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Are you watching?: The Americans series five

KGB sleeper agents Elizabeth (Keri Russell) and Philip (Matthew Rhys) have another pair of fake identities to maintain in series five of The Americans

UNFORTUNATELY, unless you have Sky or NOW TV, the answer to the above question is likely to be "no" – and that's a real shame, because the infuriating obscurity of the ITV Encore channel means a lot of people are missing out on one of the best US dramas on telly.

Focusing on a pair of KGB sleeper agents posing as an all-American couple in early 1980s Washington DC, series five of The Americans begins with Philip (Matthew Rhys) and Elizabeth Jennings (Keri Russell) looking rather different than they did at the end of series four.

However, the reasons for this transformation have little to do with last year's story, which focused on the attempted theft of a deadly biological weapon that continues to have serious ramifications for the covert KGB couple, whose teenage daughter Paige (Holly Taylor) now knows about their shocking double identity.

Along with dealing with the psychological impact of murdering two people right in front of her, Elizabeth and Philip now have a new wrinkle to iron out – Paige's budding romance with Matthew (Danny Flaherty), son of their neighbour Stan Beeman (Noah Emmerich), the FBI agent who came so close to exposing them last series.

Meanwhile, former Washington-based KGB man Oleg (Costa Ronin) is back in mother Russia, where there is mounting concern about the growing food shortages which contrast embarrassingly with America's booming agricultural sector.

If only there was some way of artificially evening out this inbalance – perhaps by means of a biologically engineered pest?

Find out every Monday at 10pm on ITV Encore (Sky Channel 123).

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