×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘The Americans’ EPs Talk ‘Action-Packed and Emotion-Packed’ Final Season

AUSTIN, Texas— As FX’s critically acclaimed drama “The Americans” heads toward its final season, the show’s creators Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields came to the ATX TV Festival to discuss their approach to the last ten episodes, but managed to artfully evade revealing too much about the fates of Philip and Elizabeth Jennings and their family.

Fields and Weisberg admitted that with all the talk of Russia in the news, they often devoted lunch hours to talking politics, but current events didn’t spill over into the plotlines. “When we write the show, we’re in a bubble,” said Weisberg, in the panel moderated by Variety‘s executive editor of TV Debra Birnbaum. “We don’t want people watching and thinking those clever writers put something there about Donald Trump.”

Fields said that the recent headlines of Russians spying on Americans and tampering with elections did impact them. “We’ve spent years learning how good the Russians were at this kind of spy craft,” he said “To see it play out on the news now at this high level is staggering.” Weisberg added, “When the show started, things were peaceful with Russia. We thought we’d humanize people who were thought to be our enemy, and now, a few years later, people are foaming at the mouth about them.”

Asked if stars Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys know what’s in store for the finale, Fields said they do. “We told them everything a couple months ago. Good luck getting them to talk.”

Rhys went back and forth about how much he wanted to know in any given season, but Weisberg said that changed when Rhys started directing episodes, “It’s been great having him direct,” he said. “Matthew and Noah (Emmerich) have both directed episodes and they bring so much understanding and depth of everything they’ve dealt with as actors. It’s been fun to bring them into more layers of the process and get to know them as a different type of artist.”

Fields praised the show’s cast and how their acting range expanded the show’s dramatic potential, “What we’ve learned is that whatever we can dream, they will amplify in beautiful ways,” he said. “There are some shows where you have to be cognizant of actor limitations — that’s not our show. There’s been a liberation in that process.”

Trying to get hints about the show’s final season and impending finale resulted in a good amount of stonewalling, but Weisberg offered up some teases for the final season, “There are a lot of pieces hanging out there, a lot of stories, a lot of threads of who these people are and how their lives are going to end up, and their emotional development, ” he said. “The final season is only ten episodes. It’ll be action packed and emotion packed.”

Fields added, “Because we’re coming to the end, we’ve had to write more. Usually we break the entire arc of next season at the end of the prior season and we usually outline the first seven episodes. In this case, it was sort of impossible to write episodes four, five, six and seven and we had to outline all of season six in advance.”

Asked if there will be a time jump in the final season, the producers paused, then issued a “Nooooo comment.”

Weisberg mentioned “‘Mad Men,’ ‘The Sopranos’ and ‘NYPD Blue'” as series finales he admires, but Fields stressed, “We talk about literary and cinematic finales, too. We have to find the way this one wants to be told.”

One thing viewers can count on: “Season 6, all questions will be answered — there’s no way out,” said Weisberg.

The Americans” returns for its final season on FX in 2018.

More TV

  • NEW YORK, NY – JUNE, 24:

    LGBTQ Stars Honored at Variety’s Power of Pride Celebration

    New York City felt the full power of pride on Monday, as Variety celebrated its inaugural issue devoted to the annual recognition of LGBTQ people worldwide. At an intimate gathering at lower east side Manhattan hotel The Orchid, rooftop bar Mr. Purple hosted Variety’s cover stars and luminaries for cocktails and the unveiling of the [...]

  • WWE

    WWE and PP Sports Extend China Partnership

    WWE and PP Sports have signed a new multi-year agreement that will keep WWE programming airing live in Mandarin in China. In the past three years of the partnership, PP Sports has delivered more than 300 episodes of WWE programming. PP Sports will offer, “Raw,” “Smackdown, and the WWE Network as a subscription VOD service [...]

  • Billy Eichner Power of Pride Variety

    Billy Eichner on Taylor Swift's 'Calm Down' Backlash

    When Taylor Swift released her “You Need to Calm Down” music video, it seemed like every member of the LGBTQ in Hollywood was included — except for Billy Eichner. “I’m still not gay enough for Taylor Swift — or too gay — I don’t know what it is,” Eichner joked at Variety’s Power of Pride [...]

  • HIGHWIRE LIVE IN TIMES SQUARE WITH

    TV News Roundup: 'Highwire Live in Times Square' Tops Sunday Night Ratings

    In today’s TV news roundup, ABC’s “Highwire Live in Times Square” tops Sunday night ratings, and “Total Bellas” has been renewed for a fifth season. DATES FX will air the special event “Peabody Presents: Stories of the Year” on July 7. The program will showcase the issues honored at the 78th Annual Peabody Awards Ceremony [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    'Scream' Series Moves From MTV to VH1 for July Debut

    The long-gestating third season of the “Scream” series is finally debuting–but not on its original network. Variety has confirmed that the series will air on VH1 instead of MTV as originally planned. “Scream” will debut on VH1 on July 8 and air two one-hour episodes back-to-back for three straight nights. The third season of the [...]

  • Jussie Smollett

    Video of Jussie Smollett With Rope Around His Neck Released by Chicago Police

    The Chicago Police Department released new surveillance footage and files in regards to the Jussie Smollett hoax case on Monday, including one that shows the “Empire” actor shortly after the alleged attack. In one of the videos, police body-cam footage shows authorities entering Smollett’s Chicago apartment, led by his manager, Frank Gatson. Smollett is found [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content