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The Americans - (S01E01)

Mystery . Thriller . Drama . Crime

The Americans is a period drama about the complex marriage of two KGB spies posing as Americans in suburban Washington D.C. shortly after Ronald Reagan is elected President. The arranged marriage of Philip and Elizabeth Jennings grows more passionate and genuine by the day, but is constantly tested by the escalation of the Cold War. Tensions heighten upon the arrival of a new neighbor, Stan Beeman, an FBI agent.

Episode Title: Pilot
Airs: 2013-01-30 at 22:00
  • Alan Sepinwall

    Based on the admittedly small sample size of two episodes, The Americans feels like it could very comfortably slot in with the upper tier of FX dramas. That's about as good as it gets.

    Hitfix Full Review
  • Ed Bark

    The Americans enthralls with its complexities, simplicities and overall derring-do.

    Uncle Barky Full Review
  • Verne Gay

    Smart newcomer with a pair of leads that turns The Americans into a likely winner.

    Newsday Full Review
  • Rob Brunner

    [An] absorbing spy thriller. [25 Jan/1 Feb 2013, p.113]

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Dorothy Rabinowitz

    The Americans unfolds a thoroughly seductive tale of sleeper KGB agents.

    Wall Street Journal Full Review
  • Tim Goodman

    It's too early to really judge Americans against Homeland, but if the latter is getting away from what hooked you in the first place, then you might find what you're missing on Americans.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Gail Pennington

    The Americans isn't just a heart-pounding action drama; by presenting heroes who are also villains, it also confronts viewers with TV's deepest moral dilemma since "The Sopranos."

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch Full Review
  • Paige Wiser

    It's a fresh, compelling story about a couple of KGB operatives pretending to live the American dream as a married couple with kids in suburban Washington, D.C.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Sara Smith

    [A] smart espionage drama.

    Kansas City Star Full Review
  • Andrea Reiher

    For all the excitement of the missions and the tension with the FBI neighbor, what really carries the show is the relationship between Philip and Elizabeth.

    Zap2it (Inside the Box) Full Review
  • Matt Zoller Seitz

    The Americans might take a while to find its footing--most shows do; but it already has a personality, a pulse of life.

    New York Magazine (Vulture) Full Review
  • James Poniewozik

    Beyond the cat-and-mouse international intrigue, which deepens after the pilot, The Americans has an absorbing personal story to tell--one as familiar yet unusual as its aliens-among-us protagonists.

    Time Full Review
  • Matt Roush

    The juxtaposition of surface banality and the high-octane spy intrigue of their shadow identities gives The Americans a suspenseful kick.

    TV Guide Magazine Full Review
  • Glenn Garvin

    The show is not without the occasional car chase, but its real strength is in its evocation of the schizoid paranoia of the double life of intelligence.

    Miami Herald Full Review
  • David Hinckley

    It's a premise that requires as much clever dramatic footwork as you might expect, and creator Joe Weisberg, a former CIA agent, handles the challenge.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Ellen Gray

    The real fascination of The Americans can be found not in the lies Philip and Elizabeth tell the world, but in those they tell themselves.

    Philadelphia Daily News Full Review
  • Cynthia Fuchs

    As much as the series' pitch seems clear--it's another period series, with terrific design details, long story arcs, and complex performances--it is also something else, a reframing of what it might mean to be Americans, then and now.

    PopMatters Full Review
  • Matthew Gilbert

    By episode 2, though, after the crammed (and super-sized) premiere, [creator] Weisberg reveals a sure sense of detail that bodes well for the future of the series.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • David Hiltbrand

    The Americans may be a tricky concept to sustain, because it means bringing the protagonists to the very brink of discovery on a regular basis. But for now, it's a daring tightrope walk, full of action and suspense.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Willa Paskin

    The Americans is delightfully cunning, exactly the quality, along with fight scenes and ridiculous disguises, one desires in a spy show.

    Salon Full Review
  • Maureen Ryan

    A solid spy vehicle for its strong cast.

    The Huffington Post Full Review
  • Alessandra Stanley

    It's a subtle, complex portrait of a relationship etched into an engaging espionage thriller set in 1981.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Joanne Ostrow

    The evolution of the couple's relationship is as engrossing as the strong-arm spy stuff.

    Denver Post Full Review
  • Tom Gliatto

    It's tense, engrossing, mildly ludicrous--and worth checking out before the Cold War melts. [11 Feb 2013]

    People Weekly Full Review
  • Robert Bianco

    While Rhys and Russell carry the domestic side of the story beautifully (with Russell having a particularly nice moment next week with the daughter), they're not, as yet, completely convincing as spies. In their defense, they're hurt in the premiere by a clumsy set of flashbacks that make you think the Soviets must have perfected an anti-aging drug that has now been lost.

    USA Today Full Review
  • Curt Wagner

    [An] exciting but frustrating spy thriller from former CIA employee and writer-executive producer Joe Weisberg, skillfully captures the anxiety of the age.

    RedEye Full Review
  • David Wiegand

    The Americans benefits from convincing performances by the cast, but Weisberg's concept and writing in the first two episodes make the show much more than "just" a spy thriller.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Rob Owen

    If there's a downside to the Americans pilot, it's that it has some pace problems. The premiere runs long--an hour and six minutes--and spends time on flashbacks to Elizabeth in training 20 years earlier and the pair's first meeting.

    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Full Review
  • Tom Long

    The Americans has potential. The way it uses recent history as a reflector of modern deceits while bouncing the concept of patriotism around mixes nicely with the hang-by-your-fingertips story turns.

    The Detroit News Full Review
  • Aaron Riccio

    It'll take every ounce of writer/creator Joe Weisberg's strength to keep this from seeming like a watered-down Homeland, or, worse, a film idea stretched across 13 hours.

    Slant Magazine Full Review
  • Hank Stuever

    As a drama, The Americans struggles to crack a certain code; the concept is tantalizing, but the follow-through lacks the momentum that gets viewers to commit.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Robert Lloyd

    There are enough interesting ideas inherent in the material to warrant giving The Americans a chance, and interesting enough ideas that one wishes a little more attention were being paid to them, and a little less to the usual spy-jinks.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Brian Lowry

    The Americans is an intriguing and provocative concept.... The execution, alas, initially isn't worthy of the premise, becoming fairly standard spy stuff, and relying heavily on awkward flashbacks to fill in the backstory.

    Variety Full Review
  • Mark A. Perigard

    Russell and Rhys seem adept at the disguises and stunts. But their characters are practically flipped from pilot to second episode, and some of the black humor here is awkwardly executed.

    Boston Herald Full Review
  • Kyle Smith

    The Americans at the moment seems to fall uneasily between the methodical and the campy.

    New York Post Full Review

  • family relationships

  • falls church virginia

  • husband wife relationship

  • female lead

  • double identity

  • cold war era

  • soviet spy

  • cold war

  • sleeper agent

  • 1980s

  • russian spy

  • soviet union

  • period drama

  • kgb

  • fbi

  • spy

  • undercover

  • double life

  • secret identity

  • washington d.c.