Spies have always been an integral part of any national security apparatus. While spies are expected to be excellent secret keepers (naturally), they also have a treasure trove of spellbinding stories.
Some of these true stories can rival the best spy thrillers one can think of. An entire generation grew up on Hitchcock’s “Notorious” and “North by Northwest”, and the 007 franchise has been going strong since the 1960s. The Bourne series has in fact inspired a weird meme too. Pop culture has influenced spies and vice versa. Real-life spies have to brave grave perils to accomplish tasks that might seem impossible to the bravest and most resourceful of us.
The podcast “I Spy” is a treat for all spy thriller lovers. It transports you to the scene of the action. Each episode runs close to half an hour and features real-life spies from different secret services like the CIA, Mossad, MI6, and KGB. These stories are told by the people who lived them, the participants, not by the writers of mystery novels and movies.
One of the running themes on the podcast is disguise. A disguise is a fundamental part of the espionage trade. It allows a spy to pass off as a completely different person, with an entirely different persona. The way a spy can get in and out of the most guarded and secure locations is through a disguise. And it is not easy. It requires training, resources, and the art of deception.
So we found it extremely intriguing when the show revealed the inextricable link between pop culture and spy agencies. Hollywood lends prosthetics to spies, and disguise officers (oh yes, that is the name of a real post) are master makeup artists too.
Each episode is a story of a particular thrilling encounter that the spies have undergone. The host, Margo Martindale, ably guides us through these stories. Margo is an American actress, best known for playing a spy herself in the critically acclaimed show “The Americans”.
As with all great stories, the episode titles will get you excited: “The Sleeper Agent”, “The Art Dealer”, and “The Bookseller” to name a few.
The production is top-notch, although at some points the background music overpowers the voices which can be annoying at times.
The podcast is perfect for all you true crime lovers. You will get an inside look into the lives of real-life spies and the world of espionage. It chronicles the stories of the real-life James Bonds and Mata Haris told with unparalleled candour. Listen