FX’s new circa-’80s cold war drama The Americans premiered Wednesday night and found Keri Russell morphing from America’s sweetheart into full-on anti-heroine opposite Brothers & Sisters‘ Matthew Rhys.
A quick recap of the show’s provocative conceit: Russell and Rhys play KGB spies Elizabeth and Philip Jennings, who are posing as a married couple in the suburbs of Washington D.C. The first episode cleverly juxtaposes the couple’s home life (where they have two American-born children) and their work life (where they’re running around in myriad disguises and hiding bodies in trunks of cars — all while avoiding getting their covers blown).
Their two worlds collide when Stan, an FBI agent played by the perfectly-cast Noah Emmerich, moves in across the street and immediately suspects something’s off about the Jennings. In one of the episode’s most tense sequences, Stan sneaks into the couple’s garage looking for evidence to confirm his suspicions — something like the dead body Philip and Elizabeth disposed of only hours earlier, perhaps? — as Philip quietly looks on in the shadows. Stan leaves empty-handed, but it’s clear this cat-and-mouse game has only just begun.
Some other highlights from the 94-minute premiere:
* The extended opening chase sequence scored to Fleetwood Mac’s “Tusk.”
* Elizabeth’s high-waisted Guess jeans. And luscious locks. And overall bad-assness.
* Philip’s impromptu country hoedown at the mall, which both cemented the character’s growing love of Americana and Rhys’ status as one of TV’s most underrated and versatile actors.
What did you think of The Americans? Will you be Russian to see Episode 2? Vote in the poll below and then elaborate in the comments?