Few things are as thrilling as being deeply immersed in a TV show about spies. And while it’s easy to associate these titles with polished, debonair men and fearless daredevils, the genre has broadened over the past decade to include more diverse characters. Whether you’re up for an action-packed thriller with feminist themes or a chilling mystery that makes you channel your inner Sherlock Holmes, keep reading for the 50 best spy shows to stream on Netflix, Hulu and more.
50 TV Shows About Spies That’ll Appeal to Any Espionage Fan
Who knew that a random email from a college pal could lead to a life of adventure, mystery and intrigue? After accidentally opening a file that uploads government secrets into his brain, Chuck Bartowski uses his intel to assist with top-secret missions.
2. ‘the Blacklist’
Raymond "Red" Reddington, a criminal mastermind, agrees to work with the FBI to help catch the most wanted fugitives. But there’s one condition: he must work alongside a newbie profiler named Elizabeth Keen. Although his motives are unclear, Red takes her under his wing as they hunt down the most notorious criminals.
3. ‘burn Notice’
Jeffrey Donovan stars as Michael Westen, an experienced CIA agent who gets “burned,” or deemed unreliable. As a result, he heads to Miami and takes on private jobs while seeking revenge against those who discredited him.
4. ‘killing Eve’
Eve Polastri is a British investigator who’s determined to capture Villanelle, a psychopathic assassin. But in her pursuit, both women start to develop an obsession with each other. This riveting cat-and-mouse thriller tackles several relevant themes, from race to female sexuality.
The early to mid-2000s featured a stellar lineup of young female heroes, from Buffy Summers to Xena, the Warrior Princess. Among that group was Alias’s Sydney Bristow, a top-notch spy who works as a double agent.
Meet Dr. Gregory House’s twin, Jack Bauer, a gifted counter-terrorist agent who stands by his "ends justify the means" approach when it comes to eliminating terrorist threats. The show is quite innovative and fast-paced, as each episode occurs over the course of just one hour, meaning each season depicts 24 consecutive hours in Bauer's life.
7. ‘tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy’
George Smiley, a British spy, comes out of retirement to rescue his country from an evil terrorist in this 1979 spy drama. It snagged two BAFTA TV Awards and was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Miniseries.
If former President Barack Obama says it’s good, then we’re taking his word for it. The series follows Carrie Mathison, a volatile CIA officer with bipolar disorder who believes that a prisoner of war was turned by al-Qaeda, making him a threat to the United States.
9. ‘covert Affairs’
A rookie CIA trainee, Annie Walker, is assigned to work in the field with a tech operative as her guide. Throughout the series, she evolves into a seasoned, no-nonsense spy that would make Jason Bourne proud.
Priyanka Chopra stars as FBI agent Alex Parrish, who becomes a suspect in a terrorist attack on Grand Central Terminal. Desperate to prove her innocence, Alex goes on the run as she struggles to navigate strained relationships. Prepare for some edge-of-your-seat drama.
11. ‘sleeper Cell’
A 30-year-old federal agent makes a risky choice by infiltrating a group of Islamic terrorists in Los Angeles. Can he stop their extremist leader before they execute their next deadly attack?
After getting rescued from death row by a government agency called Division, Nikita (Maggie Q) is given the rare opportunity to start over by training to be an assassin. But after staying in hiding for three years, she decides to get revenge and expose Division's covert operation.
If you enjoy shows like Rick and Morty and BoJack Horseman, then this animated comedy is just for you. This action-packed series follows the adventures of a group of dysfunctional secret agents, who work at the International Secret Intelligence Service (ISIS), a fictional intelligence agency in New York.
14. ‘charlie's Angels’
If you enjoyed seeing Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu kick butt in the movie adaptation, allow us to introduce the classic series that started it all. Like the film, the show follows three confident and intelligent women, who work at a private detective agency under the leadership of an unseen boss known as Charlie.
15. ‘the Little Drummer Girl’
In 1979, an aspiring actress gets recruited by a mysterious man to join a high-stakes operation that involves infiltrating a terrorist group. NBD.
16. ‘the Man In The High Castle’
This series explores a rather fascinating question: What if World War II ended differently? The drama paints us a chilling picture of what the world would look like if the Allied Powers didn’t win WWII, making Japan and Germany rulers over the U.S.
17. ‘agents Of S.h.i.e.l.d’
Complicated superheroes, action-filled sequences and bizarre plot twists are things you’ll find in this sci-fi spy series. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D follows the team as they deal with unique cases that involve metahumans, time travel, aliens and more.
18. ‘the Spy’
As we've seen in Borat and Tom Hooper's Les Misérables, we can always count on Sacha Baron Cohen to deliver a show-stopping performance. In The Spy, he portrays real-life Israeli spy Eli Cohen, who’s known for his espionage work in Syria during the early ’60s. Throughout the miniseries, Eli goes from being an army reject to being a member of high society as he embarks on a mission to infiltrate the Syrian government.
Inspired by true stories of people who hunted Nazis after World War II, the series is about a diverse team of “hunters” who are seeking revenge. Set in New York during the ’70s, the group targets escaped Nazis who are living in the U.S., but they soon learn that their enemies have already concocted a new deadly plan. Stars include Al Pacino, Logan Lerman, Jerrika Hinton, Lena Olin and Carol Kane.
20. ‘spies Of Warsaw’
Based on Alan Furst's namesake book, the series follows Jean-Francois Mercier, a Deuxième Bureau agent who poses as a military attaché at the French embassy in Warsaw. Set right before the outbreak of World War II, Jean-Francois finds himself falling for a Parisian working with the League of Nations.
21. ‘the Americans’
The Americans examines the tension between the FBI and the KGB Rezidentura. The story is through the lens of two Soviet KGB spies, who are posing as Americans in D.C. during the Reagan administration. Many have deemed it one of the best dramas ever made, and it won four Emmys, four Critics' Choice Awards and a Golden Globe.
22. ‘the Equalizer’
Just when we thought Queen Latifah couldn’t get any cooler, the actress went and portrayed a literal hero. In the series, Robyn McCall, AKA the “Equalizer,” is a divorced mom and former CIA agent, who considers putting her vigilante days behind her. But when a detective asks for help finding an elusive team of bank robbers, she has second thoughts.
23. ‘mi-5 (spooks)’
The series is about a group of British intelligence officers who work under the counter-terrorism division of the British Security Service (MI-5). Matthew Macfadyen, Keeley Hawes, David Oyelowo, Peter Firth and Lisa Faulkner all star.
24. ‘the Avengers’
Follow the exciting adventures of quirky British spy John Steed as he eliminates threats with the help of his trusty partners. The series, which ran during the ’60s, is known for featuring fashionable and intelligent women as his sidekicks. A major plus, if you ask us.
This intense Israeli spy thriller takes us through a whip-smart Mossad agent’s journey as she goes on her first mission at Iran’s capital—the place of her birth. Although it premiered in 2020, the series already made history as the first-ever Israeli show to snag an International Emmy for Best Drama Series.
26. ‘turn: Washington’s Spies’
Ever wondered about America's first spy ring? Allow us to introduce Turn: Washington’s Spies. It offers a bit of history on the Culper Ring, a unique group of spies that left quite a mark during the Revolutionary War.
27. ‘x Company’
Set during World War II, X Company follows a group of skilled young recruits, who get trained to become agents at a secret location known as “Camp X.”
28. ‘human Target’
Meet Christopher Chance, a veteran turned private investigator, who uses advanced technology to assume peoples’ identities while trying to solve their cases. Talk about innovative.
29. ‘the Man From U.n.c.l.e.’
Robert Vaughn and David McCallum play dynamic duo Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin, who work for a multinational agency called the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement (U.N.C.L.E.). Together, they must figure out how to stop a criminal organization from causing a global disaster.
The cult classic, which ran for an impressive seven seasons, follows the life and adventures of secret agent Angus MacGyver, who's skilled enough to solve the most complicated cases with limited resources.
31. ‘danger Man’
Some might say that John Drake is a tamer version of James Bond. As he explains in the first voiceover, he's the special operative who handles every "messy job" at NATO, taking on assignments that take him across the globe, from Latin America to Africa.
32. ‘mission: Impossible’
Not to be confused with Tom Cruise’s films (although those are equally bingeable). But Mission: Impossible, the 1966 series, follows the Impossible Missions Force (IMF), an elite team of government agents who are tasked with completing secret missions that range from saving hostages to targeting evil dictators.
33. ‘berlin Station’
Richard Armitage is Daniel Miller, an analyst turned undercover CIA officer who embarks on a mission to find the source of a leak at CIA operations. Watch for the solid performances and epic storytelling.
34. ‘marvel's Agent Carter’
Captain America star Hayley Atwell reprises her role as Peggy Carter in this underrated gem, which takes place in 1946. As she does menial work for the Strategic Scientific Reserve, she also works with Howard Stark to clear his name after he's framed for treason.
35. ‘the Night Manager’
The critically acclaimed series features a dazzling cast, including Tom Hiddleston, Hugh Laurie, Olivia Colman, David Harewood and Tom Hollander. Hiddleston stars as a former British soldier, who gets recruited to infiltrate an arms dealer's inner circle. And quite frankly, Laurie steals the show as a very convincing villain.
Based on James Grady's Six Days of the Condor, Condor follows a young CIA analyst who finds himself in a living nightmare when everyone in his office gets murdered by professional killers. Plus, he stumbles upon a secret plan that could take even more lives.
37. ‘london Spy’
London Spy starts off as a love story between two men, Danny and Alex. But their romance is cut short when Alex mysteriously dies. After finding his body, Danny learns that his partner was a secret service agent, so he takes on the role of detective to investigate what really happened.
Howard Silk, a harmless UN worker, finds out that his agency has a secret gateway to a parallel world. But when he meets his doppelgänger, a skilled spy, things get even more complicated.
39. ‘get Smart’
The three-time Emmy winner proves that great spy shows can also be light-hearted, silly and fun. The sitcom follows a bumbling secret agent whose tactics tend to land him in trouble. Thankfully, his trusty team keeps him afloat.
40. ‘spy City’
Set during the Cold War and right before the construction of the Berlin Wall, English spy Fielding Scott sets off for Germany to investigate whether there’s a mole in the U.K. Embassy or among the Allies.
41. ‘deep State’
When Max Easton, a former spy, returns to the field for one last case to avenge the death of his son, he gets pulled into a major global conspiracy.
42. ‘a Very Secret Service’
If you're into silly parodies that border on bizarre, then meet your match. Set during the Cold War in 1960, this French comedy series tells the story of André Merlaux, who becomes a trainee officer with the French Secret Services.
43. ‘k.c. Undercover’
Before she graced the screen as Rue in Euphoria, Zendaya starred as K.C. Cooper, a high school math wiz, who gets recruited by her parents to work alongside them as an undercover spy. Not only is it family-friendly, but it offers a nice balance of mystery and humor.
44. ‘alex Rider’
Alex Rider, and ordinary teen in London, gets recruited by a subdivision of the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) to work as a spy because of his impressive skills. If you devoured the YA novel series by Anthony Horowitz, then you're in for a real treat.
45. ‘the Enemy Within’
When Will Keaton, an FBI agent, is tasked with tracking down a notorious criminal who seems impossible to catch, he’s forced to enlist the help of a former CIA operative, Erica Shepherd.
46. ‘the Game’
Set in 1970s London, this fast-paced spy thriller follows a secret team of British agents assembled by M15’s leader. After learning that the Soviets are plotting to destroy their nation, they launch an investigation, determined to stop the threat.
Inspired by the infamous Bourne franchise, this action-drama series dives into the origins of a covert CIA program called Operation Treadstone, where agents are turned into powerful assassins with no personality or moral code.
Included as part of the Taken franchise, this series takes fans through Bryan Mills’s intriguing backstory. One traumatic incident drives him to seek revenge, and in the process, he finds himself launching a career as a skilled superspy.
49. ‘the Unit’
Dennis Haysbert, Scott Foley and Robert Patrick star in The Unit, which was inspired by producer Eric L. Haney's book, Inside Delta Force. The show centers on a secret team of special forces operatives, who go on several undercover missions while balancing the lives of their families back home.
50. ‘strike Back'
Based on Chris Ryan's book of the same title, Strike Back follows a former U.S. Special Forces operative who works with a covert British military unit to take down an international terrorist group.