Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Keri Russell, Jimmy Kimmel
Screenshot: Jimmy Kimmel Live!

While Elizabeth and Philip Jennings (a.k.a. Nadezhda and Mischa) have exhibited mounting individual dissatisfaction with their roles as deep cover Soviet spies on The Americans, fans of the enduringly stellar series aren’t so eager to let the Cold War drama go. On Wednesday’s Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Keri Russell admitted that her time as icy but conflicted super-spy Elizabeth has always had an expiration date—whatever that means in the minds of series’ executive producers Joe Wiesberg and Joel Fields. The ever-chipper and un-Elizabeth-like Russell was, naturally, cagey about tomorrow’s series finale, but told Kimmel that Weisberg and Fields “had this ending for a long time,” and assured him (with, it must be said, an unreadable smile) that she “was very satisfied with it.”

Kimmel, calling The Americans “one of the greatest shows in the history of television,” nonetheless decided the time was right to quiz Russell on her lethal character’s patriotically bloody track record over the show’s six suitcase-stuffing seasons. Engaging the game Russell in a segment titled “Did I Murder You?,” Kimmel showed pictures of a half-dozen fleeting characters from the series and asked, simply, if Elizabeth Jennings did them in. Perhaps in testament to Elizabeth’s prowess with guns, knives, and the occasional handy swimming pool, Russell started off by whiffing on some early Jennings kills. “Was he a sexy time in a hotel room?,” she asked of one ineffectual, balding gentleman. Still, once her potential victims drew closer in time to the present season (poor dumb hockey guy), Russell started hitting the bullseye, even as Kimmel tossed in one famously, ambiguously, possibly dead fictional figure from another “best of all time” TV series in an attempt to throw off her aim.


The Americans series finale is on FX on Wednesday at 10 p.m. Eastern.

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.

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