Will You Pledge Allegiance to NBC's Russian Spy Drama?

Allegiance Premiere Recap

The Spy Who Cooked Me Dinner and Tucked Me Into Bed.

That could be an alternate title for NBC’s new Russian spy thriller/family drama Allegiance. But did the twisty turns of the covert O’Connor clan capture your loyalties during Thursday’s series premiere?

Before you weigh in with your thoughts, a recap of the pilot: Alex (Gavin Stenhouse of the UK’s Iconicles) is a newbie CIA analyst who’s only been on the job for 129 days. Yet already, he’s being recruited for a special case when a SVR (AKA, Russian foreign intelligence) agent announces that she wants to defect.

The high-profile assignment draws the interest of the SVR, who come calling. Unbeknownst to Alex, his parents Katya (The Newsroom’s Hope Davis) and Mark (Gilmore Girls’ Scott Cohen) are sleeper Russian spies along with their eldest daughter Natalie (Revenge’s Margarita Levieva). The SVR is worried that Alex’s case will reveal the identity of all their assets, including his own family, so they want Katya and Mark to recruit him to spy for the Russians.

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Katya would rather turn herself into the FBI than do that. “The only way I have to protect my home is to burn theirs down,” she explains to Mark. Her husband, however, doesn’t see a future without her. Back in Russia, Katya was tasked with recruiting Mark, who is a defense contractor. He refused, but they fell in love anyway, and the KGB let her leave the country as long as she kept spying in America.

“My life is with you,” Mark says. “What kind of life do you think I’d be going back to? … Tell me I didn’t do this all for nothing.”

So they propose a different plan to the SVR: they will spy on “not normal” Alex — he didn’t speak until he was eight — and erase any evidence that leads to them. They successfully plant bugs in his phone and car, but the scheme goes awry when Alex recognizes the dead man he’s investigating as his mother’s childhood friend. He offers his parents a choice: “Tell me everything, from the beginning, or I can turn you in.”

The series has been getting a lot of justified comparisons to FX’s The Americans — this could certainly be a variation of Paige’s future — but there are also plenty of differences. (For better or for worse, you be the judge.) And because I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t do this, I grade the American actors’ Russian speaking skills — the Leningrad-born Levieva is, of course, fluent — at a solid B.

What did you think of the spy drama? Grade the premiere below, then hit the comments to back up your pick!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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48 Comments
  1. Maryann says:

    Much better than The Americans. I’m in!

    • Since says:

      Yeah, if you didn’t like The Americans for being too smart or too realistic, I can see how you’d like Allegiance. But better? Definitely not. Just another “network remake”, minus authenticity and quality, but featuring highly over-used cliches, super smart genius characters, obvious villains, action scenes, and network tv’s all time favorite – romantic interests!

      • bj says:

        ” network tv’s all time favorite – romantic interests!” as opposed to cable tv’s all time favorite- lots of nudity and sex scenes?

        • Patrick says:

          Exactly. Cable fills plot holes with nudity, sex, graphic violence (not action, just violence) and graphic language. Go back and watch edited versions of sopranos. Its awful. AWFUL. Imagine how good NCIS, Castle, POI, or whatever Network show would be if they could fall back on graphic language and nudity. Heck, if that were allowed 2.5 men would be the best rated show of all time.

    • Julia says:

      I can see how a lot of people would like this better. I love the Americans, but I know people that think it is too dark or complicated. This one is a lighter version and seems to have some good promise!

  2. Jenna says:

    Wasn’t expecting to like it much, as I’m a fan of The Americans, but I did. It’s a lighter version for network TV, but still suspenseful. A good pairing with TB. And I like the cast. I’m in!

  3. Tran says:

    I give it an A. Even though I really don’t watch The Americans over on FX, Allegiance looks promising and NBC may have a breakout hit in my opinion.

  4. Callie says:

    “Gavin Stenhouse of the UK’s Iconicles” Are there any actors left in the UK or are they all over here now?
    I’m a fan of “The Americans” (with another British actor in lead!) so I was skeptical about this one but I liked it and enjoyed seeing Margarita Levieva again after her character’s sad end on Revenge.

  5. bj says:

    I watch the Americans but I really liked this one too. It’s definitely a different story, not just a copy of the Americans. I like Gavin Stenhouse in this role and it will keep me coming back for now unless something drastic happens to change it.

    I also like the angle they’ve used with Alex being a very unique individual. That offers lots of opportunities for development.

  6. JBC says:

    I watch The Americans and was pleased to find that Allegiance is a bit different. Great Cast. I will watch again.

  7. ndixit says:

    Kind of bland to me. I think the premise has potential, but I could tell right from her first scene, that the sister was going to be the “bad apple” of the family, with the parents being the conflicted, sympathetic type, with Alex obviously being the hero. I do like that Alex is a bit unusual. Gives him some scope to develop. The “bad” sister seems pretty stereotypical type. Probably the one who will side with the villains with the parents stuck in the middle.

    • Sarah says:

      Agree with the sister thing so much. I also hate how these type of shows always make the young daughter a snobby little brat who doesn’t get along with the mom.

  8. James says:

    It’s more Alias than The Americans and I like it. :D

  9. Mike says:

    I almost tuned out, what with the continuous, inappropriately dramatic and LOUD music which began the show and was absent from a scene only once or twice. It made it difficult to hear and understand what the characters were saying. Reminded me of a Hallmark Channel movie! Score never seemed to be in sync with the character of the scenes. Tone it down, take it out…something! The characters weren’t all that believable. Maybe I’m spoiled by “The Americans”?

  10. itsbighead says:

    Still not too sure

    From watching the first episode, it looks like the typical anti russian propoganda bs in western media today

    But im willing to watch a few more episodes

  11. What is it with NBC trying to ape on the success of cable hits? It certainly is a better comparison to its inspiration than State of Affairs is to Homeland (which is saying something) but man, NBC really seems out of ideas between this trend and bringing back Heroes of all things.

    Anyhow, show was okay. Don’t think I’ll stick with it (It’s Thursdays they’re pretty packed) but if it survives I’ll see about trying to catch up with it.

  12. L says:

    I kindof liked it.. but really think this works better as a limited run event series than as an ongoing thing that could run for awhile.,.,. Seems like they’d have a hard time stringing this premise out over multiple years.

  13. liame says:

    It was intriguing and annoying at the same time. I enjoy Alex, Katya, Mark, Julia, Sam and Victor. The music and fast talking is annoying. I have to watch episode 2 because of last nights ending, but after that, I probably won’t watch anymore since learning Annie Ilonezh (Julia) is only in the pilot episode.

  14. Dave says:

    I didn’t intend to watch it but was too lazy to change the channel. Didn’t really hook me – dude playing Alex is pretty awesome – Hope Davis in anything makes me want to claw my eyes out – but a much better use of “Amanda Clark” than Revenge. Pacing seemed off.

  15. Kate says:

    Refuse to watch a sad wannabe show. Watch the original. The Americans.

  16. Julia says:

    I gave it a B. It didn’t really grab me. The acting definitely needs improvement and Hope Davis’ accent was annoying. I’ll watch a few more to see if it gets more interesting.

  17. abaker20 says:

    I enjoy the show. I thought it was great. It’s better than that murder series.

  18. Mariana Tren ch says:

    I really liked it. Loved Scott Cohen in Unnec Roughness, and I like him here. I also like Alex. But few eyeballs watched it, so it will be a goner unfortunately.

  19. Grey says:

    Loved Scott Cohen as Nico on “Necessary Roughness” but I’m passing on this one.

  20. smartysenior says:

    Any show that starts out with graphic sickening torture loses me right there. They could’ve tossed him in the fire, the point would be made thankyouverymuch. There are things I do not allow into my living room no matter how good the rest of the show might be. Torture is number one.

  21. The music sound track is so loud that hearing the conversation was difficult. I am hard of hearing and use a headset, but the music totally made listening difficult not matter how loud. Also use closed captioning as assistance. The font is small,not bright and again not easy to read. Unless the items are corrected I will not be viewing this program in the future.

  22. LWolf says:

    I enjoyed it. I’ll definitely stick around to give it a chance.

  23. Kires says:

    I liked it, the main character being a bit challenged it´s an interesing premise, and it was implied that the parents spy life had something to do with it, maybe some experiment went wrong? Also, I think the older sister will be a double agent (it´s clear she told the bad guys that the parents were trying to dissapear, but maybe it´s working for the CIA too), it could be the Chief who puts Alex in the case will be a long time nemesis of his mother that turned the old sister to work for them, it would be funny (and predictable) if they accepted him in the agency so he can be a double agent too.

    I am fearing that we will have flashbacks of the past (the same time line as The Americans, lol?) very soon, but at least I´ll try to watch and see how the story develops.

  24. Joyce says:

    I HATE HATE HATE HATE shows with subtitles. Speak English with a Russian accent. I’d rather hear what they’re saying than SEE what they’re saying. This show is also way too much like The Americans which has the same problem with the stupid subtitles!!

    • Lem says:

      They’re ok as long as they’re not super tiny.

      It adds authenticity in my opinion.But usually good shows find a way for the two characters to talk in English for one reason or another.

  25. Linda D says:

    The show needs to be changed to a different time slot and it should excel, Mon, Tues or Friday!!

  26. Rita says:

    The cast for Allegiance was good. Unfortunately the show rather poorly mirrored”The Americans”

  27. Dane says:

    I want to see all the Episodes … where can I see them if you cancel the show ?

  28. Cliff Olney says:

    One of the smarter shows on TV and NBC cancels it. Not surprising but certainly disappointing. We just begin to get interested and ZIP! Networks should be made to finish the show with a finale. I should know better than invest my time in a smart show that won’t ‘get the ratings’ in 5 whole wks..LOL. I-D-I-O-T-S. Thanks NBC. When does Grimm and Constantine get pulled?

  29. Mike says:

    Why are you canceling a great show. We taped the series on our DVR and was wondering why it wasn’t coming on this week. Then we just found out it was dumped. What a shame.
    We were looking forward to something good to watch. Whoever rates your shows BLOWS.
    They need start getting your coffee instead, getting your donuts and emptying your trash;
    maybe parking lot attendant if they could remember where they parked the cars.

  30. dale lowery says:

    NBC finally has a good show and they cancel it. Much better then Blacklist. Now I will watch scandal and slap or elementry.

  31. Joyce Bever says:

    I like ‘The Americans’ and I also liked ‘Allegiance’, however
    as of the past two weeks, the ‘Allegiance’ was not shown following ‘The Americans’, another dumb new show was on. Is ‘Allegiance’ STILL being shown???? It is getting harder and harder to find good TV shows! We have Direct TV in central Indiana.

  32. Cynthia says:

    I loved Allegiance. After Blacklist it wss the best series on tv. The Slap doesn’t begin to compare. Please bring back Allegiance

  33. Cynthia says:

    Love Allegiance. Cancel The Slap instead.

  34. Judy says:

    Just want to know when or if it will be on again? Thx!

  35. ty says:

    I wish they wouldn’t cancel it, its a great show, actually it’s a awesome show. Please don’t cancel it

  36. Sherri Coop says:

    Please do not cancel this show it is one of the best to come along in a while