Put on your finest wig and practice your fake accent: FX’s “The Americans” returns Wednesday for its third season. Otherwise known as “that show that makes you root for Communist Russia,” this season finds Elizabeth (Keri Russell) and Philip (Matthew Rhys) Jennings facing one of their biggest challenges: whether or not to tell their daughter Paige that they’re Soviet sleeper agents. Paige started to suspect something was up with her parents last season, and this season will see that issue continue to arise.
“The biggest thing for this season is that Elizabeth and Philip are at very opposing sides on how to deal with their daughter,” says Keri Russell.
But don’t expect Paige to start joining on missions. “Just to be clear, it wouldn’t be that she would become a spy,” Russell is quick to add. “There would be many steps, many facets, the first of which being that she finds out who we are, and is she ready for that?”
While Philip hopes to keep Paige in the dark as long as possible, Elizabeth takes a different tack. “Elizabeth feels a desperate need and want for her daughter to know who they are, because if you didn’t know who you were, how do you move throughout the world?” asks Russell.
Though the stakes of the show are totally different from what they are for most parents figuring out how to live with a teenager, Russell thinks the plotline about Paige is pretty universal.
“I feel like it’s a very relatable parent/family issue, about how to raise your kid and ideals that you don’t know matter until they’re there and then they are everything,” says Russell.
Of course, no season of “The Americans” would be complete without some stellar disguises. Russell promises “so much wig work, it’s out of control.” What exactly can we look forward to? Per Russell, one of her favorites: “We were these 1980s punk rockers.” And yes, there was some “guyliner,” as Russell puts it, involved for Rhys.
Though Russell is tight-lipped about what you can expect to see this season (she is playing a spy, after all), we did get her to admit one thing: “We will see Nina. I don’t want to give anything away, but we will see Nina and it’s good.” Nina (Annet Mahendru) was last seen getting shipped back to the Soviet Union.
As to what kinds of issues the spies will take on, Russell promises a look at apartheid. “There’s a whole South Africa storyline,” Russell teases. No, Elizabeth won’t be flying off to South Africa. Instead, expect some South African characters to turn up in the U.S. Oh, and she revealed that bit of info when we asked her if she had any fun stunts coming up this season, so expect something big from those folks.