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The Americans

Sat Jun 15, 10-10.50pm, ITV

Series one, episode three
Reassuring evidence comes tonight that ‘The Americans’ isn’t the sort of series to cast aside a fertile plotline: it transpires that Philip and Elizabeth’s fallen comrade, Rob, had a secret wife and hidden life – but how much did she know, and could she be a threat?

Waters are muddied further when long-term collaborator Gregory is brought in and painfully exposes further fault lines in the Jennings marriage; and then there’s the FBI’s own mole and a new Soviet handler, both settling into their new roles with aplomb. It’s another confidently directed, intricately written episode, with Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys crafting a partnership just about flawed enough to make you doubt its durability.

Although the intricate plotting, it has to be said, is more sophisticated than the politics: while the Cold War is a dirty war, most of the true brutality comes courtesy of the Soviets. But with its winning combination of brains and brawn, ‘The Americans’ is establishing itself as a genuine TV superpower.