The American has just tapped a high profile actor for its third season. On Thursday, FX revealed that Frost/Nixon actor Frank Langella will be joining FX’s intricate Soviet War era spy drama. This time, the American actor won’t be playing an American, much less a president. Instead, he is set to play a character named Gabriel who is living in America but who actually works for the KGB.
Langella’s role will be an intriguing one. Gabriel is described by the network as Elizabeth and Philip’s former KGB handler, who worked with the couple early during their tenure as spies. He’s retired, but in Season 3 he will return to handle Elizabeth and Philip. In The Americans, he is set to play a role formerly occupied by Margo Martindale. At the end of Season 2, Philip and Elizabeth requested that Martindale’s character, Claudia, be removed as their handler. This made it seem as if Martindale would not be back for Season 3, or at least would have a different role.
I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that Martindale is out as the KGB handler and Langella is in. Martindale pulled double duty last year, starring in The Millers and filming a few episodes of The Americans on the side. Claudia was such an interesting character that FX and Martindale made it work during Season 2, allowing the actress to pop up in just a few episodes last season. However, the role of handler is an important one and it wouldn’t surprise me if the writers wanted an actor who was a bit more available for Season 3. Doubtless, Elizabeth will be happy to see Claudia go, as well.
Langella is expected to play a recurring role in the new season, so expect to see him pop up rather often in the new season, which has been given a 13-episode order by the cable channel. Still, while Martindale is out as the handler, it’s entirely possible that she could still somehow show up in the new season to annoy and mess with the Jennings further. We’ll have to wait and see how that whole storyline pans out. On the bright side, FX is also reporting that The Americans went back into production this week, which means the show is officially gearing up for Season 3.
Langella, like Martindale, also has a pretty busy schedule. The veteran actor has three movies set to come out relatively soon, including 5 to 7 with Anton Yelchin and Glenn Close, The Driftless Area with Zooey Deschanel and Aubrey Plaza and Captain Fantastic with Viggo Mortensen. We couldn’t be happier the scheduling worked out with The Americans, but we’ll have to wait and see how long his tenure lasts. Spying is a dangerous profession, after all.
FX’s The Americans is expected to return to the schedule at midseason.