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We're prepping for some James Bond 'Spectre' action by binge-watching these brilliantly mysterious TV spy dramas. Plus, lots of these TV favourites centre on brilliant lady spies, giving us all a taste of a what a female James Bond would be like...
Former government agent and fugitive Raymond ‘Red’ Reddington surrenders to the FBI, but offers to help them solve cases if he can work with rookie Liz Keen. He also has a special ‘List’ of mobsters, politicians, spies and terrorists who he is picking off one-by-one. It’s back for a third series on Sky later this year, so catch up on the first two now!
You may know her from ‘Coyote Ugly’ but Piper Perabo swapped singing for spying in this hit American drama. She plays Annie Walker, a CIA trainee and language specialist who is suddenly thrown in the field…but did she really earn it, or did someone mysterious help her get there? We’re hooked!
We can’t get enough of Jack Bauer! Got back to the beginning and experience a day in the life of the counterterrorism agent with a habit for leaving devastation in his week. With each episode unfolding in real time, you’ll soon find your ‘real time’ has been taken-up too.
A global crisis, known as ‘The Sudden Departure’, results in 140 million people disappearing off the face of the earth. It’s up to Kevin Garvey, played by Justin Theroux, to solve the mystery, keep his town safe and ward off a creepy cult. The second series kicks off on Sky this autumn, so use your time pre-‘Spectre’ to catch up on the first series.
Michael Westen thinks he’s a big shot spy, until he receives his ‘Burn Notice’…kind of like the spy version of a P45. Now, he’s on a mission to find out why he’s been sacked and avoid the covert enemy that’s got it in for him. Fortunately his girlfriend and best-mate are spies, so he’s got some help to find the truth. Trust us, you’ll be hooked in no time.
Jennifer Garner is Sydney Bristow, a run-of-the-mill woman who learns she’s got a family history of undercover work. She agrees to become an international spy for a secret branch of the CIA, but, obviously, becoming a spy is a bit of a faff on the old love life. This show ran from 2001 to 2006, so expect some great early 00s fashion!
Imagine if ‘Salt’ with Angelina Jolie was made into a TV series and then you’ve pretty much got the plot of ‘The Americans’ nailed. Phillip and Elizabeth Jennings are two KGB agents in an arranged marriage, designed to look like the perfect American family in the early 1980s. They have two children who have no idea that their parents are super-sleuths and the two are starting to develop real feelings for each other too. Just wait until the FBI agent moves in next door…
Maggie Q stars as the mysterious Nikita who is rescued from death row by a secret government agency to be trained as a spy and assassin (you know, just your normal every day stuff). After three years in hiding, Nikita is on a mission to get back at the former bosses who turned her into a killer. It’s all very exciting stuff!
Chuck is your average computer geek who accidentally opens a secret government email packed full of international secrets. Now, he’s a target for assassins and terrorists who want access to his brain! We can guarantee a few more laughs than James Bond in this TV series, which sadly ended in 2012.
Johnny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu are Sherlock Holmes and Dr Joan Watson in this modern-day version of Arthur Conan-Doyle’s classic. Set in New York, we meet recovering drug addict and private investigator Sherlock Holmes who hires Dr Joan as his live-in sobriety coach. It doesn’t quite beat Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, but it sure is addictive!
Famous for burning a woman alive in a vat of cooking oil in its first episode (yes, really) this British spy drama is worth a second look. The drama surrounds Harry Pearce and his counterterrorism team at MI5 who are locked away in a secure office called ‘The Grid’. Oh, and don’t forget to watch the follow-on film with ‘Game of Thrones’ star Kit Harrington which came out earlier this year.