One of the relationships I feel doesn’t get enough attention on “The Americans” is the friendship between Stan Beeman (Noah Emmerich) and Philip. How does Philip feel about Stan? Does he genuinely care about him as a friend, or is this all part of his cover as the all-American next-door neighbor?
It’s two halves of that, really. Which is one half – probably more than half, actually – he has a great fondness of Stan. With someone like Martha (Alison Wright) it’s a lot worse, the manipulation of her life and her feelings. With Stan there is an element of guilt, because he is somebody he’s very fond of. But ultimately, the reason he’s befriending him is so he can glean from him as much as possible. My inner working of that is I think, ultimately, Philip would like to approach Stan to work as a double agent, because that would be the only way he could safeguard the kids.
In the season premiere, Stan and Philip attend an EST meeting. Stan is there to win his estranged wife back. Is there any part of Philip that is looking to a self-help group like EST for assistance in keeping his marriage from floundering?
Absolutely, I think, you know, obviously there’s a great sensitive side to Philip, and, there is a need in him for a greater level of communication, more than he’s allowed. And I think he yearns for that. So, if there was an opportunity for him to [get help in his marriage] he’d leap at it.
What can you dish about the Clark and Martha story line this season?
It does get very intense between Clark and Martha. The relationship slowly begins to unravel, for good reason. I think in the same way that Philip and Elizabeth are sort of extreme versions of marriage – I personally think this is why possibly we have an audience – the more universal aspect is basically, the things they go through are sort of extreme versions of what people go through in relationships. I think to a degree there’s an element of that in Clark and Martha, in that the elements that you turn a blind eye to within relationships because you’d rather make it work than address the ugly truth. So there are great universal themes I think in that relationship.
It all sounds rather interesting.