Get Smart Wiki
This article refers to Maxwell Smart as portrayed by Don Adams in the original series and associated productions. For the character portrayed by Steve Carell, see Maxwell Smart (2008 film).

Maxwell Smart
Agent 86 with his shoe phone.
First Get Smart Appearance Mr. Big
Additional Episodes All
Affiliation CONTROL


Gender Male
Family Mother
Father (deceased ?)
Agent 99 (wife)
Uncle Abner
Aunt Bertha
99's Mother (mother-in-law)
Zachary (son)
Unnamed daughter
Harvey (cousin)
Defeated by Undefeated
Famous Quote "Would you believe...?"

"Everything I believe in, everything that I hold sacred is based upon my belief in the honesty and nobility of my fellow agents, and that belief is unshakable, unarguable and incontrovertible. Of course, I could be wrong." - Maxwell Smart, in "The Decoy."

Maxwell Smart, Agent 86, is CONTROL's top spy (except for Bannister) and, later, the Chief of CONTROL.


As a spy, much of his personal information must be considered classified, which is why so little of it is known. Physically, Max is a rather small man, 5'9" in height and approximately 150 pounds in weight. [Episode #49: "The Mummy."]

Early Life[]

Max was born in 1930 [Episode #130: "The Mess of Adrian Listenger"] and delivered by a Dr. Lindquist [Episode #133: "And Only Two Ninety-Nine"]. The exact date is unclear, but since his Zodiac sign is Scorpio [Episode #37: "The Decoy"], it must be between October 22nd and November 22nd. Max says he was "raised in the city" [Episode #88: "Snoopy Smart Vs. The Red Baron"] but which city is uncertain; he considers Washington, D.C. his home town [Episode #57: "Pussycats Galore"] but claims to be from Minnesota - although he gets the state motto wrong; the "show-me" state is Missouri [Episode #5: "Now You See Him, Now You Don't"] (To complicate matters further, in the first Get Smart novel he claims to be a "native New Yorker.")

He was overweight as a child [TV Movie: "Get Smart, Again!"], attended Daniel Webster Elementary School [Novel #5: "Missed It By That Much!"], and harbored a youthful ambition to be a radio announcer [Episode #53: "Where-What-How-Who Am I?"].

He went into the Army and served in the Korean War, where he reached the rank of corporal. His best friend from the Army is Sid Krimm [Episode #76: "The Little Black Book, Part 1"]. He later became an Ensign in the US Navy Reserve. [Epsiode #98: "Temporarily Out of CONTROL."]

Career in CONTROL[]

Early years[]

Max has never done anything other than spy, as CONTROL recruited him right out of college as a "bonus baby spy." [Episode #65: "Maxwell Smart, Private Eye"]. He joined CONTROL to "fight the forces of evil and serve on the side of niceness." He was also in need of the money, though intelligence-gathering agents of governments actually tend not to be paid well. [Episode #63: "The Spy Who Met Himself."] He was no big success at spy school, failing Torture three straight years. [Episode #136: "Hello, Columbus - Goodbye, America."] He also flunked out of Spy Music School. [Episode #26: "Hubert's Unfinished Symphony."] An instructor while Max was at spy school was the man who would one day be his chief (aka Thaddeus). Within two weeks of knowing Max, the future Chief became bald. [Episode #60: "A Man Called Smart, Part 3.] Somehow, Max graduated and became a full-fledged agent. (Max and the Chief were the only two survivors of the CONTROL Spy School Baseball team--Adrian Listenger killed all the other members. [Episode #130: "The Mess of Adrian Listenger."])


Weapons expert.

As an agent[]

Though he was no major success in CONTROL Training School, Max was an unqualified success once he actually became a CONTROL agent, and by 1965, he had worked on over a hundred cases. [Episode #8: "The Day Smart Turned Chicken."] He won both the Spy of the Year and Agent of the Year awards. He also was voted "one of the ten best dressed spies in the country." [Episode #15: "Survival of the Fattest."] That probably led to the picture and article in Popular Espionage Magazine. He was also hired to endorse the Handy-Dandy Pocket Decoder in an ad which appeared in True Impossible Spy Stories Monthly Magazine. [Episode #49: "The Mummy."] Max was also assigned to take charge of CONTROL's Medical Security Division. [Episode #47: "Someone Down Here Hates Me."] Max's idol was Herb Gaffer, the legendary Agent 4. Like his idol, Max kept a diary with accounts of all his exploits. [Episode #21: "Dear Diary."]

In his off-hours?[]

For hobbies, Max played poker every Saturday night when he was a bachelor [Episode #64: "The Spirit is Willing"]. He also enjoyed chess with the Chief [Episode #21: "Smart the Assassin"], played the bongos [Episode #62: "Witness for the Persecution"], and liked scuba diving [Episode #69: "Dr. Yes"]. He was usually an excellent swimmer; however, this skill failed him on one unfortunate occasion [in Episode #28 "Ship of Spies, Part 2"] when Agent 99 had to rescue Agent 86 after a check of his personnel file revealed that he had not passed his swimming test. Max played on CONTROL's baseball (see above) and bowling teams, and he also organized the "Spy Frolics" every year. [Episode #14: "Weekend Vampire."] He smoked cigarettes in his younger years, though in his older years, he broke the habit, and enjoyed liquor. He liked to drink a Gibson before dinner every night. [Episode #83: "Run, Robot, Run."]


Max had an impressive knowledge of languages, speaking French, Spanish, German, Mandarin Chinese, and Swahili. (At the very least, he was, sometimes, even able to speak those languages. On some occasions, he seemed to be ignorant of any language other then English, forcing 99 to translate.) He was a trained karate expert (though the color of the belt denoting his rank as a karateka was never revealed) and the three-time winner of the CONTROL Spy School's gold medal for high jumping [Episode #10: "Our Man in Leotards."] He was also CONTROL's fencing and ironing expert. [Episode #93: "A Tale of Two Tails."]

Domestic life[]

Max lived in Apartment #86 in the Cherry Arms apartment building in Washington, D.C. [Episode #47: "Someone Down Here Hates Me."] His landlady is Mrs. Macklin [Episode #62: "Witness for the Persecution."] A Mrs. Harriet Doodeley Dawson was his neighbor for "ten years too long" [Episode #8: "The Day Smart Turned Chicken"] while later neighbors Naomi and Emil Farkas turned out to be KAOS agents. [Episode #97: "The Farkas Fracas."] His apartment is extremely neat, with every personal item in its own drawer. [Episode #11: "Too Many Chiefs."] Max's big weakness occurs during the night. He has to sleep with the light on because he has a fear of "gollywoggles." Indeed, lightning is the only thing that scares him more than gollywoggles do. [Episode #62: "Witness for the Persecution."] To help him sleep, Max maintained a teddy bear. [Episode #108: "Shock It To Me."] His dentist was Dr. Harold Feinberg, D.D.S. [Episode #127: "House of Max."] As of 1968, his salary as a CONTROL agent was $35,000. [Episode #78: "Don't Look Back."]


Little is known about Max's family. He has an Aunt Bertha and Uncle Abner, who are the only relatives of his that have ever been shown [Episode #12: "My Nephew the Spy"]. Other relatives that are mentioned are Uncle Harry and Aunt Rose [Episode #11: "Too Many Chiefs"], cousin Harvey the cab driver [Episode #108: "Shock It To Me"], and another cousin who sells used cars. His father has apparently passed away but as of 1968 his mother is still alive because he sends her $15 a week [Episode #91: "Diamonds Are a Spy's Best Friend"]. Max also has a brother who once locked Max in a closet for three hours [Episode #129: "Rebecca of Funny-Folk Farm"] - or had, since he doesn't seem to exist in the present [Episode #108: "Shock It To Me"].


Family man.

Though Max fancies himself a ladies man, he is rarely seen playing the field. A major turning point in Max's life was when he met Agent 99 when they were both assigned to investigate the kidnapping of Professor Hugo Dante and the theft of his Inthermo device. There was an attraction between them which began, if not quite instantly, at least from the moment he realized that she was a girl [Episode #1: "Mr. Big"]. From that point on they work almost exclusively together, becoming, in the Chief's words, "the best working team I've got" [Episode #56: "Appointment in Sahara"]. But it took three years and a near-death experience for Max to realize the depths of his feelings and propose to 99 [Episode #87: "The Impossible Mission"]. Once married [Episode #95: "With Love and Twitches"], Max is a typical jealous husband who would never entertain the thought of cheating on 99. On their honeymoon 86 and 99 go sailing - until 86 accidently blows up their boat! [Episode #99: "Schwartz's Island".] A year later 99 gives birth to twins - a boy (whose name was eventually revealed to be Zachary (Zach) ["Get Smart 1995 series"]) and a girl (whose name, like her mother's, is never revealed) [Episode #120: "And Baby Makes Four, conclusion"].

The Later Years[]

After the deactivation of CONTROL in 1974 ["15 years ago" in Get Smart, Again!], Max is next seen working for PITS - the Provisional Intelligence Tactical Service.

The only recorded case from this period takes place in 1980 when Max is moving out of his old apartment and into a new condo at Lafayette Park Towers (from which may be inferred an otherwise unacknowledged separation from 99). He and new partner Agent 22, with whom he shares a brief flirtation, are assigned to thwart a KAOS threat to destroy all fabric thereby rendering the world nude [Movie: "The Nude Bomb". Note: There is disagreement about the context of these events with some arguing that the film takes place in a separate continuity].

By 1989 Max and 99 are reunited, living in a house in the suburbs, and the twins are in college. Max has taken a job as a protocol officer with the State Department filling in for dignitaries who are unable or unwilling to attend ceremonial functions. But he never gives up wearing his shoephone and one day the call he had been hoping for finally comes: he is being recalled to active duty. KAOS is back and Maxwell Smart is the only one left with enough experience to combat their latest dastardly scheme.

Rounding up as many of his old colleagues as he can muster, Max is able to reactivate CONTROL - at first on an ad hoc basis [TV Movie: "Get Smart, Again!"] and later more permanently as its Chief ["Get Smart 1995 series"].


Chief Maxwell Smart.

In 1995, with funding now assured due to 99's position as a congresswoman, Max is able to promote Zach, previously in the research department, to full agent [GS95 Episode #1: "Pilot"] - thus fulfilling his dream of having his son follow in his footsteps [Episode #113: "Pheasant Under Glass"]. Only weeks later [in GS95 Episode #6: "Wurst Enemies"] Max must rescue Zach whose girlfriend Jessica (actually Gretchen, daughter of now former KAOS agent Siegfried) has trapped Zach in a old lighthouse/missile. In a cliffhanger ending Siegfried is just leaving the lighthouse when Max accidentally activates the missile and a teaser shows the lighthouse blowing up! The fact that Max appears hale and hearty the following week [in GS95 Episode #7: "Liver Let Die"] may indicate that the heroes escaped before the explosion. You could say the explosion... "missed them by that much."