From Esquire On Line. Interesting insights to how they are building this season and an explanation of the Soviet ability to get info easily and many times, giving it up willingly thinking they are doing something good for the USA. (Martha?)
Also, the season finale wrapped shooting last week.Possible spoilers if you can't seen this episode.
Season 2, Episode 1: "Comrades"
During the new season of The Americans, we're looking at the show's use of espionage tactics and getting behind-the-scenes accounts from the creators, directors, make-up artists, actors, and even former spies to help analyze what's under the covers. To kick things off, Esquire spoke to The Americans creator Joe Weisberg and co-executive producer Joel Fields about the premiere, "Comrades," which they co-wrote, and what to look for as the season unfolds.
ESQUIRE.COM: What's the most striking spy tactic we see in "Comrades"?
JOE WEISBERG: The brief, single operational act in the first episode is a "brush pass." It's the second time we go to the amusement park. You see Philip go get Henry and pull him away and that's when the sequence starts. It's a great little piece of tradecraft. I was in the CIA and learned how to do them and then taught all the staff and actors how to do brush passes. They're a lot of fun to do. And one of the great things about a brush pass is that they're harder than they look. You really got to practice them. Ninety-five percent of people, the first time they do a brush pass, they drop it. But by the fifth time you do it, you can do it okay. The truth to it, is to do it without looking. If you look down, you give yourself away. The idea of the brush pass is that you can hand something off to another person in a public place, you can do it under surveillance, and no one will ever notice it. It's a very, very discreet act. In a crowd, two people pass by each other all the time. The little ways that their hands bump into each other are just not noticeable unless someone is actually looking for it. If somebody's actually looking for it, you're pretty much screwed. They already know you're a spy. We were able to get videos of KGB brush passes and it was very interesting to see those because there are some variations.
ESQ: An important spy scene comes right at the beginning, when Philip and Emmett pose as airport security and "bust" a Lockheed analyst.
JW: There's something about the Soviets and how brilliant they were with what we call "human intelligence." Working people. They were so great at figuring out how to drill into someone's psyche and having them give up intelligence without ever knowing they did it. Part of the genius of the sting at the end is that guy doesn't even know that he was conned. It's all just about getting the codes to his briefcase. He's experiencing it in such a different way. There should be no way that he would know he's been turned to be a Soviet agent. He actually thinks he's being a patriotic American.
ESQ: How does one get into a mindset to play a con like this?
JW: I've thought about finding some former agency guys and putting them in the show. I thought to myself, "I wonder if they could act," because that is what they do. There is a capacity to play a role and become someone else. After a while, with enough training and practice, to have that focus and play that role becomes second-nature to people. You have to be able to compartmentalize things and take your fear and anxiety and put that somewhere so it's not distracting you.
ESQ: It appears that Philip and Elizabeth will have to work hard to keep their cover from their kids in season two. In the first episode, was their sex scene a cover or were they actually into each other?
JOEL FIELDS: In our minds, it was legitimate. But we're big believers that things are open to interpretation and we shouldn't always have the final word on things. Intimacy was a part of what we were going for and they're at a place in their marriage for that.
ESQ: What new espionage tactics can we look forward to in season two?
JW: There's a stable of tradecraft that we've used in season one that we'll be returning to. There's your brush passes, your dead drops, and your codes and your signals. There is a counter-surveillance thing we filmed that, for my money, is one of the most original takes on it that I've ever seen on film. I don't want to build it up too much, because it's possible nobody will even notice it.
ESQ: Will the FBI and Stan Beeman get more stealth?
JF: Stealth will certainly play a role this season. Stan and his team are going to have to step it up if they're ever going to get ahead.