NPR

FBI's 'G-Man' Image: From Comic Books To 'The X-Files' And 'The Silence Of The Lambs'

The early years of the FBI coincided with the start of the comic book era, which inspired J. Edgar Hoover to take advantage of the new medium, according to the author of The Secrets of the FBI.
David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson star in the television show, The X-Files, where they played FBI agents. Source: Fox/Liaison

There's an image that probably comes to mind anytime there are big headlines about the FBI: A lawman in a dark suit, crisp white shirt, sensible shoes and a sharp crew cut. Basically, the exact look James Cagney sported in the 1935 classic film G-Men — except his included a fedora because ... the 1930s.

That archetype of the clean-cut, indefatigable and incorruptible agent was largely the invention of J. Edgar Hoover, , from May 1924 to

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