"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.


The episode opens with Phillip listening to BBC news on the radio, about the war in Afghanistan. He goes into Paige’s room and finds her reading a book about “Great Issues in American History.” She tells him that Mom told her they were activists, and she can’t believe they had a friend (Gregory) who was killed by the police. Henry enters asking “who got killed by police?” Paige asks Phillip: “What made you stop believing in change, and making things better?” Phillip replies that he still believes in those things, but that as you get older, other things become important too, and “you realize there are a lot of ways to make a difference.”

Phillip then finds Elizabeth in their bedroom, creating a coded message. She says The Center has asked for weekly updates on Paige. Phillip accuses her of lying to him and going behind his back regarding Paige, but Elizabeth reminds him she’s been clear about her intentions. She tells Phillip Moscow is sending someone named Reuben Ncgobo, who is in the African National Congress, but been training in the USSR. Phillip surmises Ncgobo will function as bait, in the hope that Venter will attempt to kill him. Elizabeth says “He’s no ordinary bait. He’s number three on South Africa’s most wanted list.”

At the FBI, Aderholt asks Stan what Nina was like. Stan says she was straightforward and a good person: “We put her in a compromised situation, but she rose to the occasion, did what was expected of her.” Aderholt questions whether Nina really told Stan everything she knew, especially about the illegals. He shares that “The guy I was running, it got so I trusted him so much, I didn’t realize half of what he said was bullshit. He thought he was running me.” Stan admits: “What do I know? Anything’s possible. Nina could have been a pathological liar.”

Elizabeth meets with Hans and tells him Todd was spotted with Venter, and the KGB thinks he’s planning to stage an attack and blame the anti-apartheid student groups. Elizabeth tells Hans Ncgobo’s going to set up a meeting with Todd. If Venter shows up, they plan to grab him. Hans’s job will be to watch for local police.

Phillip brings home pizza but Elizabeth’s away, Paige has already eaten and Henry’s at a friend’s house. So he takes it to Stan’s and they talk. He asks how things are with Phillip, who says “Honestly, raising kids, trying to agree on things, lately, we’re on opposite sides all the time.”

Ncgobo talks 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. He shares the he has four boys, and is afraid of what they’ve become in his absence. He feels it’s good to die, fighting for freedom.

Stan sees Aderholt talking with 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. A man named Walter Taffet from 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.”

Phillip and Elizabeth, posing as Jack and Michelle, go out to eat with Lisa. Jack is supposedly an employee of a consulting firm that assists the defense contractors with bidding on government jobs. When the Jennings get home, a still-angry Phillip announces he’s going to Martha’s, taking Elizabeth by surprise. This is the first time Phillip is shown visiting Martha when it's not "her night," and the implication is he is coming to rely on her emotionally when things aren't going well with Elizabeth. Before he leaves, they argue when Elizabeth expresses her admiration for Ncgobo wanting his sons to grow up to be fighters like him.

Sandra drops Matthew off at Stan’s and says she wants to pursue a divorce. Stan and Matthew are able to talk some, when he shares a little of what he did while he was under cover in Arkansas.

Clark finds a very distraught Martha; she says she’s never seen Clark’s apartment, and asks what’s stopping them from going right now. Clark brings her to his place, which looks convincingly like a bachelor pad and has photographs of him and Martha displayed, but she is not satisfied. She asks to go home, without telling him about what happened at work. Phillip brings her back and then goes home, crawling into bed with Elizabeth. She says she should have told him about her talk with Paige. Phillip responds: “I have a son, another son. He’s Irina’s, from when we were kids. Twenty years old, and he’s in Afghanistan. Gabriel told me.”

The next day, Hans waits in position, on the lookout for police. Phillip sits in a diner, disguised as a customer, while Ncgobo and Todd eat at a nearby booth. Elizabeth waits in the back of a van, parked behind the restaurant; a delivery van pulls in beside her. Phillip spots a car that has circled the restaurant twice. When it parks and Venter exits, Phillip signals Elizabeth on the radio, then leaves the restaurant and intercepts Venter. Elizabeth, assuming the other van is Venter's getaway vehicle, fatally shoots its driver. Hans sees a patrol car approaching and honks twice, but doesn’t leave the scene as he’s supposed to. Elizabeth pulls her van around to the front of the restaurant where Phillip and Venter are fighting. Phillip throws Venter into the path of the moving van, and then drags him inside. Ncgobo hustles Todd out of the restaurant and into the van as well. Hans watches, shaken up, as the van with Elizabeth, Phillip, Todd, Ncgobo and Venter speeds away.


  • 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.


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"