Spy Ops review: Problematically one-sided espionage tales

Netflix’s docuseries, Spy Ops sees intelligence operatives from CIA to MI6 share insider stories of perilous espionage carried out through several different eras and decades.


The first episode of Spy Ops sees experts and veterans take viewers through CIA’s Operation Jawbreaker, wherein CIA operatives landed in Afghanistan to dismantle the Taliban just 15 days after September 11, 2001.

Episode 2 follows Operation Just Cause which took place during George H.W. Bush’s term, as the US invades Panama to depose its de facto ruler, Manuel Noriega.

Episode 3 takes the viewers through the rescue of a Soviet double agent, termed Operation Pimlico, orchestrated by the MI6.

Episode 4 features the testimony of Mehmet Ali Agca, the man who planned and attempted to assassinate Pope John Paul II.

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Episodes 5 and 6 follow Mossad’s Operation Wrath of God, The covert assassination campaign targeted leaders of the Popular Front to liberate Palestine, among other Palestinian movements.

Episode 7 takes the viewers back to Afghanistan and focuses on how the US military’s operations in the country required local help for cultural and strategic insights.

Episode 8 follows Project Azorian which saw the US military trying to recover a sunken Soviet submarine — the K-129 — during the height of the Cold War, costing an absurd amount of money.


Running low on positives, Spy Ops at least has a decent level of production at points and even though uses background scores and all the effects of a tone-deaf documentary, it doesn’t overdo it.


The espionage tales are thrilling but rarely so when they are in a documentary film or series, as they are often following the series of events and looking at the politics through the lens of only one side, which is very true for Spy Ops.

The entire affair comes across as a tasteless attempt at glorifying the biggest offenders of the world when it comes to socio-political and civil unrest.

No effort is made to show how the CIA and the US have interfered, infiltrated, and orchestrated unrest and wars in other parts of the world. There are no counters or critiques levied upon these institutions such as the CIA, MI6, or Mossad.

Instead, it’s a drab account of what espionage entailed in what operation, often making the docuseries look like a recruitment promo for said agencies.


Spy Ops is a grueling binge focused on the “good guys” and the tales of espionage from their points of view, with no critique or commentary regarding these countries’ and agencies’ interference and orchestration of so much global unrest.

Spy Ops
Spy Ops review: Problematically one-sided espionage tales 1

Director: Maria Wye Berry, Isabelle Gendre, Max Serio

Date Created: 2023-09-08 12:30

Editor's Rating:

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