Adding to a growing list of anticipated dramas like American Horror Story and Justified, FX is set to tackle its first period drama by announcing an order of the ’80s spy-drama The Americans, with former Felicity star Keri Russell in the lead.

The Americans received a pilot order from the network back in December, but news about the series, or the level of FX’s interest, was fairly scant. Now, however, the network has announced that it will be picking up the series for a 13-episode first season that will likely air sometime next year.

The series takes a sometimes darkly comic look at two KGB spies posing as a normal suburban couple, Phillip (Matthew Rhys, Brothers & Sister) and Elizabeth (Russell), whose mission remains a secret even to their children, but begins to come undone by Phillip’s growing attraction to the American way of life, and the additional pressure of finding out their neighbor, Stan (Noah Emmerich), is an FBI agent working in counterintelligence. The couple must also contend with a progressively more real and intimate relationship, while they navigate the complex web of spies and informants they are responsible for.

The Americans comes from Justified and Falling Skies executive producer Graham Yost and is written by Falling Skies writer Joe Weisberg – who is also a former CIA agent. So far, Weisberg is most well known for his work on TNT’s alien invasion drama, but with his firsthand knowledge of the intelligence community, he stands to breakout with this new series. Yost, meanwhile, has dished out three acclaimed seasons of southern-fried justice with a side helping of dark humor on Justified, making FX eager to have his talents on board this series.

FX general manager John Landgraff had this to say regarding The Americans:

“We’re proud to welcome The Americans, a taut series that crackles with incredible performances rooted in character perspectives never explored on a U.S. television series, to FX’s lineup of quality dramas.”

By ordering The Americans to series, FX effectively fires the first salvo in what we will call the escalating cold-war-period-drama conflict between the network and HBO. At one point, HBO seemed keen to tell its own 1980s-set tale of KGB spies with a fact-based series tentatively titled Reds. However, the network apparently declined to move forward with that project and has since focused on another spy-drama set in Berlin during the ’60s. That series, The Missionary, has already landed Aaron Paul for his first post-Breaking Bad gig.

The Americans will mark the first lead role in a drama series for Russell since she was on the J.J. Abrams hit Felicity. Since then, Russell has popped up in Abrams’ feature directorial debut, Mission: Impossible III, and was most recently seen on the FOX comedy Running Wilde, opposite Will Arnett.

Screen Rant will keep you updated as more information and details about The Americans is made available.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter