*Early black and white episodes mostly focused on over-confident American secret agent and ladies' man Napoleon Solo (Robert Vaughn), but his Russian-born sidekick, Illya Kuryakin, (David McCallum) stole nearly every scene he was in and turned the blond, Beatle-esque McCallum into a teen idol at a time when the phrase was relatively new. Thousands of hysterical fans crowded the star at promotional appearances, celebrity magazines obsessed over his home life with then-wife and The Man From U.N.C.L.E guest star Jill Ireland, and record labels sought him for novelty singles and instrumental albums. As Illya, the enigmatic international man of mystery, he was intelligent, loyal, efficient, witty, and helped set a template for what we now call the “buddy cop” genre.
Before there was Sam and Dean Winchester, before there was Mulder and Scully, heck, before there was even Starsky and Hutch, there was Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin. At the same time, Illya's Russian heritage confused some (FBI director J. Edgar Hoover was rumored to have hated the show because of it) and inspired others (a popular The Man From U.N.C.L.E fansite states that devotees “continue to dream of a world in which a cocky, extroverted American and a shy, introverted Russian can be the best of friends”). That friendship (recently explored in the otherwise separate 2015 movie adaptation) is still discussed among fans of the show, who write fan fiction and lengthy blog posts about the actors' excellent on-screen chemistry.*
Do you really think that Illya and Napoleon actually created the 'buddy cop' genre?