Keri Russell, The Americans – FX Networks
Keri Russell has populated our TV screens for decades, and yet her role as Elizabeth Jennings on “The Americans” may end up becoming more iconic than her early days as Felicity Porter—if she’s not careful. The chameleon-like role allows Russell to explore the many levels of subterfuge and role-playing involved in the life of an undercover Soviet spy in 1980s America. Like her co-star (and real-life husband) Matthew Rhys, Russell gets to exercise new acting chops every season as her character navigates hidden worlds most of us wouldn’t survive. Most importantly, Russell’s portrayal brings a humanity to Jennings’ façade, letting us identify with her struggles and conﬂicts. What other actress out there could get an American audience to empathize with Soviet spies as they balance old loyalties with new realities? Russell’s groundbreaking performance makes us believe. And that’s all we can ask.