Brow Beat

Americans Writer Stephen Schiff on Philip Jennings’ Slow Crackup

Showing the strain: Matthew Rhys as Philip Jennings.

Patrick Harbron/FX

Each week on Slate’s Americans podcast, June Thomas sits down with the creators, cast, and crew of The Americans as they reveal behind-the-scenes details about the making of the FX drama’s fifth season.

First we hear from Stephen Schiff, who wrote Episode 506, “Crossbreed,” and is also a former New Yorker staff writer and movie screenwriter. He discusses Philip’s character evolution, the historical background to the KGB anti-corruption storyline, and why that ring on the doorbell was so unsettling for Elizabeth. Then the visual effects team explains how they placed Gabriel at Washington’s Lincoln Monument when actor Frank Langella was in New York, and property master Daniel Fischer shares some of the secrets of how he turns 2017 Brooklyn into 1984 Moscow.

Note: This podcast contains spoilers and is meant to be enjoyed after you watch the episode. New episodes air Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on FX.

Podcast production by June Thomas.