FX’s Archer season 12 referenced an existing private detective agency that would actually make a great spinoff idea — though it will likely never happen. Created by Adam Reed, the long-running animated comedy has spanned multiple genres over the years. Whether in reality or the comatose dreamscape of Sterling Archer (H. Jon Benjamin), Archer has embodied everything from a neo-noir murder mystery to a full-blown space opera. In Archer season 12, however, the show has returned to espionage and workplace comedy roots.
Fresh off of saving the world in true James Bond fashion, Archer season 12, episode 1, “Identity Crisis” leaned even further into the tropes of that particular spy franchise. As well as pursuing a mysterious scientist and his even more mysterious Macguffin, Archer, Lana (Aisha Tyler), and Ray (Adam Reed) directly clashed with IIA — a SPECTRE-like organization headed by Fabian Kingsworth (Kayvan Novak). Elsewhere, Pam (Amber Nash) and Cheryl (Judy Greer) finally fixed The Agency’s name problem in Archer season 12. As these disparate threads briefly crossed streams, however, what could make for an amusing spinoff was born.
Alongside Slugs-N-Jugs and the Back and Spyin’ Center, Pam and Cheryl came up with a range of pun-laden ideas. One that they were particularly proud of was Spies With Thighs. Unfortunately, when Pam excitedly called Archer with the suggestion, he shot them down with some rhyming wordplay of his own. “There’s already a company called Spies With Thighs. They’re PIs. They’re good guys.” Archer didn’t elaborate how he knew about the company and its operatives so in-depth. Regardless, their quirky name and Sterling’s impression of them painted an amusing picture for the imagination to play with. As such, it wouldn’t be a stretch to see them appear in a changed Archer season 12 or beyond, before branching off to their own show.
Archer also didn’t mention where in the world Spies With Thighs were based. The name, however, immediately conjured such sunkissed locales as those in Hawaii Five-0 and the various iterations of Miami Vice. Previous seasons of Archer homaged such shows and thematic ideas. Firstly, Archer season 5 was subtitled Archer Vice. Secondly, Archer and his friends became private detectives in Archer season 7 after they were blacklisted for espionage work by the CIA. In both instances, though, the forays were brief and the concepts had a lot of mileage remaining — both comedically and dramatically. Add to that a new range of eclectic misfits to follow on different kinds of adventures (as well as general mishaps) and that’s a whole wealth of untapped potential. Equally, with Sterling Archer already knowing of and having a history with them prior to Archer season 12, a path for crossovers was already laid.
The future of Archer as an ongoing series has actually been the subject of much speculation. Though both the ratings and reviews have remained steady, it’s been widely considered that the show has passed its prime. As such, many believe that an ending should perhaps be in view. That belief has only increased following the tragic passing of Jessica Walter; the idea of Archer continuing without her voicing Malory Archer understandably deemed unthinkable.
It has actually seemed as though the Archer writers have thought along similar lines, with such dropped plot threads as ODIN going missing explained in Archer season 12. Whether or not that will actually come to pass shall remain to be seen. If that is what the future ultimately holds, however, the above spinoff might be the way to go and offer the best of both worlds. It’d allow Archer to wrap up its story in fitting fashion at arguably the right time — while also allowing the hilarious world to live on in a refreshingly new yet equally funny way. That being said, the chance of Spies With Thighs making it to screen will likely remain slim to none, with the end of Archer no doubt marking an official goodbye to the world. Still, it’s fun to imagine.