IMDb rating: 7.7/10
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 84%
Mossad recruited Israeli resident Eli Cohen, who was born in Egypt, to infiltrate Syria in 1959. In the 60s, Cohen’s deep-cover operation was more successful than anyone ever expected.
Sacha Baron Cohen gives an incredible performance as the man whose life got taken over by his alter-ego, the wealthy businessman Kamel Amin Thaabet. He charms everyone around him, and manages to rise through the ranks of the Syrian government, getting astounding access to classified information.
Eli’s mission is so successful that he ultimately becomes so indispensable to Mossad that he can never return to his normal life. Israel’s victory in the Six-Day War is credited to Eli’s contributions – a double-edged sword for a man who longs to return home to his family. His wife thinks he’s travelling abroad as a furniture buyer for the state, and he is forced to continue to lie to her for years.
IGN.com says, “At only six episodes, The Spy is worth a watch thanks to Sacha Baron Cohen’s effortless transition from comedy to drama, and the story itself, which represents a seminal slice of spycraft history.”
The Evening Standard agrees, saying, “For the most part, Cohen’s potent abilities as a character actor neatly traverse the uncanny valley of seeing a comic titan play it straight.”