spies The Best Espionage TV Shows  

Reference
Originally by
8.9k votes 1.6k voters 132.7k views 97 items Embed

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.

list ordered by

1
284 85
The Americans is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
aspirin2020 added The Americans Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys, Maximiliano Hernández 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

2
375 175
24 is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
24 Kiefer Sutherland, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Carlos Bernard 24 is an American television series produced for the Fox network created by Joel Surnow and Robert Cochran, and starring Kiefer Sutherland as Counter Terrorist Unit agent Jack Bauer. Each ...more

3
345 156
Burn Notice is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
Burn Notice Jeffrey Donovan, Gabrielle Anwar, Bruce Campbell Burn Notice is an American television series created by Matt Nix which originally aired on the USA Network from June 28, 2007 to September 12, 2013. The show stars Jeffrey Donovan, Gabrielle ...more

4
216 48
Homeland is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
LanaYoshii added Homeland Claire Danes, Mandy Patinkin, Rupert Friend Homeland is an American political thriller television series developed by Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa based on the Israeli series Hatufim, which was created by Gideon Raff. The series stars ...more

5
330 156
Chuck is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
Chuck Zachary Levi, Yvonne Strahovski, Joshua Gomez 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

6
267 110
Alias is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
Alias Jennifer Garner, Ron Rifkin, Carl Lumbly Alias is an American spy-action television series created by J. J. Abrams, which was broadcast on ABC for five seasons, from September 30, 2001, to May 22, 2006. It stars Jennifer Garner as ...more

7
99 18
The Night Manager is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
LongIslandIceB added The Night Manager

8
116 44
Covert Affairs is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
Mazen Nasser added Covert Affairs Piper Perabo, Christopher Gorham, Kari Matchett Covert Affairs is a USA Network television series starring Piper Perabo and Christopher Gorham. The one-hour drama premiered on Tuesday, July 13, 2010. The show concluded its first season on ...more

9
107 80
Mission: Impossible is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
Mission: Impossible Peter Graves, Barbara Bain, Greg Morris 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

10
116 77
MacGyver is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
MacGyver Richard Dean Anderson, Dana Elcar, Bruce McGill 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

11
64 16
Nikita is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
SheilaHajula added Nikita Maggie Q, Shane West, Lyndsy Fonseca Nikita is an American television series that aired on The CW from September 9, 2010 to December 27, 2013 in the United States. The series is a reboot of the popular 1997 TV series La Femme ...more

12
156 92
Spooks is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
Spooks Richard Armitage, David Oyelowo, Lara Pulver 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

The Best Fantasy TV Shows

13
132 79
The Unit is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
The Unit Dennis Haysbert, Regina Taylor, Audrey Marie Anderson 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

14
104 63
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy Alec Guinness, Ian Richardson, Joss Ackland Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy was a 1979 seven part TV series adaptation of John Le Carre's novel.

15
79 59
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Robert Vaughn, David McCallum, Leo G. Carroll 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

16
74 40
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
LanaYoshii added Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen, Brett Dalton 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

17
63 33
Agent Carter is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
LanaYoshii added Agent Carter Hayley Atwell, James D'Arcy, Enver Gjokaj Marvel's Agent Carter, or simply Agent Carter, is an upcoming American television series, spinning out of the Marvel One-Shot short film of the same name.

The Most Annoying TV and Film Characters Ever

18
83 53
Get Smart is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
Get Smart Don Adams, Barbara Feldon, Edward Platt 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

19
57 58
The Saint is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
The Saint Roger Moore, Ivor Dean, Leslie Crawford 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

20
64 55
The A-Team is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
The A-Team George Peppard, Mr. T, Dwight Schultz The A-Team is an American action-adventure television series, running from 1983 to 1987, about a fictional group of ex–U.S. Army Special Forces personnel who, after being imprisoned as war ...more

21
67 50
Quantico is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
LanaYoshii added Quantico Josh Hopkins, Priyanka Chopra, Jake McLaughlin Quantico (ABC, 2015) is an American television drama thriller series created by Joshua Safran. A bright FBI recruit (Priyanka Chopra) who joins the agency after graduating from the FBI Academy ...more

22
98 63
La Femme Nikita is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
La Femme Nikita Peta Wilson, Don Francks, Eugene Robert Glazer 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

Canceled Shows We'd Most Like to See as Movies

23
58 60
The Equalizer is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
The Equalizer Edward Woodward, Keith Szarabajka, Robert Lansing The Equalizer was an American crime drama television series, originally airing on CBS from fall 1985 until late-spring 1989. It starred Edward Woodward as a retired espionage/intelligence ...more

24
66 71
The Avengers is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
The Avengers Patrick Macnee, Diana Rigg, Honor Blackman 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

25
32 24
Strike Back is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
Mazen Nasser added Strike Back Sullivan Stapleton, Philip Winchester, Michelle Lukes Strike Back is a British/American action and military television series, based on a novel of the same name by novelist and former Special Air Service soldier Chris Ryan. The series follows the ...more

26
92 73
Archer is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
Archer H. Jon Benjamin, Judy Greer, Amber Nash Archer (FXX, 2009) is an American adult animated black spy sitcom created by Adam Reed. The adventures and mishaps of secret agent Sterling Archer (H. Jon Benjamin) and his colleagues, who are ...more

27
34 27
Deutschland 83 is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
LanaYoshii added Deutschland 83 Jonas Nay, Maria Schrader, Ulrich Noethen

These Disney Princess Were Absolutely Terrible Role Models

28
63 44
Mission: Impossible is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
Mission: Impossible Peter Graves, Phil Morris, Antony Hamilton Mission: Impossible is an American television series that chronicles the missions of a team of secret American government agents known as the Impossible Missions Force. The show is a revival of ...more

29
59 66
The Prisoner is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
The Prisoner Patrick McGoohan, Angelo Muscat, Peter Swanwick The Prisoner is a 17-episode British television series first broadcast in the United Kingdom from 29 September 1967 to 1 February 1968. Starring and co-created by Patrick McGoohan, it combined ...more

30
38 55
It Takes a Thief is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
It Takes a Thief Robert Wagner, Malachi Throne 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

31
49 38
Get Smart is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
Get Smart Andy Dick, Barbara Feldon, Don Adams Get Smart is a short-lived American comedy television series that aired in 1995 on Fox. The series was a sequel to the original Get Smart television series that ran from 1965 to 1970. The series ...more

32
33 58
I Spy is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
I Spy Robert Culp, Bill Cosby, Kenneth Tobey 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

The Best Animated TV Shows Since 2015

33
44 43
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is a 1974 spy novel by British author John le Carré, featuring George Smiley. Smiley is a taciturn, middle-aged intelligence officer who has been forced into ...more

34
45 47
The Wild Wild West is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
The Wild Wild West Agnes Moorehead, Robert Conrad, Ross Martin The Wild Wild West is an American television series that ran on CBS for four seasons from September 17, 1965 to April 4, 1969. Two television movies were made with the original cast in 1979 and ...more

35
36 35
Jericho is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
Jericho Hans Matheson, Clarke Peters, Jessica Raine Jericho is an American post-apocalyptic action-drama series that centers on the residents of the fictionalized post-apocalyptic town of Jericho, Kansas, in the aftermath of a limited nuclear ...more

36
42 44
Smiley's People is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
Smiley's People Alec Guinness, Eileen Atkins, Bill Paterson Smiley's People is a spy novel by John le Carré, published in 1979. Featuring British master-spy George Smiley, it is the third and final novel of the "Karla Trilogy", following ...more

37
39 41
Hunted is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
Hunted Melissa George, Adam Rayner, Stephen Dillane Hunted is a 2012 British television drama series created and written by Frank Spotnitz and produced by Kudos Film and Television and Big Light Productions for British broadcaster BBC, for its ...more

Things That Introverts Have The Hardest Time With

38
11 6
X Company is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
JustynTeed added X Company Livia Matthes, Evelyne Brochu, Jack Laskey

39
31 41
Airwolf is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
Airwolf Jan-Michael Vincent, Alex Cord, Ernest Borgnine Airwolf is an American television series that ran from 1984 until 1987. The program centers on a high-tech military helicopter, code named Airwolf, and its crew as they undertake various ...more

40
33 45
Smiley's People is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
Smiley's People Alec Guinness, Eileen Atkins, Bill Paterson Smiley’s People was a 1982 drama miniseries in six parts, made for the BBC. Directed by Simon Langton, produced by Jonathan Powell, it is the television adaptation of the 1979 spy novel of the ...more

41
25 56
Danger Man is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
Danger Man Robert Shaw, Patrick McGoohan Danger Man is a British television series which was broadcast between 1960 and 1962, and again between 1964 and 1968. The series featured Patrick McGoohan as secret agent John Drake. Ralph Smart ...more

42
25 37
Reilly, Ace of Spies is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
Reilly, Ace of Spies Sam Neill, Leo McKern, Michael Bryant Reilly, Ace of Spies is a 1983 television miniseries dramatizing the life of Sidney Reilly, a Russian Jew who became one of the greatest spies ever to work for the British. Among his exploits, ...more

TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time

43
29 45
Mr. & Mrs. Smith is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
Mr. & Mrs. Smith Maria Bello, Timothy Olyphant, Keith David Mr. & Mrs. Smith is an American crime drama series that aired on CBS. Starring Scott Bakula and Maria Bello, the series aired from September 1996 to December 1996. Mr. & Mrs. Smith was ...more

44
30 47
Scarecrow and Mrs. King is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
Scarecrow and Mrs. King Kate Jackson, Bruce Boxleitner, Beverly Garland Scarecrow and Mrs. King is an American television series that aired from October 3, 1983, to May 28, 1987 on CBS. The show starred Kate Jackson and Bruce Boxleitner as divorced housewife Amanda ...more

45
18 36
The Sandbaggers is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
The Sandbaggers Roy Marsden, Ray Lonnen, Jerome Willis The Sandbaggers is a British television drama series about men and women on the front lines of the Cold War. Set contemporaneously with its original broadcast on ITV in 1978 and 1980, The ...more

46
20 40
Codename: Kids Next Door is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
Codename: Kids Next Door Dee Bradley Baker, Ben Diskin, Lauren Tom Codename: Kids Next Door, also known as Kids Next Door or by its initials KND, is an American animated television series created by Tom Warburton for Cartoon Network, and the thirteenth of the ...more

47
18 40
She Spies is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
She Spies Natasha Henstridge, Kristen Miller, Natashia Williams She Spies is an action-adventure television show that ran from September 9, 2002 until May 17, 2004, in two seasons. The show was sold into syndication but the first four episodes premiered on ...more

48
17 39
The Grid is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
The Grid Julianna Margulies, Dylan McDermott, Tom Skerritt The Grid is a 2004 television miniseries co-produced by the BBC, Fox TV Studios and Carnival Films. It starred Dylan McDermott and Julianna Margulies. It aired on TNT in the US and on BBC Two in ...more

49
18 41
The Agency is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
The Agency Paige Turco, Rocky Carroll, David Clennon The Agency is a CBS television drama that followed the inner-workings of the CIA. The series was created by Michael Frost Beckner and was executive produced by Michael Frost Beckner, Shaun ...more

50
11 29
A Perfect Spy is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Espionage TV Shows
A Perfect Spy Ray McAnally, Rüdiger Weigang, Alan Howard A Perfect Spy is a BBC serial adaptation of John le Carré's spy novel A Perfect Spy. It follows the career of the British MI6 spy Magnus Pym from his early days as a schoolboy to his ...more