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FX’s The Americans Returns Tonight; Last Season: Reagan ‘Chicken Hawks,’ SDI a ‘Fantasy’ of Deluded Reagan

Season 2 debuts tonight of The Americans, the FX drama centered around husband and wife KGB undercover agents (Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell as “Philip and Elizabeth Jennings”) who live with their kids as ordinary Americans in suburban Washington, DC when Reagan becomes President. 

In the next to last episode of the first season, at a scene in a restaurant sometime in 1982, a source tells “Elizabeth” she can trust a U.S. Colonel, who wants to pass on information about the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), because “he’s completely disillusioned with the Chicken Hawks in the Reagan administration.”

In the season finale aired the following week (May 1, 2013), “Philip” meets the Colonel in a Washington, DC park. The Colonel says the anti-ballistic missile program is “not credible” and, “at best, it’s 50 years from being remotely operational.” He asserts “the damn thing’s a fantasy,” prompting “Philip” to wonder: “Well, if that’s true, then why the commitment from the Reagan administration?”

Audio: MP3 clip (matches video with portions of April 24 and May 1 , 2013 episodes)

The Colonel postulates: “The Hell if I’m supposed to know that. Some people say the President only hears what he wants to hear. Some say it’s all one big psy-op, a way of getting the Soviets to spend themselves into oblivion trying to keep up with the technology that will never pan out.”

He despairs: “Really, it’s just what the world needs, isn’t it? Another crazy arms race, but this time in space.”

The Americans runs Wednesday nights at 10 PM EST/PST on FX, with an immediate re-run afterward. (The Seasan 1 season finale will re-run tonight/Thursday morning at 12:13 AM EST/PST).

My previous posts on first season of The Americans, in order from the first episode, in late January of 2013, and moving to newer episodes:

> Three Scenes in FX’s ‘The Americans’ Which Should Hearten Conservatives

> FX’s ‘The Americans’ Imagines Moment When Soviets Learned of Reagan’s Plan to Deploy SDI

> ‘Conservative’ Journalist on Reagan: ‘I Hope the Bastard Bleeds to Death on the Operating Table

> Successful KGB Operation to Discredit an Anti-Soviet Polish Priest Portrayed on FX’s ‘The Americans

— Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and Vice President for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center. Follow Brent Baker on Twitter.