Re: Joss Whedon's S.H.I.E.L.D to ABC!
But in those cases "operating" usually means handing over information and then doing what they're told because they have no authority whatsoever, that can make for an interesting episode but it wouldn't work every other week.
If the show portrays them as just jumping into their plane, flying around the world and playing superhero cop, it would make SHIELD a bunch of terrorists.
Entertainment shows aren't bound by the strictures of reality. There have been any number of shows featuring globe-trotting agents who carry out hands-on missions around the world, either in cooperation with friendly governments or covertly in the case of countries with rogue regimes.
"I'll see you in another life, brother."