The Americans is a TV series which revolves around the lives of two Soviet KGB officers. The Jennings pose as a married couple living in the US. They live in Falls Church, which is a Virginia suburb of Washington DC, with their two children Henry and Paige.
This show was created by Joe Weisberg and aired on the FX network, falling under the category of period spy thriller. It is set during the Cold War.
It first came out on US screens in 2013 and ended in 2018, lasting six seasons and five years in total. The final season landed the show a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. The Americans also won Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series, not to mention a Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series – Drama.
The pilot episode sees the main duo of Philip and Elizabeth Jennings introduced in their role as an undercover team of Russian intelligence agents who are based in the US. Nobody knows their real identities; what makes this even more chilling is that even their own children are completely unaware.
Missions and storylines which fans can explore over the course of this 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
The Americans was primarily filmed in New York City. Furthermore, a couple of scenes were filmed at Eastern Effects Studios in Gowanus, Brooklyn. When it comes to outside shots, these were generally 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 been received well, with 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 given a skeleton outline by its creator Joe Weisberg, who happens to be a former CIA officer. After leaving the CIA, Weisberg published a novel which is titled An Ordinary Spy. This story focuses on a spy who is completing his training in Virginia before he gets transferred overseas. Executive producer Graham Yost was so taken by the book that he was excited to discover Weisberg had also written a pilot for a TV series.
After reading the pilot, Yost described it as ‘annoyingly good’ and the show therefore began its development. Weisberg took on his research, which included examining 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.
- Season 2 received a 97% approval rating on the site.
- Season 3 received 100% approval.
- Season 4 gained a 99% rating.
- Season 5 got 94%.
- Season 6 got 99%.
- The first five seasons have 13 episodes, and the final one has 10.
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