Name: Peggy Carter
TV Show: Agent Carter
Filed Under: Everyday Person/Extraordinary Circumstances
Portrayed By: Hayley Atwell
Margaret “Peggy” Carter was born in London, England in 1921. Upon finishing her schooling, she joins the British Royal Military which eventually leads to her being appointed to the Strategic Scientific Reserve—the S.S.R.—the secret agency led by the Allies during the second World War to combat the Nazi-led H.Y.D.R.A. It is during this time that Peggy develops a friendship and ultimately—a romantic relationship—with Steve Rogers/Captain America. It is also during this time that we come to know Peggy as brave, intelligent, strategic, and loyal—and a critical and integral part of of the S.S.R.
When the war ends, the S.S.R. continues its operations and Peggy finds herself—despite her immense capabilities—essentially relegated to glorified desk duty. This, of course, is in part a reflection of the times and how women were generally disregarded as having any usefulness beyond fetching coffee, taking notes, and answering the telephone.
Peggy, for her part, is consistently dismayed and frustrated by this short-sighted and inaccurate stereotype—especially as she knows she, and in fact, all women are quite capable of more than they are given credit for. But she does not let this stop her from carrying out her own investigation under the very noses of her male colleagues. In fact, it is likely *because* she is so underestimated that her actions go unnoticed for so long.
“I conducted my own investigation because no one listens to me. I got away with it because no one looks at me. Because, unless I have your reports, your coffee, or your lunch, I’m invisible.” – Peggy Carter
Of course, one could argue that it says *something* that at least Howard Stark, notorious lady’s man that he is known to be, relies so heavily on Peggy–a woman–and not someone else for help when he so desperately needs it. This is because he intrinsically understands Peggy’s value as he has seen what she is capable of first hand. Peggy also finds another ally in Edwin Jarvis, Stark’s butler and right-hand man. It is nice to know that there are at least some people in the world who can see Peggy beyond her gender, but that’s not to say that Peggy necessarily needs anyone’s approval to do what she thinks is right, despite all of the many obstacles she faces. It also doesn’t mean she needs recognition for her efforts when they prove to be successful. To Peggy, all that matters is that she uses everything she is and everything she is capable of to do the right thing.
“I don’t need a congressional honor. I don’t need Agent Thompson’s approval or the president’s. I know my value. Anyone else’s opinion doesn’t really matter.” – Peggy Carter
Strength: Peggy doesn’t rely on her physical strength to complete her objectives, although she is well-trained to get herself out of a jam (which definitely makes for some interesting fight scenes on the show). She is very strong-willed and brave—never hesitating to her contribute what she can, in any way, to the fight. Most often, however, Peggy relies on her keen intellect to determine how *best* to apply the skills she has in any given situation. 3.
Dexterity: As mentioned previously, Peggy was a member of the military, which translates into her having a dedicated knowledge of weapons and equipment as well as the skills to use them effectively. Peggy is a great shot, has quick reflexes, and it probably goes without saying that— because she is a woman—people are often surprised and taken off-guard by her physical capabilities, giving her an advantage in this area as well. 4.
Intellect: Peggy is extremely smart. Not only is she “book smart,” but she an amazing degree of social and emotional intelligence. After several attempts to contribute her skills as an agent to the S.S.R. and being repeatedly being told “thanks but no thanks” by her male colleagues, Peggy recognizes that the door to this particular path is essentially shut and locked tight and so, she finds another way. Because she has to. That she not only manages to skillfully elude the other agents with regards to her covert maneuvers behind the scenes but also manages to consistently be one step ahead of them at all times—leading, of course, to her essentially solving their big problem for them—is a testament to not only her resilience and resolve, but to the deft way in which she handles and applies her intelligence to both situations and people. 5.
Charisma: Peggy is incredibly charming when she wants to be and has a wit and sense of humor that is as impeccably timed as her ability with any weapon. Fact is, Peggy *does* often use her charisma to her advantage, again especially as she is often so underestimated that it goes unnoticed that she is surreptitiously both manipulating and winning people over to her side. However, at the S.S.R., Peggy is quite often viewed as being an instigator and basically, a “thorn” in her male colleagues’ sides. But she has every right to be, especially as every other effort she has tried in order to be noticed, in order to be counted, in order to be heard has been unsuccessful. Basically, Peggy sometimes has a kind of no-nonsense, “nothing left to lose” attitude when it comes to the other agents at the S.S.R. It doesn’t matter much what she has to say or how she says it, because they usually aren’t listening anyway. Better to be straight to the point and to challenge their perspective when the opportunity presents itself. Because who knows, maybe one day they might just pay attention. 4.
After all, Peggy Carter–and all that she stands for–is eventually impossible to ignore.