When FX’s The Americans returns this Wednesday, it will be with Nina Krilova still back in Russia on her own journey. LA Fan Cultures Examiner sat down with actress Annet Mahendru at the Television Critics Association press tour to discuss how it’s been to have her character separated from the rest of the show and where she goes from here.
Nina spent Season 3 assigned to cozy up to captured scientist Anton Baklonov (Michael Aronov), and that’s still where she’ll be when fans see her again. “Michael is a magnificent artist to play off of,” Annet told us. “He’s playing a smart, simple guy, so she’s dealing with someone who’s worse off for the first time and who’s a person. Like he has real needs. He has a son and he enjoys his work. She’s really shaken up by him.”
Even though she’ll be going into her second season away from the love triangle that existed with Stan Beeman (Noah Emmerich) and Oleg Burov (Costa Ronin), Annet said that storyline remains part of Nina’s world, too. “They still influence her,” she explained. “The reason she’s where she is now because of everything with Stan and then Oleg’s dad comes to prison, so they’re still influencing her. She’s Nina because of her experiences which were with Stan and Oleg. I feel they’re still a part of her and she’s on a mission now and I feel she’s empowered.”
Will Nina ever make her way back to the United States? “It’s definitely a possibility,” Annet teased, adding, “I think Stan feels bad about a lot of things and she does too. I think they’ve got a lot of unfinished business.”
Her character has definitely been through a lot over the course of the series, particularly in Season 3 where she spent a good amount of time incarcerated. The season really put Nina under a microscope and that trend is set to continue in the new episodes. “In season four there’s a lot of surprises,” Annet explained, “just by things she did that I didn’t think that could be true. And it was just a really emotional season. Also really happy too.
“We get to meet Nina and I think that’s a big deal,” she continued, “because it’s been four seasons and we wonder about her and we like her but do we really know Nina?”
“I feel like Nina has had a lot of freedom because she’s alone in all her troubles,” Annet reflected. “She’s a survivor and survival is not ethical and it catches up to her and she deals with it. She does things, but she does them like a good agent would do. It’s sort of her job. This season things will catch up with her. When you do some things, they don’t go away. No matter how much we like her. She’s not a bad person; I think people know that about her.”
Perhaps the best news is that the character’s popularity has given some well-deserved attention to the actress that’s playing her. “Nina has opened a lot of doors for me,” said Annet, “because she is always so different and multi-faceted that I’m not stuck playing the same character. I can do anything, because Nina’s given kind of a face to that.”
Between seasons she was recently seen as Sveta in two episodes of Fox’s The X-Files revival, and she’s previously also lent her voice to a character in the animated film The Penguins of Madagascar. While she’s hopeful for future success, she’s also happy to be continuing in her role as Nina for another season.
“I got really lucky to break out with this, because now I feel I don’t have to prove myself. I love it. It’s so deep and dark,” she said, but also told us she’s nowhere near as serious as her character. “I’m a big goofball,” she laughed. “It’s funny because before The Americans, I was going out for a lot of sitcoms.” We can just see the spin-off now – but until then, we’re enjoying the next chapter of Nina’s dramatic adventure.
The Americans returns this Wednesday, Mar. 16 at 10 p.m. on FX. Fans who need to get caught up can use the suggested links below this article to access our recap and analysis archives from Season 3.