I.S.I.S. stands for International Secret Intelligence Service. On October 13, 2014, the creators decided to merge I.S.I.S. with the C.I.A. for season six, due to the acronym's incidental association with the jihadist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, which gained attention for its violent actions in the Middle East earlier that year.
Pam Poovey (Amber Nash) has a full back tattoo which reads: "For the Angel of Death spread His wings on the Blast, and breathed in the face of the foes He passed; and the eyes of the Sleepers waxed deadly and chill, and their hearts but once heaved, and forever grew still!" This is the third stanza to the poem "The Destruction of Sennacherib" by Lord Byron (George Gordon), an eighteenth century English poet. The poem is a reference to a biblical passage (2nd Kings 18-19) of how God destroyed the Assyrian army before it could attack Jerusalem.
Creator Adam Reed has admitted in interviews that the show isn't set in a realistic time period. The geopolitical Cold War situation doesn't align with the technology being used, or Woodhouse's (George Coe's) age.
According to an article on Vulture.com, the characters' appearances are based on friends of the show creators, as well as actors, models, and other people in the Atlanta area. The models would pose for several pictures, which would then be used as reference points for the animation.
Jeffrey Tambor voices Len Trexler, the rival of Malory Archer, who is voiced by Jessica Walter. In the critically acclaimed comedy Arrested Development (2003), Tambor and Walter played husband and wife, and, once again, were constantly at odds with each other.
Cheryl (Judy Greer) is often called by the wrong name by other I.S.I.S. employees, mainly Sterling (H. Jon Benjamin) and Malory (Jessica Walter). Her aliases include Carol, Cariña, Cristal, and Cherlene.
Because of the secrecy surrounding the change of scenery and plot for season five, the promotional clips did not involve any footage from the upcoming season. Instead, a shot-for-shot animated recreation of the "Danger Zone" music video by Kenny Loggins, made for Top Gun (1986), and a frequent reference on the show, was released instead.
Four cast members from this show were previously lead characters on Arrested Development (2003). In addition to Jeffrey Tambor, Judy Greer played Kitty, his very devoted assistant, and now plays Cheryl, Malory's (Jessica Walter's) less than devoted secretary, and David Cross, who played Tobias, voiced the character "Noah", in season three of this show.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
Dr. Krieger is the son of a Nazi scientist, and lived in Brazil until he was fifteen years old. When his father was killed, Malory brought him to I.S.I.S., where it was later revealed that he was a genetically identical clone of Adolf Hitler. Recently, Krieger has called his supposed genetic heritage into question, saying, "And by the way, if I was a clone of Adolf goddamn Hitler, wouldn't I look like Adolf goddamn Hitler?!"
Prior to his death, Brett Bunsen (Neal Holman) had been shot at least eight times: at least four by Sterling Archer (H. Jon Benjamin) and several others by co-workers Lana and Cyril, actress Rona Thorne, and once by the F.B.I.
Archer grew up believing that his father was a war hero, named "John Fitzgerald Archer". Various events in season one suggest that his father may be Major Nikolai Jakov of the K.G.B., Len Trexler of the rival spy agency O.D.I.N. or jazz drummer Buddy Rich (although Malory is pretty sure it's either Jakov or Trexler). She later mentions a fourth possibility in the third season, and in Archer: Once Bitten (2013), an unknown man appears to Archer in a flashback, claiming to be his father, making a fifth possibility.
Season five is subtitled "Archer: Vice", and focuses on the team selling a metric ton of cocaine. Season eight is marketed as "Archer: Dreamland", and appears to refer to the season seven finale (and the flash-forward from the season seven premiere), where a man, who looks like Archer, is shot and bleeding in a pool.
Several season four episodes make overt references to lead voice actor H. Jon Benjamin and Series Creator Adam Reed. The restaurant from Bob's Burgers (2011) (where Benjamin voices lead character, Bob) is a location in Fugue and Riffs (2013), where Linda, Gene, and Louise Belcher all make cameos and refer to Archer as Bob, and in season four, episode twelve, "Sea Tunt: Part 1", voice actors Eugene Mirman (Cecil Tunt) and Kristen Shaal (Tiffy) are also Bob's Burgers alumni (Gene and Louise Belcher). In The Papal Chase (2013), Archer mentions Lucy: The Daughter of the Devil (2005), in which Benjamin voiced The Devil. Adam Reed co-created Sealab 2021 (2000) and uses the title sea lab, and Captain Murphy, as the main antagonists for the season four finale.