The best spy TV shows to enjoy right now

What are the best spy TV shows? Well, whether you prefer tense political thrillers and psychological battles, or thunderous frolics through international venues and silly gadgets, there’s a show here for you.

What To Watch has put together its ultimate list of spy TV series. Some are classics, always worth watching or revisiting, while others are ongoing series that you can catch up and prepare for that “new season” excitement when the next episodes drop.

So, get ready for your mission as we showcase our selection of spy TV series. And remember – don’t trust anyone …

‘Kill Eve’

Killing Eve S3 Generics - Jodie Comer Sandra Oh

(Image credit: BBC)

Make an international star of the Briton Jodie Comer, Kill Eve sees her play Villanelle, a talented chameleon-like hitman who reveled in the luxury of his high-end work. Meanwhile, Eve – Grey’s Anatomy‘s Sandra Oh – is a frustrated office spy whose life at MI5 is not what she imagined it would be. But that all changes when she is fired for exceeding the mark, but recruited by MI6 with a brief to find Villanelle. Eve and Villanelle engage in a deadly cat and mouse game, each becoming obsessed with the other.

The first series – much of it written by Chip bag‘s Phoebe Waller-Bridge – was a huge success. By season three, the series received a colder critical reaction, but the combination of inventive killings, fantastic locations, and sleek dialogue and production still makes it a cut above. Kill Eve Season 4 has been ordered and is expected to arrive in 2022.

Number of seasons: 3

Episodes: 24

Episode duration: 45 minutes

Where to watch: United States: Hulu UK: BBC iPlayer

“Alex Rider”

This series, adapted from the novels of Anthony Horwitz, sees the teenager Alex (Otto Farrant, War and peace) recruited from a division of MI6. When his uncle and guardian – himself a spy – is killed, Alex becomes suspicious and discovers that MI6 covered up his murder. The agency hears about his discovery and realizes his skills might come in handy, so Alex is forced to work for them. Soon, the teenager infiltrates a French school linked to the murder of his uncle.

An action-packed escape game, this one is more of a family viewing than a hard-hitting spy drama, and has proven to be such a hit that a second series will follow later this year. Vicky McClure (Course of action) and Stephen Dillane (Game Of Thrones) also star.

Number of sets: 1

Episodes: 8

Average duration of episodes: 45 minutes

Where to watch: WE: Amazon Prime Video UK: Amazon Prime Video

‘The man from UNCL.E.’

During the first wave of James Bond mania – when Sean Connery rather than Daniel Craig was your main man – spy shows popped up all over television, but none are as stylish as Uncle’s man. In fact, he even asked Bond creator Ian Fleming to contribute some ideas when creating the series.

For four series, the suave American agent Napoleon Solo (Robert Vaughn, Jostle) and the beautiful Russian Illya Kuryakin (British actor David McCallum, NCIS), fought for UNCLE (United Network Command For Law And Enforcement). While Bond has SPECTER as an enemy, Uncle’s men have the equally evil THRUSH plotting to take over the world. The show mixed the everyday with the fantastic, and there are plenty of silly gadgets and humorous Bond-like moments among the shootings and chases.

Number of seasons: 4 (1 B&W, 3 colors)

Episodes: 105

Average duration of episodes: 45 minutes

To concern: WE: Amazon Prime Video UK: Amazon Prime Video

MI-5 (aka Spooks)

TV Tonight Spooks

Keeley Hawes, David Oyelowo and Matthew Macfadyen in “Spooks”. (Image credit: BBC)

Set in the British Secret Service, this series follows a team of Agents, or Spooks as they’re nicknamed (the series’ original title in the UK), on dangerous missions to London and beyond. The series got off to a controversial start when a lead character (little spoiler warning!)

The high-octane drama continues over 10 series, showcasing its iconic London locations with thrills and plenty of cliffhangers by your seat, plus more shock deaths along the way. A series of stars star, including Keeley Hawes (Bodyguard), David Oyelowo (Selma), Rupert Penry-Jones (Strain) and Matthew Macfadyen (Succession).

Number of seasons: ten

Episodes: 86

Average duration of episodes: 60 minutes

Where to watch: WE: Britbox UK: BBC iPlayer

“The night manager”

Hugh Laurie and Tom Hiddleston in The Night Manager.

Hugh Laurie and Tom Hiddleston in “The Night Manager”. (Image credit: BBC / The Ink Factory / Mitch Jenkin)

This unique series, based on the novel by thriller writer John le Carré, sees Johnathon Pine (Tom Hiddleston, The Avengers), a former British soldier who now works as a night manager at a Cairo hotel. A relationship with a local allows him to uncover information linking illegal arms sales to British billionaire Richard Roper (a brilliantly insidious performance by lodge‘s Hugh Laurie). With a top notch cast including Olivia Colman and Tobias Menzies (The crown), the drama was critically acclaimed and won numerous awards, including a gong hat trick for Colman, Hiddleston and Laurie at the Golden Globes. It’s stuff from the top drawer.

Number of seasons: 1

Episodes: 6

Average duration of episodes: 58 minutes

Where to watch: United States: Amazon Prime Video UK: Amazon Prime Video

‘Impossible mission’

Not the seemingly endless film series starring Tom Cruise, it’s the original TV version, another classic from the sixties spy boom. Famous for its openness “this gang will self-destruct in five seconds,” the series sees the Impossible Mission Force – made up of spies with expertise in a certain field – undertake dangerous missions on behalf of the government.

Directed by Jim Phelps (Peter Graves, 7th Sky) regulars included Martin Landau and Barbara Bain (Space 1999) as well as two seasons with Star Trek legend Léonard Nimoy.

Each week, the team was briefed on a mission, which could range from international espionage to domestic gang issues, and strove to complete it using their unique skills. The fast moving show brought a more cinematic feel to the television genre, with sleek visuals and intertwined storylines.

Number of sets: 7

Number of episodes: 171

Episode duration: 50 minutes

Where to watch: United States: Paramount + UK: Amazon Prime Video

‘Deutschland 83, 86 and 89’

Jonas Nay as Martin Rauch in Deutschland 83

Jonas Nay as Martin Rauch in Deutschland 83, the first of the trilogy. (Image credit: Nik Konietzny)

A hit in the US and UK, although it was broadcast in its native German language, the Germany the saga begins in 1983, in a divided Germany. Martin Rauch (Jonas Nay) is a 24-year-old Green East German soldier who finds himself displaced from his quiet post as a security guard and placed as an undercover spy in West Germany. With a new identity, he’s tasked with gathering military secrets, uncovering double-crossing networks and infamous as he does.

Another series followed, set in 1986, before another in 1989, the year the Berlin Wall fell, which sees Martin’s world in turmoil as he struggles to find his next move to secure. its survival.

A stylish thriller, Germany explores a fascinating period of European history from a new perspective.

Number of sets: 3

Episodes: 26

Average duration of episodes: 45 minutes

Where to look: United States: Hulu United Kingdom: All4

’24’

Kiefer Sutherland, 24: Legacy

Kiefer Sutherland took aim at the bad guys for nine seasons of ’24’. (Image credit: Ciel)

The unique premise of this series has seen each season feature an action-packed 24 hours in the life of Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland), an American counterterrorism agent. Each episode covers an hour, with a clock displayed as the action unfolds. The first series sees Jack called upon to protect a senator from an assassination plot, as well as save his family from those responsible. Later series see him spending his days preventing a nuclear bomb from exploding in Los Angeles, infiltrating a Mexican drug cartel, and intercepting terrorists by seizing a shipment of deadly nerve gas.

A resounding success from its launch, at nine seasons, it is now officially the longest-running spy drama on American television. While known for its big twists and turns, the series also delves into the characters’ private lives and the moral dilemmas they often face.

And if nine seasons aren’t enough for you, there’s also the 2017 spin-off. 24: Legacy which gives the 24 treatment to other characters.

Number of seasons: 9

Episodes: 204

Average duration of episodes: 46 min.

Where to watch: WE: Hulu UK: Disney +

‘Country’

Homeland Claire Danes and Damian Lewis

Claire Daines and Damian Lewis faced off in “Homeland”. (Image credit: ITV)

A tense political and psychological thriller, Country sees Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis, Band of brothers) praised a hero when he was rescued from Al-Quadea after being imprisoned for nine years.

However, CIA officer Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes, My so-called life) is convinced that the soldier was “transformed” during his captivity, and his release is part of a terrorist plot to be carried out on American soil. But as Carrie grows more convinced that she’s right, she doesn’t know which path the couple’s relationship is about to take.

A smash hit, the series easily survived Lewis’ departure as Brody after three seasons, for another five years as we continued Carrie’s story.
Number of seasons: 8

Episodes: 96

Average duration of episodes: 45 minutes

Where to watch: United States: Hulu United Kingdom: Netflix


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