FX’s The Americans, the under-watched but very compelling drama about husband and wife undercover KGB spies in suburban Washington, DC in the early 1980s, concludes its fourth season tonight (Wednesday, June 8 at 10 PM EDT/PDT, re-runs at 11:15 PM and 1:30 AM).
Inter-mixed in this season’s drama about the FBI’s discovery one of their secretaries had been turned into a Soviet agent and a still-ongoing plot about obtaining a biological agent being developed by a U.S. laboratory, the program showed a side of the Soviet Union rarely, if ever, seen on U.S. television: the method and speed in which the Soviets killed those who helped the U.S. and how Soviet technological incompetence almost led to a nuclear attack on America.
For this video, I’ve clipped two informative scenes from the fourth season set in 1983:
- In the first, KGB agent “Nina Sergeevna” (played by Annet Mahendru), who had helped (and had a sexual relationship) an FBI agent when she worked in Washington, DC, is sentenced and executed in quite an expeditious manner in a Soviet prison. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, executive producers Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields revealed the scene was based on how the Soviets really killed those they considered traitors, details the producers got from Sergie Kostin’s book, Farewell: The Greatest Spy Story of the Twentieth Century.
- In the second, KGB agent “Oleg Burov” (played by Costa Ronin) is in bed in Washington, DC with another agent as he informs her what his father, a top Soviet official, told him about how close the Soviets, who confused “sunlight reflected off clouds” for missiles, came to launching a nuclear counter-attack on the United States. “Our technology is way behind,” he frets, “it’s dangerous.”
>> Season three concluded last year by juxtaposing then-President Ronald Reagan’s “evil empire” speech with the two undercover KGB agents in the U.S. distraught by the charge as their frantic teenage daughter, who just recently learned their true identity, gets on the phone to tell her pastor that her parents are Russians. More in my March 16 NB post.
>> Descriptions and clips of several other noteworthy scenes. My January 28, 2015 post, “FX’s The Americans, Showing Evils of KGB and Set in Reagan’s DC, Returns Tonight,” provides highlights from the first two seasons.
A season one episode dramatically ended with a scene showing the horror realized by KGB operatives at the Soviet embassy in Washington, DC when they learn (by bugging Caspar Weinberger’s home office, after the KGB operatives kidnap his maid’s son and force her to plant it) President Ronald Reagan intends to build “a ballistic missile shield” – aka the Strategic Defense Initiative. (Details)