It is the particular premise of the new FX cable TV series The
Americans <http://www.fxnetworks.com/theamericans> that the
Soviets had ready to go when called, lots of sleeper cells of KGB agents living in the United States. Taking place in the years of the Reagan
administration, the show depicts the life and exploits of a husband and wife who seem at first introduction, a typical, young, middle-class
suburban couple living in the Washington, D.C. area, with a 13-year-old daughter and a 10-year-old son, to whom they are loving parents.
The couple, Elizabeth and Phillip Jennings, are played by Keri Russell
and Matthew Rhys. Viewers quickly learn that their coupling was a
KGB-arranged marriage. Brought together in the Soviet Union by KGB
bosses, they are trained in the ways of America, taught perfect English, and then smuggled into the U.S., where the KGB buys them a nice home,
and establishes a travel agency for them to run as a perfect front. As
part of the deal, they are expected, as most Americans are, to have
children and raise a family.
Their days are spent running their business and ferreting their kids to school while their evening and sometimes their days are spent in such
endeavors as kidnapping a KGB defector who has become too prominent on
the lecture circuit, and preparing upon orders to spy upon the home of
Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, where a top level meeting is to take place at which they hope major American secrets will be revealed.
To do this job, the couple has to force the Weinberger’s
African-American maid to place a bug on a clock in Weinberger’s study,
which they accomplish by poisoning her son with a toxic agent for which only they have an antidote.
Created by Joe Weisberg, the brother of liberal journalist and
editor-in-chief of the Slate group, Jacob Weisberg, the show’s producers evidently want American audiences to root for the Soviet agents to win! Executive producer Joel Fields actually told The Hollywood Reporter
<” target=’_blank’>www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/americans-fx-a…0> that "it might be a little different to believe and get used to, but we want you to root for the KGB. They’re trying to get the Soviets to win
the Cold War." As the trade paper commented, believe it or not,
the creative team behind the high-profile launch expressed a
confidence that more than enough time has passed for American
audiences to not hold a grudge.
It is hard to believe, given the script and the reactions one has as the show envelops, to think that any viewer would actually be rooting for
the Soviets. Even if a young audience knows nothing about Communism and the Cold War, what each episode to date reveals is the horrendous
immorality of the Soviet agents. The couple, who dote upon their own
children and always worry what would happen to them if they are caught
by the FBI — remember that their children have no idea who their
parents really are, and were born in the U.S. and raised as regular
American kids — are willing to poison the Weinberger maid’s son and
let him die if need be, to get a bug into the Secretary of Defense’s
home. They have no scruples at all. They eventually murder the defecting KGB agent in cold blood, after having locked him in their car trunk for a few days.