Dreaming up Keri Russel's post-'American's career moves; from Batwoman to Ryan Murphy
Keri Russell has spent the past six years turning in one of television’s best performances on The Americans. As undercover KGB spy Elizabeth Jennings, Russell was tough and cold, but not in an alienating way, and seamlessly made you believe that this one person could assume so many different identities (thank you, wigs) and never lose track of them. She raised the already high bar even more in season 6, which gave us a palpably exhausted Elizabeth who was struggling to serve the homeland after her husband Philip decided to get out of the game. But that all came to an end last night in the FX espionage-marriage drama’s series finale, which brought Elizabeth and Philip’s story to an end and left us with one big question: What’s next for Keri Russell? Where do you go from here?
Well, in case the former Felicity star needs some help picking her next job, EW is here to help! EW’s Chancellor Agard and Darren Franich have pulled together a list of dream roles they’d love to see Russell take on now that The Americans has come to an end. Read on below for our wild ideas, which include a caped crusader, a host, and a ruthless right-wing lawyer.
Elizabeth Jennings was already kind of a Host, carefully constructing narratives around her marks (which usually involved SOME kind of seduction.) So it feels like too-perfect stuntcasting to imagine Russell popping up as a rebellious gamebot on the HBO drama. But maybe she could have a guest appearance as a swaggering Lady James Bond type when the characters spend midseason 3 going to “Spy World”? Either that, or everyone downloads their consciousness into a Keri Russell robot, and Keri Russell plays every character for an episode. — Darren Franich
The Good Fight
If Russell is looking to stay closer to home, how about this New York-based CBS All Access legal drama, which just concluded its exceptional second season? Imagine her injecting some of her DC consultant persona from The Americans into playing an ambitious new Trump-supporting D.A. who starts causing trouble for Diane Lockhart and Reddick Boseman & Lockhart lawyers because she’s aiming for Washington. My colleague Darren suggests that her lawyer character would be secretly liberal, which wouldn’t be the worst twist in the world. —Chancellor Agard
A Ryan Murphy Show
It feels like Russell could be an essential new addition to the megaproducer’s entourage. I see her putting a bold new spin on a familiar celebrity in a future season of Feud or American Crime Story (she could play Diana OR a ’90s-era Hillary Clinton) or bringing some fire to whatever Murphy has planned for Netflix. —D.F.
A Shonda Rhimes Show
In the same vein as the above, Russell could definitely ground one of Rhimes’ future Netflix projects. She gave a very internalized performance on The Americans, but those few moments when she had to go big, she did it believably and powerfully. Furthermore, she had no trouble handling Felicity‘s melodrama. —C.A.
Batwoman on Arrow — or any other superhero
Let’s not forget that Russell already voiced Wonder Woman in a 2009 animated movie. I think it’s high time she went live action! I know this will never happen, but I would love to see her play Batwoman. In the comics, Kate Kane has a military background, and Russell’s previous work on The Americans proves she could definitely play a badass military type. Plus, if there’s anyone who could both out-brood and intimidate Stephen Amell’s Oliver Queen (a.k.a. the Green Arrow), it’s definitely Russell. But, if Russell can’t make it up to Vancouver, I’m willing to settle for just any superhero because it’s time that Russell got that superhero money! (Do you think Damon Lindelof has finished casting his Watchmen pilot? That’s both superhero and HBO money!) —C.A.
If Russell’s feeling like taking a break from the whole “fulltime series regular” thing, maybe now’s the perfect time for a glossy guest arc. Her experience on Americans with spy-ops stunt training, role-within-a-role meta-acting, and ’80s fashion would lead seamlessly into a turn on Netflix’s lady-wrestler dramedy. Maybe she’s the star of a ripoff wrestling show on another network — the Zabka to everyone else’s Macchio. —D.F.
A Dark Crime Saga
Some of the best moments in The Americans‘ final season were just Russell standing alone, looking ruined and a bit hollowed out, chainsmoking like an old noir hero. Is there room in our post-post-True Detective/Broadchurch/The Killing era for one more dark detective drama? Russell could be an ex-cop trying to chase down one last case, something conspiracy. —D.F.
The Good Place
After spending six years on one of television’s best dramas, maybe she should make the jump to one of TV’s best comedies and play the complete opposite of Elizabeth Jennings. If The Good Place ever offers us a glimpse of the real Good Place, she would be great as one of the kindly celestial beings from the Good Place. —C.A.
Mission: Impossible 7
True, us Mission fans (Missionaries?) know that Russell only appeared in M:I III just long enough to die. But that was forever ago, and now we know that Russell makes a totally badass spy! Let’s bring back Lindsey Farris as an ideal foil for Ethan Hunt in the sevenquel, a former compatriot turned enemy. They could fight on the wing of a moving plane, or maybe on a plane that’s hanging from a helicopter attached to fired nuclear missiles. All real stunts! —D.F.