Travelling across countries and involving a myriad of cultures and languages, these series provide thrilling intrigue at its best.
By
Desanka Vukelich

20 Sep 2019 - 10:09 AM  UPDATED 12 Mar 2020 - 1:06 PM

 

Homeland

The end of season 7 saw Carrie (the magnificent Claire Danes) captured by Russian national, Yevgeny Gromov. Upon her release 7 months later as part of a prisoner exchange, Carrie’s barely lucid, her medication having been withheld. She seems not even to recognise Saul, her mentor (the magnetic Mandy Patinkin).

In this final season of the gripping drama, Carrie returns to Kabul, but since she’s last been, it’s become a very different, much more dangerous place. But she’s up for it, desperate for a ‘shot at some payback’.

Episodes of the eighth and final season of Homeland premiere weekly on SBS Viceland and On Demand Mondays.

The Little Drummer Girl 

Based on John le Carré’s bestseller of the same name, and directed by visionary filmmaker Park Chan-Wook (The Handmaiden), this pulsating series weaves a suspenseful and explosive story of espionage and high-stakes international intrigue. Set in the late 1970s, we follow Charlie (Florence Pugh, Little Women), a fiery would-be actress and idealist whose resolve is tested after she meets the mysterious Becker (Alexander Skarsgård) while on holiday on Greece. It quickly becomes apparent his intentions are not what they seem, and their encounter entangles her in a complex plot devised by spy mastermind, Kurtz (Michael Shannon, Knives Out). Stand-out performances by the accomplished cast make for thrilling viewing.

New episodes of The Little Drummer Girl debut weekly on SBS and On Demand Thursdays.

Shadow Lines

Cold War, 1950s. The hottest spot would’ve been Washington or Moscow, right? How about Helsinki? It’s over Finland, wedged as it is between East and West, that the KGB and CIA are vying for control. Fresh from her student days in the US, Helena (Emmi Parviainen), on her return home, is promptly recruited by her godfather to join a top-secret taskforce to prevent the two global powerhouses from meddling in the presidential election and keep the country independent. But as Helena discovers the truth about her past, her personal and professional lives collide. With long-held secrets and political agendas coming to a head, the Finns must overcome lies and distrust if they have any chance of succeeding.

Co-writers mother and daughter duo Kirsti and Katri Manninen bring us this fascinating look inside Finland’s recent past.

Season 1 of Shadow Lines is available to stream at SBS On Demand.

Whiskey Cavalier

This comedy-drama from the US stars Scott Foley as FBI agent Will Chase (who’s code name is the titular Whiskey Cavalier) and Lauren Cohan as CIA operative Frankie Trowbridge (code name: Fiery Tribune). Chase and Trowbridge lead a Prague-based team of spies who traipse around Europe foiling various criminal plots, from assassination attempts to world-saving schemes. While this series centres on the chemistry between the leads, the entire cast are imminently watchable, as are the locations.

Whiskey Cavalier is streaming now at SBS On Demand:

 

Below The Surface

Johannes Lassen is back as chief of Denmark’s Terror Task Force, Philip Nørgaard. When June al-Baqee (Yasmin Mahmoud) shows up to tell him Danish soldiers are illegally fighting in Syria, things escalate rapidly when she’s promptly kidnapped. Nørgaard calls in his comrades S.P. (Alexandre Willaume) and Simon (Peder Thomas Pedersen) to investigate, and in the meantime lands himself on a ferry that’s leaving for Sweden, with al-Baqee and the kidnappers all on board. How will Nørgaard and al-Baqee get out of this hostage situation?

Seasons 1 and 2 of Below The Surface are streaming now at SBS On Demand. Here’s season 2 episode 1:

The Bureau

This classy French spy thriller is centred on the lives of the undercover agents of the Bureau of Legends, a branch of the secret service, and stars Mathieu Kassovitz (Amelie) as intelligence officer, Guillaume Debailly, aka Malotru. Like a good French wine, this show deserves to be savoured, allowing the complex storylines the time they need to pull together as each season unfolds. Season 4 starts with Malotru negotiating his return to France from Moscow, and new chief Marie-Jeanne (Florence Loiret Caille) is the subject of an audit after which not all will be left standing.

Seasons 1–4 of The Bureau are streaming now at SBS On Demand. Here’s season 4 episode 1:

The Team

This cross-country co-production marks another entry into Nordic noir. Made up of three investigators – Harald Bjorn (Lars Mikkelsen) from Denmark, Alicia Verbeeck (Veerle Baetens) from Belgium and Jackie Mueller (Jasmine Gerat) from Germany – The Team have joined forces to solve a series of murders across borders. Season 1 brought the team together to solve the mystery of a dead prostitute being killed the same way in each of their countries. Season 2 finds us in the marshlands of Denmark where seven people have been brutally killed in a shootout which appears to be racially motivated.   

Seasons 1 and 2 of The Team are streaming now at SBS On Demand. Here’s season 2 episode 1:

Moscow Noir

The Bridge’s Adam Pålsson stars as ambitious Swedish investment banker, Tom Blixen, in this Wild East thriller set in 1999 Moscow. To help his friend Fredrik (Christopher Wagelin) who’s in deep financial trouble, Blixen agrees to take a risky deal that goes horribly wrong, landing him in real danger amid the unsavoury types that populate the city’s underworld. Blixen is in deep, not knowing who he can trust, as people show up dead all around him. Swedish writers Camilla Grebe and Paul Leander-Engström’s book is the basis of the series, and they’re also on the writing team here.

Season 1 of Moscow Noir is streaming now at SBS On Demand:

Bullets

Madina (Sibel Kekilli) is not the helpless asylum seeker she appears to be. She is actually one of the world’s most wanted terrorists, who until now has been presumed dead. This thrilling series set in Finland follows intelligence agent Mari (Krista Kosonen) who goes undercover to draw Madina in, and discover what she’s planning to get up in Helsinki.

Bullets is now streaming at SBS On Demand:

Deep State

Deep State will sate the most loyal fans of spy dramas. In season 1, Mark Strong plays Max Easton, a former MI6 agent drawn out of peaceful retirement and thrown into the shadows once again. Strong deftly anchors us in the tangle of deceit that becomes his life. Season 2 unveils Walton Goggins as leading man. As former CIA agent Nathan Miller, his mission is to investigate the murder of American operatives killed under ambush in Mali. With these two strong leading men, you’ll end up binge-watching the whole series.   

Seasons 1 and 2 of Deep State are now streaming at SBS On Demand:

 

Greyzone

Borgen fans will recognise Birgitte Hjort Sørensen, who here plays Victoria, a brilliant drone engineer who’s taken hostage by terrorists in her own home. They want her to design their deadly drone, threatening the life of her son Oskar unless she hops to it. Meanwhile, the Danish and Swedish Secret Services work tirelessly to prevent the impending terror-attack. This is compelling television.

Greyzone is now streaming at SBS On Demand:

 

Mary and Mike

From the outside, Mary and Mike (Mariana Loyola and Andrés Rillón) look like any other well-to-do couple with two kids. But the torture chamber in their garage tells a different story. Based on horrific true events, Mary and Mike are special agents assigned to take out those in opposition to Augusto Pinochet, dictator from 1973 to 1990. As part of their mission, they subject victims to poisoning, torture and wiretapping, in between throwing lavish parties for the neighbours. This Chilean series will have you riveted.

Mary and Mike is now streaming at SBS On Demand:

 

Das Boot

While this series is a sequel to Wolfgang Petersen’s 1981 Oscar-winning film of the same name, you don’t have to have seen the film. Picking up nine months after the film left off, by this time in the war (autumn 1942), the Allies are better able to track the course of the German U-boats. When their sub sets off on its maiden voyage with a fresh – and inexperienced – crew aboard, rough seas ensue, both inside and outside the boat.

Meanwhile, on dry land, Simone Strasser (Vicky Krieps), a translator at the U-boat harbour, ends up representing her absent brother in one of his drug deals, alerting the French resistance as well as the local Gestapo chief. With appearances by Americans Lizzy Caplan and Vincent Kartheiser, this series will keep you glued to the unfolding action.   

Das Boot is now streaming at SBS On Demand:

Browse through the full Spies and Lies Collection at SBS On Demand.

 

More from The Guide
4 must-see international TV dramas are coming to SBS and SBS VICELAND this April
There's something for every TV drama fan this April with Party of Five, The Good Fight, Reprisal and Fargo coming to SBS and SBS VICELAND.
Is 'How to Rob a Bank' the ultimate how-to show?
How-to shows are some of the most popular on television. But does it cross a line when the activity is crime?
‘Hillary’ is coming to SBS in 2020
The acclaimed in-depth documentary about trailblazer Hillary Rodham Clinton will screen on SBS and On Demand this year.
Elisabeth Moss is set to make her directorial debut on 'The Handmaid's Tale'
The Emmy-winning star and executive producer of 'The Handmaid's Tale' will now add director to her list of credits in the upcoming season. Under her eye.
Hit drama series ‘Tin Star’ returns with season 2, chasing resolutions
‘Tin Star’ takes us straight back to where it left us hanging.
Mark International Women's Day with a collection of films by female directors
SBS On Demand is putting a spotlight on female directors for International Women’s Day. With a diverse collection of engrossing dramas, gripping thrillers, emotive romances and more, these directors will make you praise the female gaze.
Fearless Females at SBS On Demand
From the stories of Joan of Arc and Mulan to everyday struggles across the world, this collection showcases a variety of powerful female protagonists in beloved and acclaimed films now streaming at SBS On Demand.
‘Project Blue Book’s Hynek is the sexy science nerd we all need in our lives
He’s smart, he’s passionate and he cares – who wouldn’t want someone in their lives like professional alien hunter Dr. J. Allen Hynek?
Carrie Mathison's swansong: her legacy as a complex woman in a dangerous job
The eighth and final season of 'Homeland' is currently airing on SBS VICELAND, which means that it is nearly time to say goodbye to one of TV's most complex and intriguing characters: Carrie Mathison.
What to watch next: 10 hidden gems at SBS On Demand
Your guide to the shows you should be watching. All now streaming at SBS On Demand