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Overlooked TV show: The Assets

So it’s not nearly as good as The Americans, which is so richly complex and wonderfully acted as to be something special, IMHO. But The Assets, on Netflix, is tiding me over between seasons of my favorite spy show.

Another bungled job by ABC, who have a tendency to cancel shows I like, The Assets is an 8-episode series about the CIA mole Aldrich Ames. I caught the first two eps when they aired on network TV, then ABC dicked around with the schedule, and didn’t even air the final eps. So I’m happy to see it on Netflix where I can binge-watch it; I’m through episode 5, and will finish it probably tomorrow night (as stupid plans tonight are gonna keep me from continuing right after work, grrr).

Its star is Jodie Whittaker, who played Beth on Broadchurch — she looks a lot like Greta Garbo, in the face. And Ames is played by Paul Rhys, not related to The Americans’ Matthew Rhys but a fellow Welshman. Rhys in particular has a tough task in close-up, and is excellent. And the magnificent Dame Harriet Walter shows up a few episodes in, kicking ass and taking names as usual. All do very convincing American accents.


The Assets is set in 1985, with flashbacks to the ‘70s, and has similar production design to parts of The Americans. Good acting, a complex (if singular) storyline, and high suspense make it a good bit of summer espionage filler. You might also like!

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