PBS goes for the movie/tv spy cliches in describing Russian spy arrests

Last week’s FBI arrest of a Russian spy ring last week generated a lot of interest. And, at least two PBS programs couldn’t resist making puns or using cliches gleaned from movies and TV shows to describe it.

The McLaughlin Group: John McLaughlin, host of the gabfest that bears his name, introduced a segment he dubbed, “Secret Agent Man!” And just in case you didn’t get it, there was audio of the Johnny Rivers song “Secret Agent Man,” used in Secret Agent, the U.S. version of Patrick McGoohan’s Danger Man series.

Need to Know: Co-host Alison Stewart couldn’t resist a double dip. In her introduction for a segment about the busted spy ring, she said its members “wereSpies Like Us,” a reference to the 1985 John Landis-directed, Chevy Chase-Dan Aykroyd comedy. Stewart couldn’t leave it there, adding how the ring evoked a return to “Boris and Natasha,” the spies who did their best to make the lives of Bullwinkle J. Moose and Rocky the Flying Squirrel miserable.

Stewart also interviewed author Tim Weiner, who writes about intelligence matters. Weiner wasn’t impressed with the Russian spies, saying they were “the gang couldn’t spy straight.”

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