5 best spy TV shows you should watch right now | Digital Trends (2024)

5 best spy TV shows you should watch right now | Digital Trends (1)

The shadowy world of secrets, lies, and undercover operations conducted mysterious characters has always intrigued fans and critics alike. Countless spy TV series have captivated viewers over the years, with many more still to come as the genre enjoys no shortage of modern stories and creative approaches that will undoubtedly keep it thriving for years to come.

Contents

  • The Night Agent (2023-present)
  • Homeland (2011-2020)
  • The Spy (2019)
  • Killing Eve (2018-2022)
  • Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan (2018-2023)

For viewers looking for the best spy show on the small screen today, there is a diverse selection that showcases different sides to the secretive realm of espionage. From the action-packed adventures of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan to the deadly cat-and-mouse game in Killing Eve, these contemporary classics capture the essence of the spy genre and are a master class in tension and suspense. Prepare for intricately woven tales of deception, riveting high-risk missions, and emotional explorations of the complex personal lives of those who live in the shadows.

The Night Agent (2023-present)

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The Night Agent quickly became one of Netflix’s most popular shows when it first premiered, thanks to its gripping story about a government conspiracy that reaches the highest levels. It follows FBI Agent Peter Sutherland (Gabriel Basso), who’s working a seemingly worthless job in the basem*nt of the White House, where he monitors an emergency line that never rings – until one night, it does. That call plunges him into a dark world of lies and murder, with his main task being to protect a young entrepreneur, Rose Larkin (Luciane Buchanan), whose aunt and uncle have been assassinated for their part in a conspiracy.

The Netflix hit doesn’t exactly introduce novelty to the genre, but it does make excellent use of tried and tested tropes and formulas. The Night Agent‘s plot unfolds at breakneck speed and its tight storytelling always manages to keep up with the show’s fast pace, giving viewers little to no time to look away. The bingeworthy series has an exhilarating buildup to an explosive climax that will have fans excited for an already-confirmed second season.

The Night Agent is streaming on Netflix.

Homeland (2011-2020)

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A spy thriller series that kept audiences entertained for almost a decade, Homeland is a modern classic that has become synonymous with the genre. It’s centered on Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes), a CIA officer with bipolar disorder who suspects that U.S. Marine Sergeant Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis) was turned during his time held captive by Al-Qaeda. She struggles to convince those around her that her growing obsession with Brody’s alleged terrorist plot isn’t something she’s making up.

The first season of Homeland gained universal praise, thanks to its intense portrayal of intelligence work and the frailty of the systems that are supposed to protect the people. The show would spawn seven more seasons, largely carried by Claire Danes’ magnetic portrayal of the troubled protagonist, whose deteriorating mental health and increasing isolation are inextricably linked with the nature of her duties as a covert agent. Her dangerous missions soon fade into the background as the series turns into a character study of one of the most iconic spies on television.

Homeland is streaming on Hulu.

The Spy (2019)

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The Spy is a nail-biting spy drama based on the true story of Israel’s top Mossad spy, Eli Cohen, as portrayed by Borat‘s Sacha Baron Cohen in a dramatic departure from his usual comedic roles. The show chronicles Cohen’s transformation from an ordinary man to someone else entirely as he infiltrates the elite circles of Syrian society while sending critical intelligence back to his country. Tension builds as Cohen’s double life puts increasing strain on his mental state and relationships, specifically with his wife.

Baron Cohen is surprisingly convincing as the conflicted undercover agent, with his layered performance infusing scenes like daring infiltration missions and interactions with high-ranking Syrian officials with unease and suspense. The Spy does away with the often-glamorized depiction of espionage, choosing instead to honor its real story by being a grounded and realistic portrayal of the bravery and tragedy of Eli Cohen’s mission. It’s one of the best contemporary miniseries ever, and should be considered essential viewing for fans of the genre.

The Spy is streaming on Netflix.

Killing Eve (2018-2022)

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When bored MI5 security officer Eve Polastri (Grey’s Anatomy‘s Sandra Oh) and the psychopathic assassin Villanelle (Jodie Comer) cross paths, an engrossing cat-and-mouse game ensues in Killing Eve. Trading her mundane desk job for a risky role as part of a team hunting down Villanelle, Eve studies one brutal murder after another until she comes face-to-face with the skilled killer, who is, in turn, fascinated to meet her. The two women become obsessed with each other, with this fixation fueling their increasingly audacious and reckless moves as their twisted relationship evolves.

Killing Eve soars thanks to the palpable chemistry between the two protagonists, whose electric encounters become more bizarre and unpredictable as the show progresses. There’s a healthy dose of dark humor mixed into the thrilling storylines in each season, and while it doesn’t quite manage to stick the landing, the show is still worth watching if only to see Oh and Comer’s incredible performances as the disturbing duo.

Killing Eve is streaming on Netflix.

Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan (2018-2023)

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John Krasinski stars as CIA analyst Jack Ryan in the Amazon original thriller series that follows his journey from desk jockey to secret agent sent to complete high-stakes missions around the world. Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan brings the author’s characters from the fictional “Ryanverse” to life and into the present time as it depicts the protagonist’s experiences after discovering a suspicious pattern in terrorist communications. This thrusts him into a global conspiracy where he faces off against powerful enemies, who he takes down alongside his field partner, James Greer (Wendell Pierce).

Full of high-octane moments punctuated by more intimate depictions of Ryan’s moral dilemmas, the show is a fantastic representation of the best aspects of the genre. It helps that Jack Ryan also boasts high production values that makes each heart-thumping sequence visually stunning. Of course, for fans of The Office‘s Krasinski, it’s delightful to see a different side to the actor, who brings a relatable everyman quality to Ryan, while also showcasing his charisma and talent as an action hero.

Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

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5 best spy TV shows you should watch right now | Digital Trends (2024)
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