There was never any doubt in my mind who would play Sam Mazoli, the head of the psychic spy program for the CIA, Vicki’s boss—and also the man who adopted her—as well as Dylan Maguire’s boss.
I always pictured Robert De Niro when I thought of Sam. Sam is brusque, no-nonsense, the kind of boss that you don’t joke around with and you don’t even attempt to take liberties. He is experienced, jaded, a cynic and a skeptic. He also has an eye for talent, whether it’s taking a 12-year-old girl with psychic abilities and turning her into a spy—or recognizing the opportunistic, chameleon-like qualities of an Irishman who can pretend to be someone else.
There is much to Sam just below the surface but carefully hidden lest people discover his true nature. He can make life-or-death decisions, interrogate suspects, turn a blind eye to torture, and appear bored even during the most sensitive and gut-wrenching missions. But he can also rescue a cat down-on-her-luck, care for angelfish and their babies, recognize an illegal immigrant’s dilemma and give her a job, and help care for a dog who needs a friend.
Sam first appears in Vicki’s Key and continues through the rest of the series, sometimes making life difficult for everyone involved, sometimes lending a hand when it’s least expected… and always arriving with a new CIA mission in hand.