Spies on TV give the cloak & dagger genre a boost

Josh Holloway,  photo by Margie Barron

Josh Holloway, photo by Margie Barron

The 2014 Winter Olympics have proven the cold war between the U.S. and Russia isn’t over– just ask the Russian hockey team!

So now that the cold war is heating up again, let’s explore the wave of TV shows filled with clever spies, following other successful secret agent series that have been part of our culture since the spy vs. spy days of old.

Intelligence is a comtemporary high-tech fast-paced spy series on CBS. It showcases the considerable charms of star Josh Holloway (the darling bad-boy Sawyer of Lost fame) as he plays a former soldier who has a microchip implanted in his head. It gives him a computer-like super-brain, plus enhanced vision and other ultra-techie spying capabilities. All his talents are used to fight terrorists as a member of the U.S. Cyber Command. Meghan Ory (Once Upon a Time) is his reluctant partner, and Marg Helgenberger (CSI) his boss.

The show was designed to be fun and not political, but as the moral complications of what happened with Snowden and the NSA started popping up in the news during production, Holloway shared his thoughts about how he hoped the stories will go more into the questions about becoming a surveillance state with the technology we have.

Holloway said, “One of the reasons I took this project is I really like the questions that it posed about technology and our own humanity. We’re vying for position constantly in today’s world, and how do we communicate with each other? Does that change? Do we need a gadget? If you’re a teenager, the answer is yes. You can’t even say ‘hi’ without texting each other. So this is the question that I ask myself, what comes first, the chicken or the egg, our humanity or technology? And this is going to be more and more a moral question with the drones and so forth. What will happen to our humanity. This is going to touch on all of that. And I hope we delve into it deeper. ”

 The Americans on FX is back for a second season deep undercover with more sexy spy vs. spy intrigue set in the 1960s. It follows on the heels of Showtime’s spy drama Homeland set in the present. But those are fictional stories, and ABC had a miniseries about an actual CIA double agent with The Assets, starring Jodie Whittaker as the dedicated agent who wanted to protect America’s assets in the deadly espionage games played during the Reagan era.

Many thanks to BBC America for their recent miniseries Fleming: The Man Who Would be Bond. In the real-life story Dominic Cooper (Captain America: The Winter Soldier) starred as Ian Fleming, the creator of the James Bond novels. The biopic was set during WWII following the future author who went from playboy to spy for Britain’s Naval Intelligence. The people he met along the way later inspired the characters in his 007 books. And if the story is to be believed, Fleming’s love life rivaled any Bond escapade.

Always a delight, the animated spy comedy Archer on FX is back for its fifth season, and is a treat for all who like great characters and sexy humor that spoofs the cloak and dagger genre. Aah, …would you believe Maxwell Smart would be so proud. #


Margie Barron has written for a wide variety of outlets including Gannett newspapers, Nickelodeon, Tiger Beat and 16 Magazine, Fresh!, Senior Life, Production Update, airline magazines, etc. Margie is also proud to be half of the husband and wife writing team Frank & Margie Barron, who have written together for various entertainment and travel publications for more than 30 years.

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