'The Americans' Bosses Tease "Action-Packed" Final Season

Showrunners Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields confirmed Saturday at the ATX Television Festival that the FX series' sixth and final season will consist of just 10 episodes.
Courtesy of Patrick Harbron/FX
'The Americans'

After weeks, and months, of intense questioning about Russia's role in the 2016 presidential election, it didn't take long for that hot topic to come up for Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields, the showrunners behind the Russian spy drama The Americans.

"We talk about it constantly at lunch," Weisberg said Saturday at an ATX Television Festival panel for the series. "But once we sit down to write the show, we do our best to do that in a bubble.

"We have a fear almost that it will infect the show," he continued about the real world's potential impact on the program. "We work very hard to essentially keep it out."

Thankfully, the executive producers already have plenty of material to work with as the FX series heads into its sixth and final season. The panel came just weeks after the season five finale, in which Philip (Matthew Rhys) and Elizabeth (Keri Russell) seriously contemplate a return to Russia. However, in the end, they decide they have to stay in the U.S.

"That final scene to us was a statement of where they had come in all of those years. This season was about getting them there," Fields said about their season five marriage, joking that they had registered at Pottery Barn.

The season also ended specifically with Elizabeth training Paige (Holly Taylor). "To have her sort of actually training with her mother, well, there's a direction there. You have to wait to next season to see where that direction goes," Weisberg said. "Where it takes Philip and Elizabeth is just as interesting."

Speaking about the ending of the show, Fields says they've known how it was going to wrap for several years. "The ending I think has stuck since the beginning of season two," he said. Although there were different iterations of that, "the one we landed on is pretty much something we talked about from the early days."

At this point, it's not just the showrunners who know how the spy drama will end, but also its two leads, Russell and Rhys. "We wound up telling them everything a couple months ago about the final season," Fields said. "So they know. Good luck getting them to talk."

The same holds true for Weisberg and Fields, with the former joking that "we've been training for five years" on how to avoid slipping spoilers about what's to come.

When discussing the finale, the duo said they had thought "a lot" about the Mad Men finale, but resisted making too many comparisons to other famed series finales. "We also just try to follow this story. The goal is for it to be satisfying for what it wants to be," Fields said. "The biggest challenge for us is finding the best way to tell this one the way it wants to be told."

Fields and Weisberg said they were now deep in the "exhausting" process of outlining the final season, which will run just 10 episodes, as opposed to previous 13-episode seasons of the series.

"There are a lot of pieces hanging out there, a lot of stories … but also a lot of threads of who these people are and sort of how their lives are going to end up," Weisberg said. "We've got 10 episodes … to pull that altogether, and we think it's going to be, there's going to be a lot happening both in the story world and the emotional world."

Added Weisberg: "It's action-packed and emotion-packed."

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