Exactly the same, they said — because they’ll be largely through shooting the second season in March, about the time CBS will be making that call. It’s not such an odd question, the reference being to Margo Martindale, who steals every scene she’s in on CBS’s Thursday comedy and also has her many fans for her role as ruthless KGB agent Claudia on FX’s Cold War-set spy drama. Martindale is back for several episodes in The Americans Season 2 and “we’re very grateful and excited to have her back,” Joel Fields told TV critics at Winter TV Press Tour 2014.
Were Martindale unencumbered with her CBS series, would The Americans make her a regular? The critic asked hypothetically. “It’s hard to argue with Margo Martindale in that character. We love her,” Fields responded coyly.
TV critics love The Americans, starring Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell as KGB operatives posing as travel agents in Reagan era Washington. Last summer, the show led the pack at their TV Critics Association Awards nominations, with four noms. They wound up naming it the year’s Outstanding New Program.
In October, The Americans creator/executive producer/former CIA agent Joe Weisberg and executive producer Fields told a PaleyFest: Made in NY crowd the second season will expand from exploring the marriage of two spies to focus more on their family. Today they elaborated on that, saying of the season, “We have a lot of wig plans” as well. “There’s a wig arc,” Fields said. “We’re not kidding — we’re smiling, but not kidding,” added Weisberg.
Fields (pictured left with Russell) and Weisberg appear not to know how the series will end. When one critic asked them point blank, they dodged, saying they go for long walks and ideas percolate in their heads and it could end in a dark place or have a happier ending. Asked if the show is “a Russian story of an American story,” Weisberg admitted “even that question I don’t believe has a clear answer yet.”
To the delight of TV critics, the two men said they will continue, like the first season, to obsessively read all the reviews because it’s a “great opportunity to see what other smart people are thinking.” But, unlike the first season, they’ll be reading them with a second season largely in the can, which will make this year’s obsessive review reading more relaxed.
“We are working in such an amazingly lucky time in TV series,” explained Fields. “There’s such a great work being done and all these people taking it seriously.”
Season 2 of The Americans will premiere on Wednesday, February 26 at 10 PM. A high bar was set by the period spy drama series’ unveiling one year earlier — it drew 5.1 million viewers overall and stands as FX’s most-watched drama debut to date, topping the starts of FX’s much ballyhooed Sons Of Anarchy and American Horror Story.