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The Americans

TV Show

The Americans is a period spy drama television series set in the United States.1)


Joe Weisberg developed it for the FX television network.2)


The series takes place during the Cold War. It tells the narrative of Elizabeth (Keri Russell) and Philip Jennings (Matthew Rhys), two Soviet KGB intelligence officials posing as an American married couple living in Falls Church, Virginia, a Virginia suburb of Washington, D.C., with their children, Paige (Holly Taylor) and Henry (Matthew Rhys) (Keidrich Sellati).3)


The show also delves into the rivalry between the FBI office in Washington and the KGB Rezidentura there.4)

Stan Beeman

It follows both sides' agents, notably Jennings' neighbor Stan Beeman (Noah Emmerich), an FBI agent engaged in counterintelligence.5)


The series begins in the aftermath of President Ronald Reagan's inauguration in January 1981. It comes to an end in December 1987, just before the leaders of the United States and the Soviet Union sign the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.6)

6 Seasons

On January 30, 2013, The Americans premiered in the United States. The series came to an end on May 30, 2018. It was cancelled after six seasons.7)

Emmy For Rhys

The last season of the show garnered Rhys a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series.8)

Emmy For Writers

Weisberg and co-writer Joel Fields received the award for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series.9)

Golden Globes

It was also nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Television Series - Drama.10)

Emmy For Margo Martindale

Margo Martindale received the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series twice, for her roles in the third and fourth seasons, respectively.11)

Peabody Awards

It was also one of the few drama series to win two Peabody Awards during its tenure.12)

About Marriage

According to the show's creator, the series is mainly about a marriage. The series, according to Joel Fields, the other senior executive producer on the writing team, works on several layers of reality.13)

An Ordinary Spy

After leaving the CIA, Weisberg released An Ordinary Spy in 2007, a novel about a spy who is finishing up his training in Virginia before being moved overseas.14)

Graham Yost

Following the publication of Weisberg's novel, executive producer Graham Yost found that the author had also written a pilot for a prospective spy series. Weisberg was captivated by the stories he'd heard from agents who had worked as spies overseas while raising their families. He wanted to transfer that notion to television, with the idea of a spy family rather than just one guy.15)

Weisberg And Agents

Weisberg was captivated by the stories he had heard from agents who had worked as spies overseas while raising their families. He wanted to transfer that notion to television, with the idea of a spy family rather than just one guy. Yost read the pilot and thought it was “annoyingly excellent”, so he decided to develop the program.16)

Working At CIA

Weisberg claims that the CIA unwittingly inspired him to create a spy series. The work at the CIA, which Weisberg subsequently acknowledged as a mistake, aided him in developing various scenarios for the series. Some narrative lines are based on true-life stories, and he incorporates strategies and procedures he acquired throughout his training.17)

Illegals Program

Weisberg was inspired to develop a pilot screenplay for the series by the events of the Illegals Program in 2010. His research materials included Vasili Mitrokhin's notebooks on the KGB's Cold War and talks with several of his former CIA colleagues. In contrast to the conditions surrounding the Illegals Program, he stated that he chose to situate the plot in the early 1980s because “a present day [setting] didn't seem like a smart idea”.18)


In a 2017 interview, Weisberg stated that the program made every effort to avoid being influenced by the present political situation.19)

Casting Ideas

Before casting began, Weisberg stated he had no clue who would be in the series. Keri Russell was cast in the series by FX president John Landgraf. DreamWorks' casting director, Leslie Feldman, saw Matthew Rhys in a play and recommended him to Weisberg.20)

Russell And Rhys

Russell and Rhys had met briefly years ago at a party but had not been properly introduced. They were both drawn to the show because of the emphasis on their characters' relationships. Noah Emmerich was first apprehensive to participate in the series. Gavin O'Connor, the pilot episode's director, persuaded him to take a closer look at the job. Emmerich asserted that he addressed the issue of marriage and family.21)

To Season 2

Susan Misner, Annet Mahendru, and Alison Wright, who portray Sandra Beeman, Nina, and Martha Hanson, respectively, were upgraded to series regulars after recurring in the first season.22)

Lev Gorn

Lev Gorn, who plays Arkady Ivanovich, was upgraded to series regular for season three after recurring in the previous two seasons.23)


Landgraf, who didn't know Weisberg but admired the program, offered that he collaborate with Joel Fields as co-showrunner and the other head writer. Fields, for his part, encouraged TV writer Joshua Brand, with whom he had been working on a new pilot, to join the show's writing team as a consulting producer shortly after the show's premiere.24)

Weisberg, Fields, And Brand

Weisberg, Fields, and Brand authored or co-wrote ten of the thirteen episodes in the first season. Gibson authored one episode for the second season.25)

Next Producers

The show's creative team was expanded with the addition of three new producers: screenwriter and journalist Stephen Schiff, dramatist and children's book author Peter Ackerman, and playwright Tracey Scott Wilson. All six writers (Weisberg, Fields, Brand, Schiff, Ackerman, and Wilson) remained with the program for the duration of its run.26)


The show's primary protagonists, although being Soviet KGB officials, must masquerade as American-born citizens and so do not typically speak Russian on-screen, but other Soviet spies, immigrants, and—later in the show—ordinary Soviet people do.27)

Russian Pronunciation

Because the program was “so much oriented on the world of Russian Russians and Russian illegals,” Joe Weisberg noted that obtaining realistic Russian pronunciation was critical. For the most part, the performers portraying Soviet characters spoke Russian as their first language.28)

Non-Russian Actors

Other performers had mastered their lines to the point that they sounded practically native. Peter von Berg, who played Vasili Nikolayevich, in particular, has expertise with Russian plays and has worked as an accent teacher. A Polish actor played General Zhukov. Nina's actress, Annet Mahendru, is of Russian descent and speaks six languages. Mahendru commended Matthew Rhys for his efforts in delivering a few Russian sentences.29)

Hall Of Fame

After its six-season run finished, Tim Goodman of The Hollywood Reporter named The Americans to the “Hall of Fame” dramas.30)

the_americans.txt · Last modified: 2022/08/12 00:24 by eziothekilla34