The Americans finished its fourth season with things looking pretty grim — which is no big news for a show whose overall vibe is “pretty grim.” The Jennings — the central Russian spy couple played by now-real-life couple Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys — have always seemed on the brink of peril, or of having their cover blown, but without saying much more, Season 4 felt like some drastic action would need to be taken imminently by the Jennings in order to ensure the safety of their family. (Which, well, again just ends up sounding like every episode of The Americans). One option that’s always been entertained by Philip Jennings (Rhys’ character) is deciding to switch alliances and turn against Russia. For Elizabeth (Russell’s character), whose loyalty to her country is far firmer, this has mostly seemed out of the question. And it seems it’s out of the question for the show’s creators, Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields, as well.
The Hollywood Reporter got the opportunity to do an interview with both stars of The Americans. Between bouts of cuteness, Russell and Rhys spoke with the publication about having asked the creators whether the Jennings could ever turn against Russia and work for America. Russell said:
I actually said to them at the beginning of last [season], “Are we seeing cracks? Is there any way this could be Elizabeth saying, ‘Maybe we should double agent or something?’ ” And Joe looked like I had said the most blasphemous thing. He was like, “No, there is not a chance.”
These spies were called “illegals,” and so we had a real illegal come to set who did exactly what we did. We caught some flack in the press about having an FBI agent [Noah Emmerich] living next door, but that was his story. He had an FBI agent who lived next door to him who turned him, so I was saying all this to Joe and Joel. I was like, “This is perfect. Noah Emmerich will turn us — we’ll become double agents.”…This whole massive pitch. And they went, “Yeah … no.”
The interview is full of good quotes — and they discuss everything from the way sex is used on the series (and particularly by Russell’s character) to the most challenging scenes to play (they both agree it was the scene where they tell Paige they’re spies — “When you read it, you go, ‘This sounds like a Monty Python sketch. It’s absurd: We work for Mother Russia,'” says Rhys) to the show’s flipping of gendered stereotypes about parenting.
And one particularly curious thing was uncovered in the process of the interview: Matthew Rhys hasn’t seen Felicity. (“I’ve watched parts of it on YouTube,” he says.) Russell likewise hasn’t seen Rhys‘ former show, Brothers and Sisters, so at least they’re playing a fair game avoiding each others’ not-as-good-as-the-Americans past work.