A pair of intelligence agents posing as a tennis pro and his coach go on secret missions around the world.
Reviews
Popularity
3,937 ( 26)

Watch Now

With Prime Video

ON DISC

Episodes

Seasons


Years



3   2   1  
1968   1967   1966   1965  
Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 4 wins & 23 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

It Takes a Thief (1968–1970)
Adventure | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The adventures of suave cat burglar Alexander Mundy, who plies his trade for the U.S. Government.

Stars: Robert Wagner, Fred Astaire, Malachi Throne
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (1964–1968)
Action | Adventure | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The two top agents of the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement fight the enemies of peace, particularly the forces of THRUSH.

Stars: Robert Vaughn, David McCallum, Leo G. Carroll
Ironside (1967–1975)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Wheelchair-bound detective Robert T. Ironside battles the bad guys on the streets of San Francisco.

Stars: Raymond Burr, Don Galloway, Don Mitchell
Mission: Impossible (1966–1973)
Action | Adventure | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

An elite covert operations unit carries out highly sensitive missions subject to official denial in the event of failure, death or capture.

Stars: Peter Graves, Barbara Bain, Greg Morris
McCloud (1970–1977)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Sam McCloud is a Marshal from a Taos, New Mexico, who takes a temporary assignment in the New York City Police. His keen sense of detail and detecting subtle clues, learned from his experience, enable him to nab unsuspecting criminals despite his unbelieving boss.

Stars: Dennis Weaver, J.D. Cannon, Terry Carter
Dragnet 1967 (1967–1970)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Police Detective Sgt. Joe Friday and his partners investigate crimes in Los Angeles.

Stars: Jack Webb, Harry Morgan, Don Ross
Baretta (1975–1978)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

The cases of maverick undercover New York City detective Tony Baretta.

Stars: Robert Blake, Tom Ewell, Michael D. Roberts
Dragnet (1951–1959)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Sgt. Joe Friday and his partners methodically investigate crimes in Los Angeles.

Stars: Jack Webb, Ben Alexander, Olan Soule
Cannon (1971–1976)
Action | Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Frank Cannon is an overweight, balding ex-cop with a deep voice and expensive tastes in culinary pleasures; he becomes a high-priced private investigator.

Stars: William Conrad, Patrick Culliton, Tom Pittman
Hawaii Five-O (1968–1980)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

The investigations of Hawaii Five-0, an elite branch of the Hawaii State Police answerable only to the governor and headed by stalwart Steve McGarrett.

Stars: Jack Lord, James MacArthur, Kam Fong
Barnaby Jones (1973–1980)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

The exploits of milk-swilling, geriatric private eye Barnaby Jones.

Stars: Buddy Ebsen, Lee Meriwether, Mark Shera
The Ed Sullivan Show (1948–1971)
Comedy | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The classic prime time variety show most famous for its vaudeville acts and rock music performances.

Stars: Ed Sullivan, Johnny Wayne, Frank Shuster
Edit

Cast

Complete series cast summary:
...
...
Edit

Storyline

A pair of American agents faces espionage adventures with skill, humor and some serious questions about their work. Robinson's cover is as a former Princeton law student and Davis Cup tennis player; Rhodes scholar Scott is his trainer as well as being a language expert. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Happy-go-lucky wanderers - or undercover agents for Washington? It's Robert Culp and Bill Cosby in NBC's exciting round-the-world action series. (season 2)


Certificate:

See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

15 September 1965 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Danny Doyle  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(82 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

4:3
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Before the series, Culp had written a pilot script in which he would play a James Bond-type American spy. He showed the script to Carl Reiner who then recommended him to Sheldon Leonard. The script was eventually produced as the episode "The Tiger". See more »

Quotes

Alexander Scott: Hey, what're you doing?
Kelly Robinson: I've come to save you.
Alexander Scott: You can't, man, I've got a boat coming, now get outa here!
Kelly Robinson: But I've come to rescue you.
Alexander Scott: You CAN'T rescue me NOW.
Kelly Robinson: How come you always embarrass me when I'm rescuing you.
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the opening credits sequence of many early episodes, scenes from that episode are shown underneath a closeup of Robert Culp's eyes. If you look closely, Culp's facial expressions (concerned, happy, etc.) almost always match the action happening on the screen. Later in the series, a standard set of action/romance/humor scenes was used. See more »

Connections

Featured in The World of James Bond (1995) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Groundbreaking Series Made Bill Cosby a Star...
19 January 2004 | by See all my reviews

"I Spy" represented NBC at it's most daring, in 1965, and proved that actor/producer Sheldon Leonard, best known as the guiding force behind "The Andy Griffith Show", "Make Room For Daddy", and "The Dick Van Dyke Show", could offer a first-class dramatic entry, as well. Certainly in an era when civil rights was an explosive issue, and television series were predictable and shot exclusively on studio sound stages and back lots, a program that was filmed 'on location' and featured an African/American in a leading role for the first time (in a mainstream dramatic show) was not only revolutionary, but was potentially disastrous, as well. It is to everyone's credit that NBC, the most successful network at that time ("Bonanza" had a 'lock' on Number One in the ratings) was willing to take the risk, and introduce this remarkable series to American audiences.

Robert Culp was an established television star when the series debuted, a respected 35-year old actor with credentials that included one of the first major 'made-for-TV' movies (THE HANGED MAN), strong theatrical film work (PT 109 and Sunday IN NEW YORK), and Emmy-nominated TV guest performances. A gifted writer as well as actor, he and Leonard had discussed a TV series for a while, something that would capitalize on his dramatic abilities and avoid the stereotypes rampant in weekly television at the time. When a script involving a tennis pro and his trainer/manager, actually CIA agents, who would use their covers on worldwide missions, was hammered out, Culp knew he had found the right formula. The co-starring role became the focus of attention, and while Culp would later take credit for 'discovering' Bill Cosby, both he and Leonard were impressed by the 27-year old performer's brilliant stand-up comedy work (Leonard's friend, comedian Allan Sherman, had 'introduced' Cosby for the young comedian's first 'live' album), and both men deserve credit for offering the project to the 'untested' actor. With Cosby in place, filming began, and magic appeared.

While the initial focus was on Culp's flamboyant 'Kelly Robinson', with Cosby's 'Alexander Scott' relegated to the more serious role of the 'contact' man with the CIA, Cosby had a way of 'punching up' his dialog, adding hip one-liners and asides that not only improved scenes, but gave the character of Scott a humanity that the scripts lacked. The stories became funnier and far more interesting, and Culp and Leonard were more than pleased with the results. The series quickly became an audience favorite, with Cosby winning the first of three Emmys in his role. Culp began ad-libbing, as well, following Cosby's lead, and the chemistry between the actors was so natural and easy-going that "I Spy" became television's most popular 'buddy' show.

With the show 'on location' for much of the shooting schedule, a season's worth of scripts would have to be available by the start of filming, a practice unheard of for any other series. This resulted in some 'clichéd' episodes that writers had little time to polish, and Cosby and Culp's ad-libbing skills would be necessary to 'lift' their overall quality. The resulting humor would give the series a 'freshness' that not only made even the weaker entries enjoyable, but resulted in a series that still 'works', nearly forty years later.

Eventually, even the stars' best efforts couldn't disguise the thinning material, and after three seasons, "I Spy" was canceled (although Cosby would win his third Emmy in a row for the last season, a testament to his talent), and the remarkable experiment was over.

Sadly, "I Spy" did not dramatically change the African/American presence on TV, at that time, but Bill Cosby's success would provide him a window of opportunity for continued television exposure, and with each subsequent success, more opportunities would become available for gifted performers of other races. He was, and is, truly a pioneer of the medium, and the most enduring tribute of the series Sheldon Leonard created for Robert Culp may have been in introducing Bill Cosby to 'mainstream' America. It is a legacy that both Leonard and Culp were justly proud of!


25 of 33 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?
Review this title | See all 21 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Watch the Latest Episode of "The IMDb Show"

Katee Sackhoff talks about her characters on "Battlestar Galactica," "Star Wars: Rebels," and "The Flash." Plus, "The IMDb Show" learns what it takes to wield a lightsaber.

Watch the show