Catching Up With ‘The Americans’ Surprising Guest Star

Tonight’s The Americans (which I reviewed here) featured a somewhat surprising guest performance, whom I got to interview — with spoilers — coming up just as soon as I bake a potato…

So, for the second time this season — and for a much longer stint than her supermarket cameo in “The Midges” — Alison Wright returned to the series as poor Martha, now living a very lonely existence in Moscow as a woman with an extremely limited command of Russian, and limited professional and romantic possibilities as a result.

I spoke with Wright yesterday about her return to the series, how much showrunners Joel Fields and Joe Weisberg (or, as they’re referred to by the cast and crew, “the J’s”) have kept her in the loop, why her own grasp of Russian is better than poor Martha’s, and more.

Did you even know going into last season that that was the year Martha was going to be written out of the show as a regular character?

Well, there’s lots of things that I knew, yes. I don’t think that they approach it like deciding this is a season they’re going to write out a regular from the top. That wouldn’t be something they would ever tell you early on. They want to have the option to change they’re minds. They’re not gonna tell an actor that and freak ’em out. But, yes, they have kept me abreast of their plans for Martha from season one, really. So I’ve always been in the circle of trust as far as her storyline goes.

So when they put Martha on the plane last season, it was with the understanding that you would probably be back.


Going into this year, did you know how much they were going to need you?

No, no, not how much. That’s always in flux, as well. But I knew we were going to see her more than once.