Soviet couple who were placed in the United States to capture Russian spy defectors and gather intelligence against the United States. The drama is true to the time period and captures the essence of cold war espionage. Through sex, subterfuge and deception, watch how Russian spies operated in the United States.
ITV: Saturday, 1 June, 10pm
Story: In 1981, Philip and Elizabeth Jennings are undercover Soviet intelligence agents from the Directorate S of the KGB, sent to the US 15 years previously to work deep cover in Washington, DC.
Their assumed identities are a married couple who run a travel agency, and even their own children Paige and Henry do not know their secret.
MOST OF US would hate to be married to our work, but that’s literally where Philip and Elizabeth Jennings are. Marrying each other is part of their job description, the job being highly pressured and dangerous – spying on the United States while posing as Americans.
Work and home life blur as they raise the two all-American kids they brought into the world as cover,
|Matthew Rhys as Philip|
run a travel agency, dupe government employees to give away secrets – him by subterfuge and her by giving sexual services. And on their nights off they get to kidnap KGB defectors and risk exposure and imprisonment. Talk about pressure.
It is on such a night that we encounter Philip and Elizabeth in a heart-pounding opening sequence to The Americans. Their mission is to capture traitorous KGB captain Timochev and put him on a night voyage back to the Soviet Union, but the handover goes wrong and the couple have to keep him in the boot of their car.
Philip and Elizabeth have a defector in their garage
And then carry on as though nothing is out of kilter, breakfasting with their son and daughter while they ponder whether to kill the guy in their car. And wouldn’t you know it, but their new neighbour turns out to be an FBI agent.
OK, The Americans is a bit of a stretch in the plausibility stakes, but it is still fairly compelling. It is hard not to compare it to Homeland as they both deal in subversion on American soil and divided loyalties.
The cold war was filled with real stories like the one portrayed in The Americans. I think it will be an excellent drama, will get a large viewership and will remind people how dark things really were in those days. Are they any brighter today? I’ll let you decide that.