Covert War is the eleventh episode of Season One and The Americans on FX, and the eleventh episode overall.

Synopsis Edit

In Moscow, Viktor Zhukov is assassinated in the escalating tensions between the two countries. When Elizabeth learns that her personal mentor has been murdered she risks everything to avenge his death.

Plot Edit

Paige and Henry spend the evening with Phillip in his motel room, watching tv and eating dinner from a vending machine. Elizabeth and Sandra talk, drink and dance at a club. When Sandra calls home to check on Matthew, he tells her Stan phoned to say he's working late. Later when she gets back, Sandra calls his office and verifies this isn't true. She has apparently checked up on Stan in this way several times before, but always given him the benefit of the doubt. Now she believes he's having an affair and when he gets home, she confronts him. They argue and she leaves.

The CIA assassinates three KGB officials in Moscow, including Elizabeth's mentor and Directorate S head General Viktor Zhukov. Zhukov's guidance over the years - at pivotal moments in Elizabeth's relationship with Phillip - is shown throughout the episode in multiple flashbacks. In the present, Elizabeth is furious about Zhukov's death. She vows, against KGB orders, to take out the CIA official (Richard Patterson) whom Claudia claims planned the killings. Knowing it won't be possible to do it alone, Elizabeth begs a reluctant Phillip for help.

The Jennings succeed in abducting Patterson, bringing him to an abandoned warehouse where Elizabeth verbally torments him about his impending death at her hands. When Patterson realizes why he's been taken and by whom, he argues, saying "I'm a bureaucrat. I decide nothing. I do nothing ... I give orders that are given to me. I implement the will of others." Elizabeth grows increasingly visibly shaken as he continues: "But you ... your life is a lie. You kill. That's who you are, that's what you know, that's what you do." He tells her she has no heart, no soul, no conscience, and asks her to consider whether she cares about anything, loves anyone, or if anyone loves her. Elizabeth, shaking all over, suddenly flees the room, pacing, crying, gasping, and squatting in a state of severe emotional distress. Philip enters. He is able to take the gun from her, offering to kill Richard himself, but Elizabeth stops him: "I don't care about him. It's not about him. I was out of control," and resumes sobbing. "It's okay," says Phillip. "It happens." Elizabeth leaves and the camera pans to Richard sitting, blindfolded, on a city bench. When Gaad, Stan and Kendall interview Patterson, all are flummoxed as to why he was let go.

Elizabeth visits Phillip at his motel, ostensibly to thank him for his help. However, she appears hurt and leaves abruptly upon learning he has rented an apartment. She then confronts Claudia, accusing her of manipulating her to go against the KGB by killing Patterson, in order to destroy her career. Claudia says that she was Zhukov's lover and denies any ill will toward the Jennings. She is surprised (and presumably disappointed) that Elizabeth did not carry out the killing. Stan visits Nina and denies being able to obtain any information about who killed Vlad. He suggests they break off their affair, but loses his resolve and has sex with her instead. The newly promoted Nina is given access to the material obtained by the Weinberger bug, but keeps the information from Stan, in order to further investigate Vlad's death. Martha surprises "Clark" by introducing him to her parents, who like him.


Song Title Performer(s)
Rough Boys Pete Townsend
Slap and Tickle Squeeze
In the Dark Billy Squier


The Americans 1x11 Promo 'Covert War' HD)

The Americans 1x11 Promo 'Covert War' HD)

Season One
#101 "Pilot" #108 "Mutually Assured Destruction"
#102 "The Clock" #109 "Safe House"
#103 "Gregory" #110 "Only You"
#104 "In Control" #111 "Covert War"
#105 "COMINT" #112 "The Oath"
#106 "Trust Me" #113 "The Colonel"
#107 "Duty and Honor"