- "I have made decisions, and I have sent men and women into situations where they've lost their lives. And I have to deal with that, and now, so do you."
- ―Marion James to Dinah Madani
Marion James is the Deputy Director of the CIA, who after thirty years there, had been tipped to become its next head following the previous director's move to Congress. Refusing to seek any political career following her tenure, unlike her predecessor, James chose to appoint William Rawlins as her Deputy Director as she believed in Rawlins' history of work with the CIA. However as James eventually learned that all Rawlins' work with Operation Cerberus had been completely illegal and had resulted in an assassination attempt on Frank Castle that went wrong, James put her career on the line to expose Rawlins to Homeland Security to try and save the agency however she could. Following the demise of Rawlins, James continued to build a friendship with Dinah Madani who was greatly emotionally affected by the case's outcome.
CIA Deputy Director
Working through the Ranks
- "Do you know I used to suffer from panic attacks? Out of the blue, couldn't breathe. Heart pounding in my chest like I was having a coronary. Two years of it. It took two years for me to realize that I only feel right when I'm honest with myself about my actions. Straight, no self-justification."
- ―Marion James to William Rawlins
Marion James joined the CIA and soon began rising through the ranks, eventually becoming the Deputy Director while raising twin daughters Ella and Grace James. However, all her time within the agency was difficult for James, as she began to suffer from panic attacks which plagued her for two years until she had found that being completely honest with herself cured her of these. During this time, James also met Rafael Hernandez whom she became close friends with.
Promoting William Rawlins
- "You've led some of the most effective ops in a recent history of this agency. But you're right. To bring you in as deputy director will definitely get political. So I need to know, Bill, between you and me, are there any skeletons buried out there that might come back and bite us both in the ass?"
- ―Marion James to William Rawlins
James was given the task of presenting agent William Rawlins with the Distinguished Intelligence Medal for his service to the CIA, which had included the sacrifice of losing an eye while in Afghanistan. Once she had given a speech in front of all her staff, James congratulated Rawlins and presented him with the medal, before informing him that he could not tell anybody about actually being presented with the award, also noting that he would not actually be presented with the medal itself due to the secrecy of the agency and the work that he still did there, which Rawlins was happy to accept as James insisted that they were grateful for his work.
While Rawlins claimed that all of that work had only cost him an eye, James noted that everything he had done had cost their enemies of the United States of America a lot more than just an eye as he had also assisted with taking many high-value targets out during his work while in Afghanistan. James had then questioned if Rawlins would be remaining in the CIA Headquarters for much longer and invited him to come to her office for a private meeting before handing Rawlins off to the rest of the staff in attendance who began complimenting Rawlins on his award while James had continued to applaud Rawlins.
Eventually, while James was relaxing in her office, Rawlins arrived to join her and she then poured them both a glass of scotch to enjoy together to celebrate Rawlins' award. Once they sat down together Rawlins noted that he had heard James was soon to be promoted, which James confirmed as she explained that the current Director of the CIA was now moving into United States Congress and had asked her to take his position. Rawlins raised his glass and noted James should have been offered the job years earlier, to which James noted that she did not want to ask for the favors it would have required.
James had then invited Rawlins to become her next Deputy Director, noting that she was not political and needed somebody who could make things happen and make hard decisions as she believed that the integrity of the CIA was paramount. James and Rawlins agreed that bringing in somebody from covert operations would make things complicated, so James questioned Rawlins about whether or not he had any secrets which could disrupt their positions, which Rawlins denied. Hearing Rawlins tell her this, James formally offered Rawlins the job of Deputy Director which he then gladly accepted.
William Rawlins' Confession
- "I do not understand the "us", the "we" rhetoric. Are you suggesting I am culpable for the shitstorm you started over there?"
"I'm your guy now. No way this shit hits me and doesn't splatter on your shoes. You may not be political, but everyone else is."
- ―Marion James and William Rawlins
While working within New York City, James had arranged for a police commissioner's son to be recruited into the CIA since he had proved himself highly skilled while performing some illegal hacking while also arranging for her daughters to go to Columbia University. While working with all of this, James met with William Rawlins who had come to New York for mysterious reasons and asked to speak with James outdoors where she had informed him of Ella and Grace James exploits as well as also recruiting the police commissioner's son.
James then questioned why Rawlins had asked to meet with her to which Rawlins noted that Frank Castle, who had been on the WHiH World News due to being a suspected terrorist, had information that could be damaging to the CIA if it was ever to get out. Rawlins then confessed to James that his medal and all of the information he had gained had been gathered by his unorthodox methods which James corrected as illegal. While James listened closely, Rawlins explained that Castle was now attempting to kill him due to Rawlins arranging an assassination attempt against him some years earlier, a revelation about Rawlins' secret past which had utterly horrified James.
Despite Rawlins still insisting that he would not allow this situation to harm the agency and also promising that they could still solve the situation, James attempted to draw herself away, but Rawlins noted that when she had promoted him she had implicated herself in his illegal actions. James cursed Rawlins as he promised that he had a civilian asset ready to kill Castle, with James noted that she meant she was sanctioning a man's murder which she was uncomfortable with, but Rawlins argued that Castle was the terrorist and eventually James agreed to assist him to finally assassinate Castle.
- "Can you imagine the damage it would do if it were made public? It would put our foreign policy back ten years."
"I don't think the public would be surprised in the slightest at the shit you people get up to."
"Young lady, show some respect. I have spent thirty years of my life working for this country and everything it stands for."
- ―Marion James and Dinah Madani
James was later contacted on her own personal cellphone by Rafael Hernandez who asked her to come to the Homeland Security Headquarters where she was happily greeted with a hug from Hernandez before being introduced to the Special Agent In Charge Dinah Madani who led her to the interrogation room. James then questioned if she had been asked to come due to all the Bombings of New York City conducted by Lewis Wilson, but Hernandez confirmed this was not the case, which worried James.
Hernandez informed James that Homeland Security had evidence of one of her agents was running an illegal assassination program that was funded by heroin in Kandahar, with Madani noting that Ahmad Zubair who she had been working with had been assassinated when he had discovered the truth about the operation. Hernandez had then confirmed to James that William Rawlins was, in fact, the agent they had suspected to be running the operation, to which James denied all knowledge of these illegal actions, noting that Homeland Security did not have jurisdiction over CIA agents' conduct on foreign soil.
While James listened in horror, Hernandez informed her that several Homeland Security agents had been killed while investigating their case, noting that he had asked her to come so they could deal with the situation between them. When Madani asked James to hand over Rawlins, James noted that this scandal had to the potential to put all of the United States of America's foreign policy back by ten years at least. Madani insulted the CIA before James then insisted that she deserved more respect before storming out of the room to answer a phone call, enraged by all of Madani's insults against the CIA.
Firing William Rawlins
- "There is no place for you in my agency. We protect the agency, and then you will resign your post. It's for the greater good."
"But that hardly motivates me to make this go away."
"I think it would. Because if you don't, I will hand you to Homeland myself, and see you in prison for the rest of your life."
- ―Marion James and William Rawlins
Horrified by what she had been told in the interview, James drove to a new meeting outdoors with William Rawlins where she immediately informed him that Homeland Security now had his name and knew of his operations before she confronted him over the deaths of five Homeland agents, furiously claiming that this was not what how the CIA did their work or what they stood for as an agency. Rawlins, however, remained calm and claimed he was not responsible.
Rawlins instead claimed that Billy Russo had taken it upon himself to attempt to kill Frank Castle, as James had deduced that Russo was Rawlins' civilian asset and a part of his operations in Kandahar which Rawlins did not deny. Rawlins told James that his plan was to blame Russo for smuggling the heroin out of Afghanistan and then all they would need to do was ensure Castle had died and the CIA would no longer be at risk. James then furiously confronted Rawlins, telling him to look at his actions, before Rawlins demanded that she show some more loyalty to him, much to James' complete and utter disgust.
Seeing that James was considering handing him over to Homeland, Rawlins argued if she exposed everything then it would destroy her own career and damage the United States of America's position in the world, claiming that the deaths of Ahmad Zubair and Castle were not worth all the risks. Being told that they had to protect the agency, James then gave Rawlins her permission to burn Russo and blame him for everything, before telling Rawlins that once this was done he would resign. Once Rawlins tried to argue, James threatened to hand him over to Homeland herself, telling him that he disgusted her.
- "You assisted a wanted terrorist in his escape."
"Did I? We all need to be wary of accusations without proof. Like, say, someone accusing a decorated CIA official of running an illegal heroin operation and assassination program. Or that government departments colluded to keep it quiet."
- ―Marion James and Dinah Madani
Upon hearing that William Rawlins had just been violently murdered by the Punisher while trying to torture him to death, James personally went to Micro's Hideout to examine the aftermath herself, finding multiple corpses and the aftermath of a violent shootout. Watching Rawlins' bloodied corpse being packed away inside of a body bag, James noted that his body was so beaten down that it looked like he had been hit by a train, to which Rafael Hernandez noted that he struggled to sympathize with Rawlins' situation, before Rawlins' corpse was then removed from the area.
James then asked Hernandez if he had heard from Dinah Madani, to which Hernandez confirmed that he had not ever since she had led a team of Homeland Security agents into the hideout to rescue the Punisher from Rawlins. Frustrated by this answer, James noted that while Billy Russo was on the run she needed to know why Madani had seemingly vanished along with Frank Castle in the aftermath of Rawlins' violent murder, although Hernandez claimed that they did not know for sure that this was the actually case, which James had struggled to believe due to Madani's attitude towards Castle.
James was brought into the Homeland Security Headquarters where they then watched the video footage of Rawlins torturing Castle for several hours. James and Hernandez confronted Madani over letting Castle go free, although she insisted that it was only through Castle and Micro, the two men they tried to paint as criminals and terrorists, that they had been able to expose all the true crimes committed by Rawlins, although James claimed that they simply did not know the truth. Hernandez questioned where Castle was, and Madani claimed that he had overpowered her and had then escaped from her.
As James noted that Madani had aided a wanted terrorist to escape, Madani turned the tables on James by noting that the CIA awarded Rawlins who had created an illegal assassination squad funded by heroin which the agency had tried to keep quiet, to which James had no reply. With this Madani invited the pair to arrest her, which they both declined to do, allowing Madani to walk out of the room once she confirmed that she did not actually know where Castle currently was. Once Madani had gone, James noted to Hernandez that she was a piece of work, before claiming that she did like her.
Frank Castle's Freedom
Eventually James learned that the Punisher had defeated Billy Russo in the violent final showdown in which Russo endured horrific facial injuries which had almost claimed his life, but not before Russo had shot and almost killed Dinah Madani. James and Rafael Hernandez met with Madani and Frank Castle in the hospital where both were recovering from their injuries, with Castle being kept in handcuffs until Hernandez asked them to be removed so they could talk.
James informed Castle that the CIA had redirected the narrative of recent events to ensure that Russo and Lewis Wilson were the only suspects, as Hernandez had then confirmed that while Castle was still officially a wanted man, they had ensured that his DNA had been wiped from the system, allowing him to begin a new life without fear of being hunted. James noted that Castle had been betrayed by Russo and William Rawlins and this was their way of ensuring that some form of justice was done for him, before telling Castle to enjoy his freedom however he could before James then left them.
Dinah Madani's Interview
- "We need people like you in the system, or we're lost. No one's asking you to like the lie. Just to understand it."
"People have a right to the truth. Whatever else, there's that."
"I am not gonna pretend that this isn't gonna sting, but this is the least worst option for all of us."
- ―Marion James and Dinah Madani
James was present as Dinah Madani was interviewed about recent events while still recovering in the hospital from her gunshot wound. Seeing that Madani still seemed to be unsure about this interview, James stopped the tape and told Monroe to step outside so she could speak with Madani alone. Madani had then regretfully acknowledged that her sexual relationship with Billy Russo which had directly resulted with the deaths of several Homeland Security agents.
Madani questioned if the story she wanted to push really left William Rawlins as the decorated hero and Ahmad Zubair's death remaining unacknowledged, as James noted that this story would allow Madani to keep her job and Frank Castle to walk away as a free man. James had then gone on to note how Madani was blaming herself, despite her only wanting to bring the right people to justice, as James then complimented Madani's resolve as she commented on how Madani was sat in that hospital bed with a bullet wound in the head, and yet was still not thinking of herself, which was something they needed.
Since Madani still appeared to be uncomfortable with their situation, James noted that she did not have to like the lie they were telling, but just understand that it was their least worst option. The interview had then resumed while James watched Madani answer questions about her sexual relationship with Russo and how she had finally realized that Russo had manipulated her when he pointed a gun at her head during a standoff at the Royal Hospitality, as Madani acknowledged that she should have seen through Russo's deceptions much earlier, before claiming that she had gone alone to apprehend Russo.
To James' surprise, Madani then went off plan as she made a point on the record that Sam Stein had warned her that Russo was not to be trusted, only for her to ignore these warnings which had resulted in Russo murdering Stein. With the interview concluded, Monroe left the hospital room, as James noted that she had never been shot or even drawn her own gun at somebody, acknowledging that while she could not fully relate to Madani's feelings, she had made decisions during her time with the CIA, resulting in casualties, warning it would be better to live with these consequences than admit the truth.
Meeting in New York
- "So, Castle kills Russo, and your problems are solved, right? So what the hell am I doing here, Dinah, huh? What? Do you wanna ask my permission?"
"Advice. Perspective. A gut check."
"Stay out of it. Let Castle and Russo finish off their psychodrama. Maybe they'll kill each other this time if we're lucky."
- ―Marion James and Dinah Madani
Once Dinah Madani had recovered from her injuries and returned to her work at Homeland Security, James kept a close watch over her. Arranging to meet in New York City, James had been waiting for Madani to arrive when a complete stranger had told her to smile, much to her shock. Once Madani had arrived, James told her the story, noting that maybe he should say it to Madani who rarely smiled.
Seeing Madani's distress, James had noted that Billy Russo's recent escape from Sacred Saints Hospital was highly unfortunate, before then commenting that she had considered arranging for Russo to be assassinated in his hospital bed just to end the situation once and for all. When Madani asked why this did not happen, James noted that they needed someone to blame the situation on and Russo was the perfect candidate. James then commented that people like Russo and Frank Castle were only useful until they developed minds of their own, before Madani explained that Castle was back in New York.
James questioned if Madani had brought Castle back into New York, and as Madani confirmed this, James then complimented her on her game plan, while questioning if she could control Castle. As Madani noted that Rafael Hernandez was not aware of their situation, James commented on her plan being for Castle to murder Russo in order to solve all of their problems, before questioning why Madani had called her there for this meeting, asking if Madani wanted permission. When Madani asked for some advice, James had told her to stay out of the situation and hope that Castle and Russo would kill each other.
Hearing this, Madani had commented on how the CIA did operate on home soil just as long as somebody else, like Castle, was pulling the trigger for them. This comment angered James as she insisted that Madani should not arrange this meeting and then act superior to her. When James went to leave, Madani called her back and told her the story of her own mother's grief when her grandmother passed away, noting that her mother had to find a new version of normal following this loss, something she still could not do after an entire year, before James had simply advised her to walk away from the situation.
This section requires expansion
To be added
- "You'd think in a building full of secrets, we'd be better at keeping one."
- ―Marion James to William Rawlins
- CIA Headquarters: As the Deputy Director of the CIA, James had her own personal office in their Agency headquarters in Langley, Virginia. In their headquarters, James personally presented William Rawlins with the medal for his service to the CIA. Later, he met with Rawlins in her office to discuss the current situation with their potential promotions.
- Dinah Madani - Subordinate
- United States Department of Homeland Security
- Rafael Hernandez - Friend
- Frank Castle/Punisher
In chronological order:
- The Punisher