Season 1 Episode 1
A family of former Russian spies is tasked with recruiting their genius CIA analyst son.
In an isolated warehouse, a Russian man is being fed to a furnace for betraying the former KGB, now known as the SVR. As the flames lick at his feet, he begs for his life, while his former comrades look on.
Alex O'Connell, a brilliant young CIA analyst, fresh out of the Academy, has been summoned to CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia for a special assignment. When he arrives, he learns an SVR captain named Irina Semoveska approached NYC CIA Station Chief Sam Luttrell asking to defect. She claimed the SVR is planning a terrorist attack inside U.S. borders that will bring America to its knees. Irina wants to defect after witnessing Mikhail, an SVR officer suspected of treason, get fed alive into a power plant furnace the night before. While the CIA is skeptical, they set up a secret meet to assess her credibility, and they want Alex there to help.
Meanwhile, in Brooklyn, Mark O'Connell is on his way home from grocery shopping when he notices he's being followed. When he walks inside, his wife Katya informs him their son Alex is in town, and he informs her that the house is under surveillance. Just then the doorbell rings and Katya learns who is listening in.
Years ago, Russian-born Katya was tasked by the KGB to recruit Mark, an American engineer, as a spy. The two fell in love and struck a deal with Mother Russia: Katya could marry Mark and move to America, as long as she remained an SVU asset. Six years and three kids later, the O'Connnells hadn't heard a word from Moscow and thought they were finally free. But they were wrong.
The man at the door is Victor, the O'Connell's SVR handler, and he has a mission for them from the Rezident: to recruit their genius son as a spy. Katya and Mark are flabbergasted - what would Moscow want with a baby analyst? Victor explains that Alex was put on a case that could unravel every operation the SVR has in America. Mikhail had stolen and hidden hundreds of thousands of computer files that would reveal the identity of every SVR officer and asset in the U.S. - including Katya, Mark and their oldest daughter Natalie.
Katya explains Alex cannot be recruited - he would sooner turn in his own family than betray his country. Victor points out that they're in trouble either way - if they can't stay one step ahead of the FBI investigation, Alex will find out who his family really is no matter what.
When Victor is gone, Katya and Mark spring into action, preparing fake identities and contacting their daughters Natalie and Sarah. They're going to go into hiding abroad to escape the shackles of Mother Russia once and for all. They will contact Alex when they're safe and tell him the truth. Maybe one day he'll understand and forgive them.
Meanwhile, in an FBI observation room, Alex watches as Sam and Julia, a beautiful FBI agent, interrogate Irina about the man who was burned alive. Irina says that as Mikhail was rolled towards the furnace, he tried to make a last-minute deal with the Rezident, claiming he stole more secrets than they realized and had information to trade. As his whole body burst into flames, he yelled, "Isus Vaskres!" Suddenly the Rezident had him pulled out, but it was too late.
While her information checks out, Sam and Julia still think Irina is lying, but Alex thinks differently. He asks to sit down with Irina, and after a few multiple-choice questions, Alex has a pretty good idea of the place Irina was describing.
Back at the FBI headquarters, Alex reports his findings to his superiors. He believes Mikhail really did steal more secrets than they thought, and the Rezident realized it at the last minute because of what Mikhail shouted in his dying breath. "Isus Vaskres" literally translates to "Jesus Lives," but outside of a Russian church service, it's basically like saying "Happy Easter." Seeing as an Easter egg is a term for a hidden digital cache, Alex believes Mikhail was signaling that there is a trove of information vital to the SVR still out there. If they can find out who Mikhail was, maybe they can beat the Russians to the Easter egg.
Across town, Katya stands in a small pharmacy, awaiting her family's prescriptions to be filled under assumed names. Suddenly she's startled by someone behind her - it's Victor. He's on to her plan and furious that she tried to put one over on him.
Katya and Mark regroup at home. Katya is distraught - she can't let them have another one of her children. "The only way I have left to protect my home is to burn theirs down. I'm going to the FBI," she says, racing to her car and speeding off. Mark jumps in his car and gives chase, but Katya can't be convinced. Mark pursues her across the city, but cannot stop her. In front of the FBI headquarters he goes for a Hail Mary and smashes his car into Katya's.
Katya climbs out of her damaged car and continues towards the FBI building. Mark catches up to her and tries to talk her out of her reckless decision. Katya plans to take the fall for the whole family, and while she knows Alex will hate her, at least if he finds out this way, he'll realize she came clean to protect him. But Mark has a better idea: they will spy on Alex themselves.
"If we do nothing, he finds out anyway. If we do this, and stay ahead of the investigation, we can make anything disappear that points to us before he finds it," Mark explains, convincing a reluctant Katya not to turn herself in. They will bug his cell phone, put a tracker on his car - do anything it takes to keep their son from following in their traitorous footsteps.
That night, Mark and Katya convince Victor to go along with their plan. Victor then has the difficult task of selling it to his boss, the Rezident. The Rezident is skeptical, but Victor explains that Alex is special, different. He is unrecruitable, and this is the only way to get the information Moscow requires.
Later, there's a knock at Victor's door. It's Natalie, who slaps him twice - once for trying to recruit her younger brother without including her, and once for threatening her mother. Then she grabs him and throws him against the wall for a passionate kiss. Natalie is sleeping with the enemy!
Meanwhile, thanks to Alex's brilliant deductions, the FBI has located the site Irina described. The FBI crime scene unit chief explains there's no evidence of a body in the furnace, but Alex knows better. He discovers a piece of stainless steel in the furnace and deduces it's a fragment from a knee replacement. This narrows down the search for Mikhail drastically, and the FBI quickly concludes that the man who was burned alive was SVR Colonel Mikhail Vostrov. When Alex sees a photo of the man, his eyes slowly widen with realization...
Later that night, Alex heads to his parents' house and walks directly to the hall table, picking up a framed photo. It's of him and Mikhail, a family friend he knew as Nicholai growing up.
"I'll give you two choices," he calmly tells his parents. "You can tell me everything. From the beginning. Or I can turn you in."