Emmy episode analysis: Keri Russell (‘The Americans’) guns down an elderly Nazi from ‘Dyatkovo’

Keri Russell received her second consecutive Emmy nomination as Best Drama Actress for FX’s “The Americans.” The Golden Globe winner for “Felicity” (Best TV Drama Actress in 1999) contends for playing Elizabeth Jennings, a Russian KGB agent posing as an American housewife in the 1980s. She has submitted the Season 5 episode “Dyatkovo” for Emmy consideration.

In the episode, Elizabeth and her husband Philip (Matthew Rhys) get assigned to track down a Nazi collaborator from the past. They question the elderly woman in her suburban home when her husband arrives. When Philip hesitates, Elizabeth guns them both down.

Can Russell win for this episode? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons:

PROS

Elizabeth is one complicated character: a cold-blooded killer stoically devoted to her native Russia posing as a suburban American mom. It was an image-changing role for Russell, famous for playing a cheery-faced college student on “Felicity.” It’s to Russell’s credit that such a cold character can inspire empathy in viewers, even when she’s gunning down a little old lady. The actress has certainly proven her chops, and voters may feel inclined to reward her growth.

This episode just became eerily relevant following the Neo-Nazi riots in Charlottesville, VA. Whether that works for or against Russell remains to be seen, but it’s nevertheless unsettling to see Nazis still in the news in 2017.

Speaking of relevancy, in case you haven’t noticed, Russian spies infiltrating American democracy have been in the news a lot lately. Can that work in Russell’s favor?

Last year’s winner, Tatiana Maslany (“Orphan Black”), is out of contention because her series ran too late for Emmy consideration. That leaves the door open for a new champion, be it Russell, Claire Foy (“The Crown”), Elisabeth Moss (“The Handmaid’s Tale”), Evan Rachel Wood (“Westworld”) or Robin Wright (“House of Cards”), or for Viola Davis (“How to Get Away with Murder”) to pick up a second statuette.

SEE 2017 Emmy nominations list: All the nominees

CONS

“The Americans” missed out in Best Drama Series despite finally breaking through in that category last year. Will that hurt Russell’s chances?

Do voters like the character of Elizabeth? While Philip has been conflicted about his fealty to Russia no matter what the cost, his wife has remained loyal to a fault. Emmy voters tend to reward characters that they like, which begs the question: is Elizabeth likable enough?

Be sure to make your Emmy predictions so that Hollywood insiders can see how their TV shows and performers are faring in our Emmy odds. You can keep changing your predictions until just before winners are announced on September 17. And join in the fierce debate over the 2017 Emmys taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our TV forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.

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