The Spy
Streaming TV

Boxset Monday: The Spy (season one) (France: OCS; UK: Netflix)

In France: Available on OCS
In the UK: Available on Netflix

Gideon Raff seems to be on a one-man mission to publicise historic Mossad spying missions. The creator of Hatufim (Prisoners of War), which was the basis for Showtime (US)’s Homeland, he’s been trying to carve a niche for himself on US TV for a while, using his knowledge of the Middle East to give us the “squint and you can see it’s a biopic of Syrian ruler Bashar al-Assad” Tyrant and the “squint and you’ll see it’s Dan Brown in Israel” Dig. Neither of them were what you’d call successful.

But thanks to Netflix, he seems to have a place at last. This year alone, we’ve had the movie Red Sea Diving Resort, detailing how a bunch of Israeli spies set up a hotel in Sudan to help Ethiopian Jews escape to Israel in the 1970s, and now The Spy – both of which are written and directed by Raff.

Also based on a true story, The Spy improbably sees former Ali G/Bruno/Borat Sacha Baron Cohen playing Eli Cohen, an Israeli spy who had worked in Egypt pre-Suez Crisis but who was rebuffed by Mossad when he attempted to join them shortly after his return. However, after two years of working as an accountant at a department store, Mossad – primarily in the form of Noah Emmerich (The Americans, The Hot Zone) – decide to give him a second chance.

After training him up in elementary tradecraft, six months later Cohen is dispatched to Syria, in an effort to garner intelligence about Israel’s increasingly belligerent neighbour. Emmerich, however, is worried – is Cohen too keen to be spy? Is he going to make mistakes in his eagerness and over-reach? Time will tell…

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