that Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields won the Emmy for best writing for ‘Start’ because it was, indeed, the most well-written episode of television in HUMAN HISTORY and this was the most deserved Emmy of all time. Amen.
Everyone on The Americans is working toward the same goal. This sounds like an obvious statement, but trust me: With so many variables in play and so little time to get everything done, that kind of teamwork is both rare and prized. If a set is like a train hurtling toward its destination, any bit of discord on the route clashes against the tracks and creates a warning spark — and the more that happens, the more likely it is that the whole thing will derail.
JOEL FIELDS: But by the beginning of season 3, we had [planned] her death. Because we came upon [The Americans consultant Sergie Kostin’s book, Farewell: The Greatest Spy Story of the Twentieth Century], which gave the details of how these prisoners were executed. We expected it to happen by the end of season 3.
JOE WEISBERG: Right, although it wasn’t reading about the deaths in the book that motivated us to have her die, but it gave us how she’d die once we knew she was. Sergie’s book gives all these details that came out after the fall of the Soviet Union about all these people who had committed espionage who were executed, and the exact details of how that was done. We follow that to the letter in the show when Nina was executed. It was planned in a very specific way so the person who was going to be killed doesn’t know they were going to be killed, and it was done that way for humanitarian reasons — they didn’t want the person to suffer, to be spending all this time in a cell pondering their own pending execution. They wanted it to be as much of a surprise as possible. … One of the most powerful things is that [historically the actual executions] were choreographed and staged by the execution team. Because they did it quite a number of times, they learned once the person heard what was going to happen to them, invariably their knees buckled. And so they learned to place a person on each side of them to catch them by their elbows, because they wanted to shoot the person in the back of the head — so they couldn’t have the person fall. That was our staging, but also their staging. Also, the person read the verdict then stepped out of the way at the same time to not get blood on themselves. It was interesting to follow their actual staging, and to think about something like that being choreographed.
FX has just officially announced their renewal of The Americans for season five and six. Season six will be the final season. Joel Fields and Joe Weisberg feel that this allows them to give the story the ending it deserves. A quote from Joe: “We have a pretty good sense [of the ending]. I would say we got it
down to about four different endings. So we’re pretty well honed in on a
zone we’re going to go to, but we haven’t decided for sure. And the way
that we work, it could also all change. As it gets closer, we could
come up with something totally different that would surprise me.”
Is Phillip and Elizabeth’s travel agency financially successful? — Pris Robichaud, New Hampshire
Joel Fields: [Laughs.] “We think so. There’s actually a story we read about one
illegal who had a business that became so successful, he started sending
money back to the K.G.B., which we thought was pretty funny. We don’t
think they’re doing that, because instead Phillip bought a Camaro.
But yes, we feel like it’s a pretty good business. Although, let’s be
honest: It’s a travel agency. In 20 years not only will the Soviet Union
have collapsed, the Internet will have destroyed the travel agency
So they’re on borrowed time in every aspect of their lives.
Joe Weisberg: “Unless they start Expedia or something.”
[“The Americans”] Creators Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields couldn’t even win for Outstanding Writing, again defeated by the HBO giant in what is an utterly inexplicable choice to anyone who’s written words, plural.