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In S6E8 of The Americans, Elizabeth receives a painting from Glenn for

helping him kill his wife so she doesn't have to suffer anymore.

She takes it with her to one of their safe-house locations. She takes the canvas off the wood and at first considers destroying it, but stops herself and considers just hiding it away in an opening, with a look of "this is silly, just hide it".

Then she pulls it out again in a panic, and ultimately decides to burn it.

Why did Elizabeth decide to do this? Was it due to possible incrimination if the death was traced/investigated? Or did the painting itself terrify her because it forced her to look at a dark perspective, almost like she was seeing her "real" self in a mirror (due to the nature of her work)?

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Because it is protocol.

And it is protocol because it makes it less easy for a future investigation to "connect the dots".

Suppose the garage gets uncovered by accident: then the FBI agents might discover this painting which depicts Elizabeth, and now they have a possible depiction of someone involved in this "spy lair". Plus perhaps they might find the artist who made the painting, and through that link uncover a crime those spies committed.

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