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The Americans

The Americans

Sat Aug 10, 9.50-10.45pm, ITV

By Phil Harrison
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Series one, episode eleven
The nearer it gets to its endgame, the more it begins to look as if ‘The Americans’ isn’t really a Cold War thriller at all. Instead, the geopolitical dimension is merely the hook for a domestic drama about a couple struggling badly with their work-life balance.

Elizabeth’s coping strategy is to let her emotions get the better of her – as she does tonight upon discovering the identity of Zhukov’s killer. Philip, meanwhile, simply shuts down, clams up and becomes all but unreachable. The Beemans too are crumbling: Sandra has decided that all Stan’s ‘late nights in the office’ can only really mean one thing – she’s right but for the wrong reasons.

This emotional nuance means that ‘The Americans’ remains impressive, mainly because it’s admirably unpredictable. Will the denouement be personal or political? It should be fun finding out.
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