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"You always play against the odds in this work." - Elizabeth to Hans

Walter Taffet is the seventh episode of Season Three of The Americans on FX, and the thirty-third episode overall.


Philip and Elizabeth feel the weight of a family secret while following up on the KGB's interests.


Worried about his son Mischa, who is fighting in the Afghan War, Philip listens to BBC news on the radio. He goes into Paige's room and finds her reading a book and she tells him that Elizabeth took her to Gregory's neighborhood, told her they were activists, and she can't believe Gregory was killed by police. Henry overhears and both wonder what made them stop. Philip says that he still believes in making changes, but with age, other things become important as he ruffles Henry's hair. He also says there are a lot of ways to make a difference. Seeing Elizabeth preparing a report for the Centre on Paige, Philip accuses her of going behind his back but Elizabeth reminds him she's been clear about her intentions.

Walter Taffet Episode 1.png
I would appreciate it if you didn't lie to me.
She tells Philip Moscow is sending African National Congress member Ruben Ncgobo, who Philip surmises will function as bait, in the hope that Venter will attempt to kill him. Elizabeth says Ncgobo is number three on South Africa's most wanted list. At the FBI, Aderholt asks Stan what Nina was like. Stan describes Nina as truthful but when Aderholt comments that he discovered that an agent he was running was lying to him a lot, Stan shrugs and admits anything is possible with Nina. Elizabeth meets with Hans and tells him Todd was spotted with Venter who they think is planning an attack on an anti-apartheid student meeting. Ncgobo meets with Todd, and arranges for him to meet with Venter where they'll capture him. Hans is to be a lookout for police.

S03E07-Todd Liz.jpg
I grew up with so many like him.
Philip brings home pizza but finding everyone away or having eaten, he takes it to Stan's. Stan relates his annoyance with Aderholt's constant questions while Philip mentions that he and Elizabeth are always disagreeing how to raise their kids. Ncgobo meets with Elizabeth, saying he was on his way home to see his wife and kids when called to the States. He hasn't seen them for a year and a half and he's worried what has become of his four boys in his absence. He feels good to die fighting for the freedom of his people.

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Lucky mama.
Stan sees Aderholt talking with Agent Gaad behind closed doors, so he makes up an excuse to barge in on them, claiming he needs a document signed. Gaad becomes frustrated with his pen, and shakes the cap loose. It lands on the desk and Aderholt extracts the bug from it. Martha observes what is going on, and takes her purse to the restroom, where she dismantles the recorder. An FBI agent with a bug sweeper doesn't detect anything at Martha's desk. A man named Walter Taffet from the OPR (Office of Professional Responsibility) is brought in. He asks Martha for logs of all Gaad's visitors for the last three months. Gaad asks him what the odds are the bug came from his own staff and Taffet replies "This could be a janitor who got fired a year ago, it could be one of your own agents, it could be you."

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Dennis finds the bug.
Posing as "Jack", a consultant that assists defense contractors with government bids, Philip has dinner with Elizabeth, posing as "Michelle", and Lisa. They show their affection for each other to gain Lisa's trust, even though Philip isn't happy with Elizabeth. A shaken Martha arrives home and taking out the smashed recorder, sees the Kama Sutra book in a drawer. Thinking of "Clark", she knows that he's not from the OPR as he's claimed. Still angry with Elizabeth for keeping her recruitment of Paige from him, he tells Elizabeth he's going to Martha's, even though it's not his night to go there. Before he leaves, Elizabeth expresses her admiration for Ncgobo wanting his sons to grow up to be fighters like him which Philip isn't impressed with.

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I like the fact you're looking out for her.
Sandra drops Matthew off at Stan's and says she wants to pursue a divorce. At Martha's, "Clark" can see something is off with her. Lying that she left her purse with the recorder at work, Martha demands to see Clark's apartment. At Stan's, he and Matthew talk and he shares a little of what he did while he was under cover with white supremacists in Arkansas. Arriving at Clark's, Martha looks around but isn't satisfied when he won't commit to living together. She asks to go home and wants to be alone. Philip returns home and in bed with Elizabeth, she apologizes for not telling him about recruiting Paige. Philip tells her about Mischa and that he's in combat in the Afghan War. The next morning, after seeing the kids off to school, Philip tells Elizabeth that something is wrong with Martha.

Did he make you kill people?
Martha arrives at work and stands beside Taffet in the elevator. (♫ Fleetwood Mac - The Chain ♫) Philip sits in a diner, disguised as a customer, while Ncgobo and Todd eat at a nearby booth. Hans does lookout duty in a car outside. Elizabeth waits in a van behind the diner. Seeing Venter arrive and park his car, Philip signals Elizabeth by walkie and then leaves the diner to intercept him. A delivery van which had pulled behind the diner is seen by Elizabeth which she deduces will be used to kidnap Mcgobo. She shoots its driver in the head. Philip attacks Venter, resulting in Hans honking his horn continually and staying at the scene. As Elizabeth pulls the van to the front of the diner, Philip throws Venter into its path where he's hit by it. Badly hurt, he's shoved into the van and Ncgobo forces Todd out of the diner and into the van. Shaken, Hans watches the van speed away.

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Venter hit by Elizabeth's van.


  • Kenilworth is a residential neighborhood in Northeast Washington, D.C., located on the eastern bank of the Anacostia River and just inside the D.C.-Maryland border. A large public housing complex, Kenilworth Courts, dominates the area. Kenilworth gained national attention in 1988 when Kenilworth Courts became the first public housing project to be sold to its residents in an initiative championed by Mayor Marion Barry and President Ronald Reagan.
  • As Dennis asks Stan about Nina, Stan jokes that for all he knew, she could have shot J.R. referring to the TV show Dallas.
  • Stan watches a news report in which Ronald Reagan is seen with Japanese prime minister Yasuhiro Nakasone who he says he'll be having breakfast with the next day. This news cast occurred on January 17, 1983. (see Timeline of Historical Events)
  • "Previously on The Americans" voice: Paige.
  • While Stan and Matthew are in the kitchen, Matthew picks up a copy of Tom Clancy's Power Plays: Politika. The book was not published until 1997, and the copy Matthew holds advertises a free included CD-Rom, which would have been unheard of in 1983.


Song Title Performer(s)
The Chain Fleetwood Mac

Season Three
#301 "EST Men" #308 "Divestment"
#302 "Baggage" #309 "Do Mail Robots Dream of Electric Sheep?"
#303 "Open House" #310 "Stingers"
#304 "Dimebag" #311 "One Day in the Life of Anton Baklanov"
#305 "Salang Pass" #312 "I Am Abassin Zadran"
#306 "Born Again" #313 "March 8, 1983"
#307 "Walter Taffet"