So far, the 2nd season of The Americans is going great. The premiere episode was excellent and the second one seemed slow compared to the first. Overall, the show had a pretty good start establishing a good base for the sophomore season’s plot to move along nicely.
One of the major plot points that the fans are curious about is the new threat facing the Jennings. Thanks to Martha’s mic-pen (or pen-mic) Philip/Clark knows that the FBI didn’t kill the spies in the hotel room. The whole murdering incident has struck fear mainly to Elizabeth’s heart and has caused her to become a bit of a scaredy cat. The premiere also featured Meryl Streep (in video and cinema form), a bunch of crazy wigs, and a mustache for Philip. To help us understand what we saw and what we can look forward to, show runners Joel Fields and Joe Weisberg shares their knowledge about season 2.
The biggest challenge in terms of writing for season 2?
Joe Weisberg: “It’s funny, because any other year you asked that—the first year or I’m guessing the third year—we would have a list of things. But this year wasn’t like that. We were in a creative zone from the beginning. The stories and the character arcs just flowed out of our talks with our team. I don’t mean it wasn’t hard. I don’t mean there weren’t decisions. But the main experience was one of wonderful creative flow.”
Philip’s wig got ripped off, what was that about?
Joel Fields: “We definitely took those responses to heart. We ourselves had definitely been talking a lot about the wigs. And the wigs will play a role over the course of the season. Philip’s wig in particular—there will be a nice beginning, middle, and end to the wig story.”
How about Meryl Streep? Meryl Streep was in your show!?
Joe Weisberg: “It just sort of came out of the story. It’s not even like a chicken or the egg. It’s not like anybody said, “Let’s find a way to work in a movie for them to watch. What should it be?” It just unfolded emotionally in the story we were trying to tell with Stan and Nina, and then the parallel we wanted to capture for Stan and Sandra. It really unfolded that way. “
How realistic is the show?
Joe Weisberg: “It’s a mix. There are a lot of things about it that are very realistic, and some of them are not the things you would expect. For example, the Martha story, where Philip marries Martha? It seems made-up, but in fact it’s real. KGB illegals married unsuspecting women who didn’t know they were marrying KGB operatives and stayed married to them for a really long time, using these women to collect intelligence in their workplace. And it happened a lot. That’s based on history.”
How about the unrealistic parts?
Joe Weisberg: “Sometimes because of production, because of how much time you have to shoot something, some of the tradecraft isn’t perfect. But a couple of the main things are that illegals did not speak accentless English. That’s a liberty we’ve taken. And of course there’s much more… the amount of operations plopped into a timeframe is greatly increased for the purposes of television. Rather than what actually went on with illegals or any type of spy.”