Martha Hanson

Vital statistics
Portrayed By Alison Wright
Occupation(s) FBI Counterintelligence Secretary
Status Exfiltrated to Soviet Union
Episode Count 27
First Appearance "Pilot"
Images of Martha Hanson

Martha Ann Hanson is a main character on the FX series The Americans. She is the wife of one of Philip Jennings's aliases Clark Westerfeld. She was the secretary for the FBI counterintelligence department, working in the same office as FBI agents Frank Gaad and Stan Beeman.

In love with Clark, she agreed to plant a bug in Frank's office. The bug in Gaad's office was discovered and an investigation began. In order to protect his asset inside the FBI's counterintelligence unit (Martha), Phillip killed the technology specialist in the office, and framed him for the bug. Martha called in sick during the investigation, and Agent Beeman began searching for Martha. After he uncovered her second life with Clark Westerfeld, she was thereafter exfiltrated to the Soviet Union.


Backstory Edit

Martha is the daughter and only child of Bill and Elaine Hanson. She lived a less-than-fulfilling romantic life, which left her vulnerable to Clark's romantic advances. She had been dumped by her high-school sweetheart after becoming pregnant (she aborted the baby), and later dated co-worker Chris Amador, about whom she said "I was more involved with him than he was with me."

Throughout the series Edit

For over ten years, Martha worked as a secretary in the counterintelligence unit of the FBI. She was approached by Philip, who posed as Clark Westerfeld, a supposed Federal employee conducting an internal audit of her department. During their first several encounters, Clark is able to use romance and ultimately sex to gradually overcome her reluctance to reveal information about her job. When Clark proposes marriage, Martha agrees to put a bug in her boss Frank Gaad's office.

After the bug was discovered, Martha's job and Phillip's cover began to unravel quickly. Phillip revealed his true appearance to her one evening, in an attempt to comfort her after informing her that he killed the technology specialist in order to protect her. However, because she could now identify Phillip, his actions ultimately meant that Martha was unable to remain in the US. They also put her at risk of being killed by the KGB if she attempted to run or talk.

Stan Beeman initially became suspicious of Martha while under questioning from Walter Taffet. He began to surveil her, and after sharing his concerns with Dennis Aderholt, the two of them engaged in increasingly intrusive activities (Dennis takes her on a date so Stan can break into her apartment and snoop around). As Phillip becomes aware that Martha is growing evermore at risk of discovery by the FBI, he forces The Center's hand in exfiltrating her to Russia.

Martha left the US after learning Phillip was working for KGB. He was honest with her before her departure, stating he would not be joining her later, even to visit. Martha settled in Russia where she lived alone but was taught how to speak the language, soon getting to grips with it, while Gabriel kept an eye on her. She soon took a shine to an orphaned girl she saw at the park.


Personality Edit

Martha is a conscientious worker. She complained several times about the lax security measures in the FBI counterintelligence unit. This made her vulnerable to Clark posing as a Federal employee investigating security leaks in her office.

Martha's extraordinary tolerance for and acceptance of Clark was probably not due entirely to her own loneliness or desperation for a romantic companion. On many occasions she demonstrated compassion and non-judgment towards Clark; these are likely inherent personality traits. Over time, this caused Phillip to feel he could tell Martha things he struggled to admit to others or even himself.

Martha could be a fearful person; after seeing news of the Connors family murders on tv, she purchased a gun and began to take shooting lessons. Martha often panicked under stress and had a difficult time acting calmly. When she could not reach Clark while filling out a job application, she left him increasingly hysterical phone messages, and ultimately decided to list him as her husband, even when she knew that could cost him his job. Her behavior during her exfiltration could have exposed multiple people (Clark, Elizabeth, Gabriel) and sent them to jail, or even gotten her killed by those who were trying to protect her.

Motivation Edit

Her blind love for Clark Westerfeld.