The Spy Killer
American VHS cover
Based onprivate i
by Jimmy Sangster
Written byJimmy Sangster
Directed byRoy Ward Baker
StarringRobert Horton
Sebastian Cabot
Jill St. John
Music byJohnny Pearson
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
ProducersJimmy Sangster
Harold D. Cohen
CinematographyArthur Grant
EditorSpencer Reeve
Running time74 minutes
Production companiesAmerican Broadcasting Company
Halsan Productions
Original release
ReleaseNovember 11, 1969 (1969-11-11)

The Spy Killer is a 1969 American action thriller drama spy television film originally aired on ABC and directed by Roy Ward Baker. Its teleplay, written by Jimmy Sangster, was based on his own 1967 novel private i.[1] The film starred Robert Horton, Sebastian Cabot, and Jill St. John.[2] In the following year, a sequel titled Foreign Exchange was released with the same main cast and crew.[3]

Both novels were reprinted by Brash Books in September 2019 in ebook, paperback and audio editions.[4]


Former spy turned private eye John Smith (Robert Horton) is wrongly arrested for the murder of his ex-wife's new husband. Smith then finds himself acquitted for the crime by his former intelligence boss (Sebastian Cabot), but in return for a notebook from his time as a spy. This book lists the names of Western agents operating covertly in Red China, and as Smith discovers, others are also chasing the book.



  1. ^ "Jimmy Sangster's John Smith Spy Novels: private i (Triton, 1967)". Existential Ennui. 15 October 2015. Retrieved 9 July 2018.
  2. ^ "The Spy Killer (1969)". BFI. Archived from the original on January 9, 2021.
  3. ^ "Foreign Exchange (1970)". BFI. Archived from the original on July 10, 2018.
  4. ^ "Mystery/Thriller Book Review: The Spy Killer by Jimmy Sangster. Brash, $16.99 trade paper (180p) ISBN 978-1-941298-40-4".