There is a critically acclaimed television series known as The Americans.  The show is partly based on a true story that broke in 2010 about a cell of Russian sleeper agents who, for decades, were hiding in plain sight in the United States.

In the series, the stars of the show, Philip (Matthew Rhys) and Elizabeth (Keri Russell) Jennings are hiding in a suburb of Washington D.C. posing as a typical American family. Like the real life spies, they had children, co-workers and neighbors who had no idea that they were spying for the Russian government.

Mariano: What if a Russian spy became President of the United States? 1

Set in the early 1980’s, the show depicts America at the height of the Cold War.

Of course, the ultimate mission of the spies is to help destroy America.

I was thinking about our politics and thought that I might write a script for a sequel television series about Russian spies. In my series, the main character is an American-born Russian spy who lives a lavish lifestyle in a gilded palace tower in New York City. With the help of Vladimir Putin, the spy becomes the president of the United States.

I know it is far fetched, but stay with me here.

Here are a few of the plot twists and turns from my draft script.

  • After his election, the FBI suspects that the president-elect and his campaign have been colluding with the Russians so they initiate a massive investigation. The FBI and other national intelligence agencies immediately find convincing evidence that the Russians had involved themselves in the election and had tried to help elect a particular candidate. Ultimately, that candidate was elected president.


But the new president and his allies in Congress constantly deny that there was any collusion and they implement a brilliantly orchestrated campaign of disinformation that confuses many Americans.


  • Shortly after being elected, the new president sets out to destroy America’s relationship with its friends and allies. He mocks the leaders of Mexico and Canada and puts punitive tariffs in place that will destabilize the economies of each country.


  • The president also mocks our strongest military ally Great Britain and its leaders. He then embarrasses the leader of our ally Germany by demeaning and ignoring her and threatens to pull out of the NATO alliance – all the while Russia is moving tanks in place to annex more territory in the Ukraine and beyond.


  • To ensure that America is seen as the most racist nation on the planet, the president refers to African nations as “shithole countries.”


  • Like any good spy, the president is in it for the money. So even though a Chinese telecom company has violated American law by doing business directly with our enemies Iran and North Korea, the president sets out to help the company but only after he gets a $500 million investment in one of his international hotels and his daughter gets a number of valuable trademarks for her company.


  • Most insidious of all, the president and the Russians set out to divide Americans based on race and religion. While the Russians were running paid ads on social media pitting Americans against each other based on race, the president gave license to the race baiters and haters by claiming that there were “good people on both sides.”


  • In a brazen attempt to help Russia, the president calls for Russia, who had been removed from the G-8 summit by our allies for illegally annexing Crimea (making it now the G-7), to be reinstated. Our allies are outraged.


  • Accused of multiple attempts at sexual assault and harassment, the president actually admits to his crimes on national television and then had his wife go on television to say that he was only kidding and that it was just “boy talk.” Outraged and in protest, hundreds of thousands of American women march on Washington D.C.


  • Knowing that a free and open society relies on an independent media as a check to authoritarian power, the president and his allies unleash a blistering and unrelenting attack on the media. Every time the media catches the president doing something inappropriate or questionable, he refers to them as “fake news.”


Aided by fellow Russian spies at one major news network, the president and his allies provide “alternative facts” to support the president’s actions.


  • Striking at the very core of some of America’s most important institutions, the president sets out to undermine public confidence in the FBI and other vital intelligence agencies pushing a phony theory of a “deep state.”


  • When his accomplices get caught and start to get prosecuted, the president sends them a covert signal that he will pardon them when the time is right.


  • Not satisfied that he is destroying America’s reputation across the globe, the president and his minions set out to destroy America’s air and water by rolling back important safeguards that protect every American. The president persists even over the objection of the scientists at the E.P.A.


  • Toward the end of the first season of the series, the president had become so brazen that he bragged that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue in New York City and nothing would happen to him “okay!”

Not to be outdone, the president’s lawyer boasts that the president could shoot the former Director of the FBI and not be indicted.

But in the end, the Russian-spy-turned-president and his collaborators get caught and a battle for the soul of America ensues. During the battle, average Americans flock to local gun stores and buy assault rifles and stinger missiles.

In an effort to flee, the president tries to pass a coded message to his wife. But she refuses to hold his hand and the message is undelivered.

War hero and current United States Senator John McCain leaves his hospital bed to lead a band of former POW’s who storm the White House and put the traitor president in shackles.

In real-life, the Russian agents were returned home to Mother Russia. The agents were exchanged for Americans that the Russians were holding.

In my script, the president gets caught but the Russians don’t want him back. So, we get stuck with him and his made-in Bangladesh ties.

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I ran the idea past a few literary types that I know. They said that the premise of the series was too far-fetched. They said it was totally unbelievable that a President would behave in a way that so obviously threatened our nation while the members of the Congress sat on the sidelines and did nothing.

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