The 2nd season premiere is just a day away and all of the fans of the hit spy show are all excited to get their long awaited fix. But before we dive in to seeing all of our favorite characters back in action, I’ve prepared some fun facts that you may or may not know about The Americans.
The Americans was created by Joe Weisberg, executive producer and show runner. Weisberg was a former CIA officer and the show was based from his experiences back when was still in the CIA.
“The most interesting thing I observed during my time at the CIA was the family life of agents who served abroad with kids and spouses. The reality is that mostly they’re just people going about their lives. The job is one element, and trying to depict the issues they face just seemed like something that, if we could bring it to television in a realistic way, would be new.” – Joe Weisberg
The show was also partly based from the Illegals Program where in a group of Russian spies were caught.
Weisberg also wrote a book called Ordinary Spy which was ultimately turned into a pilot script. Graham Yost, show runner of Justified read the book and the script and said that it was “annoyingly good”, which started the whole thing.
Due to Weisberg’s past with the CIA, the writers have to submit their scripts to the CIA publications review board before an episode is filmed. Weisberg says that this process is also useful because he can tell the network that the CIA already cleared it and usually the TV execs will just agree to whatever they want to do creatively.
Although the CIA has required the writers to submit their script, due to time restraints, the process usually gets expedited.
The U.S. nuclear command circumvented the “nuclear football,” portable missile launch controller that is carried by an aide to the President. The commanders apparently feared that an unbalanced president would either launch an unwanted pre-emptive strike or fail to respond to a threat. The Kennedy administration got the controls back to the president.
The U.S. Nuclear Launch Code was just a string of zeros. The writers said that at present day, it would be the same as using ‘password’ as a computer password.
The show is shot in New York City, mostly in Queens or Brooklyn because the writers say that the streets resemble the ones in Washington D.C. When the crew wants to shoot a meeting that happens outside the country, they shoot at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. If the show requires them to shoot in Rome or Vienna, they will just put a sign at a park that says Rome or Vienna Botanic Garden.
Shooting a period piece is harder compared to doing a show set in the present day. One of the problems that the team has is when they’re shooting outside and a truck or a van drives through. What they do is remove the vehicle digitally and all is fine and dandy.