SMITHSONIAN CHANNEL(TM) ENTERS THE WORLD OF GLOBAL ESPIONAGE TO RETRACE THE MOVEMENTS OF THE WORLD'S MOST NOTORIOUS SPIES IN
"SPY WARS WITH DAMIAN LEWIS"
NEW SERIES HOSTED BY THE EMMY(R) AND GOLDEN GLOBE(R) WINNING ACTOR TO PREMIERE SUNDAY, MARCH 22 AT 8PM ET/PT
NEW YORK - February 12, 2020 - Smithsonian Channel is set to investigate some of the most shocking and explosive cases of espionage over the last 50 years. SPY WARS WITH DAMIAN LEWIS features the incredible true stories of spy wars fought in the shadows, from the turbulent years of the Cold War to the Iran Hostage Crisis and the discovery of a complex web of sleeper agents living in the U.S. - a major inspiration for the plot of The Americans. Each episode of this new eight-part series sees host Damian Lewis revealing these remarkable tales of the secretive world of government intelligence, surveillance and international conspiracy plots with interviews from the experts and eyewitnesses that lived through them. SPY WARS WITH DAMIAN LEWIS premieres Sunday, March 22 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Smithsonian Channel.
The series premiere episode, THE MAN WHO SAVED THE WORLD, recounts the story of Oleg Gordievsky - a KGB agent who may have singlehandedly averted World War III. Posted to the Soviet embassy in London by the KGB, Gordievsky would become disenfranchised by the Soviet agenda and, in a shocking move, flipped to become a double agent for British intelligence MI6. What was to follow was a years-long effort by Gordievsky to pass Soviet intelligence to the British, all but preventing a nuclear Armageddon between the Soviet Union and the West.
BOMBS IN THE SKY
Premieres Sunday, March 29 at 8 p.m.
This is the story of how British intelligence agencies thwarted the deadliest terror plot ever devised on the United Kingdom in the biggest surveillance operation in the nation's history. In June 2006, Abdullah Ahmed Ali flew home to London from Pakistan, unknowingly being watched by the British security service, MI5. Ahmed Ali is discovered to be involved in planning one of the biggest terror operations in history - the plot to blow up several U.S. airliners using a new, undetectable explosive liquid.
SPIES NEXT DOOR
Premieres Sunday, April 5 at 8 p.m.
The real-life plot of The Americans, this episode tells the story of the Illegals Program - a network of 10 Russian sleeper agents discovered to be living in the United States as everyday American citizens. Undetected by their neighbors, the FBI had them under surveillance for years and would go on to exchange them in a prisoner swap with four captured U.S. spies in an operation that, once revealed, was a complete shock to the American public.
A PERFECT TRAITOR
Premieres Sunday, April 12 at 8 p.m.
The betrayal of former FBI agent Robert Hanssen is often described as the worst intelligence disaster in U.S. history. Over the course of 20 years, Hanssen successfully dismantled the United States' network of undercover Soviet, and later Russian, agents from the inside out. He pitted CIA against FBI and triggered a mole hunt that brought intelligence services to their knees. This episode explores the inner workings of this double agent and how his treason reignited fears of Cold War era spy wars in the 21st century.
ESCAPE FROM TEHRAN
Premieres Sunday, April 19 at 8 p.m.
This episode recounts the story of undercover agents sent to Tehran, Iran during the Iran Hostage Crisis to rescue six concealed diplomats. As immortalized in the Academy Award(R) winning film, Argo, this is the remarkable story of how a CIA agent used Hollywood inspiration to conduct a high stakes covert mission in the midst of an international crisis, training six frightened diplomats in the art of 'being someone else' and score a major victory for the CIA.
Premieres Sunday, April 26 at 8 p.m.
Vladmir Vetrov was a high-ranking KGB officer and secret operative for the French Intelligence Service - his story is one of the most bizarre to emerge from the years of the Cold War. In 1980 Vetrov made the decision to spy for the French and, as a secret agent, passed thousands of documents revealing the extraordinary depth of the Soviet espionage mission against the West. Vetrov would also pass back faulty information from the U.S. in a masterful decades-long Trojan Horse operation which fatally undermined Soviet science and technology.
MERCHANT OF DEATH
Premieres Sunday, May 3 at 8 p.m.
After the fall of the Soviet Union a new Russia emerged - one of chaotic capitalism where businessmen stepped in to rule the economy. One of those men was Viktor Bout, and he would become one of the most infamous Russian businessmen in history and known as the Merchant of Death. A former spy, Bout became the world's most dangerous arms dealer, a man responsible for the deaths of millions worldwide. His is a tale of greed and immorality that led to one of the most audacious undercover sting operations ever conducted.
Premieres Sunday, May 10 at 8 p.m.
In 1968, twenty-year-old Dani Limor was recruited by Mossad, Israel's Intelligence Service, which had built a formidable reputation for its global operations. To this day, virtually all Limor's assignments remain classified, but their successes made him one of Mossad's top field agents and a legend in global intelligence circles. This is the story of how Mossad sent Limor and other undercover agents into enemy territory in one of the most daring rescue missions in the history of espionage.
SPY WARS WITH DAMIAN LEWIS is executive produced by Chris Fouracre, Ian Lamarra, Paul Sommers and Gareth Lewis of Alaska TV for A&E Television Networks LLC. A+E International co-produced with Liz Soriano serving as executive producer. Charles Poe and David Royle serve as executive producers for Smithsonian Channel.
Smithsonian Channel(TM), a ViacomCBS Inc. network, is where curiosity lives, inspiration strikes and wonders never cease. This is the place for awe-inspiring stories, powerful documentaries and amazing factual entertainment, available in HD and 4K Ultra HD across multiple platforms. Smithsonian Channel, winner of Emmy(R) and Peabody awards for its programming, is the home of popular genres such as air and space, travel, history, science, nature and pop culture. Among the network's offerings are hit series including Aerial America, America in Color, America's Hidden Stories, Apollo's Moon Shot, The Pacific War in Color and Air Disasters, as well as critically-acclaimed specials that include The Green Book: Guide to Freedom, Black Hole Hunters and Princess Diana's Wicked Stepmother. Smithsonian Networks also operates Smithsonian Channel Plus(TM), a subscription video streaming service delivering over a thousand hours of the Channel's stunning and diverse library of documentaries and series in HD and 4K Ultra HD. Smithsonian Channel is also available internationally in Canada, Singapore, Latin America, the UK and Ireland. To learn more, go to smithsonianchannel.com, or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.