ITV has bought the rights to upcoming US drama series The Americans.
At least two seasons of the new show will be shown on ITV – a channel that has massively increased its investment in drama over the past 12 months, but which very rarely acquires US series.
The Americans is set in 1981 and stars Matthew Rhys (Brothers & Sisters) and Golden Globe winner Keri Russell (Felicity, Mission: Impossible 3) as KGB spies posing as a married couple in Washington, DC suburb Falls Church. They have two children who do not know their parents’ true identity.
A spy thriller at heart, The Americans also has elements of domestic drama, exploring the relationship of two strangers – and, indeed, killers – obliged to live together as man and wife amid the shifting gender politics of the 1980s.
“The best part of the show is the dynamic of the relationship and how strange – outside of the spy issue – it is,” Russell told The Daily Beast. “It’s just these two people going, ‘Why can’t you do it my way? Do it my f***ing way for once.’ That’s every marriage alive.
“You do get to couch it in spy stuff, so there’s the threat of being outed, the threat of your kids being left alone for their whole lives, sleeping with other people. It raises the stakes, but I think that’s all the extraneous stuff. The interesting core is the relationship and the idea that this person is chosen for you when you’re a kid, and then 15 years later you look at them and go, ‘OK, well, could I? Maybe I do like this person,’ and being able to fall in love.”
The series premieres in the US on 30 January on FX and will be shown on ITV later in the year.