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The Best Espionage TV Shows

Updated January 20, 2021 10.7k votes 2.2k voters 164.0k views105 items

List RulesShows 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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  • The Americans1
    372
    127

    The Americans

    Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys

    Premiered2013

    The Americans (FX, 2013) is an American period drama television series created by Joe... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • Burn Notice2
    335
    174

    Burn Notice

    Jeffrey Donovan, Gabrielle Anwar

    Premiered2007

    Burn Notice (USA, 2007) is an American action crime drama television series created by Matt... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 243
    349
    196

    24

    Kiefer Sutherland, Mary Lynn Rajskub

    Premiered2001

    24 (Fox, 2001) is an American drama television series created by Joel Surnow and Robert... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • Chuck4
    320
    173

    Chuck

    Zachary Levi, Yvonne Strahovski

    Premiered2007

    Chuck (NBC, 2007) is an American action-comedy/spy-drama television series created by Josh... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • Alias5
    291
    110

    Alias

    Jennifer Garner, Ron Rifkin

    Premiered2001

    Alias (ABC, 2001) is an American action thriller television series created by J. J. Abrams.... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • Spooks6
    175
    93

    Spooks

    Richard Armitage, David Oyelowo

    Premiered2002

    Spooks is a British television drama series that originally aired on BBC One from 13 May 2002... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • Covert Affairs7
    153
    85

    Covert Affairs

    Piper Perabo, Christopher Gorham

    Premiered2010

    Covert Affairs (USA, 2010) is an American drama series created by Matt Corman and Chris Ord.... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy8
    112
    71

    Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

    Alec Guinness, Ian Richardson

    Premiered1979

    Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy was a 1979 seven part TV series adaptation of John Le Carre's novel.Amazon buy button
  • Mission: Impossible9
    116
    84

    Mission: Impossible

    Peter Graves, Barbara Bain

    Premiered1966

    Mission: Impossible is an American television series that was created and initially produced... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • The Unit10
    126
    87

    The Unit

    Dennis Haysbert, Regina Taylor

    Premiered2006

    The Unit is an American action-drama television series that focused on a top-secret military... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • It Takes a Thief11
    96
    58

    It Takes a Thief

    Robert Wagner, Malachi Throne

    Premiered1968

    It Takes a Thief is an American action-adventure television series that aired on ABC for three... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • The Man from U.N.C.L.E.12
    94
    62

    The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

    Robert Vaughn, David McCallum

    Premiered1964

    The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is an American television series broadcast on NBC from September 22,... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • MacGyver13
    122
    96

    MacGyver

    Richard Dean Anderson, Dana Elcar

    Premiered1985

    MacGyver is an American action-adventure television series created by Lee David Zlotoff. Henry... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • The Equalizer14
    73
    58

    The Equalizer

    Edward Woodward, Keith Szarabajka

    Premiered1985

    The Equalizer was an American drama television series, originally airing on CBS from fall 1985... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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    #119 of 385 The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time#213 of 538 TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time

  • The Saint15
    70
    60

    The Saint

    Roger Moore, Ivor Dean

    Premiered1962

    The Saint is an ITC mystery spy thriller television series that aired in the UK on ITV between... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • The Avengers16
    73
    67

    The Avengers

    Patrick Macnee, Diana Rigg

    Premiered1961

    The Avengers is a spy-fi British television series created in the 1960s. The Avengers... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • Get Smart17
    81
    72

    Get Smart

    Don Adams, Barbara Feldon

    Premiered1965

    Get Smart is an American comedy television series that satirizes the secret agent genre.... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • The A-Team18
    74
    74

    The A-Team

    George Peppard, Mr. T

    Premiered1983

    The A-Team is an American action-adventure television series, running from 1983 to 1987, about... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • Homeland19
    298
    95

    Homeland

    Claire Danes, Mandy Patinkin

    Premiered2011

    Homeland (Showtime, 2011) is an American political drama thriller series developed by Howard... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • The Night Manager20
    178
    48

    The Night Manager

    Tom Hiddleston, Hugh Laurie

    Premiered2016

    The Night Manager (AMC, 2016) is a British television series directed by Susanne Bier, based... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • Get Smart21
    120
    52

    Get Smart

    Andy Dick, Barbara Feldon

    Premiered1995

    Get Smart is a short-lived American comedy television series that aired in 1995 on Fox. The... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • Nikita22
    105
    48

    Nikita

    Maggie Q, Shane West

    Premiered2010

    Nikita (The CW, 2010) is an American crime drama television series and reboot of the Canadian... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • La Femme Nikita23
    102
    60

    La Femme Nikita

    Peta Wilson, Don Francks

    Premiered1997

    La Femme Nikita is a Canadian action/drama television series based on the French film Nikita... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • Jack Ryan24
    45
    11

    Jack Ryan

    John Krasinski, Abbie Cornish

    Premiered2018

    Jack Ryan (Amazon Video, 2018) is an American television series created by Carlton Cuse and... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • Agent Carter25
    88
    54

    Agent Carter

    Hayley Atwell, James D'Arcy

    Premiered2016

    Marvel's Agent Carter, or simply Agent Carter, is an American television series created for... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button