by Aya

Does Mata Hari ring a bell? No? She was one of Paris’ most popular exotic dancers during World War I, and is to date one of history’s most notorious female spies. As it is, we’re often curious about highly desired women—it takes a special specimen of the fairer sex to be skilfully coquettish. And with how this Dutch courtesan was also accused of espionage, which requires qualities such as courage and intelligence, few can help but be fascinated by her and her dramatic story. Intrigued by female spies and their irresistible charm? Here are five you can catch on the small screen working their magic. You’re welcome.

First up is Joan Clarke, who’s played by Keira Knightley in The Imitation Game. Clarke was a real-life cryptanalyst who worked with Alan Turing in Hut 8 during World War II, and was engaged to the latter for six months before he broke it off.

The Imitation Game

Clarke, however, wasn’t resentful, and the two went on to become lifelong friends, with intellectual companionship being the name of their game. Although it’s been said that Knightley’s portrayal of Clarke isn’t completely accurate—Clarke is believed to have been a lot more reserved as a person—no one can argue that this female spy played a vital role in the historical codebreaking project of Bletchley Park.

Then there’s the fictional Martha Sullivan of A Most Wanted Man, a straight-faced, high-ranking CIA spy based in Germany.

A Most Wanted Man

Portrayed by Robin Wright, Martha seems to be playing the protagonist Gunther Bachmann, who’s leading a covert government team looking to recruit local informants with ties to terrorist organisations. But is she playing him, and will anyone really figure out what’s going on under that icy but charismatic veneer? You’ll have to watch to find out, but here’s a tip: don’t blink.

Next up is Bridget von Hammersmark of Inglourious Basterds, a German film star also a double agent for Great Britain. Played by the beautiful Diane Kruger, it’s clear that this ruthless spy has no reservations when it comes to killing to preserve her life—and shows little remorse at that.

Inglourious Basterds

Although she’s a man-made character, Bridget was based off, among others, Swedish actress Zarah Leander, who was a celebrity of her time but in her later years became a spy in the service of Russia during World War II. The movie is enthralling in its own right, but that doesn’t make Bridget any less riveting to watch. You’ve got the see this blonde in action.

One more?  Katherine of The Numbers Station, who’s played by Malin Akerman.

The Numbers Station

The innocent code operator (bless her) at an English numbers station finds herself embroiled in a murder operation, but the CIA operative in charge of silencing her instead works with her to reverse corrupted messages. Naturally, they end up in a life-and-death situation (hey, it’s a spy film after all), and you’ll have to tune in to see just how they extricate themselves from the deadly plot. If they do, that is.

Think you’ve got enough movies lined up to get your fill of bewitching women with have a knack for acting on the sly? Wait up, there’s also Atomic Blonde, which is hitting the silver screens this week.

The action spy thriller will feature Charlize Theron as Lorraine Broughton, a top-level M16 spy who’s been dispatched to Berlin to demolish an espionage ring. She forms an uneasy alliance with the Berlin station chief, and the two chase down a threat that could interrupt the West’s entire intelligence operation. Not much is known about this super slick spy yet, but one thing’s for sure, she’ll be blowing people out of the water—which is exactly what we love about these femme fatales.