11 Best Spy and Secret Agent Shows on Netflix

There’s nothing more exciting than a spy thriller to warm up the blood and glue people to their seats. The tension and suspense of a well-made secret agent movie or TV series can be palpable, and that’s the excitement of these spy shows. Netflix has consistently put out great spy shows where there’s often more than meets the eye. There are numerous great contenders for the best spy series on Netflix, but that’s not to say they don’t have some excellent non-original content available for streaming. Those wanting to dive into the world of spy thrillers can add these shows to their list. They are exciting, compelling, gripping, and addictive, delivering everything a great spy show should.


11 ‘In From the Cold’ (2022)

Creator: Adam Glass

Margarita Levieva as Jenny Franklin in Netflix's In From the Cold
Image via Netflix

In From the Cold is an American-made show revolving around a Russian agent. The title was derived from the John le Carre novel The Spy Who Came In From The Cold. That concept signifies bringing agents home after active duty, leaving their careers behind.

In this show, the story seems to be the opposite – the main character, Jenny (Margarita Levieva), has left the service behind and rebuilt a life as a soccer mom. However, she gets exposed one day, forcing her to return to the service. In From the Cold is a spy thriller with some sci-fi elements for those who enjoy genre mashups. It’s an entertaining twist on a classic spy thriller powered by a tremendous performance from the ever-underrated Levieva.

In From the Cold Netflix Poster

In From the Cold

Release Date
January 28, 2022

Seasons
1

Watch on Netflix

10 ‘Treason’ (2022)

Creator: Matt Charman

Charlie Cox in Treason featured
Image via Netflix

Among the most popular original spy series on Netflix is Treason, starring Charlie Cox, Oona Chaplin, and Olga Kurylenko. Cox plays Adam, a well-established MI6 agent with a promising career ahead of him. However, one day, his boss gets poisoned by Kara (Kurylenko), a rogue KGB spy.

Although not the highest-quality spy material on Netflix, Treason boasts a terrific lead performance from Charlie Cox, the episode lengths are appropriate, and the story wraps up in five episodes. This may be its biggest advantage, as viewers often complain about stories feeling stretched out and unrealistic. While Treason could have easily been perfected with a couple more episodes to truly flesh out the story, it’s a pretty great show as is.

Watch on Netflix

9 ‘FUBAR’ (2023 – Present)

Creator: Nick Santora

Monica Barbaro as Emma Brunner and Arnold Schwarzenegger as Luke Brunner in Episode 105 of FUBAR.
Image via Netflix

FUBAR revolves around the complicated father-daughter relationship between Luke (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and Emma Brunner (Monica Barbaro), who are both CIA operatives but are unaware of each other’s roles in the industry. When Luke is pulled in for one last job, he’s just as shocked as Emma is to learn that they’re both spies.

Full of wild stunts and hilarious moments, FUBAR is still a bit messy and could have used a more streamlined approach to its storytelling. However, FUBAR is also fun and full of heart, especially thanks to Schwarzenegger and Barbaro’s surprisingly good chemistry on the small screen. The famous action star is more than happy to embrace a new, lighter, sillier side to his career, and his loyal audience is okay with that.

FUBAR TV Show Poster

FUBAR

Release Date
May 25, 2023

Seasons
1

Watch on Netflix

8 ‘Traitors’ (2019)

Creator: Bathsheba Doran

Emma Appleton as Feef, looking dismayed in 'Traitors'
Image via Channel 4

The British are deeply entrenched in the spy genre, from James Bond to Killing Eve. Following a prominent role in the famous spy series Spooks, Keeley Hawes returns to the genre with Traitors as Priscilla, a senior civil servant working at the Cabinet Office. However, Priscilla isn’t the protagonist. That role belongs to Feef (Emma Appleton), a British woman with an American lover who convinces her to spy on her government for the Americans.

Traitors is among the best British shows on Netflix. A classic tale of espionage set in the late 1940s just after World War II, Traitors is a modern spin on the classic spy genre. Audiences loved it, but it didn’t impress the critics as much. Fans of espionage shows can decide for themselves if it’s worthy of attention.

Traitors TV Show Poster

Traitors

A British civil servant agrees to spy on her own government for the Americans in the aftermath of WWII.

Release Date
March 29, 2019

Seasons
1

Watch on Netflix

7 ‘Spycraft’ (2021)

Directors: Maria Berry, Jan Spindler, Marek Bures

spycraft-netflix
Image via Netflix

While Spycraft isn’t a show with prominent characters or a specifically focused storyline, it revolves around real-life spies, and their tools and practices. Nothing’s more entertaining than wild and exciting spy stories that really happened, and they’re all recounted by former CIA agents and people of importance.

Although it’s quite popular, not everyone is as versed as others in the ways of the spy genre. Fans who don’t know much about espionage and the ways of secret agents in general, will have loads of fun with this original docu-series. Spycraft works best as an introduction to the larger spy genre, featuring its main tropes and opening the door for further viewing and understanding some of the best spy and secret agent-based movies out there.

Watch on Netflix

6 ‘Pine Gap’ (2018)

Creator: Greg Haddrick

The main cast of the mini-series 'Pine Gap'
Image via ABC

Pine Gap comes from Australia, and revolves around the US/Australian joint defense facility in central Australia. It tells a story of friendship and loyalty, which begins when a plane gets shot down in Myanmar, and the US and Australian governments need to figure out the motive behind the attack.

The cast expertly depicts the struggle between juggling personal moral choices and dedication to their countries’ governments. Pine Gap‘s plot is further elevated by its real-life location, Pine Gap, a mysterious building and spy hub in the middle of Australia. Fans of House of the Dragon will be happy to see Steven Toussaint in one of the leading roles.

Watch on Netflix

5 ‘The Recruit’ (2022)

Creator: Alexi Hawley

Noah Centineo as Owen, buttoning up his shirt while looking disheveled in The Recruit
Image via Netflix

Netflix’s heartthrob and breakout star Noah Centineo has taken a leap into more serious roles, and after an action-packed role in Black Adam, he plays a lawyer for the CIA in The Recruit. Here, he’s recruited to find threats directed at the agency. Although he’s not the real spy here, his role becomes more secret agent-like with every passing episode.

The Recruit is an action-packed show with witty dialogue, effortless charm, and a self-aware sense of humor. Although it sometimes gets a bit casual and unrealistic, it’s still an entertaining affair. This isn’t for anyone who nitpicks about what could and couldn’t go down. Shows like The Recruit just want viewers to have a good and suspenseful time.

Watch on Netflix

4 ‘Kleo’ (2022 – Present)

Creators: Hanno Hackfort, Richard Kropf, Bob Konrad

Jella Haase in 'Kleo'

A fascinating Netflix original, Kleo is perhaps one of the best adventure thrillers that have come out lately. It’s a German show about a spy killer running loose in Berlin just after the fall of the Berlin Wall. The killer’s name is Kleo (Jella Haase), and she is out for revenge.

This exciting and thrilling show is stylish, suspenseful, and darkly comic. The soundtrack is on point, and the show is visually stunning from the first frame. Alas, Kleo remains unfairly underrated among mainstream audiences, even if Netflix’s viewership has proven itself more willing to embrace foreign offerings. Fans who don’t mind reading subtitles (which many shouldn’t) will have a great time watching Kleo.

Watch on Netflix

3 ‘The Night Agent’ (2023 – Present)

Creator: Shawn Ryan

Gabriel Basso as Peter with a wound on his forehead, looking at someone offscreen in The Night Agent.
Image via Netflix

Now among the most-watched shows on Netflix, The Night Agent made a splash when it landed. Its gripping story follows Peter Sutherland (Gabriel Basso), an FBI agent with a complicated past who’s delegated to answering a phone that never rings in a basement beneath the White House. One day, Peter’s life is forever changed as he dives into the dangerous world of espionage and conspiracy following a life-changing call.

The Night Agent offers genuinely shocking twists, likable characters, and an escalating storyline that just keeps snowballing to reach its wild, explosive conclusion. It’s not shocking that the spy series has become such a hit for Netflix. Fans will be glad to know that the story isn’t over yet, and season 2 has already been greenlit. Hopefully, it won’t be long until Peter is back on the small screen with another thrilling adventure.

The Night Agent TV Show Poster

The Night Agent

Release Date
March 23, 2023

Cast
Gabriel Basso , Luciane Buchanan , Fola Evans-Akingbola , Sarah Desjardins , Eve Harlow , Phoenix Raei

Seasons
2

Creator
Shawn Ryan

Watch on Netflix

2 ‘The Spy’ (2019)

Creator: Gideon Raff

The-spy-sacha-baron-cohen-eli-cohen-fetured

Many people are used to Sacha Baron Cohen being goofy and doing the most to shake up the system, which he cleverly and boldly mocks. Though there’s no doubt Cohen is a force of nature in the roles he creates, he’s also a fantastically talented dramatic actor, having proven himself with roles in Hugo and his Oscar-nominated turn in The Trial of the Chicago Seven.

The spectacular spy TV series The Spy revolves around the life of real-life Israeli spy Eli Cohen, specifically a case during the late 1950s. Mossad wants to plant a spy in Syria and decides to train Cohen, a patriotic accountant. The Spy features a riveting performance from Cohen and a fascinating story, and also creatively uses color to depict danger. Visually and story-wise, The Spy is one of the best spy efforts on Netflix.

The Spy Netflix Poster

The Spy

Release Date
September 6, 2019

Seasons
1

Watch on Netflix

1 ‘Caliphate’ (2020)

Gizem Erdogan and Aliette Opheim as Pervin and Fatima, standing in the desert in Caliphate
Image via SVT1

Caliphate revolves around a secret agent set on a task to prevent a terrorist called The Traveler from committing an attack in Sweden. A genuine international feature with five languages spoken (Turkish, Arabic, English, Bosnian, and Swedish), Caliphate tackles the struggle of consolidating personal ideologies with the ones imposed by society.

Exciting and thought-provoking, Caliphate is equal parts drama and spy thriller. Between the escalating story and the intimate character drama, some scenes are downright stressful – as a spy series should be. The acting is fantastic, and the direction is well-executed. Caliphate is at the level of some of the best female-led spy movies and stories.

Caliphate TV Show Poster

Caliphate

Agent Fatima gets a tip that a terrorist act is planned in Sweden. At the same time, teenager Sulle has opened her eyes to her student assistant who opens the doors to a fascinating new world.

Release Date
March 18, 2020

Cast
Gizem Erdogan , Amed Bozan , Aliette Opheim , Albin Grenholm

Seasons
1

Creator
Wilhelm Behrman

Watch on Netflix

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