When one thinks of spies, James Bond pops right into mind with a few other top male guys. But the fact is, espionage has long enjoyed the services of women. At first, they were great as men honestly didn’t consider women capable of such skill and duplicity. That faded a bit in the background but the coming of TV opened up a new way for them to break out. It’s risen big time in the last decade with more spy series around and pushing hot ladies to new prominence.
It’s obvious why they’re so likable. What’s better than a gorgeous woman who can kick ass, speak several languages, often a master of disguise and having her own way with some hunks? The ladies on this list range from more comedic stuff to pure adventure to drama but all are great to watch. Here at the 15 hottest women spies on television who prove it’s truly the female that’s the deadlier of the species.
15. Carrie Mathieson – Homeland
True, she’s more of a hot mess but still amazing to watch. Claire Danes has won numerous awards, including two Emmys, for her performance in Showtime’s acclaimed drama and for good reason. A brilliant analyst, Carrie is marred by how she’s a bipolar mess prone to paranoia and thus hard to tell reality and her own obsessions. While she can be correct more often than not, she can also cause a lot of bad stuff to happen which Carrie has to handle as best she can. While the show is more dramatic, Danes shows off a very hot side at times with her affairs, her personal problems pushing her intensity more and a truly complex figure. She’s hard to get a handle on but you can’t look away no matter how bad she gets as Danes’ beauty makes Carries’ darkness a sexy turn-on.
14. Cassie McBaine – She Spies
This short-lived series does have a cult following thanks to its leads, a trio of ex-cons recruited by the government for missions. Natasha Henstridge is Cassie, the leader, a former con artist who uses her beauty for her jobs. She certainly fit that here, working various disguises that usually highlight her incredible hot body, the long blonde hair and a sexy smirk adding to the picture. The black jumpsuit was nice but Henstridge handled everything from kicking guys down to a wild cover with good humor and made this series one to keep an eye on. Bad girl gone good indeed and very good to watch as well.
13. Fiona Glenanne – Burn Notice
USA’s long-running hit focused on Michael Westen (Jeffrey Donovan), a freelance spy who gets burned, dumped without any money or contacts in his home of Miami. Gabrielle Anwar played Fiona, Michael’s former girlfriend, a former IRA fighter and bomber who’d “settled down” to freelance work in the city. They were joined together in jobs, Fiona showing a trigger-happy personality, ready to shoot guys at a moment’s notice and Anwar rocks the Florida styles from dresses to tight outfits to bikinis with a cool style that spices things up. She and Michael restart their affair with Anwar showing off well and it fits that this great Florida-set series boasts one hot mamma of a spy.
12. Annie Walker – Covert Affairs
This USA series had the idea of “the girl next door joining the CIA.” Piper Perabo was an interesting choice for Annie, a tough and energetic gal who joined the agency to get over a bad breakup and soon thrust into major missions. From her opening of stripping off a bikini on a beach to showing off in dresses and leather outfits, Perabo carried the show well with good humor. She sobered up as things went on, learning the darker sides of the spy world but still did her best to maintain her good spirits and her steamy affair with fellow agent Auggie was a nice touch. Perabo was always an underrated sexy gal and this series showed that to the utmost to showcase how one sexy smirk can be hotter than an excess of flesh.
11. Lana Kane – Archer
Yes, she’s animated but that doesn’t take away from her hotness. Voiced by Aisha Tyler, Lana is usually the voice of reason amid the insanity of this FX comedy, the one truly capable agent among a band of complete idiots and outright nutcases. She’s prone to wild stuff herself but still tries to do her job and does it well, punching guys out, getting into wild shoot-outs and chases and often going with next to nothing on her body. She tries to be a professional but it’s hard when your partner is a lush moron and listening to her losing it more and more is half the fun of the show. With her own nice humor and a sultry voice plus circumstances that push the limits of animation, Lana is a major hottie that everyone can appreciate…even if her fellow agents consider her the worst.
10. Nikita – Nikita
The CW reboot of the classic action franchise got on the right foot with its leading lady. Maggie Q was an inspired choice for Nikita, having an exotic look with long black hair yet down to Earth charm, absolutely beautiful yet believable kicking ass, being tortured and fighting against all odds. As a former operative for a black ops group, Nikita is out to bring that corrupt organization down no matter what it takes. This is a woman who can slice up enemies with a sword while in a gorgeous evening gown and still take down a charging car with just a rifle. Her relationship with enemy turned lover Michael was well down as was her problems handling running the same Division and through it all, Maggie Q captured your attention and made this a spy series to remember.
9. Melinda May – Agents of SHIELD
Ming-Na Wen is 51 but looks more stunning than ever. On ABC’s hit, she proves it as May, the cool as ice agent of SHIELD who becomes part of the special team for the series. Her nickname of “The Calvary” sounds awesome but really comes from a dark incident that drove her from the field. Yet she throws herself into the action, kicking ass easily, looking stunning in that tight leather jumpsuit and an affair with another agent even as she insists that feelings get in the way of the job. She gets beaten down a lot but comes back fighting, taking on everything from enemy agents to aliens to even a double of herself. Through it all, Ming-Na shows a fantastic sexy style that shows how some women get hotter with age and blows away her younger teammates in terms of the hottest thing on this hot comic book series.
8. Agent 99 – Get Smart
The classic spy series was a terrific send-up of the entire genre with Don Adams as Maxwell Smart, a nitwit who somehow managed to end up saving the day. Barbara Feldon was 99, clearly the smarter of the pair but so infatuated with Max that she was willing to let him take the lead on things. She was whip-smart, usually the straight woman to the various antics but Feldon gave the role a fun charm, sexy for the time, often showing off in some nice outfits and capable of holding her own in a fight. She and Max were eventually married with a child but 99 (it was hinted even Max didn’t know her real name) was still a great reason to watch what remains the best spy comedy in TV history and a showcase for how sexy doesn’t have to be flashy.
7. Elizabeth Jennings – The Americans
The hot ladies aren’t always the good guys. In FX’s acclaimed drama, Keri Russell is Elizabeth, a suburban mom in 1981 Virginia who (with her husband) is a deep cover KGB agent. Stone-cold loyal to the Motherland, Elizabeth is dedicated to her duty, whether it’s seducing a contact or killing an enemy, mixing a fantastic array of disguises with skill, sometimes meek but other times sexual and showing a truly hot side. From the challenges raised by her daughter to the constant sense of duty, Elizabeth handles it all and Russell doesn’t back off showing a still great body with a wicked edge that helps elevate this fine show and you find yourself rooting for her even despite the history.
6. Samantha Shaw – Person of Interest
When she first appeared in the second season of Person of Interest, Shaw appeared to be just a one-off character. However, the performance of Sarah Shahi in the role won viewers over and she was made a regular the next year. A former surgeon, Shaw’s complete lack of personal tact and empathy soon made her ideal for a government “black ops” job that got her on the radar of the Machine. Her feelings may be “turned down low” as a young girl puts it but Shaw is a top operative, cool under fire, no problem dispensing violence and her odd bond with psycho hacker Root (Amy Acker) shows she does have a heart under that icy exterior. She gets great stuff such as a hot designer dress (“Oh yeah. I can work it”) and while her exit from the show was abrupt (due to Shahi’s unexpected pregnancy), she’s ready to come back and reward fans again with a great character.
5. Sarah Walker – Chuck
From the start, the NBC spy dramedy had great fun showing the contrast between geek turned spy Chuck and kick-ass CIA operative Sarah. Played by Australian Yvonne Strahovski, Sarah was sent to watch over Chuck but soon protecting him. The daughter a con artist, she grew up knowing how to lie well and that served her in this job as the “fake” girlfriend to Chuck that eventually became real. She ranged in outfits from a hot dog girl to fights on a fashion runway, brawling in an Asian pit and more, a knockout all the time. Their eventual marriage just made her hotter with turns like trying to win Chuck over with a belly dance and Sarah becoming more human as things went on. It ended rough but Sarah’s charm was a key component to making the series work so well and remain a cult success.
4. Ziva David – NCIS
Being an agent for Israel’s Mossad automatically means you’re tough as nails. Cote de Pablo nailed that when she joined the CBS hit in its third season but also brought a human note to things. She knew she was beautiful but didn’t trade on it, pushing her skills and talent more. She had humor (the running gag of her mangling English phrases) but a true professional. She could show off her hotness in evening gowns and swimming while still handling the various unique NCIS cases. With her toned skin, lush dark hair and alluring accent, Ziva was a key part of the show and her leaving rocked many fans but at least the never-ending reruns allow you to enjoy her spark once more.
3. Peggy Carter – Agent Carter
A highlight of the first Captain America film, Hayley Atwell was soon brought in for a regular ABC series that won fans over big time. The terrific idea is that, despite all her skills in World War II, Peggy is looked down by her male colleagues and dismissed as a secretary and thus has to go on her own to take on a vast conspiracy. With her clipped British accent, Atwell is great, sharp with a good humor but more than able to handle her own in the field, taking down men twice her size. She works the 1940’s style to the utmost, from gorgeous dresses to suits fitting her full figure and determined to do her job no matter who’s against her. Her rise to respect from her fellow agents was a great arc of the show but it’s her blossoming as a capable soldier and agent that wins you over and Atwell shows that, no matter the time, this is one hot lady to not get on the bad side of.
2. Sydney Bristow – Alias
In the role that made her a star, Jennifer Garner played Sydney, a young grad student who had a “day job” as an operative for the CIA. Soon, Sydney discovers her life has been a lie: Her dad is a spy, her mom was a KGB agent and her group, SD-6, is actually working for the bad guys. For five seasons, she was sent on adventures from simple missions to wild stuff prophesized by a 15th century inventor and falling in love with a fellow agent. Garner was fantastic in the role, tough and strong, a light humor and pulling off everything from accents to some of the wildest costumes imaginable. Thanks to Garner, the show had a great charm and fan appeal to let you root for it no matter how crazy it got and always be on Sydney’s side.
1. Emma Peel – The Avengers
She’s played slews of roles in everything from the London stage to a Bond Girl to Game of Thrones. But Dame Diana Rigg will always be best remembered for this 1960’s classic British series that set a new bar for entertainment. As Emma Peel, she was gorgeous with a wicked smile, cool under fire and cultured. That perfect body tight in a leather suit became iconic but she could show off some very hot looks like the classic corset in the “Touch of Brimstone” episode. That amazing charm and drive made her a true star and the show a huge hit. She left before it ended but Rigg’s role as Peel made this one of the best spy shows out there and herself a lethal lady to still love.
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