One of television’s great series will wrap up a spectacular six-season run this year when The Americans airs its final episode. It’s been called the best drama on television, even during this period of amazing television, and you won’t find any disagreement here.
But the end is coming, and as much as we’d love to see how the story of Philip and Elizabeth Jennings ends, there’s a bittersweet feeling that it will all be over later this spring. Fortunately for the actors, they’re too busy putting together a big final season to worry about it yet.
“The perennial struggle of The Americans, and I’m sure I’ve bored you with this, is where to land these huge momentous moments,” star Matthew Rhys, who plays Philip, said. “And I think one element of trying to restrain yourself in the final season is preempting any of that [feeling of an end] or if there’s a sort of temple to an impending end or such, you have to remember that it is the present. You’re not working toward the end. So that’s a process I’m still grappling with.”
“We shoot the dead of winter in New York, and it’s such an uphill sprint and I think that type of work lends itself to the show, and the cold and the struggle of it all,” said Keri Russell, who plays Elizabeth. “But I feel like heads are still down charging up that hill, and there’s not a lot of time for reflection yet. It’s about trying to get through those final months. But I will say, because we’ve read a lot of scripts, it feels really good and satisfying what Joe and Joel have written.”
Russell continued later in the panel: “I relish this experience, it’s been such an enjoyable, creative — I love the storytelling of it. I know we’re set in this 1980s spy show, but it’s truly one of my favorite marriage stories couched in this Cold War spy world. I think that it’s just really sparse, interesting storytelling. And for me playing Elizabeth, I just think as a woman it’s been an incredible feminist role to get to play.”
As for the final season itself, it will take place after a three-year time jump with Philip and Elizabeth seeing new tests in their relationship. And of course, there’s always the chance that everyone can die, given the severity of the show. Even the subject of the safety of Henry (Keidrich Sellati), the youngest member of the Jennings family and the one not involved in spy games at all, came up. And the producers wouldn’t say anyone would be safe.
“Don’t get too comfortable about anyone turning out well,” said Joel Fields. No, not Henry!
The Americans begins its final season Wednesday, March 28 at 10/9c.