Follow TV Tropes


Trivia / The Americans

Go To

  • Big Name Fan:
    • David Bowie was a huge fan of the show and even personally signed off on the use of his and Queen's song "Under Pressure" in a Season 4 episode. It was one of the final personal approvals that he gave before his death a couple days later.
    • Ben Affleck is also a fan; when he worked with Allison Wright on The Accountant, he called her by her Fan Nickname "Poor Martha".
  • California Doubling: Or rather Brooklyn Doubling, with that borough somehow standing in for suburban Washington, DC.
  • Advertisement:
  • Dawson Casting: The show's timeline progresses slower than real life's timeline. By season 3, Paige is 15 years old while the actress playing her is 17 years old. This is also true for Henry and his respective actor, who grows very noticeably taller between seasons. This is particularly noticeable in Season 4, which begins just one day after the end of Season 3, while the filming was separated by almost a year.
  • Directed by Cast Member: A few episodes directed by Matthew Rhys (Phillip) and Noah Emmerich (Stan).
  • Fake Russian: Played straight by the protagonist couple (an American and a Welshman), undercover agents and the handlers, averted otherwise by most of the supporting Soviet roles, played by Russian actors who speak actual Russian in their scenes.
  • Hide Your Pregnancy: Elizabeth picking up salad bowls and laundry baskets to hide her real-life pregnancy in season 4.
  • Playing Against Type:
    • Keri Russell has typically been known for playing good girls in movies and television shows. In this show she's a ruthless KGB operative who is willing to seduce, manipulate, blackmail, and murder in order to serve Mother Russia.
    • Frank Langella, famous for villainous roles such as Dracula, Skeletor, and Richard Nixon, plays grandfatherly Reasonable Authority Figure Gabriel.
  • Romance on the Set: Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys got together after Keri and her husband Shane Deary separated in early 2013, and the pair even had a baby in 2016.
  • Shrug of God: The show's creators refuse to reveal whether Renee was really a Soviet spy after the show ended without ever confirming it.
  • Truth in Television: The Shoe Phone weapons used in the show have been used by real spies during the Cold War.
    • An umbrella with a hidden poisoned blade from Season 1 is reminiscent of a device that was used in the assassination of Georgi Markov in 1979. The historic assassin's umbrella did not have a blade but shot tiny poisonous pellets.
    • Advertisement:
    • A cylindrical device Elizabeth used to poison a target in the pool was in fact a cyanide gun. The exact same weapon was used by a KGB assassin to eliminate leaders of the Ukrainian nationalists in the late 50s. Elizabeth accurately points out that she needs to take an antidote pill to avoid poisoning herself. She even disguises her cyanide gun in a rolled up towel while the historical assassin hid his weapon in a rolled up newspaper.
    • "Squeezing your anus" really is a tactic used to confuse lie detectors.
  • Write What You Know:
    • The show's creator, Joe Weisberg, is a former CIA Officer. Because of this, every script of The Americans must be submitted to the CIA for review to make sure that Weisberg didn't put any classified information in the script.
    • Also, Oliver North actually consulted on a couple of Season 2 episodes about the Contra camps and even gained writing credits. Lt. Col. North had gained notoriety for having testified about the Iran-Contra affair, in which the Reagan administration engineered a plot to trade arms for hostages in order to engineer coups in Nicaragua. He was convicted of perjury over it, but his convictions were reversed on appeal.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: