The Americans is a TV series created by Joe Weisberg for the FX network. It’s a period spy thriller which is set during the Cold War. The storyline focuses on two Soviet KGB officers called Elizabeth and Philip Jennings, who are posing as an American married couple. They live in Falls Church, which is a Virginia suburb of Washington DC, with their two children Henry and Paige.

The show made its debut in the US in 2013 and ended in 2018, lasting six seasons in total. The final season resulted in a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. It also won Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series, and a Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series – Drama.


The pilot episode introduces Philip and Elizabeth Jennings as an undercover team of Russian intelligence agents who are based in the US. Nobody knows their real identities; even their own children.

Missions and storylines explored in the series include the Jennings infiltrating and bugging the office of US Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger, infiltrating the FBI’s new communications encryption system and a mission to discredit a Polish pro-democracy leader.

Cast and characters

  • KGB officer Elizabeth Jennings – Keri Russell
  • KGB officer Philip Jennings – Matthew Rhys
  • Stan’s FBI partner Chris Amador – Maximiliano Hernandez
  • Daughter Paige Jennings – Holly Taylor
  • Son Henry Jennings – Keidrich Sellati
  • FBI counterintelligence agent Stan Beeman – Noah Emmerich
  • KGB agent Nina Sergeevna Krilova – Annet Mahendru
  • Stan’s wife Sandra Beeman – Susan Misner
  • Agent Gaad’s secretary Martha Hanson – Alison Wright
  • KGB’s Rezident at the Soviet embassy Arkady Ivanovich Zotov – Lev Gorn
  • Soviet embassy’s Science and Technology officer Oleg Igorevich Burov – Costa Ronin
  • FBI Special Agent Frank Gaad – Richard Thomas
  • Russian agent and biochemical warfare scientist William Crandall – Dylan Baker
  • FBI agent Dennis Aderholt – Brandon J Dirden
  • KGB handler Claudia – Margo Martindale
  • Stan and Sandra’s son Matthew Beeman – Daniel Flaherty
  • Former KGB Rezident Vasili Nikolaevich – Peter Von Berg
  • Elizabeth’s longtime lover Gregory Thomas – Derek Luke
  • KGB handler Kate – Wrenn Schmidt
  • United States Navy SEAL Andrew Larrick – Lee Tergesen
  • Russian-Jewish scientist Anton Baklanov – Michael Aronov
  • Pastor Tim – Kelly AuCoin
  • KGB handler Gabriel – Frank Langella
  • Operational team member Hans – Peter Mark Kendall
  • Kimberly ‘Kimmy’ Breland – Julia Garner
  • Northrop employee Lisa – Karen Pittman
  • Stan’s girlfriend Renee – Laurie Holden
  • State Department negotiating team member Green Haskard – Scott Cohen
  • Ailing wife Erica Haskard – Miriam Shor

Filming locations

The Americans was primarily filmed in New York City. Some scenes were filmed at Eastern Effects Studios in Gowanus, Brooklyn. Outside shots were taken in various Brooklyn street locations, such as Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens.

There were also outside scenes filmed in Staten Island, Kew Gardens, Morningside Heights, Farmingdale, Coney Island Avenue, Mamaroneck, Washington Heights, Prospect Park and Astoria.


The trailer for The Americans on YouTube has over 1.9 million views. It opens with a woman saying ‘Stop’ to a man kissing her from behind, then suddenly turning around with a knife. The man says ‘You’re my wife,’ to which she replies ‘Is that right?’

A male voice is then heard saying ‘Super secret spies live next door. They speak better English than we do. They’re not allowed to say a single word in Russian once they get here.’ The family is seen with moving boxes in a house, and then the scene jumps to a man tied up and gagged with a man saying ‘If you make any noise, I will kill you.’


The concept of this series was outlined by the creator Joe Weisberg, who is a former CIA officer. After leaving the CIA, Weisberg published a novel called An Ordinary Spy, which focuses on a spy who is completing his training in Virginia before being transferred overseas. Executive producer Graham Yost found out that Weisberg had also written a pilot for a spy series after reading the book.

After reading the pilot, Yost described it as ‘annoyingly good’ and the show commenced development. Weisberg received partial influence from the Illegals Program to write the pilot, and he researched the notes from the KGB’s Cold War left by Vasili Mitrokhin.

Episodes and reception

Season 1 of the series received an 88% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. 51 reviews gave it an average score of 7.86 out of 10. Season 2 received a 97% approval rating on the site, and 38 reviews gave it an average of 8.83 out of 10. Season 3 received 100% approval, with an average 9.03 out of 10 approval.

When season 4 aired, it got 99% with an average of 9.22. Season 5 got 94% and a 9.03 average. Finally, season 6 got 99% with an average of 9.26. The first five seasons have 13 episodes, and the final one has 10.

Let us do the hard work

We compare the best streaming services for you so you can watch your shows at the best possible rate.

a month

  • $12.99 per month or $119 per year
  • Benefit from Prime perks
  • $8.99 for a standalone subscription (just Prime Video, no Amazon Prime benefits)
Watch Now

Although Prime Video hasn’t been around for as long as Netflix, this doesn’t mean you should expect a less extensive service. Like its main rival, Amazon has placed a large focus on investing in high quality content, as well as its own original productions. Key examples of popular titles include Transparent, Mr Robot, The Tick, The Man in the High Castle and The Grand Tour. If you want the security of knowing a series won’t be subject to rotation due to licensing, you can be sure that all Amazon Originals – like Netflix Originals – are there to stay. Outside of original content, you can expect to stream classics such as The Walking Dead, Desperate Housewives and Grey’s Anatomy, plus exclusives like Lucifer, Vikings and Preacher. (These titles may come and go, but plenty of other exciting ones are sure to replace them!)

Pros and cons


  1. Downloading content for offline viewing. Not all streaming services provide this feature, and so those who want the option of watching their favourite TV shows and movies on the go can use Prime Video to download these titles before leaving the house.
  2. Convenient all-in-one package. Amazon Prime Video is unique in that it offers customers several other perks besides video. Fast shipping, music, groceries and other such services make for a highly effective lifestyle bundle that’s hard to turn down.
  3. Free trial. You can decide if this service is for you by partaking in a free trial for a full month. Cancelling it before this period is over means you won’t be charged for Prime Video.


  1. Library isn’t as extensive. Of course, the downside with focusing on other areas such as groceries and music – as well as the fact that Amazon wasn’t originally a streaming service; it just branched out to be one – means that you won’t get as many titles as you’d expect from big names such as Disney Plus.
  2. Few titles receive critical acclaim. While services such as Netflix and Disney Plus will be used to putting out content that is widely talked about and shared by consumers, Amazon Prime Video doesn’t have as much luck in this department.
  3. Hefty price tag. Some are put off by the yearly fee for Amazon Prime if they want to pay upfront. At $119 a year for US customers, it’s a sum that isn’t parted with lightly, and some may question if it’s worth it if they can get more titles for a lower price with another streaming service.

Types of content available

There is a wide range of content available to stream with Amazon Prime Video. Available genres include action/adventure, animated, children, comedy, documentary, family, drama, sci-fi/fantasy, teen, sport and thriller. You can watch Prime originals and exclusives such as Lucifer, The Purge or Homecoming. Titles are also arranged according to what you’ve previously watched, recommending related titles you may enjoy. You can view movies that other customers enjoy, so if people are watching Legally Blonde, 22 Jump Street or The Great Gatsby, these will be available to click onto from the Prime Video homepage. Certain movies are also available to rent, so if you want the latest titles on your compatible device, they are available for just a few dollars each. Some titles are only available for a limited time on Prime, so catch them before their expiry date. Recent movie releases can be bought as well, meaning you won’t miss out if you didn’t manage to see them on the big screen. Other categories on the Prime Video homepage include Highest Rated Movies, Rent or Buy bundles, and Prime Video channels such as Hayu.

Top Amazon Prime Video TV shows and movies

Murder on the Orient Express

This movie features an all-star cast, including the likes of Sean Connery, Ingrid Bergman, Vanessa Redgrave and Anthony Perkins. Albert Finney is the star, and he plays Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot. He is called upon to work out which passenger on the train killed a man. The twist is that everyone had a motive for the crime.


This film depicts a young, gay African-American man’s coming of age in Miami. The storyline is an adaptation of a play by Tarell Alvin McCraney and it was directed by Barry Jenkins. Viewers can enjoy a rich set of characters they can get stuck into and intense dialogue.


Jonah Hill directed this movie, making his debut in this type of role. The plot follows a 13 year old named Stevie who spends a summer in LA, torn between a troubled home life and a group of friends who push him to try out new things beyond his limits. It explores coming of age and the skater culture which was prominent in LA at the time.

Lady Bird

Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf star in this movie, which examines the relationship between mother and daughter. Ronan is the Ladybird, a woman attending Catholic school who craves the culture promised by a move to New York. Meanwhile, her mother is overbearing and overprotective.

Death at a Funeral

This is a dark British comedy featuring a ton of dry wit and a star cast. The plot involves a man who has to arrange his father’s funeral without any help from his successful brother. When the day comes, the father’s ex-lover blackmails the family with salacious photos and Daniel’s cousin doses her new boyfriend with LSD, thinking it’s Valium.

The Sopranos

This show has several seasons to its name and over 80 episodes. Viewers watch the life of Tony Soprano, played by James Gandolfini, as he goes through life. The only difference is that his workplace is running a criminal organisation, and there’s an Italian family who are just a bit complicated featuring in his life. Many people regard The Sopranos as essential viewing.


Despite having a handful of seasons, this show has created an impressive name for itself. Commonly regarded as one of TV’s best Western series of all time, get stuck into a world where people speak a unique language which incorporates Shakespeare and various profanities. Many characters are based on real historical figures, and you can expect danger, corruption and a whole lot of family drama.

Curb Your Enthusiasm

HBO fans will know all about this show, as it’s been running for quite a while now. The premise focuses on the details of everyday life, with a hefty dose of cynicism thrown in for good measure. The main character is a fictionalized version of Larry David, and it’s received dozens of Emmy nominations.

Downton Abbey

During the first half of the 2010s, all anyone could talk about was this British series. It focuses on an aristocratic family and their mansion full of servants as they go through major historical events such as the First World War and the sinking of the Titanic. Viewers can expect to see plenty of gossip and scandal from the servants’ quarters.


With a respectable number of seasons under its belt, Luther is a good pick for those who enjoy cop dramas. With an intense storyline and household names such as Idris Elba and Ruth Wilson, fans can watch the story of a genius detective who has trouble keeping his professional and personal lives separate.


Fleabag is the name given to a woman who experiences life and love in London while also trying to deal with a tragic experience. She rejects anyone who attempts to help her as she tries to recover.


An FBI profiler is recruited to investigate a serial killer. This profiler is supervised by a forensic psychiatrist, who is secretly a cannibalistic serial killer and working to manipulate the FBI from the inside.


A disgraced lawyer called Billy McBride takes on a wrongful death lawsuit in order to try and get revenge on the firm he had a part in creating.

The Americans

Two married Russian spies with kids pose as Americans while living in Washington DC so they can spy on the US government.


A Los Angeles homicide detective called Harry Bosch looks into the murder of a 13 year old boy while he is also undergoing trial for murder charges.

Six Feet Under

Nathaniel Fisher Senior hands over his funeral home business to his two sons before he passes away. However, this leads to the brothers and the rest of the family fighting about the decision.


Deputy US Marshal Raylan Givens has an unconventional outlook on justice enforcement. He is reassigned to Lexington, Kentucky – an area he grew up in and thought he had escaped for good.

Modern Family

This rockumentary family sitcom explores three different types of family living in LA, who are all interrelated.


A group of people who get to know each other online stumble across a manuscript which predicts the disasters which took place over the previous years. They then find themselves being tracked down by an organisation known as The Network.

Monthly Subscription


Annual Subscription


Standalone subscription


Choose from thousands of TV shows and movies.
Get stuck in with no fixed contract now.

Subscribe For The Latest News