What comes next in the world of espionage? Is everything good between Philip and Elizabeth (Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell)? Will Margo Martindale return as Claudia? Is Paige (Holly Taylor) about to figure out her parents’ big secret?
What can we expect for the main story in Season 2?
Joel Fields: We know that this is a show about marriage … relationships and identity. We know that we don’t want to tell the same story next season that we told this season. What we want to explore is the next phase, the next iteration of that. We have a lot of ideas and a lot of thoughts.
We don’t know where it’ll end. If you asked us when we were shooting episode 3 where we were going to go with the rest of the season, we would have given you some very clear and firm answers. What we would have told you about Nina turned out to be exactly where we went. What we would have told you about Philip and Elizabeth grew and changed as the stories unfolded for us, as they led us in other directions.
Joe Weisberg: At the end of the season, Philip and Elizabeth are on the same page, but I think most people who are married would agree that in marriage you’re on the same page and then you’re off the same page — on and off.
What about the spy world and the KGB?
Weisberg: We don’t know yet if the KGB is even going to believe Philip and Elizabeth’s intelligence, that it was all true … or will one faction believe it and another won’t? Or will they be sent off to gather further intelligence to see if it’s true or not?
I’m not suggesting we’re going to spend a whole other season on Star Wars, but it is certainly true that Star Wars issues kept going and going and going historically, and that the Soviet Union continued to fight against it. We do have to stay somewhat true to that history. I think there are still rich veins to tap in the spy versus spy world in a realistic sense.
Will Claudia return or is she gone for good?
Fields: As for Claudia, boy, we love Claudia and we love Margo Martindale. You know, we know that there’s some pilot that we’ve been told about, some CBS, little startup — I don’t even know that you could call it a network — but the KGB has a very, very long reach and we believe that when given the opportunity, they will return Claudia to her rightful position doing what it is she should be doing.
Weisberg: If they know what’s best for them, right?
Weisberg: That’s been such a powerful and intense part of the season, both the spy-craft and the emotional journey. Seeing where that goes next season is going to be one of the cornerstones of the season next year.
Are Paige’s suspicions going to grow in Season 2?
Weisberg: You know, we think a lot about these kids and what it is to be young kids who have been raised by these parents who are telling such an enormous fundamental lie about who they are and how that’s going to affect the kids over time. I at least like the idea that even though they don’t know anything, there’s some level on which, of course, they know everything, they know it all. And it’s a question of how and when it might bubble to the surface. I don’t think we know yet when and how that will be revealed in the storytelling, but the idea of it coming up to the surface in dribs and drabs, in different horrifying pieces is very appealing as a storyteller.
The idea of a family where the parents are spies and how that affected them, the idea of being able to tell a television story where that was central to the whole dynamic is, I think, one of the appealing things about “The Americans.” I don’t think that means that necessarily Philip and Elizabeth will sit down and have “the talk” one day, but I think that it does mean that the question of the parents telling the kids such a big, fat lie that affects their whole identity is central to the show.
One of the things that Joel and I talk about from time to time is imagining either of these kids in therapy in 20 years, suddenly finding out what really happened with their parents and going, “That explains so, so, so much!”
Fields: Paige is this daughter in a fake marriage from this family of spies. But really, in a way all that’s going on in that final scene in the laundry room is she’s doing what every adolescent does, which is starting to question whether or not her parents are who they really, really said they were. Which is something every adolescent goes through and we all can relate to. It’s just that in her case, boy is she right!
Is it at all plausible for the “marriage” between Clark and Martha to continue?
Fields: This is something that deep cover Soviet operatives did. In fact, they had a whole program for it called the Secretary of Defenses, where they had deep-cover agents marrying secretaries of influential people and intelligence officers, mostly across Europe. It sounds crazy that they did it, but they did it.
How do you keep audiences invested in characters like Philip and Elizabeth, people who are essentially the enemy?
Fields: Interestingly, unlike some other antihero shows that feature sociopathic protagonists, Philip and Elizabeth are believers. It may not be in a cause that we care about, it may not be in a cause that we support, and it’s true — we all know that totalitarian socialism didn’t work. But they do believe and they have their own backgrounds, their own reasons and their own feelings.
One of the things that the show explores that we find interesting is the question of where those beliefs come from. We all have logical reasons for our political beliefs, but are they really born exclusively out of logic or are these things much more sociological, much more psychological, much more character-based?