• Network: Netflix
  • Series Premiere Date: Sep 6, 2019
Metascore
69

Generally favorable reviews - based on 15 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 15
  2. Negative: 0 out of 15

Critic Reviews

  1. Reviewed by: Aaron Barnhart
    Sep 11, 2019
    100
    Sometimes it takes an ordinary thriller or procedural to make an extraordinary point. The Spy offers entertaining proof of this.
  2. Reviewed by: Allie Gemmill
    Sep 5, 2019
    83
    The is timely value in seeing this story brought to life, especially in considering where the roots of modern political conflicts are situated and how they came to be, as seen through the eyes of one man at the heart of it all. Come to The Spy for Baron Cohen’s performance but stay for this series’ tense drama borne out of the life of a mid-century spy.
  3. Reviewed by: Tim Goodman
    Sep 6, 2019
    80
    There are shorthand cliches about duty, country and spying that could have been excised. But, flaws aside, this mostly true story of Israel's most famous spy makes for a compelling story, fueled by Cohen's strongest dramatic work yet.
  4. Reviewed by: Dorothy Rabinowitz
    Sep 5, 2019
    80
    “The Spy” is gripping drama. Its creators have a satisfying grasp of the truth that there’s little so terrifying as the clickety-clack of a hero-spy tapping out urgent intelligence messages in his lonely room as the enemy’s surveillance team drives around tracking the sound.
  5. Reviewed by: Nick Schager
    Sep 3, 2019
    80
    [Cohen's] impressively restrained and charismatic performance helps this suspenseful saga transcend its more conventional moments, turning it into a character study about an individual torn between two worlds and identities, and a gripping account of the sacrifices sometimes required by patriotic service.
  6. Reviewed by: Nick Allen
    Sep 10, 2019
    75
    “The Spy” is a compelling albeit uneven limited series that offers a unique character study of a spy, and in this case, a true chameleon.
  7. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    Sep 5, 2019
    75
    Sacha Baron Cohen provides another reminder that being a clown requires serious acting chops, which the famous prankster puts to use in The Spy, a taut Netflix limited series based on a pretty remarkable true story. Set in the early 1960s, it's the Israeli version of James Bond, with a gritty edge and constant sense of jeopardy.
  8. Reviewed by: Kristen Baldwin
    Sep 5, 2019
    75
    Stumbles are minor, and The Spy unspools an intense tale of suspense, building to a conclusion that is as devastating as it is inevitable. With Homeland‘s best days behind it (and its final season not premiering until 2020), fans will find Raff’s latest Spy a satisfying binge.
  9. Reviewed by: Alan Sepinwall
    Sep 3, 2019
    70
    The Spy won’t necessarily convince you that Baron Cohen will, like Robin Williams or Jim Carrey before him, prove to be just as potent at playing serious as he was going for belly laughs. But it’s a promising start if he wants to start disappearing into characters whose goals are more dangerous than a prank.
  10. Reviewed by: Ben Travers
    Sep 6, 2019
    67
    For anyone who’s obsessed with Cohen or the genre itself, Raff’s classic construction should satisfy. For everyone else, this “Spy” is just too obvious.
  11. Reviewed by: Alex McLevy
    Sep 6, 2019
    67
    The Spy never quite manages to rise to the level of its excellent lead actors, but ends up being a satisfying depiction of one of the more unusual success stories of international espionage.
  12. Reviewed by: Liam Mathews
    Sep 5, 2019
    60
    The Spy is entertaining, if unmemorable.
  13. Reviewed by: Willa Paskin
    Sep 6, 2019
    50
    For a show that is both thoughtful and appropriately cynical about Israeli intelligence services—the Mossad’s concern for the nation turns even its most effective and devoted citizens into expendable cogs—it is surprisingly gentle to Cohen, a gentleness that becomes indistinguishable from shallowness, a spoiled sort of kindness.
  14. I did not know about the story of Eli Cohen before watching The Spy, and so for that, I’m glad I did see it. I know more about history than I did before. I only wish The Spy had done a little more to shade in some subtle colors within its stark, blunt outline.
  15. Reviewed by: Daniel D'Addario
    Sep 6, 2019
    40
    Any spy worth their salt has to be able to present different sides to different people, of course. The role gives [Baron Cohen] too little of those scenes, favoring a domestic drama that grounds the show and robs the star of a weapon he has a unique ability to deploy. As a spy drama, the series is as plodding as its title, reminding the audience of more soaring efforts and lending incident but not enough interest.
User Score
5.7

Mixed or average reviews- based on 18 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 18
  2. Negative: 6 out of 18
  1. Sep 11, 2019
    0
    The acting is atrocious (Cohen is overacting all the scenes but other actors are also weak). It is a show that appears artificial, trying tooThe acting is atrocious (Cohen is overacting all the scenes but other actors are also weak). It is a show that appears artificial, trying too hard. One example is the use of a colour lens that make appear all the scenes in Israel set in the past as faded photographs. It's a gimmick that adds to the bland, boring atmosphere of the series. Full Review »
  2. Sep 10, 2019
    3
    An ultimately mediocre piece of zionist / israeli propaganda. Hollywood propaganda pieces are usually more entertaining and just better atAn ultimately mediocre piece of zionist / israeli propaganda. Hollywood propaganda pieces are usually more entertaining and just better at rendering synthetic lies and stories. Watch it and see for yourself. Full Review »
  3. Sep 8, 2019
    7
    A great and true spy story deserves a deeper look than this rather shallow rendition. It's by the book. Our hero is heroic displayed, but hisA great and true spy story deserves a deeper look than this rather shallow rendition. It's by the book. Our hero is heroic displayed, but his humanity is largely in the shadow. The dialog is dumbed down for the audience-the characters seem to be talking more to the audience than each other-and the plot is Ian Fleming when we need Le Carre. It's really a propaganda piece for Israel rather than an exploration of the psychological tension of living a double life in the devil's lair. Full Review »