~ 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 voiced The Beldam in the film adaptation of Coraline.
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.
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 two extra sets of 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 appearance, Lisp recommended that the Cortez parents be killed, commenting impatiently to Minion how he'd love to see the "wonderfully demonic children" of Floop's in action. 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.
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.
The feelings of elated sexual joy Mr. Lisp, Minion and Ms. Gradenko had previously felt for a brief moment changed immediately to heart-stopping terror and fear as the Spy Kids grabbed hold of them and began throwing them up and down in their iron grip. Sweating all over her naked shoulders in fear, 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. As Minion survived this encounter, it is not unreasonable to assume Ms. Gradenko and Lisp also survived. Gradenko is most likely imprisoned by the OSS afterwards for crimes against their organisation. And probably wearing a very bad wig to this day to hide her baldness.
Ms. Gradenko was a stunningly beautiful woman, both before and after she had lost her hair, and she could pull off being bald really well, and still look stunning after her disfigurement, much to Ingrid's amusement. Considering her hair was burned to the scalp it will likely never grow back, and she will be permanently stuck with her "new look" this was a major blow for Gradenko considering how important her appearance is. Ms. Gradenko was very sexual, and lusted after practically every man in the OSS, including Mr Lisp, Minion and her thugs. She loved dressing extravagantly, she wore black leathers for most operations, and in formal or grand events she would dress very provocatively, wearing a slender red tube dress revealing all her shiny naked shoulders and cleavage. If she still had had her hair, no doubt she would have looked beautiful in the dress, but due to being bald, she had a ravaged look of beauty which shone through. But this did not stop her from being ultra sexual. She seemed to be in between good and evil upon meeting the Cortez children, but after her first downfall when her hair incinerated, she seemed to abandon any amount of good she may have had and go full Vader, as she wore a look of intense hate in her eyes whenever she dealt with the enemy, except when she was reunited with Minion, despite being bald she looked very happy to see him. However she denied any involvement in the plan, saying the Cortez children were responsible for her hair loss somehow, seemingly forgotten that she was the one who tried to kill Juni out of pure spite. She was also a lustful coward, clinging near Mr Lisp or wrapping her arm round Alexander Minion for sexual protection, but despite her assurances that all would work out and she would be smug and sexually protected, her corrupt lust did not win over pure innocent family love.
However these apparent beneficent traits of Ms. Gradenko cannot mask the cruelty in her. She gave Lisp a standing ovation twice, such as when Lisp recommended they kill Gregorio and Ingrid, and also when the Robot Army marched down the hall to kill the Cortezes, Ms. Gradenko displayed a disturbing amount of sadism when she gleefully danced up and down applauding whereas Minion smirked and Lisp calmly stated this was wonderful. She seemed to get aroused through violence, as she flirted with Mr. Lisp and Minion whenever things were seemingly going her way and smirked sexually when Lisp ordered her henchmen to kill the Cortezes, despite the fact this left her unprotected.
Ms. Gradenko was also a hypocrite, because despite her claims of being put off children by Carmen and Juni, she displayed traits of child hating before the incident, "You'll never get to see your parents, you little brat!" she bragged to Juni, making it clear she wanted to kill him. Also, she held no regards for privacy, barging into the safe house, and, to add insult to injury, breaking into the Cortez home uninvited. "Anything that wasn't at the house, it must be here!" she ordered her thugs.
Her mere desire to possess the Robot Army to rule the world and subjugate governments to her will displays a baseless hate of humanity in general and makes it clear she is not someone you want to make friends with. Given that she, Lisp and Minion are a trio, it is possible this refers to the Unholy Trinity of Revelations: The Devil, the Antichrist and the False Prophet. Lisp would be the Devil, Minion is the Antichrist, and Ms. Gradenko is the False Prophet.
Well, its good to hear those names again!
~ Ms Gradenko's first appearance on the Cortez' spy TV screen when they mention the missing agents
Hi, I'm Ms Gradenko, I work with your parents. Oh, I can understand you don't trust me, you were a baby when we first met.
~ Ms Gradenko introduces herself to a stunned Carmen and then rudely pushes herself inside
We have a bracelet, you see, we all do. OSS, standard issue, we all have one. [Carmen asks if she works with their parents] Of course. Now, listen closely, open your ears.
~ Ms Gradenko arrogantly addresses the Cortez kids like they're stupid
Your father sent us this message before he disappeared. It consisted of five letters. F. L. O. O. P.
~ Juni feels betrayed upon hearing this and denounces Floop as an evil madman which is just what Ms Gradenko desires him to think
Oh trust me, he's not that fabulous. In fact, you know that cute little song the characters sing? Well, if you play it backwards: "Floop is a madman, help us save us." [Carmen asks if Floop will do this to their parents] Of course. Unless... we give him what you want. [Carmen says that their uncle told them to contact the OSS and here they are] Here we are. What's the message? [Carmen says the Third Brain lives] Carmen, [sighs] you have officially joined the ranks of women spies. [Carmen smirks, unaware Gradenko wishes a rift to grow up between her and Juni, and Juni rolls his eyes] Now, your uncle didn't say anything else? He didn't say... Are you sure?
~ Ms. Gradenko feels smug and protected splitting Juni and Carmen up, but she is unintentionally sealing her own fate by telling outrageous lies
Search the place. Anything that wasn't at the house, it must be here! [Carmen asks if Gradenko raided their house!?!] Heh heh heh heh heh!
~ Ms Gradenko relishes in her treachery
Oh what is this... Oh, its beautiful!
~ Ms Gradenko could well be declaring she herself is beautiful, but what do you know, its the First Brain she's admiring.
But you don't even know what those things are!
~ Ms Gradenko smirks and dismisses the Cortez's attempts at defending themselves.
Uh, no, uh, uh! [straightens up and calms herself] Send in the Thumbs!
~ Ms Gradenko orders her androids to attack
You'll never see your parents... you little brat! Uh! Arrggh!
~ Juni knocks Ms Gradenko flying with his backpack (hilariously apologising as he does so) then she regains consciousness and is knocked flying by his jetpack, burning her hair
[sexually] Its good to be back, Alex. Let's never have children!
~ Ms. Gradenko feels so smug and sexually protected in her red tube dress that she has to kiss Minion.
Have a seat, Mr Lithp. You'll be more comfortable.
~ Ms Gradenko finds new sexual love in Mr Lisp that she simply has to be his lover and Minion will not do, even less when Minion reappears with three heads
Oh, its me alright. I owe my "new look" to your children!
~ A terrified Ms Gradenko is confronted by the Cortez parents, Ingrid and Gregorio, and she cowardly protects herself by placing the blame on the Cortez kids - they were responsible in her eyes, but really it was her own arrogant misdemeanour which caused her disfigurement
Yes! Yes! Oh yes!
~ Ms Gradenko is sexually aroused when the Spy Kids approach them because she believes they're there to protect her and that soon the Cortezes will be ripped limb from limb
~ Ms Gradenko flees to sexually protect herself as Machete Cortez jumps in through the window and glass explodes on Ms Gradenko's naked shoulders, causing her great panic
~ Ms Gradenko has recovered from this panic attack; but she gets shocked when Lisp orders the Cortezes to be ripped limb from limb by the Spy Kids.
~ Ms Gradenko is grabbed by the Spy Kids when they rebel against their bosses. She attempts to sexually protect herself but is seized and grabbed by the robots. She is last seen screaming and being flung about into the air along with her lovers.
Ms. Gradenko in both appearences.
Ms Gradenko, protectively hidden from view save for her naked shoulders and left arm, seductively places her hand on Minion's shoulder to reassure him that Lisp will not fry him to a cinder.
Ms. Gradenko after she lost her hair in the red dress.
Ms. Gradenko in her beauty.
Ms. Gradenko, feeling smug and protected with her boyfriend Alex Minion
Ms. Gradenko welcoming Lisp's investors and henchmen into Floop's Castle
Ms. Gradenko shocked and scared when Floop's voice rings out on a Tannoy. She looks in fear at Lisp for him to protect her
Ms. Gradenko lustfully looking at Minion to protect her in her fright.
Ms. Gradenko falls in love with Mr Lisp
"Have a seat, Mr Lithp. You'll be more comfortable."
Ms. Gradenko is revealed as a traitor to Ingrid and Gregorio.
"Oh, its me alright. I owe my "new look" to your children."
Ms. Gradenko flirting with Mr. Lisp.
Ms. Gradenko after she lost her hair in the red dress, flirting with Minion.
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.
She has become a popular character amongst fans because of her name alluding to a famous song and how popular Teri Hatcher already is. Many fans go as far as to feel sympathy for Gradenko and her hair loss.