The Americans: Season 1 (2013)

Season 1
The Americans

Critics Consensus

The Americans is a spy thriller of the highest order, with evocative period touches and strong chemistry between its leads.



Critic Ratings: 55


Audience Score

User Ratings: 1340

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Air date: Jan 30, 2013

Two KGB spies pose as an American married couple living in 1980s Washington, D.C. In the series opener, an FBI agent moves in across the street from the spies.

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Air date: Feb 6, 2013

Philip and Elizabeth risk exposure while planting a bug in the defense secretary's office.

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Air date: Feb 13, 2013

Stan investigates Robert's death. Meanwhile, Philip and Elizabeth discover that Robert had a wife they never knew about.

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Air date: Feb 20, 2013

An assassination attempt is made on President Reagan, and Stan tries to determine if the KGB was responsible.

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Air date: Feb 27, 2013

A network of KGB informants is threatened. Meanwhile, Philip and Elizabeth are tasked with infiltrating the FBI's communications-encryption system.

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Air date: Mar 6, 2013

Stan's mole is at risk of discovery as the KGB scour their ranks for a double agent.

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Air date: Mar 13, 2013

Philip reunites with an old flame, straining his troubled relationship with Elizabeth.

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Air date: Mar 20, 2013

American scientists are targeted by an assassin, who is in turn hunted by Philip and Elizabeth.

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Air date: Apr 3, 2013

A routine mission goes sideways for Philip and Elizabeth. Meanwhile, an FBI agent disappears.

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Air date: Apr 10, 2013

Stan pursues a lead that brings him closer to Elizabeth.

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The Americans: Season 1 Photos

Tv Season Info

The first series of "The Americans" follows Philip and Elizabeth Jennings, two KGB spies who pose as an American married couple living in 1980s Washington, D.C. Along the way, Philip faces temptation from an old flame, which strains his relationship with Elizabeth.

Cast & Crew

Keri Russell
Elizabeth Jennings
Matthew Rhys
Philip Jennings
Noah Emmerich
Stan Beeman
Holly Taylor
Paige Jennings
Keidrich Sellati
Henry Jennings
Daniel Flaherty
Matthew Beeman
Peter von Berg
Vasili Nikolaevich
Lev Gorn
Arkady Ivanovich Zotov
Cotter Smith
Deputy Attorney General
Derek Luke
Gregory Thomas
Alison Wright
Martha Hanson
Vitaly Benko
Tim Hopper
Sanford Prince
Susan Misner
Sandra Beeman
Annet Mahendru
Nina Sergeevna Krilova
Meg Gibson
Mrs. Weinberger
Joe Weisberg
Executive Producer
Joel Fields
Executive Producer
Graham Yost
Executive Producer
Justin Falvey
Executive Producer
Darryl Frank
Executive Producer
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News & Interviews for The Americans: Season 1

Critic Reviews for The Americans Season 1

All Critics (55) | Top Critics (35)

The Americans is the best new television drama since Homeland because, like that similarly sticky, Silver Age show, it uses its killer concept as an ellipsis, not an exclamation point.

Sep 17, 2013 | Full Review…

There's something really entertaining and thought-provoking about watching people caught up in double lives.

Jan 29, 2013 | Full Review…

Rhys and Russell are shockingly good as the multifaceted Philip and Elizabeth, who shed identities like snakes shed skins.

Jan 30, 2013 | Full Review…

The show keeps its tongue out of its cheek and actually creates decent suspense, along with some chewy moral dilemmas to keep the brain stimulated if not taxed.

Jan 30, 2013 | Full Review…

The Americans isn't just a heart-pounding action drama; by presenting heroes who are also villains, it also confronts viewers with TV's deepest moral dilemma since The Sopranos.

Jan 30, 2013 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

A gripping Cold War spy thriller - Alias, say, without the sci-fi digressions and with less ridiculous get-ups - and an equally intriguing domestic drama.

Jan 30, 2013 | Rating: A- | Full Review…

Watch it now and become the guy or girl who months from now can claim that you liked the show before it was cool.

Apr 15, 2021 | Full Review…

But what's really surprising about The Americans is how its balances spy antics with a grounded drama about an atypical marriage and two people coming to a crossroads in their relationship.

Feb 20, 2020 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

The problem with The Americans is that it feels as if it were made in the eighties rather than made about the eighties.

Oct 19, 2018 | Full Review…

Rhys and Russell give Emmy-worthy performances as people managing multiple identities.

Aug 14, 2017 | Full Review…

The show has a snappy premise and a strong underlying theme-how do Philip and Elizabeth juggle their extraordinary mission with the ordinary reality of family life?-but so far creator Joe Weisberg hasn't given the drama room enough to breathe.

Mar 7, 2017 | Full Review…

The Americans is a fascinating idea for a show. I don't recall getting to explore the spy game from the other side like this, and that's where much of the show's attraction lies.

Feb 17, 2014 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Americans: Season 1

  • May 19, 2021
    I have seen movies or TV shows where I hated most of the main characters, but I have never seen so many conniving, murderous liars that I was supposed to become interested in as in this show. And for 6 seasons? I bowed out in the middle of the 2nd season. The story line where Philip marries the unsuspecting Martha, who is supposed to be "ugly", was especially revolting. What was I supposed to be feeling? Congratulating Philip on the well-done deception of a less-than-popular woman? All I was hoping for was for Martha to get smart and blow his miserable balls off with a 45 magnum. Or was I supposed wax philosophical on poor Elizabeth's psychological tension between being a mother and a woman who whores herself before killing? This was an endless stream of vile images from a bunch of really sick minds.
  • May 07, 2021
    One of the best TV shows ever. I always wondered how many "Yuri's & Svetlana's" were in the US back in my University days? I wish they did a better job of editing. The park scenes I saw the DC city flag was in Dutch Colors which then I realized that is NYC's flag and their park flag (green maple leaf) were flying in the background and the buildings were City College of NY and Columbia University. Also a song or two were not 1981 but 82 or 83.
  • Nov 21, 2020
    Great insight into Russian intelligence operating in the 1980s.
  • Sep 06, 2020
    Not a bad thriller remembering the old times of the Cold War.
  • Jun 30, 2020
    As a general rule, I don't watch broadcast television. It's mostly crap. A friend mentioned "The Americans" and urged me to give it a try. He praised it enthusiastically, so I ordered Season One from the library and gave it a whirl. I had to quit watching in the middle of the 12th episode (during Philip's marriage to Martha). I became utterly unable to suspend disbelief. It was simply preposterous. I enjoyed the first two or three episodes somewhat. Keri Russell is very easy on the eyes, so I was able to cut the series slack at first. I initially thought some of the plot premises of the episodes were imaginative, but thoroughly wasted by Elizabeth's and Philip's sloppy spycraft. They left fingerprints EVERYWHERE! Then I think about each episode's main plot and realize that, given good writers and a proper budget, each of those episodes could have been fashioned into a really decent two-hour film. Instead, everything was jammed into about 45 minutes. What a waste of imagination! Also, I KNOW that SOMEONE behind the scenes was privy to a lot of CIA history. In the fifties, our CIA had an "S" directorate active in Cuba, so s/he poached that. (A friend's father was one of those involved in that directorate before Castro.) No, the series started slow, never gained momentum (in my mind), and I simply don't have the time to spend trying to find a pearl or two in all the muck. Very, very, very few series are worth one's time. This is one of them.
  • Apr 30, 2020
    Early on, I found myself questioning why I couldn't stop watching The Americans, or how I could possibly root for agents of an authoritarian regime who were, by necessity, professional killers. Certainly, I was kept riveted by the suspense of the spy games, the tension between the characters' clandestine missions and their wholesome, ordinary families, or the quietly stellar performances up and down the cast. But the brilliance of The Americans is that it was never comfortable in its own skin, never smug or one-sided in its morality. It neither obsessively humanized nor dehumanized its characters, and it did not shy away from the painful questions at its heart. The characters simply were who they were. In most cultures, values such as duty and loyalty are extolled as singular virtues and treason as an unforgivable offense. And yet treason to one nation may be duty to another; one person's terrorist is another person's freedom fighter, as they say. Certainly, morality is not relative, but we cannot deny that culture and circumstance provide context. War often presents an infinite decision tree of trolley problems for those on its front lines. If, as a spy, you believe you are choosing between the survival of millions of your countrymen and the life of, say, a foreign scientist you believe is working on a deadly weapon, it is easy to see how you would choose the former, particularly if you must make a split-second decision. But it is also difficult for a person of conscience—even one trained to kill—to have to make these choices again and again and again. It is near-impossible to do it while also trying to maintain a loving family and raise children to be functioning, decent human beings, as the show's characters discover. The truth at the heart of The Americans—that the cost of war goes beyond mere loss of life, but a societal death of innocence that spans generations—is not particularly new. But few TV shows explore the personal consequences of war in such a relatable way, with characters who must pit so many all-too-human impulses—loyalty to country, duty to humanity, the desire to protect one's family, the basic need for love and friendship—against one another. From the very beginning of the show, an astute viewer will recognize that there is no way to neatly resolve these tensions in a way that is good for anyone involved—and that, on some level, the main characters know this. And yet they try, and sometimes it leads them to do unforgivable things. Somehow, I found myself not hoping foremost that the characters would be punished, but that as humankind we would stop putting people in the position to make such choices, stop passing down the grievances and flawed ideologies that lead people to wage war on each other simply for being born in a different place. In other words, I wish that—as thrilling and captivating as it is—a story like The Americans wasn't necessary. That it was inspired by a true story (shifted back a few decades) of actual Russian agents, "illegals" who raised children in America, suggests that it is.
  • Apr 07, 2020
    With all the elements of prestige tv; the lead duo reel us in with their chemistry and the show's smart, easy to follow plot.
  • Apr 04, 2020
    Matthew Rhys, Noah, Kerry - fantastic actors. Loved it!!
  • Jan 10, 2020
    A suspense and wig-filled joyride that puts you on the edge of your seat. Rhys and Russell both give deliciously duplicitous performances as two undercover KGB agents in the Reagan era.
  • Jan 02, 2020
    I like the show, but their history expert gets only 2 stars. Early in Episode 4 a lady approximately 50 years old said, "I fought behind the lines in Stalingrad (38 years earlier) for two years." The age discrepancy is not the major failure, though dubious by itself. The real failure is related to the 2 years. The Germans were not within 200 miles of Stalingrad until close to August, 1942 and had retreated much farther away than 200 miles by March, 1943. The battle for Stalingrad itself only lasted 5 months. There would be no possible way to be fighting there for even a year, much less "behind enemy lines for two years". I laughed out loud when I heard that.

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