At first glance, The Old Man seems like a prestige limited series — star Jeff Bridges is an Oscar-winner, after all — but it's actually a regular old TV show, albeit a really good one, and it's coming back for Season 2.
The spy thriller series, which is based on a novel by Thomas Perry, tells the story of Dan Chase (Bridges), a former CIA agent who went AWOL and has been in hiding for over 30 years. When his home is invaded by an assassin, he realizes his cover is finally blown, and he goes on the run, trying to stay one step ahead of FBI assistant director Harold Harper (John Lithgow), who is leading the pursuit and shares some secrets with Chase they would both like to keep hidden.
Now that Season 1 is over, we've rounded up some other shows with spy-jinks and suspense. Not all of them have acting and writing as good as The Old Man's, but a few of them do. They'll hold you over until The Old Man returns for Season 2 on FX (where it first airs) and Hulu (where you probably watch it).
Like The Old Man, Apple TV+'s Slow Horses is an espionage thriller with an Oscar-winning star. Gary Oldman is having the time of his life as Jackson Lamb, the flatulent, vulgar head of Slough House, an MI5 outpost where agents who screwed up get exiled to serve out their careers in obscurity. Jack Lowden plays a new member of Slough House who refuses to fade away and starts investigating a case on his own, which makes Lamb mad at first, but then he sees how it could help his own career. It's funnier and way more British than The Old Man, but it's equally well-written and well-acted, with breathless spy action. -Liam Mathews
Another espionage drama starring an Academy Award-winning actor, Counterpart adds a sci-fi element to the mix. It's set in an alternate history Berlin, where there's a gate between parallel universes that are in the midst of a cold war with each other. J.K. Simmons plays dual roles as different versions of Howard Silk, one of whom is a mild-mannered desk jockey and the other is a ruthless secret agent. When they meet, things get intense. Simmons should have won an Emmy for his performance(s) in the series, which ran for two seasons on Starz between 2017 and 2019. It's another one with great suspense and even better performances. -Liam Mathews
The Old Man is a direct successor to The Americans, another expertly made FX spy series. It ran for six underrated seasons from 2013 to 2018. Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys star as Russian spies working so deep undercover in America for so long that they're not sure who they really are anymore. It's a masterpiece of a show, with some of the best writing and acting ever seen on TV. TV Guide named it the best show of the 2010s. If you're looking for another show that's a tense espionage thriller and psychologically probing character-driven drama, fire this one up as soon as you finish The Old Man. -Liam Mathews
One of the most successful formulas for a good TV show is creating a character who is smarter than everyone else, and when their brains won't do the trick, their brawn will. Dan Chase, even in his advanced years, outmatches anyone he's put against, and it's easy to imagine that in his younger years he might be a little like the title character in Amazon's Reacher. Jack Reacher (Alan Ritchson) is a former military policeman who may not be hunted down by the FBI like Chase, but he operates as a lone wolf who can't totally trust anyone as he traverses the country solving cases. And when he's not one step ahead of his foes thanks to his sharp mind, he's cracking open their skulls. -Tim Surette
If you like shows about highly-trained operators on the run from government forces trying to permanently retire them, make The Terminal List your next and last stop. Chris Pratt stars in this thriller as James Reece, a Navy SEAL who sets out to unravel a conspiracy and get revenge on the people who killed the other members of his unit. It's not as emotionally sophisticated as The Old Man — Chris Pratt doesn't have Jeff Bridges' depth — but it has intense action and "am I a good man?" drama that fans of The Old Man might enjoy. -Liam Mathews
Amazon Prime Video's Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan isn't an apples-to-apples comparison with The Old Man — John Krasinski's Jack Ryan isn't old, he's a current member of the CIA, and he doesn't have any dogs — but there's a good chance that if you're a fan of one, you'll be a fan of the other. Jack Ryan follows the popular character in his early days as a CIA analyst who graduates from a desk job to the field as he works with his team to stop terrorism around the globe. It's more straightforward than The Old Man, but as a thriller that keeps dads happy, it's definitely in the same boat. -Tim Surette
As a former CIA operative on the run from the government, The Old Man's Dan Chase can relate to Person of Interest's John Reese (Jim Caviezel). Cast out of society and with nowhere to go, Reese is eventually paired with a tech genius (Michael Emerson) for a vigilante program that uses an advanced artificial intelligence to stop crimes before they happen, and as an expert in firearms and hand-to-hand combat, he could easily go toe-to-toe with Chase. Plus, like Chase, Reese has a canine sidekick in Bear, a Belgian Malinois who frequently saves the day. If you're looking for another tough guy show that's lighter in tone than The Old Man with more themes on technology, Person of Interest should be your next watch. -Tim Surette
Long before he co-created The Old Man, writer-producer Jonathan E. Steinberg developed Human Target, another action series about a supremely competent operator, which ran for two seasons on Fox from 2010 to 2011. Loosely based on a DC Comics series, Human Target follows Christopher Chance (Mark Valley), a bodyguard-for-hire who provides a unique service for his clients. He takes on a completely different identity — in the pilot, for example, his cover is that he's the translator for a businesswoman who hired him to find out who's trying to kill her — in order to observe and protect his client without tipping off their enemies. It's different from The Old Man in significant ways — it's formatted as a case-of-the-week procedural and isn't as emotionally deep — but it's an entertaining and action-packed show about a secretive guy who knows what he's doing. And like The Old Man's Dan Chase, Christopher Chance is on the run from his former employer, whose name is —get this — the Old Man (Armand Assante). -Liam Mathews