'Project Blue Book' and 'The Americans' share striking similarities from Russian espionage to Cold War distrust
Ksenia Solo's Suzie Miller was introduced to us in 'Project Blue Book' as Dr. J Allen Hynek's wife, Mimi's new BFF. But that's not all that Suzie is.
With president Donald Trump's affinity for Russia currently a hot topic in the nation's political discourse, History's latest series, 'Project Blue Book', has major potential when it comes to garnering a wide-based fandom. The show premiered January 8 and digs deeper into the titular investigation carried out by the US Air Force back in the 50s, after a sudden spur in reports of alien sightings around the Washington DC area.
Alongside, it shows Dr. J Allen Hynek - a real-life astrophysicist who was involved with the project - and his journey into discovering suspected dark underlying truths about the government's speculated cover-up of the same. What we also see in the new show are streaks of the FX show, 'The Americans', especially in its Russian espionage following the Cold War aspect.
The pilot of 'Project Blue Book' did a remarkable job in establishing the gravity of the show. There's no shallow representation of creepy, massive-eyed green extraterrestrial creatures, and neither is there any sensationalizing of how Dr. Hynek (played by Aidan Gillen) went from being a skeptic to a believer; not until the middle of this season, that is.
But there is plenty of contrasting polarized characters, strong female representation, and a very, very unlikely Russian spy who could possibly emerge to be the female lead's romantic alliance. We see our Russian spy in the form of Suzie Miller (Ksenia Solo) who is introduced to the plot as a potential friend for Dr. Hynek's wife, Mimi (Laura Mennell).
Soon we learn she is not the harmless friendly face she appears to be. Through the course of the first six episodes, viewers come across Dr. Hynek going from being a staunch unbeliever in the existence of aliens to someone who believes the authorities are covering the whole issue up for possibly dark, sinister reasons. Those actual reasons may include the panic in the general public and the potential for foreign adversaries to exploit the situation.
This is where the setting of the show comes in; the real-life Project Blue Book went on for 17 long years, officially starting in the early 50s. This means this was right after the Second World War and during the beginnings of the Cold War. US distrust of the Soviet Union was at an all-time high around this time, fertile climate for an espionage crisis. This is exactly what leads to the character of Suzie Miller becoming such an important element.
When we meet Suzie, she is an undercover Russian spy who wishes to unravel the truth about these alien sightings being widely reported. And, in her bid, she uses Dr. Hynek's wife as a pawn to get closer to him. Suzie is introduced to the plot in a chance encounter with Mimi, and soon the two become best friends. They go shopping and visit a beatnik cafe in an attempt to kill Mimi's boredom owing to her husband's demanding engagement in the project.
Suzie, in all her shady behavior that somehow gets overlooked by Mimi, ropes the lonely woman into her web of comradeship. Suzie comes off as an exciting, thrilling woman, but as time passes by, we understand the gorgeous blonde beauty is doing everything in hope of gaining information into the investigation that could prove beneficial for her homeland's stand against the United States.
This is oddly familiar to the FX show, 'The Americans,' where we see real-life couple Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell play an on-screen couple who are also secretly Russian spies. Set in the 1980s, during the Cold War, we see Elizabeth (Russell) and Philip Jennings (Rhys), posing as a regular American couple going about their everyday life with their two children, while also acting as secret operative agents for the Soviet Union's KGB.
Now in its fifth year, with Emmys awards to brag, the show is dubbed one of the most impeccable productions in the contemporary socio-political climate, considering how fondly Trump seemingly thinks of Russia.
In 'The American', the Jennings’ handler Gabriel (Frank Langella) informs them their upcoming mission is going to be in Illinois, the “Land of Lincoln.” Speaking about Americans, almost as if disparaging them, he says: “To think they once had a Lincoln. Now they have a Reagan.” And that brings us back to Suzie's obviously conspicuous behavior so far as she tries to gain information for her country. One remarkable aspect both the shows have in common is how they showcase stories with elements of Cold War espionage in a modern day climate and somehow don't come off as unrelatable.