Emmy episode analysis: Matthew Rhys (‘The Americans’) learns more about his father in ‘Crossbreed’

The Americans” fans rejoiced this year when Matthew Rhys received another Emmy nomination as Best Drama Actor. It’s his second consecutive bid for playing Philip Jennings, a Russian KGB agent posing as an American businessman during the Cold War. Additionally, he’s in the running as Best Comedy Guest Actor for a memorable appearance on “Girls.” For “The Americans,” Rhys has submitted the fifth season episode “Crossbreed” for Emmy consideration.

In the episode, Philip and Elizabeth (Keri Russell) bring their daughter Paige (Holly Taylor) to meet their longtime handler Gabriel (Frank Langella). Gabriel reveals to Philip that his Russian father worked at a prison camp. He tells Elizabeth, “My own parents, I didn’t know anything about them at all.” Later, they talk about Elizabeth’s therapy session.

Can Rhys win his first career Emmy for this episode? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons:


Last year’s winner, Rami Malek (“Mr. Robot”), failed to received a nomination, leaving the door open for a new victor. This could benefit Rhys, who’s well overdue for recognition.

Philip has always felt conflicted about the violence that comes with his job, and “Crossbreed” explores how that might not be an act, but in his DNA. It gives Rhys a lot to work with as an actor, which could help him stand out from his competition: Sterling K. Brown and Milo Ventimiglia for “This Is Us,” Anthony Hopkins for “Westworld,” Bob Odenkirk for “Better Call Saul,” Liev Schreiber for “Ray Donovan” and Kevin Spacey for “House of Cards.”

Rhys and Russell were absent from the Emmy race for the first three seasons of “The Americans,” only finally getting nominated last year. Are voters ready to rights some wrongs?

In case you haven’t noticed, Russian spies infiltrating American life has been in the news a lot lately, making “The Americans” feel especially pertinent.

Rhys’ nomination for “Girls,” in a role so different from Philip Jennings, helps highlight what a great year he’s had. Perhaps voters will feel inclined to reward him somewhere.

SEE 2017 Emmy nominations list: All the nominees


“The Americans” missed the cut in Best Drama Series despite finally breaking through last year. Will this make Rhys and Russell look weak?

Rhys’ double nomination for “Girls” can either help or hurt him. On the one hand, it showcases a terrific Emmy season. On the other, voters could split their ballots between the two, causing him to lose both.

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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