Ethan Hunt is a senior field operations agent for an elite, top-secret espionage and covert operations agency that handles dangerous and highly sensitive international missions that have been deemed "impossible."
Name: Ethan Matthew Hunt
Occupation: Field Operations Agent (Impossible Mission Force)
Legal Status: Citizen of the United States with no criminal record
Date Of Birth: July 3, 1962
Place Of Birth: Madison, Wisconsin
Marital Status: Married
Known Relatives: Thomas Hunt (father; deceased), Margaret Hunt (mother; deceased), Julia Meade Hunt (wife), Donald Hunt (uncle)
Group Affiliations: United States Army, Impossible Mission Force
Base of Operations: Virginia Beach, Virginia
History: Ethan Matthew Hunt was born on July 3, 1962 in Madison, Wisconsin, the only child of Thomas and Margaret Hunt. Raised on a dairy farm in Middlefield, New York, he went on to Syracuse University after graduating from high school. Ethan graduated from Syracuse with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. A little while later, he enlisted in the United States Army. Ethan decided to become an intelligence analyst. After completing basic combat training and then advanced individual training at Fort Huachuca in Arizona, he went on to the U.S. Army Airborne School. Upon completing airborne training, Ethan was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division. He served as an intelligence analyst in Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment. Two years into his Army career, Ethan applied to become a counterintelligence special agent. He eventually went on to the Counterintelligence Special Agent Course at the U.S. Army Intelligence Center. Afterwards, Ethan was assigned as a counterintelligence agent to the 313th Military Intelligence Battalion.
With numerous commendations, he left the Army after six years of service and moved to Washington, D.C.. Ethan obtained a private investigator license was soon after hired by a D.C.-based private investigation firm. A couple of years later, he applied to join the Central Intelligence Agency. Before he could join the Agency, Ethan had to go through a thorough medical and psychological exam, a polygraph interview and an extensive background investigation. Upon passing the entrance and psychological examinations, he was contacted by a CIA official who believed he would be perfect for a organization outside of the Agency. In short order, he was recruited into an ultra-secret agency called the Impossible Mission Force.
IMF is a specialized group of covert and clandestine operatives that remain hidden from the public and most government eyes. Although supported by elements within the Central Intelligence Agency, it operates independent of the CIA and the rest of the official U.S. government national security apparatus. Working in ultra secrecy, this clandestine agency is tasked with handling covert missions either too sensitive or too risky for traditional entities such as the CIA or standard special operations forces. Situations that are too hot politically, too dangerous for politicians to be trusted to confront, or too absurd for the CIA are all pursued by this top-secret organization. Funded by money that has been diverted out of innocuous government funded programs, IMF possesses millions of dollars worth of specialized gadgetry and weapons in this endeavor. Because the missions in which it engages are of an extremely sensitive nature, success will almost never come from the barrel of a gun. Subtlety is IMF's watchword. If the mission could be solved as easily as pulling a trigger, it would have been one of the ordinary government agencies which would have performed it.
Although he was initially only told that he would be tasked with "unconventional black ops", Ethan enthusiastically accepted the job offer. Afterwards he was informed of IMF's mandate. Ethan subsequently quit his job with the private investigation firm and then went through an intensive year-long operational training course to train him in so-called "operational intelligence" or "tradecraft" skills. This means, he was taught the finer points of espionage such as surveillance, clandestine photography, infiltration, and exfiltration techniques. Ethan was also trained for night parachuting, tactical high speed emergency driving, rappelling from helicopters, and dry and wet demolition. He was trained by a veteran IMF agent named Peter Menich. Because of his military experience, Ethan excelled through training.
Once he completed training, he was given the "cover legend" of a systems analyst for the U.S. Department of Transportation and placed in a five person team (called an "IM Force") as the team's point man. Led by Senior Agent Jim Phelps, the team's job was to infiltrate secure installations, seize critical intelligence, destroy dangerous data or equipment, and neutralize the enemy as needed, without leaving a trace. The Impossible Missions Force is different than most intelligence organizations in that, once their orders have been given, there are no required procedures for the fulfillment of the mission. Therefore, Ethan and his fellow agents could use whatever means they deem necessary. Success was all that matters. The downside was, of course, obvious. If a team member was captured or killed, the Secretary of State would disavow any knowledge of his or her actions.
Two years into his IMF career, Ethan's team assembled for a mission in Prague that would change Ethan's life dramatically. The objective of the mission was to prevent a U.S. diplomat from selling the Non-official cover (NOC) list - a comprehensive list of all covert agents in Eastern Europe. The mission went inextricably wrong, resulting in the deaths of the team, leaving Ethan the sole survivor. Fleeing the scene, Ethan met with Eugene Kittridge, the CIA-based director of the IMF, at a café. Ethan, very much in shock, was disturbed to learn from Kittridge that a mole, codenamed Job, had infiltrated IMF, and that the Prague operation was meant to ferret Job out by allowing the mole to acquire the NOC list and attempt to sell it to "Max", an illegal arms dealer known for corrupting IMF agents. The NOC list in Prague was fake, the real list being held in CIA headquarters in Virginia. With Ethan the sole survivor, the CIA believed he was the mole. Ethan realizes this, and mounted a daring escape from the café, fleeing into Prague.
Ethan returned to the IMF safe house, where he discovered fellow IMF agent Claire Phelps, Phelps's wife, actually survived the mission. Ethan began a correspondence with "Max" (a woman), explaining that the NOC list was a fake and offering to deliver the real NOC list in exchange for the identity of the mole. Max agreed to the deal and offered Ethan a cash advance, which Ethan used to assemble a team of disavowed former IMF agents, including computer expert Luther Stickell and pilot Franz Krieger. The new team infiltrated the heavily fortified headquarters of the CIA in Langley and successfully stole a copy of the full NOC list before escaping to a safe house in London. Once there, Ethan discovered that his uncle and mother had been falsely arrested for drug trafficking in an attempt to lure him out. This infuriated Hunt, and he contacted Kittridge, who offered to drop the false charges the moment Ethan surrendered to authorities. Ethan hung up, after allowing Kittridge to trace him to the London area, turned around and walked right into Jim Phelps.
Phelps, presumed dead in the Prague operation, revealed that Kittridge was the mole and was tying up loose ends by trying to apprehend Ethan. Ethan reflected on this, while in reality piecing together the clues he discovered leading up to his operation and realized that Phelps was the mole, Job. Ethan pretended to accept the story while being uncertain about Claire's place in the conspiracy. The next day, Max and Ethan arranged to meet aboard the TGV en route to Paris, with Claire and Luther aboard to provide backup. Kittridge was also aboard, having recently arrived in London and received tickets for the TGV and a video watch from Ethan. In the train, Ethan delivered the supposed NOC list to Max, who directed him to the luggage compartment to find his money, and Job. Max then attempted to transmit the NOC list to a server, an operation hindered by Luther, who activated a jamming device to prevent the upload. Claire, observing Kittridge's presence aboard the train, vacated her seat and met with Phelps in the luggage car, confirming her part in the conspiracy. A silent "Phelps" slowly peeled away his mask, revealing himself as Ethan. Suddenly, the real Phelps appeared, armed and demanding the NOC list money. Ethan surrendered it before pulling out a pair of glasses. He slid them over his eyes, activating the camera inside and transmitting Phelps's image to Kittridge, proving beyond a doubt that Phelps was still alive.
Phelps, now revealed as the traitor, shot Claire in anger when she spoke against killing Ethan. He then beat Ethan down before escaping to the roof of the train, where Krieger, also a traitor, waited to extract him with a helicopter. Ethan recovered and followed Phelps, impeded his efforts to escape and tethered Krieger's helicopter to the train as it headed into the Channel Tunnel. The fight continued, with the helicopter now following the train inside the tunnel. The two fought atop the wind-swept train before Phelps disconnected the helicopter from the train and attempted to escape. Ethan followed, leapt onto the helicopter's landing skids and attached explosive gum to the windshield. The ensuing explosion killed Phelps and Krieger, with Ethan narrowly escaping. Kittridge, now in possession of the NOC list and Max's true identity, dropped his investigation against Ethan and reinstated Luther as an IMF agent.
A little while later, as Ethan was on a plane flying home, a flight attendant approached him and through a coded phrase asked if he's ready for another mission; because of his actions during the crisis, Ethan was promoted to the position of team leader. After being given the new cover legend of a traffic engineer who studies traffic patterns for the Virginia Department of Transportation, he officially became a "senior field operations agent." Since then, Ethan Hunt has become the Impossible Mission Force's premier field agent.
Weight: 165 lbs.
Skills: A highly skilled and diversified agent, among his many talents is the remarkable ability to blend in and infiltrate enemy installations. He is also an excellent marksman and a quick-witted "McGyver-type" agent. Ethan excels in using IMF's key piece of technology, the facemaker, showing the great control over his mind and facial muscles required to make the artificial faces last. Like every other IMF field agent, Ethan is well educated, multi-talented and trained in a variety of areas including long distance surveillance, computers, demolition tactics and even hand to hand combat. Ethan also has been trained rigorously in the ways of stealth, deception, persuasion and the art of "invisibility." He has an incredible gift for observation and detective work and works well solo or as part of a group. Ethan is also highly charismatic and has demonstrated himself to be a very talented actor, both in terms of disguising himself as other people and in terms of hiding his true feelings and reactions.
- This character appears in the Mission Impossible film franchise.