“Remember when Russian infiltration was a cute thing you were able to confine to the ’80s?” a TV critic asked The Americans creator Joe Weisberg today at TCA, wondering if it’s “harder now that you’re making a contemporary show.”

“There is something, in a twisted way, kind of fun in seeing all the headlines about stuff we’re trafficking in,” said Weisberg. The former CIA officer reminded TV critics that the initial set-up of the series was: “Hey, look at these people who we think of as enemies; they are just like us.”

FX's 'The Americans' Panel, TCA Winter Press Tour, Los Angeles, USA - 12 Jan 2017
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“That was in a more peaceful time,” Weisberg acknowledged. “To see things spiral so out of control just doesn’t feel good,” he said of our current Donald Trump World.

One of the downsides of announcing, back in May, that the series had been picked up for two more seasons  – this year’s 13 episodes debuting March 7, and a final season of 10 episodes in 2018 – is that TV critics wanted to ask a lot of “now that it’s ending” questions, which surprised some of the panelists.

Stars Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys were asked if there were any characters-in-disguise they wanted their spy-couple to tackle before the final episode.

“A clown?” ventured Rhys, via satellite. “He could really go for the ‘juggler’.”

Groans all around.

Russell said some surprising characters are lined up for the last two seasons, but Rhys noted the character roles the spies assume can’t be too over the top because this is not Mission: Impossible.

“So a clown seems like a natural progression for me,” he could not resist adding.

“And I’ll be a small boy, or something,” Russell chimed in.

Another critic hoped the couple would be seen speaking fluent Russian in the final episode.

“So much work!” Russell grimaced.

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As the line of questioning continued, Russell finally protested, “Come on! We have another year left!” Then she paused, and turned to Rhys: “Is someone dying that we don’t know about? Are you dying?”

“Slowly,” he deadpanned. “Slowly.”

Russell promised the show does not “just peter into otherness” in its finale. “There will be a finality to the story.”

And of course there was the obligatory how-sad-will-you-be show ending question.

“We were fine before that question. Thanks!” EP Joel Fields quipped.