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Sacha Baron Cohen to star in a very serious spy drama for Netflix

Photo: Jeffrey Mayer (Getty Images)

It’s been 14 years—and an almost spine-shattering quantity of “My wife”s and “Very nice!”s—since Borat, Bruno, and Ali G creator Sacha Baron Cohen last had a regular TV gig. That’s about to change, though, with Variety reporting that Cohen has signed on to star in a new Netflix series, titled The Spy.

And while that title might (briefly) resurrect our mental images of Cohen and Mark Strong getting trapped in a pair of fucking elephants in his last starring film project, The Brothers Grimsby, the logline for this new series sounds far more serious than the comedian’s usual fare. Cohen will star in the series as real-world Israeli spy Eli Cohen, who infiltrated and influenced Syrian high society in the early ’60s, often by throwing lavish parties in which he faked obvious drunkenness (a tactic we can imagine Sacha Baron Cohen nailing in his sleep). His most famous espionage accomplishments include convincing the Syrian government to plant trees in the Golan Heights, ostensibly to provide shade to the soldiers stationed there, but actually to make it far easier for the Israeli military to target their encampments with bombs. (Spoiler alert: Cohen was caught and hung by the Syrian government in 1965, which might explain why the series is only being scheduled for a six-episode run.)


The Spy is being written and directed by Gideon Raff, who also created Prisoners Of War, the Israeli TV show that served as the basis for Homeland. By all accounts, this new project represents something of a turn for Cohen, giving him what’s likely to be his first dramatic leading role.

Anyway, here’s that bit with the elephant dicks:

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