the intelligence field, he fondly remembers, he had visions of trading information over drinks in a swanky bar before heading out for an evening with a beautiful woman. Reality was a bit different.
Being an excellent athlete, including participating in collegic sports such as rugby, he was deemed a prime candidate for the rugged para-military branch of the bureau. He was one of the last agents from his country to be sent to Great Britain to take part in the strenuous Special Boat Service training and one of the very few to actually complete it.. After that, came his many years of work in the covert field often working with Australia's own SAS wearing camoflage gear instead of tuxedos and drinking stale water from canteens rather than sipping martinis.
After so many years of often unpleasant missions nearly getting his head cut off or shot off or blown off, he had decided he had enough and arrived at an understading with the head of the agency. He was retiring to take a teaching job at a university. He had met and fallen in love with a young woman with whom he planned to start a new life. Then ASIS gets a new head and that man decides that an agent never really retires and McQueen is virtually kidnapped back into action.
He is not happy being back on duty but that does not stop him from being the same excellent operative he had always been, just a lot grumpier.