25 of the Best Pop Culture Spies
Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys as Elizabeth and Philip Jennings, 'The Americans'
During the Cold War, two KGB officers go undercover as Elizabeth and Philip Jennings, an American couple in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C. They must carry out their missions while also keeping their true identities a secret from those around them.
Daniel Craig as James Bond, Skyfall
Arguably the most famous spy of all time, we know our leading man as devilishly handsome with an affinity for alcohol — shaken, not stirred — and beautiful women. In Skyfall, Bond proves his loyalty to M when the agency is under siege.
Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer, 24
It’s always a race against the clock with Jack Bauer, who, as a Counter Terrorist Unit agent, must detonate nuclear bombs, foil assassination plots, and prevent the release of deadly viruses. All in a day’s work.
Don Adams as Maxwell Smart, Get Smart
Agent 86, or Maxwell Smart, isn’t as smooth as Bond, but he just may be more entertaining, thanks to his bumbling nature, quippy catchphrases, and cool gadgets.
Jennifer Garner as Sydney Bristow, Alias
As a double agent for the CIA working to take down SD-6, an organized crime group posing as a black-ops division of the CIA, Sydney Bristow must struggle to maintain her secret identities, along with the dozens of other aliases she dons on her globe-trekking missions.
Zachary Levi as Chuck Bartowski, Chuck
After accidentally downloading top-secret intelligence into his head, the lovable and nerdy Chuck goes to work with the CIA and NSA, getting thrust into the dangerous spy world and trying to avoid being killed.
The voice of H. Jon Benjamin as Sterling Archer, Archer
Sterling Archer, an agent for the International Secret Intelligence Service, is a handsome and brilliant spy, like Bond. A drunk and narcissistic version of James Bond.
Eric Close as Michael Wiseman, Now and Again
Put the brain of John Goodman in the body of Eric Stone, and you get Michael Wiseman. When Wiseman gets killed in a subway accident, the government implants his brain inside a genetically engineered body in order go on secret missions.
Piper Perabo as Annie Walker, Covert Affairs
Thanks to her multilingual skills and uncanny intuition, Annie Walker gets picked by the CIA to become a field agent when she’s just a young trainee. But the longer she works as an operative, the more complicated her life becomes.
Joe Morton as Rowan Pope, Scandal
In a show full of characters who murder, blackmail, and engage in every other type of scandalous behavior, Rowan Pope stands out as the most feared of them all. As the head of the black-ops organization B613, Papa Pope will ruin your life (if not kill you), if you stand in his way.
Melissa McCarthy as Susan Cooper, Spy
Despite her inexperience as a field agent, CIA analyst Susan Cooper gets sent on a high-stakes mission, where she lets loose a whole other acerbic, razor-sharp, and comedic side to her.
Angelina Jolie as Evelyn Salt, Salt
When she’s accused of being a sleeper spy, CIA agent Evelyn Salt goes on the run to clear her name and avoid capture, while also trying to protect her husband.
Harrison Ford as Jack Ryan, Patriot Games
He may not be the sexiest, coolest, or toughest CIA analyst, but he’s had quite the extensive career, foiling terrorist and assassination plots. As if that weren’t enough, he even served two terms as the President of the United States.
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne, The Bourne Ultimatum
Things can get a little tricky when the CIA is after you and you don’t remember who you are, but somehow, Jason Bourne still manages to win plenty of perilous fight scenes and evade capture.
Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt, Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation
In five seemingly unrelated movies, Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt proves each time that he’s the go-to guy for missions that seem, well, impossible.
Henry Cavill as Napoleon Solo, The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
At the height of the Cold War, American agent Solo teamed up with a member of the KGB to fight bad guys trying to get their hands on nukes. He was devilishly handsome and stylish of course, but working with a Russian rather than against him made him legendary.
Anne Parillaud as Nikita, La Femme Nikita
When an anti-terrorist government organization goes shopping for an experienced killer, where better to look than death row? The group fakes Nikita’s death to use her deadly combination of evil and beauty.
Ulrich Mühe as Hauptmann Gerd Wiesler of the Stasi, The Lives of Others
Wiesler is a captain of the Stasi, one of the most feared communist institutions of East Germany. But when he begins to spy on a playwright, he becomes a little too sympathetic for the Stasi’s tastes.
Gary Oldman as George Smiley, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
British Intelligence had forced Smiley to retire, but when a botched operation fails to reveal a Soviet mole, it’s up to him to find the crooked agent.
Mike Myers as Austin Powers, Austin Powers in Goldmember
Is there a single character in pop culture who repulsed us and cracked us up quite like the spy who shagged? When Powers is cryogenically unfrozen to combat his enemy, Dr. Evil, he brings his ‘60s mojo with him. It’s groovy, baby.
Colin Firth as Galahad, Kingsman: The Secret Service
Otherwise known as Harry Hart, Galahad is a Kingsman agent that reaches out a hand to a fallen comrade’s son, Gary “Eggsy” Unwin, to offer help should he ever need it. When Eggsy takes him up on the offer 17 years later, Galahad recognizes his Kingsman potential.
Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison, Homeland
Though brilliant, Mathison is also bipolar, which proves to be a struggle time and time again while working as a CIA agent. Still, when the agency needs someone to solve particularly difficult cases, Mathison is the go-to girl.
Jessica Chastain as Maya, Zero Dark Thirty
The real-life capture of Osama Bin Laden inspired Zero Dark Thirty and female lead Maya. The CIA agent is based on the woman who dedicated 10 years of her life to making it happen.
Ben Affleck as Tony Mendez, Argo
Pretending to be an innocent Hollywood agent simply scouting locations, Mendez manages to rescue six Americans in the Iran hostage crisis of 1980. Based on the real story of CIA agent Tony Mendez, Argo also adapts the six real diplomats for the big screen.
Gabriel Allon, Daniel Silva's book series
Gabriel Allon is a busy guy; he’s an art restorer, spy, and assassin for the Office, an Israeli intelligence agency.