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"You're still new at this my dear. So much to learn." Claudia to Elizabeth

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


The CIA assassinates three KGB officials, including General Zhukov. Elizabeth decides to kill the CIA official who planned the operation. She abducts him with Philip's help, but ultimately lets him go. The newly promoted Nina is given access to the material obtained from the Weinberger bug. Martha surprises "Clark" by introducing him to her parents.


In retribution for the deaths of FBI Agents Amador, Milbank, two other agents and a scientist, Agent Gaad briefs his team on an operation the CIA is carrying out in Moscow in which three high-level KGB officers will be killed. The head of Directorate S, General Viktor Zhukov is shot in the head and his butler Dmitri is also killed. Elizabeth and Sandra go to a club where Sandra talks of marital cheating and expresses unhappiness with her marriage to Stan. (♫ Chaka Khan & Rufus - At Midnight (My Love Will Lift You Up) ♫)

Covert War Episode Zhukov shot.png
We're going to find them, we're going to kill them.
Paige and Henry spend the evening with Philip in his motel room, watching TV and eating dinner from a vending machine. Tired of dancing with Elizabeth, Sandra ducks out and calls home to check on Matthew. (♫ Squeeze - Slap and Tickle ♫) He tells her Stan phoned to say he's working late. Later when she gets back home, 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. She takes out her frustrations on Stan and leaves.

S01E11-Sandra grabs Stan.jpg
What goes on in there, huh?
Meeting Claudia, Elizabeth is furious to learn of Zhukov's death. She vows, against KGB orders, to take out the CIA official, Richard Patterson, whom Claudia claims planned the killings. She remembers during her KGB training in 1964, Zhukov providing her with fatherly advice to accept Philip as her partner. At Dupont Circle Travel, Elizabeth tells Philip the news and her plan for unapproved revenge on Patterson. Having surveilled him, she intends to seduce him at a bar he frequents, the Wheelhouse, and kidnap him. Philip disapproves and points out Elizabeth's plan is reckless and personal. At home, Stan talks to Matthew about a movie he saw while Nina is given access to tapes from the Weinberger bug by Arkady and told to listen for anything about the Moscow killings.

S01E11-Claudia and Liz.jpg
I'm sorry to say there will be no retribution.
Martha surprises "Clark" by introducing him to her parents, who like him. Elizabeth remembers in 1971 speaking to Zhukov of Paige. He impressed on her the value of children's play and family choices. Sitting in a car outside the Wheelhouse, Elizabeth is surprised when Philip arrives and offers to help her. (♫ Billy Squier - In the Dark ♫) In the bar, she succeeds in seducing Patterson by acting as a rough girl, challenging his masculinity and offering to have sex in the bathroom. In the bathroom, she stabs him with a syringe and smashes him over the head with a towel dispenser before pushing him out the window to a waiting Philip. (♫ Pete Townsend - Rough Boys ♫)

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She's over the moon for you, Clark.
Stan visits Nina and lies that he's hasn't been able to obtain any information about who killed Vlad. He suggests they break off their affair, but he loses his resolve and has sex with her instead. Bringing a blindfolded Patterson to a garage, Elizabeth verbally torments him about his impending death at her hands. When Patterson realizes why he's been taken and by whom, he says he's a bureaucrat who follows orders. As he gives an accurate portrayal of who Elizabeth is, a soul-less, killing machine, she flees from the room, shaking. Outside crying, Philip meets her and Elizabeth acknowledges she was out of control. She releases Patterson and puts him on a public bench.

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Do you love anyone?
Agent Gaad, Stan and Agent Kendall interview Patterson, all are flummoxed as to why he was let go. When he mentions that a woman and a man kidnapped him, Gaad and Stan realize he was taken by the Illegal couple they are looking for. Elizabeth remembers meeting Zhukov in 1976 where he tells her she was chosen to serve in the US due to her fear of surrender. Having devoted his life to the KGB, he rues not having a family which makes an impression on Elizabeth's feelings towards Philip. Elizabeth visits Philip at his motel to thank him for his help and appears ready to reconcile with him. When she learns he's rented an apartment, she leaves abruptly. Elizabeth confronts Claudia, accusing her of manipulating her to kill Patterson. Surprised she didn't kill him, Claudia says that she was Zhukov's lover. Angry with the head games Claudia has been playing, Elizabeth threatens her and leaves.

Covert War Episode Italy.png
I miss what I never had.


  • Henry, Paige and Philip watch an episode of Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom in Philip's motel room.
  • Matthew discusses attending The Rocky Horror Picture Show with a confused Stan.
  • Arkady makes reference to sportscaster Howard Cosell.
  • In a flashback to 1971, Elizabeth tells Zhukov that Paige is 3 years old. From the timeline of Paige's birthday, ("Dimebag") this places her birth date in December 1967 or January 1968.
  • "Previously on The Americans" voice: Philip.


Song Title Performer(s)
At Midnight (My Love Will Lift You Up) Chaka Khan & Rufus
Slap and Tickle Squeeze
In the Dark Billy Squier
Rough Boys Pete Townsend


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"