“DEATH COMES TO PEMBERLEY” (2013) Review

“DEATH COMES TO PEMBERLEY” (2013) Review

There is a group of mystery writers I usually read. However, one of them is not P.D. James. Mind you, I have read one of Ms. James’ novels. But it was not enough to tempt me to become a fan of her stories. I just might give her another chance . . . especially upon discovering that one of her novels was “Death Comes to Pemberley”, a 2011 sequel to Jane Austen’s 1813 novel, “Pride and Prejudice”.

Two years after the publication of James’ novel, the BBC aired a television adaptation in the form of a three-part miniseries. Set in 1803, (six years after the ending of “Pride and Prejudice”), “DEATH COMES TO PEMBERLEY” began with Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy preparing for the annual Queen Anne’s Ball at their Pemberley estate. The first guests arrive on the day before the ball – Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, Colonel Fitzwilliam and one Mr. Henry Alveston, an attorney that happened to be friends with Jane and Charles Bingley. During supper, an unexpected carriage arrive at Pemberley conveying Elizabeth’s youngest sister, Lydia Wickham, who is in a hysterical state. She claims that both her husband George Wickham and his friend Captain Denny had been arguing, when the latter angrily left the carriage in a state of anger. Wickham followed him and a few minutes later, Lydia and the carriage’s driver heard shots. Mr. Darcy organizes a search party that includes Colonel Fitzwilliam and Mr. Alveston. They find a distraught Wickham sobbing over Denny’s dead body. Very little time passes before the local magistrate, Sir Selwyn Hardcastle, finally arrests Wickham for murder.

As I had earlier stated, I have never read P.D. James’ novel. I could never make any comparison between her novel and the 2013 television adaptation. But I can convey how I felt about the latter. There were aspects of “DEATH COMES TO PEMBERLEY” that I found either perplexing or annoying. One such aspect was Elizabeth Darcy’s reaction . . . or lack of reaction to her sister Lydia Wickham’s behavior at Pemberley. In Jane Austen’s 1813 novel, Elizabeth had never been inclined to hold her tongue regarding Lydia’s childish behavior. In this miniseries, she more or less remained silent in the face of Lydia’s childish actions and spiteful words. Within her own home. Why? Why did the screenwriter allow Elizebath to remain silent and endure Lydia’s unpleasant presence? Was this supposed to be a sign of Elizabeth’s “growing maturity”? What? I never understood Elizabeth’s lack of responses when it came to her youngest sister. Another aspect that I found slightly irritating proved to be the scene in which Elizabeth and Pemberley’s housekeeper Mrs. Reynolds inspected the food prepared for the Darcys’ upcoming ball . . . for the following day. I am aware that cooks and their kitchen staff in Georgian England usually prepared cold dishes the day before any ball or banquet. Yet, the above scene featured Elizabeth and Mrs. Reynolds inspecting dishes like roast poultry and soup that were obviously not cold dishes. Yes, it is a minor complaint. Being a history buff, I found this scene slightly annoying.

Were there any other aspects of “DEATH COMES TO PEMBERLEY” that either annoyed me or I found questionable? Well . . . yes. The miniseries’ first episode featured a flashback to Elizabeth’s first ball as Pemberley’s chatelaine. This flashback featured a moment in which Elizabeth overheard two guests making snide comments about her father’s income of £2,000 pounds per year. I found this scene puzzling. Why would anyone make snide comments about Mr. Bingley’s income? Two thousand pounds per year from an estate meant that Mr. Bennet was a moderately wealthy man. Granted, he was not as wealthy as two of his sons-in-law. But he was wealthy, especially since all five of his daughters had married by this time in the family saga. And chances are, at least half or more of the Darcys’ guests earned a good deal less than Mr. Bennet. This scene struck me as another example of this erroneous belief that the Bennets came from the middle-class – a belief that either P.D. James or the miniseries’ screenwriter Juliette Towhidi shared. I must admit I found it surprising that George Wickham’s friendship with Captain Denny had survived following the former’s scandal with Lydia Bennet in “Pride and Prejudice”. Following the scandal, Darcy managed to purchase a commission in a regular Northern regiment – Colonel Fitzwilliam’s regiment – leaving Denny behind with the militia at Brighton. Perhaps this is nothing, but I found it surprising that their friendship, which never struck me as deep in the first place – had survived so long. Following her discovery of Captain Denny’s actual killer, Elizabeth and Reverend Oliphant raced to the execution site to save Wickham. They arrived in time to prevent Wickham’s execution at the last moment. Honestly, this scene seemed like a rehash of a scene from Henry Fielding’s novel, “The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling” and other stories. I found it so hokey. A giant cliché that left me wincing with embarrassment.

Despite my issues with “DEATH COMES TO PEMBERLEY”, I rather enjoyed it. A lot more than I had originally thought I would. I had featured the three-part miniseries would turn out to be one of those Jane Austen sequels filled with a good deal of hokey gimmicks. I mean . . . a sequel to “Pride and Prejudice” that turned out to be a murder mystery? Come on! Thankfully, P.D. James’ tale proved to be a great deal more interesting and just as emotionally complex as some of Austen’s best works. Captain Denny’s murder forced Elizabeth and Darcy to overcome their natural antipathy toward Wickham and face the possibility that for once, he might not be the murderer or villain in this scenario. Yet, ironically, Wickham’s past actions had led to his situation in the first place. The mystery surrounding Denny’s murder led to other issues. It revealed a good deal of class division – especially in regard to the gentry ruling class, middle-class types like Wickham and the Darcy family’s servants.

But there were other issues that manifested in the wake of Wickham’s arrest. A romantic triangle involving Georgiana Darcy, Henry Alveston and Colonel Fitzwilliam. Naturally, Wickham’s arrest has led to family troubles for both Elizabeth and Darcy. Fearful that Wickham’s conviction and execution might lead to more scandal for the Darcy family, Pemberley’s owner resumes his old habit of suppressing his emotions. Worse, Darcy becomes willing to support Colonel Fitzwilliam’s marriage proposal to Georgiana in the name of family solidarity and staving off any hint of scandal. And both of his actions threaten to alienate him from Elizaeth. Poor Georgiana seemed torn between her desire for Henry Alveston and marriage to Colonel Fitzwilliam out of family duty. Being a Darcy, she nearly allowed family duty to win the day . . . and it probably would have if her brother and sister-in-law had not learned of Fitzwilliam’s connection to Wickham and a potential scandal.

Not only did “DEATH COMES TO PEMBERLEY” provide a first-rate narrative, it was also blessed with a superb cast. Anna Maxwell-Martin shined as the initially happy Elizabeth Darcy who found herself nearly caving under the emotional strains that Wickham’s arrest had brought to Pemberley’s inhabitants and the Darcy family. Someone had once complained that Elizabeth’s famous wit seemed to be missing in this production. I certainly do not agree. I think Maxwell-Martin’s performance made it clear that Elizabeth had evolved from the younger woman in “Pride and Prejudice” inclined to put her wit on display. In other words, Elizabeth has become more mature over the years without the need to spout witicisms every now and then. But as the situation at Pemberley grew worse, it seemed obvious clear that she had not lost her sharp tongue. Judging from Fitzwilliam Darcy’s behavior during the first half of the series’ first episode, one would assume that marriage to Elizabeth had brought about a great change in his personality. Perhaps. Or perhaps this was an example of Darcy’s behavior as a happy man. Yet, once the whole situation regarding the murder and Wickham’s arrest began to take its toll, it felt as if Darcy’s personality from the 1813 novel had re-emerged with a vengeance. I have to give kudos to actor Matthew Rhys for doing such a beautiful in capturing these different aspects of Darcy’s personality. More importantly, I thought he had skillfully handled Darcy’s gradual transition from one aspect of the latter’s personality to another.

“DEATH COMES TO PEMBERLEY” also featured other excellent performances. Matthew Goode gave a complex and nuanced performance as embattled George Wickham, whose smooth and manipulative persona is shaken by the threat of a murder conviction and execution. Another first-rate performance came from Trevor Eve, who skillfully portrayed the Darcys’ neighbor and ruthless county magistrate, Sir Selwyn Hardcastle. Jenna Coleman did a great job in infusing immature shallowness, malice and a surprising touch of pathos in her portrayal of Lydia Wickham. Eleanor Tomlinson’s portrayal of Georgiana Darcy seemed to possess more depth and complexity than any previous portrayal of her. Tom Ward’s performance as the Darcys’ cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam, struck me as one of the most interesting in the limited series. Mind you, I thought P.D. James and by extension, screenwriter Juliette Towhidi; did an excellent job in allowing the Colonel to become a more complex and ambiguous character in his own right. Yet, this transformation . . . or revelation of Colonel Fitzwilliam’s character without Tom Ward’s brilliant performance. There were other performances featured in “DEATH COMES TO PEMBERLEY” that impressed me. These performances came from James Norton, Mariah Gale, Nichola Burley, Rebecca Front, James Fleet, Philip Martin Brown, Joanna Scanlan, Jennifer Hennessey, Lewis Rainer, and Penelope Keith as Lady Catherine de Bourgh.

I also have to give kudos to the production team for “DEATH COMES TO PEMBERLEY”. It is a beautiful-looking series. This can be attributed to Grant Montgomery’s luscious production designs. Montgomery did an excellent of bringing a late Georgian provincial community to life in this limited series. I believe Steve Lawes’ sharp and colorful photography of the miniseries’ Yorkshire and Derbyshire filming locations enhanced Montgomery’s work, along with Nick Wilkinson’s art direction and Ussal Smithers’ set decorations. I also believe Marianne Agertoft’s costume designs contributed to the miniseries’ production designs. I must honest. Agertoft’s costumes did not blow my mind. But I have to say that the costumes’ color schemes – especially the women’s – struck me as rich and sharp as Lawes’ cinematography.

I will not deny that I have a few issues with “DEATH COMES TO PEMBERLEY”. But my issues are minor, in compared to my admiration for this miniseries. Because I do admire “DEATH COMES TO PEMBERLEY”. I found the series’ production aspects lush and beautiful. The cast led by Anna Maxwell-Martin and Matthew Rhys gave superb performances. More importantly, I believe director Daniel Percival and screenwriter Juliette Towhidi did an excellent job of adapting P.D. James’ novel. “DEATH COMES TO PEMBERLEY” offered a very original view into the world of Jane Austen.

Favorite Television Productions Set in the 1800s

Below is a list of my favorite television productions set during the decade between 1800 and 1809:

 

FAVORITE TELEVISION PRODUCTIONS SET IN THE 1800s

1. “Death Comes to Pemberley” (2013) – Anna Maxwell Martin and Matthew Rhys starred in this adaptation of P.D. James’ 2011 mystery novel, set six years after the events of Jane Austen’s 1813 novel, “Pride and Prejudice”, featuring the style and characters of the latter. Daniel Percival directed.

 

 

2. “Sense and Sensibility” (2008) – Andrew Davies wrote this adaptation of Jane Austen’s 1811 novel about the experiences of two well-born, yet impoverished sisters following the death of their father. Directed by John Alexander, the miniseries starred Hattie Morahan and Charity Wakefield.

 

 

3. “War and Peace” (2016) – Andrew Davies wrote this adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s 1869 novel about a group of noble families during the Napoleonic Wars. Directed by Tom Harper, the miniseries starred Paul Dano, Lily James and James Norton.

 

 

4. “War and Peace” (1972) – David Conroy created this adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s 1869 novel about a group of noble families during the Napoleonic Wars. Directed by John Davies, the miniseries starred Anthony Hopkins, Morag Hood and Alan Dobie.

 

 

5. “Mansfield Park” (1983) – Sylvestra Le Touzel and Nicholas Farrell starred in this adaptation of Jane Austen’s 1814 novel about a young impoverished girl sent to live with her aunt and uncle at their elegant estate. The six-part miniseries was written by Kenneth Taylor and directed by David Giles.

 

 

6. “Jack of All Trades” (2000) – Bruce Campbell and Angela Dotchin starred in this syndicated comedy series about two spies – one American and one British – who operate on a French-controlled island in the East Indies.

 

 

7. “Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell (2015) – Bertie Carvel and Eddie Marsan starred in this adaptation of Susanna Clarke’s 2004 novel about the return of magic to Britain through two men during the early 19th century. The series was created by Peter Harness.

 

 

8. “Mansfield Park” (2007) – Billie Piper and Blake Ritson starred in this adaptation of Jane Austen’s 1814 novel about a young impoverished girl sent to live with her aunt and uncle at their elegant estate. The television movie was written by Maggie Wadey and directed by Iain B. MacDonald.

“THE POST” (2017) Review

the-post

“THE POST” (2017) Review

When one thinks of Katharine GrahamBen Bradlee and The Washington Post; the Watergate scandal comes to mind. So, when I heard that filmmaker Steven Spielberg planned to do a movie about the famous newspaper’s connection to the “Pentagon Papers” . . . I was very surprised. 

As many know, the Pentagon Papers had originated as a U.S. Department of Defense sponsored report that depicted the history of the United States’ political and military involvement in Vietnam from 1945 to 1967. Sometime between 1969 and 1971, former military/RAND Corporation strategic analyst Daniel Ellsberg and RAND colleague Anthony Russo secretly made several copies of classified documents about the U.S. involvement in Vietnam since 1945 and submitted them in 1971 to The New York Times correspondent, Neil Sheehan. The Times eventually published the first excerpts of the classified documents on June 13, 1971. For years, I have been aware of The New York Times‘s connection to the Pentagon Papers. I had no idea that The Washington Post had played a major role in its publication, as well.

There have been several productions and documentaries about the Pentagon Papers. However, most of those productions centered around Daniel Ellsberg or The New York Times‘s roles in the documents. “THE POST” marked the first time in which any production has depicted The Washington Post‘s role. Many people, including employees from The New York Times, have questioned Spielberg’s decision to make a movie about The Post‘s connection to the Pentagon Papers. Some have accused Spielberg of giving credit for the documents’ initial publication to the The Washington Post. And yet, the movie made it perfectly clear that The New York Times was the first newspaper to do so. It even went out of its way to convey Post editor-in-chief Ben Bradlee’s frustration at The Times‘ journalistic coup.

Following The New York Times‘s publication of the Pentagon Papers’ first excerpts, the Nixon Administration, at the urging of Secretary of State Henry Kissenger, opposed the publication. Later, President Richard Nixon ordered Attorney General John Mitchell to obtain a Federal court injunction, forcing The Times to cease publication after three articles. While The New York Times prepared a legal battle with the Attorney General’s office, Post assistant editor Ben Bagkikian tracks down Ellsberg as the source of the leak. Ellsberg provides Bagdikian with copies of the same material given to The Times, who turns them in to Bradlee. The movie’s real drama ensues when the newspaper’s owner, Katherine Graham, finds herself torn between Bradlee’s urging to publish the documents and the newspaper’s board of directors and attorneys, urging her not to.

I had at least two problems with “THE POST”. I am certain that others had more problems, but I could only think of two. I had a problem with Janusz Kamiński’s cinematography. I realize that the man is a legend in the Hollywood industry. And I have been more than impressed with some of his past work – many of it for Steven Spielberg’s movies. But I did not like his photography in “THE POST”. I disliked the film’s grainy and slightly transparent photography. I do not know the reasons behind Spielberg and Kamiński’s decision to shoot the movie in this style. I do know that I found it unappealing.

My second problem with the film centered around Spielberg’s directorial style. In other words, his penchant for sentimentality nearly made the film’s last ten minutes slightly hard for me to swallow. I refer to the scene in which one of the reporters read aloud the Supreme Court’s decision to allow both The Washington Post and The New York Times, along with any other newspaper, to continue publishing the Pentagon Papers. It simply was not a matter of actress Carrie Coon reading the Court’s decision out loud. Spielberg emphasized the profoundness of the moment with John Williams’ maudlin score wailing in the background. A rather teeth clenching moment for me.

Otherwise, I enjoyed the movie very much. Superficially, “THE POST” did not seem that original to me. When one has seen the likes of “ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN” and “SPOTLIGHT”, what is so different between them and “THE POST”. But there was a difference. For the movie’s real heart focused upon owner Katherine Graham and her conflict over whether or not to allow the next excerpts of the Pentagon Papers to be published. And what made this even more interesting is the woman’s character.

If one had read Graham’s memoir, “Personal History”, one would learn that for years, she had suffered from an inferiority complex since childhood, due to her strained relationship with her more assertive mother. In fact, her father, who was the newspaper’s original owner, had handed over the newspaper to her husband, Philip Graham, instead of her. And she saw nothing wrong with her father’s decision. Following her husband’s death, Graham found herself publisher of The Post. During the movie’s setting – June 1971 – not only did Graham found herself dealing with Ben Bradlee’s urgent demand that the newspaper publishes the Pentagon Papers, but also with the newspaper’s stock market launch. Even worse, Graham also found herself facing a board of directors who did not take her seriously as The Post‘s publisher.

So in the end, “THE POST” was more than about the Papers itself and the question of the United States’ involvement in the Vietnam War. It seemed to be about how an unpopular war had an indirect impact upon a woman’s life through a political scandal. The movie also seemed to be about a struggle between the media’s belief in free press in order to inform the people and the government’s belief in its right to control what the people should know. In a way, the Vietnam War and Daniel Ellsberg’s release of the Pentagon Papers established The Washington Post‘s rise as an important national newspaper. And it opened the public’s eyes about the U.S. government’s involvement in Vietnam – something that had been hidden from the government for over two decades. The war and Ellsberg also kick started Katherine Graham’s elevation as a newspaper publisher willing to take a risk for an important news story and of her self-esteem. Spielberg’s movie could have simply been about The New York Times‘s scoop with its publication of the first excerpts of the Pentagon Papers and its battle with the Nixon Administration. But as I have earlier pointed out, his narrative has been seen in past productions.

Aside from my disappointment with Kamiński’s cinematography, there were other aspects of “THE POST” I admired. I certainly had no problems with Rick Carter’s production designs. One, he did an admirable job of re-creating Washington D.C. and New York City circa 1971. And I was especially impressed that both Carter and set decorator Rena DeAngelo’s recreation of The Washington Post‘s newsroom was as accurate as possible. I had learned that the newsroom depicted in the 1976 movie, “ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN” was slightly larger. Apparently, sometime between the newspaper’s coverage of the Pentagon Papers and Watergate, its newsroom had been renovated and enlarged. Good catch on Carter and DeAngelo’s part. Hollywood icon Ann Roth designed the costumes for the film and I must say that I was impressed. I was not impressed because I found her costumes dazzling or memorable. I was impressed because Roth, who had also served as costume designer for three of director Anthony Maghella’s films, perfectly captured the fashion styles of the conservative Washington political set of the early 1970s.

Both Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks earned acting nominations – for their portrayals of Katherine Graham and Ben Bradlee. Streep is the only one who earned an Academy Award nod. I am a little conflicted about it. On one hand, I cannot deny that the two leads gave very good performances. Streep did an excellent job in conveying Graham’s emotional growth into her role as her late husband’s successor as owner of The Washington Post. And Hanks was first-rate as the ambitious and tenacious Bradlee, who saw The Post‘s acquisition of more excerpts from the Pentagon Papers as a step into transforming the newspaper as a major national periodical. The movie also featured an interesting performance from Bob Odenkirk, who portrayed Ben Bagkikian, the assistant editor who had decided to set out and find Ellsberg after the Attorney General’s Office forced The New York Times to cease publication of the Papers. Another interesting performance came from Bruce Greenwood, whose portrayal of the besieged former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara really impressed me.

I was surprised to discover that “THE POST” won a Best Ensemble award from the Detroit Film Critics Society. But you know what? Perhaps I should not have been that surprised. With a cast that included Carrie Coon, David Cross and Philip Casnoff; I really enjoyed those scenes featuring Bradlee with his senior staff, whether they were discussing or examining the Pentagon Papers. The movie also featured solid performances from Bradley Whitford, Sarah Poulson, Matthew Rhys, Michael Stulhbarg, Alison Brie, Jesse Plemmons, Pat Healy, and Zach Woods.

I can honestly say that I would not regard “THE POST” as one of my top five favorite movies directed by Steven Spielberg. In fact, I am not sure if I would regard it as one of his best films. But the movie proved to be one of my favorites released in 2017, thanks to Spielberg’s direction, a first-rate screenplay written by Liz Hannah and Josh Singer, and an excellent cast led by Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks. I have a feeling that it is one movie that I would never get tired of watching.

The 19th Century in Television

Recently, I noticed there have been a good number of television productions in both North America and Great Britain, set during the 19th century. Below is a list of those productions I have seen during this past decade in alphabetical order:

THE 19TH CENTURY IN TELEVISION

1. “Copper” (BBC America) – Tom Fontana and Will Rokos created this series about an Irish immigrant policeman who patrols Manhattan’s Five Points neighborhood during the last year of the U.S. Civil War. Tom Weston-Jones, Kyle Schmid and Ato Essandoh starred in this 2012-2013 series.

2. “The Crimson Petal and the White” (BBC) – Romola Garai starred in this 2011 miniseries, which was an adaptation of Michel Faber’s 2002 novel about a Victorian prostitute, who becomes the mistress of a powerful businessman.

3. “Death Comes to Pemberley” (BBC) – Matthew Rhys and Anna Maxwell-Martin starred in this adaptation of P.D. James’ 2011 novel, which is a murder mystery and continuation of Jane Austen’s 1813 novel, “Pride and Prejudice”.

4. “Hell on Wheels” (AMC) – This 2012-2016 series is about a former Confederate Army officer who becomes involved with the construction of the First Transcontinental Railroad during the years after the Civil War. Anson Mount, Colm Meaney, Common, and Dominique McElligott starred.

5. “Mercy Street” (PBS) – This series follows two volunteer nurses from opposing sides who work at the Mansion House Hospital in Alexandria, Virginia during the Civil War. Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Josh Radnor and Hannah James.

6. “The Paradise” (BBC-PBS) – This 2012-2013 series is an adaptation of Émile Zola’s 1883 novel, “Au Bonheur des Dames”, about the innovative creation of the department story – only with the story relocated to North East England. The series starred Joanna Vanderham and Peter Wight.

7. “Penny Dreadful” (Showtime/Sky) – Eva Green, Timothy Dalton and Josh Harnett star in this horror-drama series about a group of people who battle the forces of supernatural evil in Victorian England.

8. “Ripper Street” (BBC) – Matthew Macfadyen stars in this crime drama about a team of police officers that patrol London’s Whitechapel neighborhood in the aftermath of Jack the Ripper’s serial murders.

9. “Underground” (WGN) – Misha Green and Joe Pokaski created this series about runaway slaves who endure a long journey from Georgia to the Northern states in a bid for freedom in the late Antebellum period. Jurnee Smollett-Bell and Aldis Hodge star.

10. “War and Peace” (BBC) – Andrew Davies adapted this six-part miniseries, which is an adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s 1865–1867 novel about the impact of the Napoleonic Era during Tsarist Russia. Paul Dano, Lily James and James Norton starred.

Top Five Favorite “THE AMERICANS” Season Two (2014) Episodes

Keri-Russell-and-Matthew-Rhys-in-The-Americans-Season-2-Episode-13

Below is a list of my five favorite episodes from Season Two of FX’s “THE AMERICANS”. Created by Joe Weisberg, the series stars Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys:

 

TOP FIVE FAVORITE “THE AMERICANS” SEASON TWO (2014) Episodes

1 - 2.01 Comrades

1. (2.01) “Comrades” – In this season opener, Philip and Elizabeth Jennings are forced to work with another pair of Soviet spies named the Connors for a mission that results in the death of the latter.

2 - 2.07 Arpanet

2. (2.07) “Arpanet” – Nina Sergeevna agrees to a polygraph test conducted by FBI Agent Stan Beeman and receives instructions from her Soviet colleague, Oleg Burov in this tense episode. And Philip is ordered to bug the Americans’ newARPANET computer system.

3 - 2.09 Martial Eagle

3. (2.09) “Martial Eagle” – Elizabeth and Philip infiltrate the local Contra training base, which results in unexpected casualties. They also learn that their daughter Paige has donated all of her savings to her local church.

4 - 2.13 Echo

4. (2.13) “Echo” – The Jennings are forced to confront one of their marks – a U.S. Navy officer named Andrew Larrick, who had been blackmailed into helping the KGB. The truth behind the Connors’ murders is revealed. and Stan makes a decision that has strong consequences for Nina’s fate.

5 - 2.04 A Little Night Music

5. (2.04) “A Little Night Music” – The Jennings’ KBG supervisor, Claudia, gives them two assignments — to snatch a Soviet defector who is assisting the U.S. in stealth technology and investigate Larrick, who is a suspect in the Connors’ murders. Meanwhile, Paige becomes involved in church, thanks to her close friend.

Top Five Favorite “THE AMERICANS” Season One (2013) Episodes

fx-s-the-americans-renewed-for-second-season

Below is a list of my five favorite episodes from Season One of FX’s“THE AMERICANS”. Created by Joe Weisberg, the series stars Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys: 

 

TOP FIVE FAVORITE “THE AMERICANS” SEASON ONE (2013) Episodes

1 - 1.10 Only You

1. (1.10) “Only You” – The FBI’s tenacious investigation of Agent Chris Amador’s death leads the KGB to frame Elizabeth Jenning’s colleague and former lover, Gregory Thomas, for his murder in order to protect Elizabeth and Philip’s identities.

2 - 1.07 Duty and Honor

2. (1.07) “Duty and Honor” – During a mission to discredit a Polish dissident in New York City, Philip is reunited with a former lover and fellow KGB agent named Irina.

3 - 1.13 The Colonel a

3. (1.13) “The Colonel” – In this tense season finale, Philip and handler Claudia proceed to meet with an Air Force colonel, who might be a new source. Meanwhile, Elizabeth sets out to retrieve a bug from Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger’s home, unaware that the FBI has set a trap.

4 - 1.04 In Control

4. (1.04) “In Control” – Following the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan, the FBI attempt to assess whether the KGB was involved. Meanwhile, Elizabeth and Philip prepare to deal with any excessive reactions from the American intelligence community.

5 - 1.06 Trust Me

5. (1.06) “Trust Me” – Elizabeth and Philip are abducted and brutally questioned. Their abductors turn out to be KGB agents instructed by Claudia to determine if either of them is a mole. Meanwhile, FBI Agent Stan Chambers helps his Soviet source Nina frame her embassy supervisor for treason.