|“||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 a minor 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 and, in general, the OSS.
She was portrayed by Teri Hatcher, who also played The Beldam in the film adaptation of Coraline.
Not much is known of Ms. Gradenko's 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 had formed a wicked alliance with [[Mr. Lisp]] and Alexander Minion to whom they all shared secret OSS information in order to manipulate Floop's newest creations into aiding them conquering the world and purging the OSS. Once Ms. Gradenko was informed by Alexander Minion that the new creations of Floop's were robotic Spy Kids, Ms. Gradenko grew ecstatic as they now, she believed, had a means to defeat the organisation and rule an order of corruption. She was much more evil than Mr. Lisp because whereas he merely loathed children and wanted to enslave them, she actually wished to kill children. However, Mr. Lisp is the main antagonist, given he had plans of world conquest, whereas Ms. Gradenko wanted to bring down the OSS.
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.
Plotting world conquest
Beforehand Ms. Gradenko had now been merely plotting world domination with a vicious intent, but she had appeared cultured and sophisticated to all who knew her, but now after encountering the Cortez children she was openly evil and seething with anger, and she abandoned her facade to go over to the evil side. She reunited with her fellow agent Alexander Minion and she bragged about how she desired to see all children dead. She was also revealed to be hideously half bald from the jetpack and although she tried to make herself appear glamorous the effect backfired and emphasised her bald head.
Ms. Gradenko welcomed Mr. Lisp and his investors/henchmen into the castle and they humorously spooked Minion as he lazed about on Floop's throne. As the villains 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 was so confused she didn't know how to react. 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 became impatient with waiting. Showing that she was clearly terrified of her boss Mr. Lisp, she decided to try and get in his good books by giving him the throne that had previously been Floop's, but she learned he only needed his Army to be 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 gasped in delight upon learning of the Cortez's impending destruction and looked eagerly at Alexander Minion, who 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 joy that Ms. Gradenko, Mr. Lisp and Alexander Minion briefly felt turned to horror as they saw the Spy Kids lunge at them, as Floop told the children to bypass the villains' commands. Whereas Minion and Mr. Lisp got seized instantly, 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.
Ms. Gradenko was a ruthless cold woman, willing to go to extreme lengths to please her villainous half of the organisation, even going as far as to be willing to kill children if it suited her. As aforementioned, she was undoubtedly the most villainous of the trio, because of her misanthropic hatred of children. Ms. Gradenko was also a very good actress as she could pretend to be noble, and she won innocents like Carmen Cortez over to her and got Carmen trusting her enough to secretly give Carmen a tracking device in a bracelet. Ms. Gradenko was very duplicitous and had a sneaky personality, never quite meaning what she claimed to say. For instance she made Gregorio, Ingrid and Carmen believe that she was truly on their side and she convinced many people that Floop was a villain. Given her penchant for spreading false information, she may have convinced Mr. Lisp that Floop had some "questionable" ideas when all in fact that he wanted was his own television show. Ms. Gradenko could pose as a motherly figure to several people such as Carmen, and it was all the more shocking for the young girl when Ms. Gradenko was revealed to be a traitor. Ms. Gradenko's charm seemed to work mainly on women because Gregorio wasn't remotely fooled by her deception and neither was his son Juni. In fact, Juni knew right away that "She's working for Floop!" showing that Ms. Gradenko had no power over him. Ms. Gradenko was not a woman to resort to physical blows, preferring to stand behind the scenes and pull the strings. She was more of a businesswoman than a martial artist, but she could certainly hold her own as she showed when fighting Carmen and Juni.
Ms. Gradenko was also a clear sociopath because she was very removed from many situations, for instance she faked shock when the Cortez kids fought back, before standing upright, smirking and saying "Send in the Thumbs" showing that the attack hadn't even fazed her. Another reasoning for her sociopathy is how she never felt any attachment or loyalty to anybody, she defected from the OSS to Mr. Minion then to Mr. Lisp and then back to herself in a matter of days.
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!||„|
|~ Ms. Gradenko reveals herself as a villain to Ingrid and Gregorio Cortez.|
|“||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|
|~ Machete disrupts the ceremony causing Ms. Gradenko to flee in 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 deflect their grasp but fails and is thrown into the air alongside her bosses.|
- 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.