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The Best Espionage TV Shows 

Ranker TV
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Updated July 15, 2020 11.7k votes 2.1k voters 162.6k views 101 items

List Rules Shows near the top must be only the best Espionage TV series.

Lies! Deception! Betrayal! Romance! Spies! These are the very best espionage shows on television, ranked from best to worst. This list of the greatest spy shows also includes serial dramas like 24 and Alias as well as procedurals like Burn Notice. Popular espionage TV shows have been a staple of television for years, because spies are super cool, so there's often debate about which are the best spy shows of all time. Don't let your favorite espionage television programs in history get to the bottom of the list -- be sure to vote them up so they have the chance to reach the top spot.

The list of spy television shows and spy thriller TV series below includes information like the program's cast, creator and premiere date when available. What is the best espionage show of all time? What are the greatest espionage series? If you like spy shows, this list is a decent place to start ranking your favorites and looking for new ideas of shows to marathon.

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1
24 is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
Kiefer Sutherland, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Carlos Bernard

Premiered: 2001

24 (Fox, 2001) is an American drama television series created by Joel Surnow and Robert Cochran. Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland), Director of Field Ops for the Counter-Terrorist Unit of Los ...more

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2
The Americans is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
aspirin2020 added Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys, Maximiliano Hernández

Premiered: 2013

The Americans (FX, 2013) is an American period drama television series created by Joe Weisberg. Elizabeth (Keri Russell) and Philip Jennings (Matthew Rhys) are two Soviet KGB officers posing as ...more

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3
Burn Notice is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
Jeffrey Donovan, Gabrielle Anwar, Bruce Campbell

Premiered: 2007

Burn Notice (USA, 2007) is an American action crime drama television series created by Matt Nix. After being disavowed by the U.S. government, a covert ops agent (Jeffrey Donovan) uses his ...more

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The Best Seasons of 'Burn Notice' #114 of 642 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #98 of 333 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years

4
Chuck is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
Zachary Levi, Yvonne Strahovski, Joshua Gomez

Premiered: 2007

Chuck (NBC, 2007) is an American action-comedy/spy-drama television series created by Josh Schwartz and Chris Fedak. When a twenty-something computer geek (Zachary Levi) inadvertently downloads ...more

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5
Alias is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
Jennifer Garner, Ron Rifkin, Michael Vartan

Premiered: 2001

Alias (ABC, 2001) is an American action thriller television series created by J. J. Abrams. CIA double agent Sydney Bristow (Jennifer Garner) poses as an operative for a worldwide criminal and ...more

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6
Spooks is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
Richard Armitage, David Oyelowo, Lara Pulver

Premiered: 2002

Spooks is a British television drama series that originally aired on BBC One from 13 May 2002 to 23 October 2011, consisting of 10 series. The title is a popular colloquialism for spies, and the ...more

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7
Covert Affairs is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
Mazen Nasser added Piper Perabo, Christopher Gorham, Kari Matchett

Premiered: 2010

Covert Affairs (USA, 2010) is an American drama series created by Matt Corman and Chris Ord. Fresh out of the farm, Annie Walker must adapt to the challenging life of a CIA operative under the ...more

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8
The Unit is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
Dennis Haysbert, Regina Taylor, Audrey Marie Anderson

Premiered: 2006

The Unit is an American action-drama television series that focused on a top-secret military unit modeled after the real-life U.S. Army special operations unit commonly known as Delta Force. The ...more

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9
Mission: Impossible is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
Peter Graves, Barbara Bain, Greg Morris

Premiered: 1966

Mission: Impossible is an American television series that was created and initially produced by Bruce Geller. It chronicles the missions of a team of secret government agents known as the ...more

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10
MacGyver is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
Richard Dean Anderson, Dana Elcar, Bruce McGill

Premiered: 1985

MacGyver is an American action-adventure television series created by Lee David Zlotoff. Henry Winkler and John Rich were the executive producers. The show ran for seven seasons on ABC in the ...more

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11
Tinker Tailor Soldier Sp... is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
Alec Guinness, Ian Richardson, Joss Ackland

Premiered: 1979

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy was a 1979 seven part TV series adaptation of John Le Carre's novel.
12
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. ... is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
Robert Vaughn, David McCallum, Leo G. Carroll

Premiered: 1964

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is an American television series broadcast on NBC from September 22, 1964, to January 15, 1968. It follows secret agents, played by Robert Vaughn and David McCallum, who ...more

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13
Get Smart is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
Don Adams, Barbara Feldon, Edward Platt

Premiered: 1965

Get Smart is an American comedy television series that satirizes the secret agent genre. Created by Mel Brooks with Buck Henry, the show stars Don Adams, Barbara Feldon, and Edward Platt. Henry ...more

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14
The Equalizer is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
Edward Woodward, Keith Szarabajka, Robert Lansing

Premiered: 1985

The Equalizer was an American drama television series, originally airing on CBS from fall 1985 until late-spring 1989. It starred Edward Woodward as a retired espionage/intelligence officer with ...more

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15
The A-Team is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
George Peppard, Mr. T, Dwight Schultz

Premiered: 1983

The A-Team is an American action-adventure television series, running from 1983 to 1987, about a fictional group of ex–U.S. Army personnel who escape and, while still on the run from the army, ...more

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16
The Saint is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
Roger Moore, Ivor Dean, Leslie Crawford

Premiered: 1962

The Saint is an ITC mystery spy thriller television series that aired in the UK on ITV between 1962 and 1969. It was based on the literary character Simon Templar created by Leslie Charteris in ...more

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17
The Avengers is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
Patrick Macnee, Diana Rigg, Honor Blackman

Premiered: 1961

The Avengers is a spy-fi British television series created in the 1960s. The Avengers initially focused on Dr. David Keel and his assistant John Steed. Hendry left after the first series and ...more

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18
Homeland is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
LanaYoshii added Claire Danes, Mandy Patinkin, Rupert Friend

Premiered: 2011

Homeland (Showtime, 2011) is an American political drama thriller series developed by Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa based on the Israeli series Hatufim, which was created by Gideon Raff. A CIA ...more

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19
The Night Manager is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
LongIslandIceB added Tom Hiddleston, Hugh Laurie, Olivia Colman

Premiered: 2016

The Night Manager (AMC, 2016) is a British television series directed by Susanne Bier, based on the 1993 novel by John le Carré. The night manager of a luxury hotel (Tom Hiddleston) is ...more

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20
Nikita is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
SheilaHajula added Maggie Q, Shane West, Lyndsy Fonseca

Premiered: 2010

Nikita (The CW, 2010) is an American crime drama television series and reboot of the Canadian series La Femme Nikita. The series focuses on Nikita, a woman who escaped from a secret ...more

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21
La Femme Nikita is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
Peta Wilson, Don Francks, Eugene Robert Glazer

Premiered: 1997

La Femme Nikita is a Canadian action/drama television series based on the French film Nikita by Luc Besson. The series was co-produced by Jay Firestone of Fireworks Entertainment and Warner ...more

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22
It Takes a Thief is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
Robert Wagner, Malachi Throne

Premiered: 1968

It Takes a Thief is an American action-adventure television series that aired on ABC for three seasons between January 9, 1968, and March 24, 1970. It stars Robert Wagner in his television debut ...more

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23
I Spy is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
Robert Culp, Bill Cosby, Kenneth Tobey

Premiered: 1965

I Spy is an American television secret-agent adventure series. It ran for three seasons on NBC from 1965 to 1968 and teamed Robert Culp as international tennis player Kelly Robinson with Bill ...more

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24
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. ... is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
LanaYoshii added Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen, Brett Dalton

Premiered: 2013

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., or simply Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., is an American television series created for ABC by Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon, and Maurissa Tancharoen, based on the Marvel ...more

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25
Agent Carter is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
LanaYoshii added Hayley Atwell, James D'Arcy, Enver Gjokaj
Marvel's Agent Carter, or simply Agent Carter, is an American television series created for ABC. The series features the Marvel Comics character Peggy Carter, with Hayley Atwell reprising her ...more

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