The Americans: Season 1 (2013)

SEASON:

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.

87%

TOMATOMETER

Critic Ratings: 54

93%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 1311

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Episodes

1
Air date: Jan 30, 2013
2
Air date: Feb 6, 2013
3
Air date: Feb 13, 2013
4
Air date: Feb 20, 2013
5
Air date: Feb 27, 2013
6
Air date: Mar 6, 2013
7
Air date: Mar 13, 2013
8
Air date: Mar 20, 2013
9
Air date: Apr 3, 2013
10
Air date: Apr 10, 2013
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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

Matthew Rhys
as Philip Jennings
Keri Russell
as Elizabeth
Holly Taylor
as Paige Jennings
Maximiliano Hernandez
as Chris Amador
Keidrich Sellati
as Henry Jennings
Richard Thomas
as Frank Gaad
Susan Misner
as Sandra Beeman
Alison Wright
as Martha Hanson
Lev Gorn
as Arkady
David Vadim
as Nikolai Timoshev
Olek Krupa
as Colonel Zhukov
Michael Gaston
as Mark Bartholomew
Cotter Smith
as Deputy Attorney General Warren
Joe Urla
as Pasty Bureaucrat
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News & Interviews for The Americans: Season 1

Critic Reviews for The Americans Season 1

All Critics (54) | Top Critics (29)

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…
Top Critic

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…

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…

After seeing the pilot, The Americans can step up and take their place among the pantheon of cable shows now dominating the primetime airways.

Feb 8, 2013 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Americans: Season 1

  • 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.
  • Oct 20, 2019
    It is watchable, but one has to leave lots of brain behind. FBI is shown to be weak and kgb couple super humans.
  • Sep 24, 2019
    The writers seem to view the women characters as nothing more than a tool to please the men they encounter. Way too many rape and sexual abuse scenes to count I had to stop watching. Is that really all a woman's character is good for in a show like this? Seriously disappointing..
  • May 13, 2019
    More episodic than the rest of the series but very worth watching. It features some of the best episodes of the show even if the whole story isn't as cohesive as it is in further seasons. The good news is that the show gets BETTER and BETTER. Fantastic season overall! Just keep watching with an open mind
  • May 13, 2019
    Albeit slower and less action packed, it is even better than Homeland, more spot-on on tech details (spy life and methods) and more serious story telling. Acting and writing is 5/5. Excellent first season.

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