In the early 1980s, when the recent election of Ronald Reagan to the presidency of the United States ardently relaunched the Cold War, the United States and the USSR are engaged in a merciless struggle through their secret services. It is this atmosphere of permanent tension that the spy series proposes to restore " The Americans », Whose first season was released in 2013.
At the heart of the plot: two KGB spies
Philipp and Elizabeth Jennings, two KGB spies, are at the heart of the plot. Trained in the USSR, their mission a few years earlier was to contract a false marriage, to settle in the United States, and to blend in with the masses. They are thus what we call, in espionage jargon, sleeper agents.
However, things are not that simple for the two Soviet agents. Living in a perpetual lie vis-à-vis their children but also vis-à-vis themselves, they gradually begin to get used to the "American Way of Life" ...
A reproduction of the atmosphere of the cold war
We must underline the effort made by the writers to anchor the plot in a precise historical context. On the one hand, the nature of Soviet espionage activity across the Atlantic is clearly evident: concern about the American military program "IDS" (or "Star Wars" program), the fight against governments in exile, especially Polish, etc.
The attempted attack against Ronald Reagan on March 30, 1981, committed by John Warnock Hinckley Jr is the subject of an episode that captures the very tense atmosphere of the Cold War, where the threat of nuclear war was omnipresent. Russian-Polish tensions - linked in particular to the rise of the Solidarnosc movement - are also regularly mentioned.
If we can sometimes regret that seduction is a weapon too regularly used as a means of manipulation in the series, the whole remains however very realistic, both historically, but also by offering a credible immersion in the world espionage.
This is why we recommend this series twice, offering an immersion in a bygone era - contrasting with recent spy fictions which often focus on the fight against terrorism - and in an opaque and little-known world.
The Americans.. American TV series in 13 episodes, currently on Canal +.