'Americans' wannabe pushes credibility.

AuthorWiegand, David

Byline: David Wiegand

It shouldn't come as a surprise that the success of the FX drama "The Americans'' has begotten imitators -- that's the natural order of things in television. What's rarely clear, though, is why the imitations rarely seem as interesting as the originals.

That's the case with "Allegiance,'' a spy-versus-spy dramatic series premiering at 10 p.m. Thursday on NBC. The series, about a young CIA analyst whose Russian-born mother and American-born father did some spying back in the day, is moderately engaging at first, until it squanders much of its fragile credibility in what can only be judged as a desperate attempt to set itself apart from "The Americans.''

Alex O'Connor (Gavin Stenhouse) is a rookie analyst with a singular command of arcane information, not to mention the ability to speak perfect Russian. The latter skill comes from his mother, Katya (Hope Davis), a physician and former agent for the Russian SVR foreign intelligence service, married to businessman Mark O'Connor (Scott Cohen). Their elder daughter, Natalie (Margarita Levieva) knows about her parents' past, but Alex and his younger sister, Sarah (Alexandra Peters) do not.

At this point in the pilot, we don't stop to wonder how stupid the CIA would have to be to hire a young guy whose mother was a Russian spy, but once other pillars of credibility start to wobble, the thought is more likely to wander through our minds.

Rookie though he may be, Alex is asked to help interview an SVR agent who wants to defect after she witnesses another agent brutally exterminated. She says she has useful information, but is she lying or telling the...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT