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Ms. Gradenko

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What's wrong with you? They're just children!
~ Ms. Gradenko before being hit by a jet pack and losing her hair in the process

Ms. Gradenko is an antagonist of the first Spy Kids film. She is a rogue OSS agent and is in league with Mr. Lisp and his team. She is an enemy of Gregorio and Ingrid Cortez.

She was portrayed by Teri Hatcher who also played Susan Delfino in the hit TV show, Desperate Housewives.

Biography

Backstory

Not much is known of Ms. Gradenko's childhood or early life; but it is suggested she once was an agent of the Organization of Super-Spies, the OSS. It is mentioned that the OSS were working on a project code-named the "Third Brain", which could transmit telepathic signals. The agents did not know what the Third Brain would be used for, but Floop, a children's TV show host and former agent, turned it into a programme mission control for robot Spy Kids he was building with the help of his lieutenant and spokesman Alex Minion.

Ms. Gradenko almost certainly had a romantic relationship with Alex Minion; based on their greeting. Ms. Gradenko says "It's good to be back, Alex; let's never have children," which suggests that they know each other and were planning on making love when the Third Brain was completed. However, Ms. Gradenko's encounter with Carmen and Juni Cortez changed this view; she feared all children.

Meeting the Cortez children

Ms. Gradenko turned up unexpectedly at the OSS Safe House, her visit itself a surprise because the Safe House was designed to be undetectable. Ms. Gradenko posed as an ally, saying that she had known Ingrid and Gregorio, the Cortez parents, and she said she had met Carmen as a baby. Carmen had no recollection of Ms. Gradenko; who pushed her way inside, surrounded by her henchmen, designed to protect her. Ms. Gradenko told the Cortez children of the message the OSS had received from Gregorio, their father, which contained the letters "FLOOP." Taking this as meaning Fegan Floop, the comedian, was the villain, Juni felt betrayed and took his anger out on Ms. Gradenko. He and Carmen grabbed explosives and lobbed them at the walls, alarming Ms. Gradenko's henchmen, but Juni noticed a henchman outside destroying and sinking the craft him and Carmen had used to get to the house. Fortunately, jetpacks were available, and Carmen successfully grabbed one and flew off after a henchman Ms. Gradenko had said to give Floop the Third Brain... or so Juni thought. Carmen followed the man and managed to retrieve the Third Brain. She flew back to the safe house, where Juni had knocked out Ms. Gradenko who said that he would never see his parents again. Ms. Gradenko awoke as Juni escaped and she was in a panicked state. A jetpack flew right into her, knocking her off her feet just as she shouted to her henchmen that the kids were not worth bothering about, but her dismissal of the Cortez kids was proven wrong when the jetpack shot into her hair, burning it down to the scalp. Ms. Gradenko stood up and growled in anger as her henchmen sprayed water at her burning hair.

Reunited with her boyfriend

Ms. Gradenko, now terrified of children, sought shelter in Floop's castle, which Alex Minion had just seized control of after betraying Floop and imprisoning him in the dungeons. Ms. Gradenko was now safe and protected by her true lover and ally; Alex Minion himself, who had been in love with her in the OSS and had planned to have kids with her. However, her encounter with the Cortez kids had changed her views and she now just wanted a lover. As Alex was insulted by his business employer Mr. Lisp, Ms. Gradenko put her hand on his shoulder in comfort. Ms. Gradenko was revealed to have lost all her hair, except a strand or two. Her body was also revealing in a red tube dress. Alex welcomed her with, "Welcome back, Ms. Gradenko," and kissed her passionately, Ms. Gradenko also said, "It's good to be back, Alex, let's never have children," and Alex slipped his arm round her and she wrapped her arm round him. The couple walked off to look out at sea and kiss.

Victory

Alex greeted Mr. Lisp's investors and Ms. Gradenko provided some eye candy for them, and the group all gathered in the main hall as Alex provided a speech where he stated he valued partnership. However, Floop's voice rang out via speakers, saying he wanted Minion at his office as there was a problem with the robots. Mr. Lisp looked confused and said he had been told Floop was away. Ms. Gradenko looked terrified and put her hands on her hips as she adjusted to the situation. Alex said he would investigate, but Floop turned him into a Fooglie, a mutated monster of his own creation. Minion returned, but he had three extra heads and hands. Ms. Gradenko thereafter seemed to lose romantic interest in Alex Minion and when she was next seen, she seemed to be flirting with Mr. Lisp instead. She had warmed up a seat for Lisp, saying it would be "more comfortable."

Ingrid and Gregorio gatecrashed the presentation, and Gregorio worked out all the individuals before him were traitors to the OSS. Gregorio said he ought to have known Lisp was in charge. Upon hearing Gregorio insult Ms. Gradenko when she told Gregorio his kids had burned off her hair and ruined her appearence, Lisp reccommended that the Cortez parents be killed. Ms. Gradenko smirked sexually and looked at Alex for his view, and Alex wholly agreed.

Just then, Carmen and Juni ran into the hall, but their parents swiftly knocked out all their attackers. Immediately afterwards, the Spy Kids (numbering 50,000) approached down the corridor. Lisp proclaimed it was "wonderful" to see his army, and Minion smiled eagerly, and as for Ms. Gradenko, she was hopping up and down gleefully clapping her hands and gasping in excitement.

Defeat

Just then, as Gregorio rallied his family for battle against 50,000 androids, his brother jumped in through the glass window high above and caused havoc amongst Lisp, Ms. Gradenko and Minion. Ms. Gradenko ran away screaming to protect herself and Lisp rolled off the throne he was on. Lisp then straightened up and Ms. Gradenko brushed glass out of her dress and hair and Lisp commanded the Spy Kids to rip the Cortez family limb from limb. Ms. Gradenko notably looked shocked at this command. At that moment the Spy Kids activated to attack. However, Floop reprogrammed their minds, so they wanted to attack Lisp and his force instead of the Cortez family. The amazed Cortez family watched as the Spy Kids rushed at Lisp, Minion and Ms. Gradenko, then they began throwing the three in the air. Ms Gradenko attempted to save herself before she was seized by clinging onto part of the throne, but the robots grabbed her. Ms. Gradenko was flung into the air and Lisp yelled at Minion to get the robots to let them down. Minion told him that they would no longer listen to him. Ms. Gradenko was flung about more. She was presumably killed after being tossed about as she is never seen again.

Gallery

Trivia

  • Ms Gradenko appears to be very sexual, even before her hair was burned off, and due to her interactions with Minion, it is possible she was his girlfriend. When Minion briefly disappears, she is seen flirting with Lisp, hinting at her unfaithfulness and her lust for other men. When Minion reappears deformed, she seems to be unimpressed with him and, as seen when the Cortez parents gatecrash the presentation, she is flirting with Lisp again, who seems to now be on talking terms with her and it is possible she was going to become Lisp's girlfriend.
  • Ms. Gradenko is the only female villain in the Spy Kids franchise
  • She and Mr. Lisp do not appear in the other 3 Spy Kids films, although they were with Minion in his team.
  • Ms. Gradenko's story is a parallel of the Cortez parents' story, being that Ingrid and Gregorio Cortez were former spies who were assigned to kill each other but fell in love and got married. In a way, Ms. Gradenko is a tragic parallel of Ingrid Cortez because Ms. Gradenko was a ruthless spy before she met Alexander Minion and she fell in love with him and her lust for him was her driving force behind her assignments.
  • Her name comes from the Police song "Ms. Gradenko".
  • The colour of her red dress has several meanings in culture, red means either regality or protection, depending on its use. Symbolizing either Ms. Gradenko's arrogance that she was "regal" or her cowardice that she was relying on Lisp and Minion to protect her from "danger" i.e. children. Unfortunately in this case the symbolism didn't work because she was attacked and potentially killed.

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