Matthew Rhys plays Philip Jennings, half of a KGB team working undercover in the United States on 'The Americans.' (Craig Blankenhorn / FX)
Are the Russians keen on FX’s Cold War-set drama “The Americans”?
Matthew Rhys, who stars as KGB agent Philip Jennings in the period show, has his theory on its international reception: “It’s a huge comedy in Russia,” he joked while promoting the second season at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena last month.
“The Americans” doesn’t air in Russia, but the show’s executive producers — Joel Fields and Joe Weisberg — say they hear people are watching it bootleg there.
If true, there will soon be more illegal catching up to do. “The Americans,” which centers on two KGB officers, Philip and Elizabeth Jennings (played by Rhys and Keri Russell), posing as an American married couple, is set to roll out its second season at 10 p.m. Feb. 26 — and it gets quite the sexual kickoff. We won’t give spoilers, except to say Weisberg said of the scene: “I think what we wanted to depict was the most powerful, shocking and mildly humorous and intimate moment.”
Of course, there are some family matters to tend to, too. Last season ended with the embattled relationship between Philip and Elizabeth on the mend, with Elizabeth asking Philip to move back in. The producers said the season will focus on a different area of the family dynamic.
“The first season was very much about the marriage of the couple and the terrible struggle they were having,” Weisberg said. Season 2 is more about the family’s struggle to stay together, with more emphasis on the kids.
And it looks as though the drama is following the recent trend of putting the bulk of side story weight on the female offspring, in this case Paige.
“We may reverse that trend a little more in Season 3 than Season 2,” Weisberg said.
Fields added the disparity is more a symptom of age and maturity than gender. “Now we’re all insecure,” he joked.
Character development is also in store for the major stars of the show: the wigs. There’s a wink in the premiere with a wig malfunction. But the fun doesn’t stop there, apparently.
“We have big wig plans,” Weisberg said.
Added Fields: “There’s a big wig arc. We’re putting the final touches.”
“We’re smiling, but we’re not kidding,” Weisberg said.\
10 p.m. Wednesdays starting Feb. 26