sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Americans (Series Review)

The Americans is a television series on the FX Network, created by Joe Weisberg, a former CIA officer turned high school teacher, turned screenwriter, which premiered on January 30, 2013. It's a Cold War series based on a group of Soviet KGB Officers (Directorate S) who are sleeper agents.

Matthew Rhys stars as Phillip Jennings, a KGB officer posing as a normal family man living in the Washington DC area. He's married to Keri Russell (Elizabeth Jennings), also a KGB officer, and they have two American children together who don't know that their parents are foreign spies.

Noah Emmerich plays FBI Agent Stan Beeman, who moved in across the street from the Jennings family, unaware that they were his principal adversaries.

I've viewed the first three episodes in the first season and have found both the writing and the acting to be first rate. There is an undercurrent of accuracy with enough sensationalism to play well on television.

I rate THE AMERICANS a MUST SEE. Good acting, smart writing, and solid production. It rates up there with some of the other good FX productions such as Sons of Anarchy, which gets a similar must see review from me.

By episode 5 the contribution of Noah Emmerich (plays Stan Beeman) to the overall series has become more important and his acting talents are swinging into high gear. His relationship with Annet Mahendru (Nina), a dragooned asset that he's developed from the Soviet Embassy in Washington DC has become more critical and it's helped to develop the Stan Beeman character more fully.


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The Old Whore: A Novel of Cartel Wars

In the parlance of the Central Intelligence Agency, old whores are clandestine operators who would do anything to get the job done.
(excerpt)
"Sanctioned assassination, extraordinary rendition? You weren't sitting in the big chair that you're in today, but the Outfit handed it off to the Special Activities Division for resolution two years ago." He leaned forward in his chair. "Why not do it again? They're very good at that sort of thing." 
"Not possible under the present guidelines. We ran it past the Director of National Intelligence and he ran it past the President's godfather, the Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. He said that we should forget about it." 
"So we forget about it?" 
"Uh, no, Frank, definitely not. We simply can't do anything directly, but we can use a cat's paw."

8 comments:

  1. We've got the first couple of episodes sitting on the DVR, but haven't had time to sit down and watch them yet. Looked good from the previews and your nod makes me want to see them more now.

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    1. I think that from the theme music played on the pilot (Tusk by Fleetwood Mac), which captured the mood perfectly, the artistry that has gone into this production has improved and just got better.

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  2. You're the second person I've heard give high marks to the show... I'll have to figure out how to get them too... Thanks!

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    1. The writer understands tradecraft because he did it himself. Therefore a lot of the technical methods and sources work is spot on with genuine activity in the 80's. Not that I'm old enough to actually recall the 1980's...

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  3. Thanks for the review. I love this show!

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    1. Me too, Anonymous. It just keeps getting better and better.

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