Watchworthy

The Best Ever Spy TV Shows 

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Updated April 7, 2020 38k votes 10.2k voters 637.5k views 70 items

List Rules Shows that are primarily about spies, secret agents, and espionage only.

The very best spy shows on television, ranked from best to worst, including British spy TV shows and series. This list of the greatest spy shows also includes pictures from the shows when available. Popular spy TV shows have been a staple of television for years, so there's often debate about what the most entertaining spy show of all time is. Do you prefer newer American spy shows, or classic British spy series? Don't let your favorite spy television programs in history fall 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 below includes information like the program's cast, creator, and premiere date when available.

The shows on this list range from Chuck to The Avengers, plus many more TV series about spies and spy characters. Whether you are fascinated by the world of espionage or just enjoy secret agent TV shows every now and again, the best spy TV shows are listed here for your perusal. From dramas to comedies, this list of the top spy TV series has them all! 

What is the best spy show of all time? What are the greatest spy shows? From old spy TV shows to recent spy series, and even a spy British comedy or two, now's your chance to upvote the best spy TV series you've ever seen!

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list ordered by
1
Chuck is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Ever Spy TV Shows
dianka2013 added 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
2
The Americans is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Ever Spy 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
3
Burn Notice is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Ever Spy TV Shows
courtneysmith150195 added Jeffrey Donovan, Gabrielle Anwar, Bruce Campbell

Premiered: 2007

And be sure to check out our list of the top Burn Notice episodes.

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
4
Person of Interest is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Ever Spy TV Shows
erree added Jim Caviezel, Taraji P. Henson, Kevin Chapman

Premiered: 2011

Person of Interest (CBS, 2011) is an American science fiction drama television series created by Jonathan Nolan. An ex-CIA agent (Jim Caviezel) and a wealthy programmer (Michael Emerson) save ...more
5
The Blacklist is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Ever Spy TV Shows
i̇brahim-ensar added James Spader, Megan Boone, Diego Klattenhoff

Premiered: 2013

The Blacklist (NBC, 2013) is an American crime thriller television series created by Jon Bokenkamp. In exchange for immunity from prosecution, a high-profile criminal (James Spader) volunteers ...more
6
Alias is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Ever Spy 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
7
24 is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Ever Spy TV Shows
Chris Abraham added 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
8
Covert Affairs is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Ever Spy TV Shows
SoWhat 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
9
Nikita is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Ever Spy TV Shows
pigsflyhigh91 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
10
Homeland is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Ever Spy TV Shows
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. The ...more
11
Spooks is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Ever Spy 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
12
The Night Manager is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Ever Spy TV Shows
Tom Hiddleston, Hugh Laurie, Elizabeth Debicki

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
13
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. ... is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Ever Spy TV Shows
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
14
Agent Carter is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Ever Spy TV Shows
Umberhaven 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
15
Mission: Impossible is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Ever Spy TV Shows
holmer62 added 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
16
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. ... is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Ever Spy TV Shows
Countermoon added 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
17
MacGyver is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Ever Spy TV Shows
Benjamin Dunn added 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
18
The Avengers is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Ever Spy TV Shows
Countermoon added 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
19
La Femme Nikita is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Ever Spy 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
20
Get Smart is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Ever Spy TV Shows
Countermoon added 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
21
The Saint is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Ever Spy TV Shows
Benjamin Dunn added 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
22
Archer is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Ever Spy TV Shows
Chris Abraham added H. Jon Benjamin, Judy Greer, Amber Nash

Premiered: 2009

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
23
The Equalizer is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Ever Spy TV Shows
Muttley Dastardly added 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
24
Berlin Station is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Ever Spy TV Shows
Ulli Schmidt added Richard Armitage, Richard Jenkins, Rhys Ifans
Berlin Station (Epix, 2016) is an American espionage drama TV series. It follows Daniel Miller (Richard Armitage), who has just arrived at the CIA foreign station in Berlin, Germany. His mission ...more
25
Fringe is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Ever Spy TV Shows
Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, John Noble

Premiered: 2008

Fringe (Fox, 2008) is an American science fiction television series created by J. J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci. An F.B.I. agent (Anna Torv) is forced to work with an ...more