Keri Russell on why 'The Americans' is so important

The award-winning FX drama "The Americans" returned this week with an unforgettable Season 5 premiere. Set in the early 1980s, Keri Russell plays KGB agent Elizabeth Jennings who alongside fellow KGB agent, Philip Jennings, pose as an ordinary American married couple. The official website describes it to be: "a period drama about the complex marriage of two KGB spies posing as Americans in suburban Washington D.C. during the Reagan administration."

The hit show's appeal in a post-Trump America is not a behind-the-scenes look at today's news; it's an escape from it. "The Americans" is not focused on Russia, but rather who these characters are to each other and what their relationship is like. In Russell's own words, the story is "about a marriage and a family." The new season keeps a "safe distance" from the Russian allegations in today's papers.

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Kerri Russell dishes on "The Americans" at BUILD Series
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Kerri Russell dishes on "The Americans" at BUILD Series
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 08: Star of FX's 'The Americans,'�eri Russell, visits Build Series to discuss the latest season of the series at Build Studio on March 8, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 08: Actress Keri Russell attends the Build Series to discuss the show 'The Americans' at Build Studio on March 8, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 08: Star of FX's 'The Americans,'�eri Russell, shoe detail visits Build Series to discuss the latest season of the series at Build Studio on March 8, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 08: Star of FX's 'The Americans,'�eri Russell, visits Build Series to discuss the latest season of the series at Build Studio on March 8, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 08: Keri Russell attends Build Series Presents to discuss 'The Americans' nat Build Studio on March 8, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Steve Mack/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 08: Star of FX's 'The Americans,'�eri Russell, discusses the latest season of the series at Build Series at Build Studio on March 8, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 08: Keri Russell attends Build Series Presents to discuss 'The Americans' at Build Studio on March 8, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Steve Mack/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 08: Actress Keri Russell attends the Build Series to discuss the show 'The Americans' at Build Studio on March 8, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 08: Star of FX's 'The Americans,'�eri Russell, discusses the latest season of the series at Build Series at Build Studio on March 8, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 08: Actress Keri Russell attends the Build Series to discuss the show 'The Americans' at Build Studio on March 8, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 08: Star of FX's 'The Americans,'�eri Russell, discusses the latest season of the series at Build Series at Build Studio on March 8, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 08: Keri Russell attends Build Series Presents to discuss 'The Americans' at Build Studio on March 8, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Steve Mack/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 08: Actress Keri Russell attends the Build Series to discuss the show 'The Americans' at Build Studio on March 8, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage)
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In a BUILD interview Wednesday, Russell dished on why storylines reminiscent of today's political climate are merely coincidental. "The safety of our show is: it's the eighties. So, we have nothing to do with what's going on now," the actor explained. She further clarified, "although there is some twisted interest [Creator Joe Weisberg and Executive Producer Joel Fields] have, being the topical element of it, it has nothing to do with our story."

Playing Elizabeth isn't totally removed from today's society. Part of Russell's character prep included researching Putin. "I've always sort of been fascinated by spy stuff. I read a little bit on Putin," shared the actress. "It's just so different from how Americans are raised," she concluded.

Russell believes it is a mistake to focus on history when playing a complex female character such as Elizabeth. "You have to mostly start from a personal standpoint," she said, stressing the importance of justifying the behavior that leads to her character's choices. "I tend to go mostly with the reality and less of the history and Cold War."

New episodes of "The Americans" air on FX Tuesdays at 10pm. Catch up on Season 1-4 on Amazon Prime Video. Stream interviews with all your favorite celebrities now on AOL.com/BUILD. Coming to New York City? Don't miss your chance to attend a live BUILD Series taping.

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