The Spy

TV review by
Marty Brown, Common Sense Media
The Spy TV Poster Image
Espionage drama best for Baron Cohen fans, has violence.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Cohen makes personal sacrifices, including the willingness to hurt others, for the good of his country. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Eli Cohen may have performed heroic actions in real life, but the series seems to present a one-sided version of a complex conflict.

Violence

The Spy features person-on-person violence, but also graphic war scenes that include bombings of innocent people.

Sex

Simulated sex, along with male and female nudity.

Language

A moderate amount of profanity, including "f--k" and "s--t."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters drink and smoke socially. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Spy is an action drama based on the life of Eli Cohen, an Israeli man who infiltrated the Syrian military in the early 1960s. The show depicts interpersonal violence, some interrogation torture, and graphic war scenes, including the bombing of innocent people. The Spy stars Sacha Baron Cohen, who may be a draw for some who are familiar with his work in comedy (Borat, Da Ali G Show, Who Is America?), though he mostly plays it straight here. The content is mature, including simulated sex with nudity, violent bombings, and some profanity like "s--t" and "f--k."

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What's the story?

The Israeli government recruits a clerk named Eli Cohen (Sacha Baron Cohen) to infiltrate the Syrian government as THE SPY. Cohen must learn on the job, putting himself, his country, and his marriage at risk.

Is it any good?

Clearly a passion project for Sacha Baron Cohen, who has serious acting chops despite being mostly known for broad comedy, this feels stretched incredibly thin as a miniseries. Though there's an eye for detail, the slow pace and focus on minutiae undercut the The Spy's suspense and drama.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the historical context of The Spy. What is the conflict between Israel and Syria? Who was Eli Cohen?

  • What drives Cohen to become a spy? What makes him successful?

  • Do you think that the good Cohen does for his country outweighs the damage he does to his personal life? Why or why not?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love drama

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