Matthew Rhys was a surprise winner in the competitive lead drama actor heat. Executive producers Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields took the trophy for drama series writing for the series finale episode, “START.”
Rhys told reporters backstage that he has been spoiled by the complexity of the covert Soviet spy character, Philip Jennings, that he played for six seasons on the FX series. Now, as he reads scripts for prospective projects, he realizes just how special “the depth and complexity of these characters” proved to be.
Rhys also recalled reading the pilot script in a dressing room with fellow actor Adam Driver, who was reading the pilot for the HBO series “Girls” at the same time.
“In one episode they laid so many foundations,” Rhys said. He recalled thinking “how on god’s green earth will they figure this out and make it to the end?”
Six seasons later, series executive producers/showrunners Weisberg (who created the show) and Fields were rewarded for threading that needle with the writing win.
“Mostly what we feel is gratitude, and that’s a pretty sweet thing,” Fields said about the Emmy recognition that many felt was long overdue.
Weisberg, whose background as a CIA analyst helped him craft the series, said there was great joy in seeing Rhys make it up to the stage after three consecutive nominations.
“To see our own Matthew, who we love so much and who so many know as one of the great human beings on the planet, to see him recognized is a wonderful thing,” Weisberg said.
Keri Russell, Rhys’ co-star on the show (and in life) was also nommed for the third straight year but lost out on her last try to Claire Foy of Netflix’s “The Crown.” Fields said Russell is the type of actor for whom the work is the true reward.
“If you know Keri, this is not the kind of thing that is going to phase her one way or another,” Weisberg said. “She did the work of a career on this show, and she’s so proud of that work, and we’re so proud of that work. That’s what we want for all of us.”