Matthew Rhys Q&A: ‘The Americans’
"I remember them telling us about Paige and thinking, oh my God, it's finally come to pass," says Matthew Rhys about one of the biggest revelations in the third season of "The Americans," which aired this spring. He and Keri Russell play KGB spies Philip and Elizabeth Jennings, and in the episode "Stingers," they finally revealed their true identities to their teenage daughter, Paige (Holly Taylor).
"It was three seasons of anticipation … and they threw us this enormous T-bone steak to get our teeth into," says Rhys of the Jennings' coming-out scene. But even though they risked exposure and arrest by telling their daughter, he thinks it was a relief for the secretive couple to come clean. "What they've been living and dealing with," he says, "is this pressure cooker life."
But that wasn't the season's only big reveal. FBI secretary Martha (Alison Wright), the wife of Philip's alter ego Clark, also learned the truth, but according to Rhys, Philip has known for a while that the walls would eventually close in on him. "I think Philip has reached a point in his life where he fully understands that this lifestyle is a ticking time bomb. It can't be sustained," says Rhys. All Philip wants now is to protect his children, and "the only way for him to do that is to do the mission as well as he can so he doesn't get caught, but ultimately, I think his long-term prize is to defect."
Rhys hopes Philip will eventually reveal the truth to Stan Beeman (Noah Emmerich), the FBI agent next door who has befriended the Jennings. "Stan's in for a rude awakening when that finally happens. I'm hoping … Philip will approach him with defection over beer and pizza," says Rhys, though "it'll be a bitter pill for Stan to swallow."
Bitter, especially, when Stan realizes his secretary and a teenager learned the truth before the FBI did.