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The Americans 

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Two Soviet intelligence agents pose as a married couple to spy on the American government.

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Season 6 Premiere



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Tuesday, May 30
S5.E13 The Soviet Division
8.3
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Phillip and Elizabeth race against the clock as a life hangs in the balance, while Stan faces an uncertain future.


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S5.E12 The World Council of Churches
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Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 18 wins & 114 nominations. See more awards »
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Storyline

A pair of deep-cover Soviet spies masquerades as a typical DC couple whose children, neighbors, coworkers & friends are completely unaware of their activities. At home, they're the stereotypical parents of stereotypical kids; at work, they pose as travel agents; but at night, they weave a web of confidants, lovers, dupes, and historical figures from the Reagan-era Cold War. The startlingly realistic plot twists force the viewer to consider the real cost of an undeclared war, what it takes to protect one's beliefs, if it's worth it, and if it actually worked for either side. Written by Steve83

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All's fair in love and cold war.


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TV-MA | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

30 January 2013 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Amerikanci  »

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1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In real life, Annet Mahendru speaks 6 languages (German, English, Russian, French, Persian and Hindi) due to a nomadic upbringing all across the globe. She joked that she was hired because the producers thought she was an actual spy. See more »

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User Reviews

 
'The Americans' subverts a genre, along with its audience
26 April 2013 | by See all my reviews

Who doesn't love a cold war drama set in the early days of the Reagan administration about deep cover KGB spies posing as a wholesome "all American" family living in a DC suburb? And in a perverted twist of fate, next door to the FBI counter-intelligence agent tracking these rumored agents, who exist primarily as mere urban legends in the paranoid imaginations of overly-thinking spooks. Needless to say, they ARE real and even more deeply rooted in Mom and Apple Pie than their believers would think possible. Not just disguised infiltrators, but perfect replicas of the Sears portrait American family in a simulacrum America as imagined by a Soviet espionage agency. That is to say 'Mom' and 'Dad' carry out often brutal espionage missions against the enemies of their Soviet homeland on American turf, while raising their 'American' kids, often with the unintended sit-com inducing results inherent in trying to maintain harsh Soviet-style discipline while pretending to be the indulgent and "decadent" parental units of innately suspicious, wise beyond their years 'tweens. Their situation is further complicated by a newly sworn-in US president with a more aggressive, anti-Soviet foreign policy, and their newly appointed handler "Claudia" - a matronly old Stalinist whom neither trust, and who will test the limits of their loyalties with far reaching consequences.

By the first episode, the emotional complications of their own arranged-in-a-KGB training camp marriage are starting to take their toll on 'Catherine' and 'Philip' with the latter showing signs of a flagging fealty to the Motherland and a deepening emotional bond with his de facto wife. Catherine, for her part, while still the mentor-pleasing star pupil of her Soviet special agent training academy maintains her stealth focus on the mission. If her heart is with the former Panther she had recruited years earlier, her body is a machine that belongs solely to the state, functioning simultaneously as a sexual weapon and a shape shifting, blow- deflecting device that can pack a school lunch. Kerri Russell, even in her '80's 'mom jeans', could serve any Bond girl her dinner in a dog dish.

Long story short: I'm just loving the s#*t out of 'The Americans', which could have just as easily been another 'Homeland' - in other words, more paranoid post 9/11 agitprop about the heroic government agents doing battle against a stealth enemy and his prayer beads. Unlike the aforementioned 'Homeland' that centers on Carrie Mathison's bug-eyed certitude of a turned 'evil-doer' in her imaginary-seeming cross hairs, 'The Americans', with the "blink and you'll miss it" sly humor so emphatically absent in the 'counterterrorism' genre it subverts, tells the story of subterfuge on American soil through the eyes of a Cold War nemesis. Where Homeland's Claire Danes channels Ann Coulter playing a Gena Rowlands 'woman-on-the- verge' protagonist you want to shoot with a horse tranquilizer, 'The Americans' - both husband and wife - dispenses with the Emmy-baiting histrionics, allowing the complexities of their characters to take shape through their interactions with each other, their children and the Americans they emulate. 'Catherine' can't seem to pronounce the A-word without revealing her contempt for her adopted homeland, while 'Philip' is at pains to conceal his love of hot dogs and a burgeoning middle-aged complacency at odds with the escalating danger of their missions. The perverse nature of their facades is encapsulated in a few second shot of the family appearing at the doorstep of their newly arrived next-door neighbors, bearing cake to welcome Mr and Mrs Beeman. The viewer gets a glimpse of the inner-turmoil behind their overly-rehearsed, "American" smiles with the knowledge that there is a near fatally wounded man bound and gagged in the trunk of the family sedan. Carrie Mathison would have pounded down their door at 3 am, brandishing a pistol and screaming about birthday cake until someone from Homeland Security dragged her back to her rubber room with a warning.

Their friendly neighbor Agent Beeman, whose backyard barbecues they attend as a family, pursues them via a beautiful Russian consulate employee he has managed to 'turn' through blackmail, murder and sex, not realizing of course, his somewhat doofus neighbor 'Philip' and his lovely wife are the chimeric KGB phantoms responsible for the growing body count among his ranks, which in time will include his own partner. In the meantime, 'Philip' has honey trapped a plain Jane clerical worker in the FBI who thinks her new beau works for the Vice- President. Non-American actor Matthew Rhys as "Phillip" disguised as "Clark" the bumbling suitor brings levity and a lovely pathos to the otherwise heart-stopping drama.

'The Americans' despite its Cold War, espionage-based story-telling and often stomach churning violence is at heart, a very human drama about the charades involved in maintaining an 'identity' (we are all implicated as impostors), while highlighting the futile, tit-for-tat end- games played by nation states all claiming a non-existent moral high ground.


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