Nina Sergeevna Krilova
A Russian embassy worker who is ensnared by Stan Beeman and forced to work as a mole.
- Amicable Exes: She and her husband, Boris, have a warm and affectionate relationship despite being separated for years and both having relationships with other people. He's implied to be among the members of her family that benefited from the stereo smuggling scheme that originally landed her in trouble.
- Blackmail: She finds herself on the receiving end from Stan Beeman, forcing her to become his mole.
- Boom, Headshot!: How she is executed, being shot in the back of her head with a pistol
- Deadpan Snarker: Mostly toward Oleg.Oleg: I'm being sincere!Nina: The strain must be terrible.
- Double Agent: Nina eventually confesses to Arkady that Beeman blackmailed her into becoming a mole, and subsequently seeks to redeem herself by becoming a double agent.
- Face Death with Dignity: Averted, she starts to sob and falls to her knees after being informed she's been sentenced to death, but she's executed seconds after so her breakdown doesn't last long.
- Femme Fatale Spy: Though a much more realistic version than is typical in spy fiction.
- Honey Trap: For Vasili.
- Irony: Russia's harsh punishment for smuggling goods back home gives American operatives the leverage to make her betray her country. If Russian law was more lenient, they would have been safer.
- It's All About Me: Most of the things she does are aimed at keeping herself alive and well.
- Lie Back and Think of England: Does this with her boss.
- Manipulative Bitch: When she sets her mind to it she can play people like a fiddle.
- The Mistress: She's Stan Beeman's 'other woman'
- The Mole: At Beeman's behest. Then later at KGB's behest.
- Ms. Fanservice: She tends to get the majority of sexy scenes.
- Promoted to Opening Credits: For the second season.
- Sadistic Choice: In The Colonel.
- Sensual Slav: Her beauty does not go uncommented on, and she knows how to use it.
- Shot at Dawn: After a second act of treason (smuggling a personal message illegally out of a research facility and refusing to incriminate the message's composer), she's unceremoniously shot in the head mere seconds after being told her appeal was denied, and that her death sentence would be carried out "shortly."
- Snowball Lie: Nina's rather mundane crime of stereo smuggling pushes her into a downward spiral of betrayal and treason.
- Stealing from the Till: Steals fancy stuff from the Soviet embassy. This allows the Americans to blackmail her.
- Sudden Principled Stand: After years of betraying whatever side she's on to save her own skin, Nina attempts to sneak a message out of the country on behalf of her kidnapped friend instead of reporting on him to her handlers. She gets a bullet to the back of the head for her compassion.
- Toplessness from the Back: In some of her post-sex scenes.
- Wild Card: Nina is not motivated by love of country or family, she does whatever benefits her the most. She was coerced into helping the FBI after stealing from her embassy for personal financial gain, and ever since then she's gone back and forth between helping the KGB and helping the FBI.
Arkady Ivanovich Zotov
Arkady Ivanovich Zotov is the KGB's resident in the United States and does his work out of the Soviet Embassy, He meets regularly with Vasili Nikolaevich, an older, high-ranking official in the Soviet Embassy with whom he rarely sees eye to eye. Vasili seems more focused on maintaining his status within the government and enjoys the perks of being an important guy with a comfortable life. Arkady seems more focused on the various missions at hand and has a more direct approach to doing his job. Arkady is a thoughtful and pragmatic leader, however, and is always looking for ways in which even a potentially bad development can be turned into an opportunity.
- A Father to His Men: In The Deal, Arkady is prepared to sacrifice his career if it means getting Philip safely out of danger, and he's quite protective of his employees in general.
- Internal Reformist: He backs Gorvachev's new policies and tries to protect his reforms from being obstructed by the hardliners.
- Deadpan Snarker: He has his moments. In season 3, Oleg's powerful father tries to pressure him to send Oleg home against Oleg's wishes. Arkady politely refuses, and when a resigned Oleg warns him that his father is the Minister of Railroads, Arkady's only response is "So next time I'm home, I won't be able to ride the train?"
- Only Sane Man: Amanda Taub has argued in Vox that Arkady is the show's moral center. Spoilers for season 4, episode 7. While every other character compromises their values and ultimately crosses their Moral Event Horizon at some point or another, Arkady refuses.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Soon after Gaad is forced into retirement, he's propositioned by several Russian men only to be killed in a freak accident trying to escape them. It's heavily implied that Arkady sent the men in a far fetched attempt to recruit Gaad, but he's utterly horrified by the result. Much later, when American officials accuse him of illegal activity and declare him "persona non grata," he heatedly denies all their charges. But when they accuse him of killing Gaad, he goes silent and cannot bring himself to refute that charge, despite it being the only charge for which they had no proof.
- Put on a Bus:
- At the end of Season 4, he returns to the USSR after being declared "persona non grata" by the US government due to his involvement in numerous KGB operations on US soil, and so he remains absent throughout Season 5. Nonetheless...
- The Bus Came Back: He returns in Season 6.
- Rank Up: After Vasili is deported back to the USSR on suspicions of treason near the end of Season 1, Arkady takes over as the Rezident of the Soviet-US Embassy.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Displays some empathy towards his workers and is not particularly hardass by Soviet standards; After Nina confesses to her treasonous behavior to him at the end of Season 1, for example, he doesn't immediately punish her, but decides to give her a chance to redeem herself by using her relationship with Stan to act as a Reverse Mole for the KGB.
- The Only One I Trust: In Season 6, he discovers that certain hardline KGB agents working in the United States are plotting to sabotage reforms in the Soviet government and persuades Oleg to secretly return the the US on his behalf because he's the only person he trusts.
- Worthy Opponent: He considers his American FBI counterpart, Agent Frank Gaad, to be this, going so far as to establish a rapport with him when they feel their countries are not communicating well enough for them to do their jobs.
Oleg Igorevich Burov
A new officer of science and technology at the Soviet Embassy who apparently owes his job to his political connections (specifically, the fact that his dad is a top official in Moscow.) He is a persistent thorn in Arkady and Nina's sides. All the same, he is an extremely savvy spy.
- Break the Haughty: Season three onwards appears to be a slow-moving Trauma Conga Line for him. note
- Character Development: He is introduced as a spoiled rich boy who is only working at the Rezidentura to get a cushy assignment in America, and is using his father's connections to get his way. However, as he spends more time in America, he becomes much more mature and responsible and develops a deep respect for his Rezidentura colleagues, and, by the end of the series becomes perhaps the most Genre Savvy character besides Agent Aderholt and one of the most sympathetic characters on the show.
- Enemy Mine: Teams up with Agent Beeman in an attempt to free Nina.
- Friendly Enemy: With Stan in Season 4. They seem to be the only two people who really felt Nina's death. It leads to Oleg leaking William's existence to him.
- Hidden Depths: He is rather familiar with the ways of the West. Also, it's been hinted that his frat-boy Jerk Jock attitude notwithstanding, he knows a lot more about business than he lets on.
- Manly Tears: Breaks down sobbing at his brother's funeral under the combined loss of his brother and Nina.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: In "A Little Night Music", Oleg pull strings to get his security clearance updated, ostensibly to find out why the Center is ignoring his recommendations on Baklanov, but also gains access to Nina's reports on her affair with Beeman.
- Averted by his brother, who serves as an officer in Afghanistan.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Oleg doesn't trust his own government to properly handle the Lassa virus so he makes sure that it never leaves the USA.
- Smug Super: Oleg constantly assumes that he has a right to know everything that goes on in the Embassy, even though he's just an officer in the science and technology department. As season 2 unfolds, turns out he can in fact back up his words with results.
- The First Cut Is the Deepest: As of season 6, he's married to his Victorious Childhood Friend, but he admits that he's still not over Nina years after her death.
- Undying Loyalty: Despite clashing with them early on, Oleg develops fierce loyalty to Nina and Arkady, and by the end of the series he's committed treason for both of them.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: In season 2 he advocates for forcibly repatriating Anton Baklanov to the Soviet Union. Though he never realizes it, he sorely regrets that decision by the end of season 4 episode 4.
Vasili Nikolaevich is an older, high-ranking official in the Soviet Embassy who is quite content to maintain his status within the government and enjoys the perks of being an important guy with a comfortable life. Vasili's duties often have him meeting with KGB resident Arkady Invanovich, and the two don't always see eye to eye.
- Dirty Old Man: Carries on an affair with Nina, who's young enough to be his daughter.
- Frameup: Stan frames him as The Mole at the Russian Embassy to protect Nina's identity... and possibly because he's also angry that Vasili is sleeping with her.
- MayDecember Romance: With Nina, although only he is under the illusion of it being a "romance".
- Put on a Bus: As a result of the Frame-Up, he's sent back to the USSR. As of Season 2, The Bus Came Back with him effectively exiled to Siberia.
- Reassigned to Antarctica: Even after he's exonerated, his new job is far less prestigious than his old one.
Vlad Kosygin is a co-worker of Nina's in the Soviet Embassy. He's a quiet and shy guy, but clearly has some feelings for Nina.
- All Love Is Unrequited: Heavily implied, for Nina.
- Boom, Headshot!: How Stan murders him as revenge for his partner Amador's death.
- Nephewism: Raised by his uncle after his father died.
- Nice Guy: A genuinely sweet guy who only joined the KGB to please his uncle and aspired to become a doctor. Naturally, he's brutally murdered.
- Small Role, Big Impact: His death spurs Nina to confess her treason to Arkady, which leads her to become a Double Agent.
Tatiana Evgenyevna Vyazemtseva
- Affably Evil: She's very polite and courteous even while doing very amoral things.
- Ambition Is Evil: Her desire to prove herself leads her to do some pretty shady things, even by Soviet standards.
- Assassin Outclassin': When Elizabeth refuses to assassinate a mark who's been framed, Tatiana takes it upon herself to complete the mission. She's way out of her league, however, and Elizabeth intercepts and kills her before she can make her move.
- Manipulative Bitch: Expertly manipulates both Oleg and Evgheniya Morozova by playing on their concern for people they care about.
- Not So Stoic: Shows a rare moment of vulnerability when her brother is drafted into the War in Afghanistan. Even with her position, she has no real way of knowing where he is or what's happening to him and she's terrified.
- The Resenter: Quite resentful of the things Oleg's status gets him, especially with the Soviet myth of a "classless society."
- Villain Has a Point: She'd been a highly competent KGB officer for years but had never been promoted due to sexism and lack of political connections, and the Soviet myth of a classless society and perfect meritocracy prevented her from ever voicing any objections. When at last she has an assignment that will get her promoted, Oleg sabotages it before fleeing the country and falling back on his family's considerable resources, leaving her "lucky to have the same job [she] had five years ago," and, moreover, saddled with the work of interim Rezident without any promotion. While said assignment was immoral, illegal, and extremely dangerous and Oleg likely saved lives by stopping it, one can't say her bitterness is unjustified.