Deception is synonymous with FX’s The Americans, with married KGB agents Philip and Elizabeth Jennings (Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell) donning countless wigs and disguises to lie and spy their way into gaining intelligence for the USSR. And they’re not the only ones pulling the wool over the eyes of others, since their network includes many others loyal to Mother Russia, as well as the larger web of the FBI lurking nearby.
Because of this, it’s impossible to identify everyone that’s ever been lied to and every underhanded thing that’s ever been done on the show, but we’ve zeroed in on some of the most significant deceptions that have occurred throughout its four-season run. Below, we’ve ranked them based on the level of deceit required, and the consequences each action had on the parties involved.
Warning: Spoilers ahead if you’re not caught up.
5. Philip And Irina
When Philip reconnects with his former lover – with whom he learns he has a child – it doesn’t take the pair long to fall back into bed with each other. The only problem is that Philip’s sham marriage has recently blossomed into anything but, and his betrayal of Elizabeth has serious consequences on their union. While he initially lies to his wife about sleeping with Irina, he ultimately confesses; the infidelity is too much for Elizabeth to bear, especially since things have been dicey between them for weeks, and she kicks him out. Though their separation is short-lived, Philip’s dalliance still stings, especially when he learns that his son is fighting on the front lines in Afghanistan, and he tries to persuade Gabriel to get the young man reassigned. The pained expression on Elizabeth’s face when discussing the situation proves that she’s still not completely over Philip’s deception.