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‘The Americans’ shows other side of Cold War spy work

Contributing Entertainment Writer

Published: Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Updated: Tuesday, February 5, 2013 08:02

Debuting last Wednesday, Jan. 30, FX’s latest title, “The Americans,” among the

networks already popular dramas like “Justified” and “Sons of Anarchy,” features two

undercover Soviet Union security agency (KGB) spies trying to live an American life

during Cold War-era United States.

For 15 years, the couple Elizabeth (Keri Russell) and Phillip Jennings (Matthew Rhys)

have been portraying themselves as a classic American family to the outside world

all while secretly helping Russia with its fight against the U.S. Living just outside the

Washington D.C. area, both Elizabeth and Phillip have kept their true identities secret

from their kids, who believe themselves to be normal American teens, and even from

each other.

We are first introduced to this not-so-mundane family as Elizabeth, donning a blonde

wig incognito, seduces an American official in order to gain valued information. Now,

wouldn’t it seem a little bit strange to their kids if they knew mommy and daddy were

sleeping around in order to complete their “days work?”

A lively family breakfast in one room, easily gives way to a hostage being bounded and

tied in the trunk of a car in the adjacent garage. The way Phillip almost wishes to lead a

truly normal American life while his other half, Elizabeth, denounces anything having to

do with the United States all add to this sense of a “lying” game. However, these types of

twists are what gives a certain dynamic and interest to a story that would otherwise be a

classic spy tale.

A pleasant surprise was the great soundtrack that followed throughout the entire episode,

with hits such as Fleetwood Mac’s “Tusk” and Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight,” which

all made the viewer feel connected to the 1980s world Elizabeth and Phillip are living in.

Fight scenes were well choreographed and each actor did an excellent job of establishing

who their characters are and what they stand for. In a story where the anti-heroes are the

heroes it does make the viewer consider how deeply “American” they are themselves as

anti-American sentiment is abundant throughout the episode.

If you find yourself rooting against the clandestine F.B.I. neighbor, does that make the

show bad? In my opinion, that means the show is doing its job. More excitement and

emotional unrest are promised as “The Americans” continues Wednesday at 10 p.m. on

FX.

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