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The Americans

Sat Aug 24, 9.55-10.50pm, ITV

Series one, episode thirteen
Having threatened to all series, tonight’s finale delivers genuine five-star thrills. The KGB has two big wins on the horizon: a high-level meeting in Caspar Weinberger’s office and a high-ranking US colonel poised to spill the beans. At least one of these, as we know, is a trap laid by the FBI – but might the suspicions of the Jenningses may be misdirected?

As Elizabeth and Philip debate who will play the martyr and take on the more dangerous assignment (leaving the other to look after the kids, perhaps for good, in another neat splicing of the personal and political), it appears the key to the whole conundrum lies with Nina, who’s been given two offers she can’t refuse. Even Claudia gets to display a spark of humanity in a superbly paced and affecting episode which sums up this series’ impressive achievement: the history may be familiar, but its individuals retain the capacity to surprise.

While ‘The Americans’ may not have gathered ‘Homeland’-esque ratings for ITV, we sincerely hope they stay the course and sign up for series two; it’s been a gripping ride.


Fiona Hewlett

Just putting it out there, I love Matthew Rhys. I loved him as Kevin Walker in Brothers and Sisters, and if it’s possible, I love him even more as Phillip Jennings in The Americans. He’s so breathtakingly good at playing the charming yet tortured Russian spy, I find it hard to believe that he wouldn’t have done splendidly well in the real espionage business if he’d wanted to. This has been a fabulously entertaining series, with more intrigue, tragedy and nail-bitingly tense moments than you can shake a Matryoshka doll at, and the finale episode was absolutely no exception. In fact, during the final 15 minutes, I experienced what may well be the longest heart palpitation known to man. And that‘s including the overly hysterical reaction I had whilst watching Seven for the first time. Now fortifying my nail beds and taking my beta blockers, ready for series 2…..

Stephanie Kiens

Keri Russell's return from "Mission Impossible", and long-gone series "Felicity", sees her and her fellow Russian spy husband, infiltrate the workings of the American society with ease and unruly persistence. The series offers an interesting look into the tension felt throughout the Cold War between the USSR and the USA during the 70's. From the thick rimmed glasses, olds- mobiles and picket-fenced all American houses, the picture of the American idyl is painted well, although not failing to show the cracks in the polished surface of this family's reality; befriending neighbors in high places, conspiring towards the fall of the US government, all the while sustaining a complex portrayal of caring and hardworking parents. Not quite House of cards or Homeland, but definitely worth watching.