In the movies, the Agents seem to spend most of their time in the Matrix. The cops are even familiar with them, and they get around the city by car, but where do they go when their human shell gets murdered?

  • You say “the cops are even familiar with them,” but remember, of course, that the cops think they are simply covert government operatives — not non-human sentient programs. Mar 18, 2017 at 5:31
  • What I'm saying is that the cops (and SWAT guys) have interacted with agents on numerous occasions, which tells us that agents spent most of their time in the Matrix with the humans. Of course the cops don't know the truth about their non-human nature. I'm curious about where agents end up whenever a rebel manages to destroy their bodies.
    – user79931
    Mar 18, 2017 at 6:38
  • @Deutertraumen if it looks like a secret agent and can produce (or "summon") a credible ID for that even it must be a secret agent that can order you around. Thus the cop/swat familiarity could be just that (especially if the agents summon FBI id's).
    – Thomas
    Mar 18, 2017 at 7:35
  • I think they are meant to tie in with the Men In Black mythos. One of the most recurrent aspects of such MIBs is that they are unrecognizable, except as being vaguely human. After an encounter with an MIB, they encounteree is rarely able to recall details of their appearance — IIRC. It's not like “Oh, hey, it's Agent Arr. Looks like he's pulling the overtime for this one.” Mar 19, 2017 at 4:42

2 Answers 2


When they're killed, Agents present themselves for inspection by the Machine Mainframe. If they're found to be working effectively, they're returned to the Matrix and decanted back into the nearest useful "shell". If they're ineffective, they're either destroyed or upgraded.

... you destroyed me, Mr. Anderson. Afterward, I knew the rules, I understood what I was supposed to do, but I didn't. I couldn't. I was compelled to stay. Compelled to disobey.

When they're not actively fighting with Zionese rebels, we see a number of Agents in Animatrix: Beyond monitoring the state of the Matrix, looking for bugs and glitches and in Animatrix: World Record keeping an eye on those who look like they're potentially going to 'wake up' through sheer exertion.


Agents are programs, when they are not in a shell they do not actually go anywhere they are programs that are running in the background of the matrix OS

  • I.e. exit whatever threads are producing the Matrix? Terminate and stay resident, or perhaps to a swap space? I'm being facetious, of course, but you know what I mean. Mar 19, 2017 at 4:39

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