[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/I_Spy.jpg]]

'''Not to be confused with a popular series of books or the [[SomethingThatBeginsWithBoring annoying game]].'''

''I Spy'' is an American spy series which aired from 1965 to 1968 on {{NBC}}, shepherded by [[TheAndyGriffithShow Sheldon Leonard]] and produced by Triple F Productions (named after the show's creators/showrunners[[note]]as such people were not called back then[[/note]] Mort Fine and David Friedkin, and cinematographer Fouad Said). In the series a white tennis pro, Kelly Robinson (played by Robert Culp (''Trackdown'', ''TheGreatestAmericanHero'') and his black trainer, Alexander "Scotty" Scott (Creator/BillCosby) are really spies, saving the world approximately OnceAnEpisode.

''I Spy'' fills an important role in the history of television. Not only was it the first show to be filmed in exotic locations around the world (and utilized revolutionary filming techniques to do it) but it was also the first to feature a black actor in a co-starring role that was in every way equal to the white lead actor's role. Bill Cosby was also the first black actor to win an Emmy Award because of his wonderful work on this show. It is also worthy of note that before being cast in ''I Spy'' he had no acting experience. Although Bill Cosby was second-billed (simply because Culp was the more well-known personality at the time) he was not simply a TokenMinority but was to be an integral part of the show since its conception. Also, although both characters were created as equals, Alexander Scott was depicted as having a better education (including being a Rhodes scholar) than his partner Kelly Robinson. A very enjoyable series with some truly wonderful chemistry between its two leads.

A TV movie sequel, ''I Spy Returns'', was broadcast back in 1994 and a [[TheFilmOfTheSeries movie]] based on the series appeared in 2002 starring EddieMurphy and Owen Wilson. In it, Wilson plays the actual spy, while Murphy is a boxing champion taken along for the ride. It was critically lambasted and [[InNameOnly bears no resemblance at all to the original series]] (ironically, the film's dedicated to series creators Fine and Friedkin), though some still find it enjoyable. Arguably the best follow-up to ''I Spy'' was a 1999 episode of Cosby's sitcom titled, er, ''Cosby'', in which his character dreams that he is Alexander Scott and shares an adventure with Kelly Robinson - played once again by Robert Culp.

The show began airing on [=FamilyNet=] starting September 1, 2011.

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!!This series provides examples of:

* ActingForTwo: Robert Culp as Kelly and the General in "The Warlord".
* ActionSeries
* AffectionateParody: The "Cosby" episode "My Spy" (1999) is this to ''I Spy'', even including a Shout Out to one of the crew members ("And a Fleet Southcott to you, too!"), and so is the ''Series/GetSmart'' episode, "Die Spy", including a {{Cameo}} by Robert Culp as a waiter. Magazine/{{Mad}} Magazine meanwhile had "Why Spy?".
* BadassBoast: Scott's "ostrich egg" speech in "The Warlord".
* BrainwashedAndCrazy: "It's All Done With Mirrors"
* BrokenPedestal: "A Cup of Kindness"
* ButNotTooBlack
* CaliforniaDoubling: Unlike just about every other spy series of the time, averted (although there was still some filming done in Hollywood, there was no "[[TheManFromUNCLE Somewhere In (Insert Foreign Country Here)]]" cheating on this show).
* CartoonBomb: Culp lights one and throws it at the camera in the opening credits.
* ChekhovsGun: The pendant given to the wife of a not-so-late traitor actually contains 131 photos of secrets.
* ChekhovsSkill: Seen practicing judo; minutes later they kick a gun out of a (moronic) gunman's hand.
* ComicBookAdaptation: GoldKeyComics produced several issues of an ''I Spy'' comic book.
* CreatorCameo: Executive producer Sheldon Leonard cameoed in a few episodes of the series, at least once AsHimself. Actual (co-)creator David Friedkin, meanwhile, appears in "A Cup Of Kindness" and "Tigers Of Heaven."
* {{Expy}}: Executive Producer Sheldon Leonard created a 2 hour movie pilot called ''Top Secret!'' starring Cosby and Tracy Reed as spies. The unsold pilot aired 6/4/78.
* TheFilmOfTheSeries: InNameOnly, in 2002.
* Hallucinations: The General's "musical chairs" vision [[spoiler: as he is dying]] in "The Warlord".
* HeterosexualLifePartners: Cosby and Culp in RealLife.
* HuntingTheMostDangerousGame: "The Name of the Game".
* IKnowKarate: Both Kelly and Scotty are Black Belts.
* KickTheDog: The first season episode "The Loser".
* LockingMacGyverInTheStoreCupboard
* {{Masquerade}}
* PromotedToOpeningCredits: While he was always in the title credits, the second season saw Cosby's credit given the same font size as Culp's.
* RecycledSoundtrack: Averted, unusually for the time but not for Sheldon Leonard - as he hated tracked-in music (he once equated it to "wearing someone else's underwear"), every episode of this and [[TheAndyGriffithShow his]] [[TheDickVanDykeShow other]] [[GomerPyleUSMC shows]] had an original score written for it (Earle Hagen, who wrote the show's theme music and scored most of the episodes, won an Emmy for season three's "Laya").
* ReunionShow: Culp and Cosby reunited for a TV movie called ''I Spy Returns'' in 1994, to mixed reviews. Most fans consider the ''true'' reunion to be "My Spy," a 1999 episode of the sitcom ''Cosby'' in which Cosby and Culp reunited for a mini-''I Spy'' adventure under their original character's names.
* RunningGag: When our heroes find themselves locked in a room or otherwise cornered by the badguys - "Ok what's the plan?" "Oh, no, I thought of the plan last time....it's your turn this time."
* SawStarWarsTwentySevenTimes: In "So Long Patrick Henry", Kelly is annoyed that Scotty hired a kid as a look out for them who keeps making [[Film/JamesBond 007]] references, having seen the then still-in-theatres movie ''Film/{{Goldfinger}}'' 27 times.
* ShoutOut: When Robert Culp guest starred on an episode of ''TheCosbyShow'' as an old friend of Cliff's (Cosby), his character was named Scott Kelly.
* SpyFiction: The "Stale Beer Flavored" type.
* SpySchool: The Department has a training school on a military base in the UsefulNotes/SanFrancisco Bay Area, featured in the episodes "Anyplace I Hang Myself Is Home" and "Tag, You're It". While the name of the base is never stated, given its location, San Francisco Bay, it is probably "The Presidio" (the base was decommissioned in 1989 and became part of the National Park Service in 1994).
* TheTeetotaler: Scott.
* TheyFightCrime
* ThoseWackyNazis: At least one episode features an ex-Nazi villain.
* WhereDaWhiteWomenAt: Averted on Cosby's insistence.
* WittyBanter: One could almost drown in it with this show.
* WorldTour: Filmed mostly on location, too!
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