In FX's new Cold War-era spy drama The Americans, viewers may actually find themselves rooting for... the Russians. At least that's what producers hope for.
The Americans stars Felicity's Keri Russell and Brothers & Sisters' Matthew Rhys as married KGB sleeper agents stationed in Washington, D.C., whose entire lives in America have been carefully crafted — even down to the two children they have together — in order to protect their true identities. Despite their shady dealings and ultimate goals to topple the American government, viewers may find themselves sympathizing with the couple since, at its core, the show is a family drama.
"We want you to root for the KGB," series creator Joe Weisberg told reporters Wednesday at the show's winter TV preview panel, gesturing to Russell and Rhys. "Don't you want these guys to succeed in whatever they're doing? They're going to try to undermine the U.S. government. We know that's not going to work out too well for them." Still, the producers hope that when we see the FBI side of the story, we'll also root for them.
The story is actually inspired by the 2010 arrest of 10 alleged "deep-cover" agents gathering intel for Russia, but the producers felt moving the story back to the Cold War era created more excitement. Plus: Given the 30 years since the Cold War, the producers hoped the time was ripe for viewers to be able to actually sympathize with Russell and Rhys' agents. "If you tried to tell a story like this about Al Qaeda now, it'd be completely impossible," Weisberg says. "Nobody would be prepared to hear it. I think it would've been the same way about the Soviets or the KGB 10 years after the Cold War... I think enough time has passed now that people will be willing to open their hearts and see them as people we can understand."
So, who will you be rooting for? Hit the comments with your thoughts!
The Americans premieres Wednesday, Jan. 30 at 10/9c on FX.