5 TV Shows About MI5 & MI6 That Don't Include James Bond, Because There's More To Espionage Than 007
Movies and TV have made working in the secret service look like the swankiest, and most extravagantly fun job in the world. I mean, take James Bond, even if it is the most obvious example. I know I wouldn't mind being handed a martini every time I showed up to work, or getting to travel the world, or having every single woman I come across fall automatically in love with me. While they might be a world away from the reality, here are some of the best TV shows about MI5 and MI6, because if you're like me, then you're also hooked on TV's fantasy of the secret service.
Among this list you'll find old, new, and forgotten gems, with everything from Carey Mulligan serving up some espionage realness, to Sandra Oh getting way more invested in a case than she should. Even if they're not all filled with martinis, and bad guys stroking fluffy cats, there's something in here to fulfil every kind of spy fantasy. They range from the outrageous to the eerily real, so prepare yourself for some espionage escapism, because these shows are the best of the best. Whack on the telly, get into bed, and let's go undercover.
1. 'Killing Eve'
If this is your first time being introduced to Killing Eve, then I'm glad it's me who gets to do the honours. Based on Luke Jenning's Code Villanelle book series, Killing Eve follows the cat and mouse chase between MI5's Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh) and the charming, sophisticated psychopath that is Villanelle (Jodie Comer). You have my wholehearted promise when I say that it may just well be some of the best TV you'll ever see.
2. 'The Game'
BBC Two's The Game came to screens in 2014, and when I mentioned that there'd be some outrageous shows in this list, this is specifically the one I was thinking of. A classic Cold War era spy thriller, The Game sees MI5 up against the Soviets, as they attempt to quash their threats to bring down Britain. Yep, told you it was a lot.
3. 'Spooks' or 'MI-5'
Given the show's name, this might be the most obvious pick, but it's always worth bringing up in case you've never seen this classic, or are in need of another marathon. Originally known as Spooks, the OG series sees the MI-5 team working to eliminate terrorist threats from the national security frontlines. Coming to a close in 2011, the show was later repackaged into the Kit Harington starring flick Spooks: The Greater Good, which came out in 2015.
Actor Carey Mulligan is a lowkey British fave, and BBC's Collateral showcases why she's endeared herself to everyone who watches her. In it, she stars as Detective Inspector Kip Glaspie, who's ordered to investigate the murder of a pizza delivery driver. While that might sound a bit low-stakes for an MI5 thriller, things soon escalate, and Glaspie's almost always one step ahead.
Sky One's Spy is a bit more of a lighthearted take on the secret service thriller. Starring You, Me And The Apocalypse's Mathew Baynton, Spy takes you down a farcical curveball, as one downhearted dad has his life spun around when he manages to accidentally sign an MI5 recruitment form. As he unwittingly goes through the training process, it turns out that this once frumpy dad makes a pretty great MI5 agent.