Lists · Podcast Unlimited

The Top Ten fictional spies


“All the boys think she’s a spy”
Kim Carnes – “Bette Davis Eyes”

In the real world, the occupation of a spy or private investigator is quite a mundane, boring one. The job is more akin to a librarian or researcher, than action hero. There is more paperwork pushing than gun slinging. But in the world of fiction, the role of spy is one of the most glamorous positions available. 

There have been some brilliant, savvy, beautiful, deadly, and legendary spies all throughout history. But that is not this list. Because their fictional counterparts are more brilliant, savvier, more beautiful, deadlier, and more iconic. The spy gets to play with the latest and greatest toys, while all the while, flirting with the wealthiest and most beautiful people in the world.  Some may rumble; others may stumble. Either way, the save the world, and get a little something-something on the side. I’ve always wondered why there aren’t more ninja movies being made in Hollywood. Because, in the Western Hemisphere, the spy is just a ninja in a tuxedo.

With all that in mind, here are our lists.

The Top Ten Fictional Spies

Keith’s List

  • 10. Emmett Fitz-Hume & Austin Millbarge (Spies Like Us)
  • 9. Maggie Haywood / Nina (Point of No Return)
  • 8. Evelyn Salt (Salt)
  • 7. Austin Powers
  • 6. Ethan Hunt (Mission: Impossible movies)
  • 5. Harry Tasker (True Lies)
  • 4. Maxwell Smart (Get Smart)
  • 3. Jason Bourne
  • 2. Brian Mills (Taken)
  • 1. James Bond


“You know spies… bunch of bitchy little girls.”
Sam Axe – Burn Notice

My List

  • 10. Jim Phelps (Mission: Impossible TV series)
  • 9. Agent 99 (Get Smart)
  • 8. Severus Snape (Harry Potter series)
  • 7. Harry Hart (Kingsman: The Secret Service)
  • 6. Jason Bourne
  • 5. Nick Fury (various Marvel Comics)
  • 4. Garak (Star Trek: Deep Space 9)
  • 3. Michael Westen (Burn Notice)
  • 2. James Bond
  • 1. George Smiley (Tinker, Tailor Soldier, Spy)

Honorable Mentions: Sterling Archer (Archer); Sydney Bristow (Alias); Jack Bauer (24); Number 6 (The Prisoner); Peggy Carter (Agent Carter); Jack Ryan (various Tom Clancy novels); Edwyn Drood / Shaman Bond (Simon R. Green’s Secret Wars novels)

Next Podcast Unlimited Poll: Better at playing Bruce Wayne, (not Batman): Michael Keaton or Christian Bale?
Next Podcast Unlimited List: Top Ten movie aliens.


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