Netflix has released the first trailer for its new limited series The Spy. Set in the 1960’s, the show is based on the true story of real-life Mossad agent Eli Cohen (Sacha Baron Cohen) as he infiltrates the Syrian government to thwart the anti-Israeli elements within it. The trailer shows Eli go from a humble clerk to full-blown deep cover agent, moving seamlessly among Syria’s ruling class. As he perfects his persona, Kamal Amin Thaabet, he finds himself far more immersed in it than he had ever imagined. His family, meanwhile, is distraught by his long absences and his distant demeanor when he returns home. At one point, Eli’s wife Nadia (Hadar Ratzon Rotem) expresses concern about her husband’s mental state, exclaiming, “You mumble in your sleep. You sometimes shout out names.”
Reflecting on the incident later, Eli confesses, “Those nightmares that she was talking about, they’re not even mine, they’re Kamal’s.”
Eli’s break from reality is further signaled when his handler, Dan Peleg (Noah Emmerich), pleads with him, “Kamal isn’t real, that life isn’t real. You are Eli Cohen, you need to remember that.”
Eli’s lone response: “It’s a bit late for that.”
The show marks a significant turn for star Sacha Baron Cohen, who is famous for his comedic characters and their ability to manipulate politicians and celebrities in real life. Most recently, Cohen created Who is America? for Showtime, which is currently up for an Emmy. Alongside Cohen, the show has enlisted the services of Homeland alum Hadar Ratzon Rotem to play Eli’s wife Nadia. Noah Emmerich, a veteren of the spy genre from his time on FX’s The Americans, joins the cast as Eli’s handler Dan Peleg. The core cast is rounded out by Waleed Zuaiter, an alum of Netflix’s Altered Carbon. Zuaiter plays Amin Al-Hafez, a military officer who becomes Eli’s mark inside of Syria.
The Spy is written and directed by Gideon Raff, who is known for creating FX’s Tyrant. He also created Prisoners of War, the Israeli predecessor to Showtime’s Homeland. In conjunction with that role, he served as executive producer and wrote several episodes for the Showtime series. Max Perry also co-wrote three of The Spy’s six episodes.
The Spy Debut’s on Netflix on September 6.