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Family and Friends is my everyday journal. Captain's Log is where I pontificate on religion and politics.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

The Americans, on Fox

The americans title card.pngThe Americans on Fox TV is in its final season. It's an interesting premise. Two Soviet spies who were raised and trained to fit in to the American lifestyles and conduct clandestine missions. Elizabeth and Phillip Jennings come to the United States in the 1960's. Their marriage and identities were arranged by the KGB. They have handlers who speak about directives from "Control."
The story picks up in 1981 with Reagan as president. They live in a nice suburban house, have a travel agency business and on the sly bug Casper Weinberger's house and steal state secrets. It's like the movie The Saint on steroids. The two operatives change looks like other people change clothes and it's amazing what a wig, fake facial hair can do the make you think they're someone else.
What makes the story interesting is that across the street from the Jennings an FBI agent (Stan Beeman) moves in with his family, and what are the odds? He's just come in from undercover and is now in counter surveillance. He's trying to catch soviet spies while living across the street from them.
This is the final season and there's now way I want to recap all of them.
It was almost like Dexter, where you root for a serial killer. How can this couple who are undermining the United States be the good guys?
Then there's a story line whose arc hits you between the eyes.
Agent Beeman follows a newly arrived member of the Soviet embassy as she visits places in DC. Nina Sergeevna Krilova, is a clerical worker, low on the totem pole. She visits a pawn shop regularly and buys electronics: VCR's and the such. The amount of items is more than one person would need, so they check with the shop owner and discover she's paying for them with Caviar.
Beeman picks Nina up and blackmails her into getting him secrets from the embassy or he'll tell her bosses she's she shipping contraband to her family back in Russia.
It doesn't take long until Agent Beeman starts sleeping with her.
KGB officer, Arkady Ivanovich Zotov, starts noticing that their secrets aren't secrets anymore and discovers Nina passing information to Beeman. Instead of sending her back to Russia, which is a death sentence, he uses her to pass on misinformation and get intel on Beeman.
Nina is a tragic figure here in that she's in the clutches two ruthless men, both sleeping with her and walking on a razor's edge to stay alive.
Eventually Nina is found out and Arkady can't save her. Beeman tries to get her to defect, but she's sent back to Russia.
Arkady's father is a top minister in Russia and he uses him pull some strings to try and keep Nina alive. In prison Nina's turned into an informants of the other prisoners. She gets better food, but her usefulness doesn't last long. She's released from jail and given an assignment to help a scientist working on stealth technology. The scientist was a Russian defector that was working in the aerospace agency. The Jennings kidnap him and send him back to Russia. Nina is supposed to seduce him so he'll cooperate in developing stealth technology. He talks Nina into smuggling a note to his family in America letting them know he's alive. She gets caught.
Arkady comes back to Russia to pull even more strings to get her out of prison, hoping that at least she'll be sent to Siberia. The day comes where she's taken out of her cell by three guards and marched to a man sitting at a desk in the middle of a hall. The man reads off her indictment then says she's been found guilty of sabotage and the sentence is death. Two of the guards grab her arms and the one behind her shoots her in the back of the head.
This was a shock, I really thought that she'd be sent to Siberia because of all the stings Arkady was pulling. It brought home how ruthless and awful the Soviet Union was and Russia today isn't much better.
There are a number of missions the Jennings carry out believing they are protecting Russia from our aggression, but Nina's story tells you different.