"Just being us". Secrecy, authenticity and identity in the Americans
This article analyzes, from an aesthetic and cultural point of view, two pivotal moments in The Americans, a Cold War spy thriller set in the heart of Ronald Reagan's America. Both samples¿one from the mid-series episode "Stingers" (3.10.), and the other from the series finale, "START" (6.10.) "show how the protagonists, two KGB spies living undercover in the United States as a married couple with two kids, disclose their secret identity to characters with whom they have a special emotional bond: their daughter, who has become a devout Christian; and their best friend and neighbor, who happens to be a counterintelligence officer in the FBI. After exploring how identity and performance play a crucial role in the spy-thriller genre, the article investigates whether it is possible for the audience to interpret the feelings and thoughts of characters with multiple identities who excel in the art of duplicity; and whether the viewer can infer intention from performance. Following this epistemological discussion, the article then sets out to explain the sociocultural relevance and timeliness of The Americans as a text whose thematic and aesthetic concerns ultimately revolve around individual identity vis-a-vis collective allegiances and ideologies.