As the Cold War heats back up around the world, FX’s entirely-too-topical The Americans has its series finale on Wednesday. And farther north in North America there’s some semi-related international intrigue afoot. Two twentysomething sons of real-life Russian spies who inspired the Emmy-nominated series are battling the Canadian government to keep their citizenship eight years after their parents were uncovered as “illegals” and deported.
A little background: Tim and Alex Vavilov were born in Toronto and moved as kids to Boston, where they went through school and eventually to college. Everything seemed to be hunky dory until their folks, “Donald Heathfield” and “Tracy Foley” — born Andrei Bezrukov and Elena Vavilova — were outed as being deeply embedded Russian spies. Their covert lives were the inspiration for The Americans, in which Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys star as a perfect-English-speaking Russian couple raising their two children under cover as one big happy U.S. family in 1980s Washington, D.C. That’s Vavilova and Russell in character in the photo above.
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The KGB-trained couple had been gathering intelligence on North America for the Kremlin for three decades before their were caught and shipped back to Russia, along with eight others tied to the secret spy ring. The sons’ lawyer says there’s no evidence that the young men knew about their parents’ illicit lives, but the Canadian government insists that their citizenship there is bogus because their parents lived under stolen identities. The TV couple also has two kids, though one is a daughter.
While supporters says the sons shouldn’t pay for the sins of the father (and mother), Ottawa wants the young men’s passports annuled. The Canadian Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case. In the meantine, tovarishch, the series finale of The Americans airs at 10 PM Wednesday on FX.
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