Ok Downton Abbey was a massive worldwide hit for ITV but in recent years the channel seems intent on convincing us that there is nothing “too low brow” for ITV prime time. Granted a lot of the prime time shows are entertaining, but you are often left feeling slightly light-headed at the end of the evening watching ITV as occasionally some of your brain cells lose the will to survive.
So it was a pleasant surprise when after last Saturday’s Britain’s Got Talent ITV decided to go for some radical programme scheduling (for them). No gentle chat show, no light-hearted sitcom instead what we got was a tense, complex political thriller – The Americans.
Take yourself back to the early 80′s and the cold was is still very much alive. Philip and Elizabeth Jennings (Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell) are undercover Soviet intelligence agents from the secretive Directorate S of the KGB sent to the U.S. 15 years ago to work deep cover in Washington, D.C.
Their assumed identities are a married couple who run a travel agency, and even their own children Paige (Holly Taylor) and Henry (Keidrich Sellati) do not know their secret.
Their seemingly serene life together is put into jeopardy when a KGB defector reveals the existence of the programme, and is further complicated when one of the FBI agents charged with finding Russian sleeper spies Stan Beeman (Noah Emmerich) moves in a few doors away.
ITV are hoping to recreate the success Channel 4 had with Homeland with this and the opening episode last saturday was very encouraging. We see Philip is struggling to enticement of the American society even as his wife steadfastly remains true to their mission and you feel that rather than any investigative ability of the FBI may be their undoing.
Watch the trailer here
Catch Up with missed episodes of the The Americas on ITV Player