Once upon a time, there were 2 super powers. These super powers fought a long, cold war where espionage played a key part.
You may be familiar with the term ‘sleeper agent’. It gets thrown around a lot these days. This is where a foreign agent infiltrates another country, assimilates and awaits orders. During the cold war, spies were taught to become the enemy, live the way they did, speak the language, understand the culture.
This is the premise of the new FX show, The Americans.
I did not think that I was going to like or be interested in this show. I was wrong. Like so many other of the offerings from FX these days (Sons of Anarchy, Justified), The Americans is a truly excellent show. And heck, where else are you going to go for scripted dramas these days but to cable stations like FX or USA (Suits, Necessary Roughness, Burn Notice).
Elizabeth and Philip Jennings are your typical Americans; they have 2 kids, live in the suburbs and own a small business. On the surface, everything is fine. But the Jennings have a secret. They’re actually Soviet KGB officers posing as Americans. Their marriage is a sham (though their kids are real). They spy on the US for Mother Russia. Their lives are complicated, but moreso when a new family moves in across the street and the husband turns out to be an agent with the FBI’s counter-espionage taskforce…
I have never really liked Keri Russell, but in this, I do. Her character is seriously fucked up and has had a lot of shit done to her through the years, which makes her both hard and vulnerable at the same time. I never know which way she’s going to go or how she is going to react, and that uncertainty with a character is fun and different. I don’t recall seeing anything that Matthew Rhys has done before, but he works in this show where his character has fallen in love with his fake wife and the country he’s been living in for so very long. Plus, both characters have all these different personas and disguises they take on, and that, too, is fun. They move in and out of their lives in suburbia and their duties to the KGB, and it isn’t always neat or seamless, which heightens the tension and the drama. Add in the ongoing back and forth relationship between the Jennings, who seem to be waking up and taking a look at who they are to each other, and you get this intense show that constantly delivers.
This show has sucked me in. I think you should check it out.