A badge of honor for the late Robert Bork and his supporters? He drew the ire of an undercover Soviet KGB operative in an imaginary scene, set in early October 1987, on the episode of FX’s The Americans aired Wednesday night. At a dinner at a neighbor’s house, college student “Paige Jennings,” played by Holly Taylor, matched American Left hostility at the time toward President Reagan’s Supreme Court nominee: “He opposed anti-segregation laws, he thinks that women aren’t protected under the 14th Amendment.”
The wife of an FBI agent at the table chimed in: “He’s an asshole,” to which FBI agent “Stan Beeman” countered: “Well, just to play devil’s advocate. He’s a judge, so doesn’t really matter what his personal opinions are. And everyone agrees he’s brilliant.”
“Paige” fired back: “A lot of Nazis were brilliant too.” That was too much even for her father, long-time undercover KGB operative “Philip,” who resisted: “Whoa! Whoa!” When a baby then started to cry, “Paige” jumped in: “See? He hates Bork, too!”
You might say “Paige Jennings” was the David Hogg of 1987.
(Bork was nominated by Reagan on July 1, 1987 and, within an hour, the late Senator Ted Kenndy went to the Senate floor to notoriously slime the jurist: “Robert Bork’s America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens’ doors in midnight raids....” On Friday, October 23, the Senate rejected Bork’s nomination.)
The FX drama is centered around a husband and wife KGB cell (Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell as “Philip and Elizabeth Jennings”) who live with their kids as ordinary Americans (travel agents) in suburban Washington, DC in the 1980s. Last season, they enlisted daughter “Paige,” now a student at George Washington University, into the cause.
The final season debut of The Americans on Wednesday night seemed to set up a storyline in which “Elizabeth” allies with forces trying to take down Mikhail Gorbachev while “Philip” works with those in Moscow trying to help Gorbachev succeed.
Meanwhile, “Stan Beeman,” played by Noah Emmerich as the FBI agent who in the scene defended Bork, lives across the street from the Jennings family and remains, for now, unaware of their real identity.
>> Related, with five video clips from the first five seasons: “Final Season of FX’s The Americans, Set in Reagan’s ‘80s, Begins Tonight”