FX's "The Americans" takes audiences back to the height of the Cold War between the U.S. and U.S.S.R., all from the perspective of two undercover KGB agents embedded in suburbia played by Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys. The actor spoke with IGN about the new series, his character, and what viewers can expect to see.
Rhys' Phillip Jennings is more dubious of his deep cover assignment than his faux-wife, as the series opens with his character facing a crisis of conscience. Expect this theme to carry over into the rest of the series, said Rhys, "It's one of the reasons that I wanted to do it. I've never come across a dramatic concept that's so designed so well for conflict in every element. There's the heightened situation that they're in. In terms of a personal conflict, you put two people together, who've been forced together and they're finding real emotions for each other. But they have two very different political and familial ambitions. It makes for amazing conflict."
He continued, "His [outlook] is [rooted in] the familial, hers is the political. Which is a massive thing really for a mother of two to put her political views first in a way. It's huge."
The Welsh actor feels he brings a unique perspective to the series, as his background and upbringing was not rooted within either of the major players in the Cold War. "Of course, those were the two superpowers, and we were this strange little separate Isle in the middle that was torn between a number of things. I mean we had nuclear bases, campaigning mercenaries, green protests...," he said. "We were very aware of being this strange thing being pushed and pulled in the middle. I think the Cold War works as a great analogy or simile for different kinds of conflict. It's funny, when you look back at it, it's one of the last times that the boundaries were clear. Now, as we see on 'Homeland', there are no clear boundaries and enemies. It was the last bastion of old fashioned 'them and us.' And with the distance that we now have on it, you can do a number of things with it."
Don't miss the new episode of "The Americans" tonight on FX!