FX’s drama about Russian spies in 1980s Cold War America ended its six-season run this week, and on as high a note as ever. Praised for its attention to detail and the incredible performances of its two leads, Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell, ‘The Americans’ flew under the radar as one of the best TV shows in recent memory. Here’s everything you need to know about ‘The Americans’ before you binge it.
1. You’ll probably like The Americans if wigs are a big deal to you? The characters are always wearing wigs and they look like pretty good wigs, so if you’re into that, you might want to check out the show. It definitely seems like wigs are one of the show’s strengths.
2. Despite being highly trained in mimicking American mannerisms, the Jennings give one tell that they are Russian agents, and that’s that they have no idea how to properly eat a baseball.
3. An actor from the first season has the first name of Maximiliano, which is pretty funny.
4. In order to avoid comparisons with the modern political climate, it is canon on the show that Donald Trump died putting his mouth over a fire hydrant in 1975.
5. As an Easter egg for Russian speakers, every line the actors speak in Russian is actually a tip for saving money at Costco, such as one scene at the Rezidentura where Arkady explains how a Costco membership pays for itself in three visits.
6. Many of the weapons that appear on the show were actually used by Russian spies, including a big ball of scotch tape the size of an apple that you could peg at somebody, a first baseman’s glove perfect for whacking someone right on the ass forcefully but not too brutally, and a tape measure that, if someone’s holding the other end, you can let go of to whip them on the fingers pretty good.
7. The Americans was originally conceived as a sitcom called Is Not What Looks Like!, about two bumbling Russian spies who call out the titular catchphrase in heavily accented English every time they’re caught spying.
8. Because the show’s creator, Joe Weisberg, was an actual CIA officer, his CIA buddies are constantly laying into him about how big of a dick he is for revealing all their secrets, calling him “Mr. Hollywood” and saying how show business has changed him.