‘Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan’: Does James Greer Have Cancer?

Jim Greer and Jack Ryan in Tom Clancys Jack Ryan

Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan better portrays the spy chief James Greer than the movies. Greer is more than just a good boss to Ryan in the show, as he also plays the role of a father and mentor. However, Greer’s health has always been questioned since he was diagnosed with a heart condition in the second season. His character dies of Pancreatic Cancer in the movie Clear And Present Danger, and many fans wonder whether Greer also has cancer in the show.

Greer left field service at the end of the second season after he was diagnosed with a severe heart condition that meant he couldn’t operate in stressful conditions. His health wasn’t focussed on in the third season as the team neutralized the nuclear threat in Russia. However, in the fourth season, Despite accepting the role of deputy director, it is clear that his health is deteriorating, and he is struggling to tell his son and the rest of his family something important.

His failing health while serving as deputy director sets up a heroic end for the character, just as in the movie Clear and Present Danger. The fourth season seems to set up a heroic end for Wendell Pierce’s character because he tries to mend severed ties with his family. Greer also risks his life in the field to catch the bad guys behind Operation Pluto despite his bad heart. So, is James Greer preparing for his death in Jack Ryan’s fourth season?

What happens to James Greer in Jack Ryan?

Elizabeth Wring and James Greer Jack Ryan

James Greer was hospitalized after Bill Tuttle stabbed him while on his way to The Boys & Girls Club to investigate the company linked with Operation Pluto.

He survived the attack by jumping over the bridge into a river. He also managed to stab Tuttle and get a blood sample used to identify him.

The stabbing happened after President Charles Bachler appointed him the deputy director of the CIA after Jack Ryan nominated him.

Before being appointed deputy director, Greer worked as the CIA Station Chief in Moscow, where he helped Ryan and Mike November stop the rogue Russian defense minister.

Greer was only involved in diplomatic-style missions in Season 3 because he was restricted to desk duty due to his diagnosis.

The mission in Venezuela (Season 2) exposed Greer’s failing health as he collapsed while he was chasing after a suspect.

Before his ill health, Greer was one of the best operatives in the agency despite being disgraced after he killed an asset he was trying to convert in Karachi, Pakistan.

In the first season, he met Jack Ryan while working as the head of the CIA’s Terror, Finance, and Arms Division (T-FAD).


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Greer recognized Ryan’s talent and immediately started mentoring him into the great operative he became.

In Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, James Greer is played by the American actor Wendell Pierce famous for playing detective Bunk Mooreland in The Wire, and Robert Zane in Suits.

His ability to capture James Greer’s sense of humor while still portraying him as an intelligent and experienced spymaster makes his character in Jack Ryan more iconic than in the movies.

What is James Greer suffering from in Jack Ryan?

James Greer in Jack Ryan s03

At the end of the second season, Greer was diagnosed with a heart condition that made it impossible to work in the field.

The condition worsened due to the torture President Nicholas Reyes and his goons exposed to him during his time in Venezuela.

At the end of Season 2, Greer told Ryan that he would only be involved in desk duty in the future, although he still helped Ryan with his mission in Moscow in the third season.

His heart condition wasn’t revisited again in the show until the fourth season when he had a confrontation with Bill Tuttle that ended with him being stabbed in the gut.

In the fourth season, Greer also returned home after a long time and had dinner with his estranged family, despite his son expressing anger at his absence.

He tried to mend relations with the family as he felt guilty for abandoning them as a result of his job.


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He wanted to tell his ex-wife something while leaving after dinner, but he held back and only said ‘goodnight’ as he left.

He was also unable to say it to his son when he called him to apologize for not being there during his football match.

Greer’s attempts to make peace with his family prove the transformation of the character in the fourth season because, in the past, he always chose his work over his family and social life in general.

While his position as deputy director puts him in a strong position to save Jack Ryan one more time, it also coincides with the events leading to his death in Clear And Present Danger.

However, there is still no confirmation that Greer is also suffering from cancer in the show as of the fourth episode of the fourth season, so this is just our speculation based on the character’s transformation observed in the fourth season.

What happens to James Greer in Tom Clancy’s Movies?

James Greer Hospitalized in Clear and Present Danger

Greer died of pancreatic cancer in 1988 after nominating Jack Ryan to replace him as Deputy Director of Intelligence.

Unlike the show where Ryan becomes the director before Greer, the latter gets the position in the movie long before Dr. Ryan.

Greer was the Deputy Director of Intelligence for the CIA in 1981, as portrayed in the movie Patriot Games when he recruited Jack Ryan into the agency.

Greer still became Ryan’s mentor in the proceeding movies just as he does in the show, including The Hunt For Red October, where Ryan’s skills as an analyst became clearer.

The Character’s journey in the movies starts in 1970, after the death of his son, when he leads a mission to save US POWs trapped in Vietnam.

However, the show only focuses on his time with Jack Ryan, so it doesn’t cover his missions before he meets Ryan.

The show’s timeline doesn’t follow the same plot as the movies, so Greer’s fate in the show could still be different from the movie version of events.

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