I watched a new show on FX last night called The Americans. As someone who grew up on Cold War spy novels and movies, I found the premise intriguing: Two KGB sleeper agents live a quiet life in surburbia while conducting covert operations against the United States. Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys play Elizabeth and Phillip Jennings, an apparently typical American couple who are anything but typical. Noah Emmerich plays Stan Beeman, their new neighbor. And just to make things interesting, Beeman is an FBI agent, newly assigned to the Bureau’s Counterintelligence Division.
The pilot episode impressed me. The leads were all solid. The three main characters have good dramatic potential. Elizabeth is the true believer who is dedicated to carrying out her mission, no questions asked. Phillip is the pragmatist who likes his life in the US, and is not above trying to talk Elizabeth into defecting and giving up their secret double life. Stan is clever and dogged. He likes his new neighbors, but is suspicious of them from the beginning. His previous assignment, a three year stint working undercover in a white supremacist group, gives him a unique perspective on the people he is pursuing.
The Americans takes place in the early 1980s. The producers have (so far) made pretty good use of period music. It’s also kind of cool seeing the cars and clothes from “back in the day.” I’ll be tuning in next week to see if the show can continue to hold my interest.