The following are my quick takes on “The Americans” and “Do No Harm,” which premiere this week:
“The Americans,” 9 p.m. Wednesday, FX. Keri Russell ("Felicity") and Matthew Rhys ("Brothers & Sisters") return to the small screen as Soviet spies living in the United States as a happily married American couple during the Cold War in FX’s intriguing new drama.
Why intriguing? Russell and Rhys have lived their charade for so long that it’s become a part of who they now are. Their arranged marriage has resulted in two children despite their conflicted feelings for each other. It’s a fascinating look at what two people are willing to do for their country.
Having an FBI agent (Noah Emmerich) who specializes in counterintelligence move across the street from them forces them to up their game. Is he on to them? Or is his arrival just a coincidence? And how much longer can they maintain the lie and not give in to America’s lure? I can’t wait to find out. Grade: B+
“Do No Harm,” 9 p.m. Thursday, NBC. I imagine Steven Pasquale -- who played the dim-witted Sean Garrity on FX’s “Rescue Me” -- jumped at the chance to play the Jekyll-and-Hyde character in NBC’s new drama.
And why wouldn’t he? He gets to flex his acting muscles in every episode by playing two completely different characters: the earnest Dr. Jason Cole and his deliciously evil alter ego Ian Price.
The trouble here is getting viewers to buy into the concept. It seems as if somebody as accomplished as Pasquale’s neurosurgeon would have more difficulty hiding the sociopath in him. I had a lot of trouble suspending my disbelief. I’m guessing others will, too. Grade: C-
Across the remote
* It appears the end is near for comedies “Ben and Kate” and “The B---- in Apartment 23.” Fox yanked “Ben and Kate” from its schedule and will air back-to-back episodes Tuesday of “Raising Hope.” Meanwhile, ABC will air a second episode of “Happy Endings” in “Apartment’s” Tuesday time slot.
* Former Husker Ndamukong Suh already has made a big splash in the NFL, but how much of one will he make in a swimming pool? You can find out when ABC debuts its celebrity diving competition, “Splash,” on March 19. Of course, this would be way more interesting if Betty White were one of the contestants.
* Prospect Park, the production company behind resurrecting “All My Children” and “One Life to Live,” has reached a deal with Hulu and iTunes to distribute new episodes of the soaps. No premiere dates have been set, but both are expected back this spring.
* It’s official: “The Office’s” series finale will not include Steve Carell’s Michael Scott. Carell told Access Hollywood he was asked back, but declined the invitation, saying he didn’t think “it was right for the character.”
* “Dallas” has an exit plan for J.R. Ewing in the wake of actor Larry Hagman’s death. I don’t want to give away too much, but you may want to break out those “Who Shot J.R.?” T-shirts you’ve had stowed away since 1980. Season two of the reboot begins at 8 p.m. Monday on TNT.
* Here are two signs the apocalypse is upon us: More than 3.2 million tuned it to the Oprah Winfrey Network to watch Lance Armstrong admit to lying and cheating, while Katie Couric’s new talkie on ABC enjoyed its best ratings to date when Notre Dame football star Manti Te’o admitted he was duped.
* Quick hits -- HBO has renewed “Girls” for a third season … AMC will premiere “Mad Men” on April 7 … TBS canceled “Wedding Band” after one season … Brooke Shields has joined “Army Wives” for season seven, which begins March 10 on Lifetime.