Emmy Nominations 2016: ‘The Americans’ Finally Breaks Through After 4 Seasons

FX’s Cold War drama becomes a rare late bloomer in the awards derby

The Americans Matthew Rhys Kerri Russell

FX’s “The Americans” achieved a rare feat Thursday morning: It finally broke into the top ranks of Emmy contenders in its fourth season.

The Cold War drama starring Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys drew a nomination for best drama, alongside veteran Emmy fixtures such as HBO’s “Game of Thrones” and PBS’s “Downton Abbey.”

Rhys also drew an acting nomination.

FX president John Landgraf acknowledged that it was unusual for a show to break into the Emmy derby at such a relatively late stage. But he credited the writers and producers.

“They’ve done something even more rare — they’ve taken a great show and made it better every year,” he said.

For its first three seasons, “Americans” drew only minor Emmy consideration, in writing and guest acting categories. However, the show has been a critical favorite, with some reviewers calling it among the best series on TV.

Created by former CIA officer Joe Weisberg, “The Americans” stars Russell and Rhys as Soviet KGB agents posing as an ordinary suburban family in Virginia during the Cold War.

FX has already announced that the series will end after two more seasons.

Landgraf said the Emmy news, welcome as it was, probably wouldn’t change those plans. “The length of the show was chosen by the writers,” he said. “They designed it so this story has a beginning, a middle and an end.”