In 1968, Thomas Banacek of Boston was building up his reputation as an independent insurance investigator who collected 10% of the insured value of any lost or stolen objects he was able to recover as his fee.
One day, he was approached by Noah Bain of the SIA with a request to determine what really happened to a stolen object in Poland, as a favor to the US government. An SIA operative named Alexander Mundy had been captured by the military police of Poland and charged with the crime of stealing it. As much of an embarrassment as that was (not only to the reputation of the United States but to Mundy's skills as a thief), an international scandal would really erupt if the Soviets ever found out the real reason why Mundy was in Poland.
Thomas Banacek had family still in Poland - his father had been born in Warsaw and was a research scientist there until he came to America. In the States, he worked as a mathematician for an insurance firm for twenty years... until he was replaced by a computer. It was one of the main reasons Banacek was chosen for this assignment.
Mundy may have been the best at stealing objects, but Banacek had no peer in getting them back. And being of Polish descent with contacts in his father's homeland was a plus.
Although Banacek initially refused the request with his standard reason ("I don't work for anybody; I work for myself"), he eventually agreed once he understood the stakes involved on the international level.
While on the case in Poland, Banacek seduced a Soviet agent with links to the case. But in the end he threw her over to the Soviet authorities when he exposed her as the real thief. Unbeknownst to Banacek, however, as he left for America with the freed Al Mundy (who was able to successfully complete his own mission), the woman was pregnant with his child.
She died giving birth in prison early the following year, but she gave her newborn daughter Banacek's name before she expired. And that daughter, Sasha Banacek, grew up hating the thought of the man who was her father; a hatred that would intensify and be honed to fuel her skills as a deadly assassin for the Russian regime.
After seven years in a Bulgarian prison (due to yet another hated American, the legendary spy Roan Montgomery), Sasha Banacek aka "The Black Widow" was now in America where she tried to sell the Intersect disk to the highest bidder.
And that's where we picked up the story of Sasha Banacek on this week's episode of 'Chuck' - "Chuck vs. The Seduction".
However.... like I said, this is all speculation. But it makes for a nice way to link a few shows together, doesn't it?
'It Takes A Thief'
"There is an old English proverb that says:
The only thing worse than a devious Russian is a sneaky Pole."