|Portrayed By||Matthew Rhys|
|Alias(es)||Clark, Scott, Justin, Ted, Jim|
|Occupation(s)|| KGB Directorate S Agent
Businessman and Co-owner at Dupont Circle Travel
|Images of Philip Jennings|
Philip Jennings is a main character on the FX series, The Americans. He is the husband of Elizabeth Jennings as well as the father of Paige and Henry Jennings. He, along with his wife, is an undercover KGB Directorate S agent operating near Washington, D.C., in the early 1980s. He is also a businessman who runs a travel agency with his wife.
When FBI counterintelligence agent Stan Beeman and his family moved to their neighborhood, Philip and Elizabeth befriended the Beemans while staying one step ahead of Stan during their operations. He actually is bests friends with Stan as they both have a passion for racquetball
Philip was born as Mikhail (Russian: Михаил) in Tobolsk, Soviet Union, in the early 1940s. Raised by his single mother for most of his childhood, his upbringing in post-World War II Soviet Russia was tough. Not much is known about Philip’s parents other than the fact that his father passed away when he was 6 years old. As a young boy, he would travel into the city to get milk. During the commutes, he encountered gangs who regularly beat him up. As a teenager, he met a girl named Irina and developed a relationship with her. At 17 years old, he was chosen by the Commissariat for the Leadership Group and broke up with her. He had gotten Irina pregnant before joining the academy, but she did not tell him about their child until two decades later. His son Mischa served in the Soviet Airborne Troops in Afganistan as a paratrooper.
After joining the KGB, he was picked to become a Directorate S operative, an undercover Soviet agent hiding in plain sight in America. As a young agent in training, he learned how to speak English with a flawless American accent, how to be an effective spy and how to think and act like a typical American. Another specific skill that he mastered during training was the honey pot, seducing strangers to have sex with them for information. He learned how to “make it real” with various sex partners (old, young, male or female). His name was later changed to Philip.
In April, 1962, Viktor Zhukov introduced Philip to Elizabeth, another Directorate S operative in training, who was to be his wife in America solely as a cover story. They were instructed to never speak Russian again and to never discuss their former Russian lives.
New Life Edit
After several years of intensive training, he and Elizabeth arrived in America in August, 1965. In order to further their cover, they produced two children together, Paige in late 1967 and Henry in early 1971. He and Elizabeth became owners of a travel agency while continuing to pose as average middle-class citizens. Through the first fifteen years of living undercover in America, he adapted to the American way of life. Even though he was taught his whole life how America was the enemy, he grew to think it was not that bad.
Throughout the series Edit
Complex Marriage Edit
Despite being in an arranged marriage with Elizabeth for over 15 years, their relationship was strictly professional. However, Philip showed signs that he cared for her greatly and thought of her as more than just a colleague. He made his love for her known when he killed KGB defector, Nikolai Timoshev, for assaulting her during her training. After disposing Nikolai’s body, he and Elizabeth decided to make their relationship real and began acting like a true married couple (“Pilot”).
Since Nina Krilova supplied Stan Beeman with classified information, the KGB suspected that Philip and Elizabeth were the moles responsible and kidnapped them. After a thug beat up and interrogated Philip, it was shown that their handler, Claudia, was behind the event. Following Elizabeth’s act of brutally beating up Claudia, they escaped the warehouse. Philip immediately realized that they were suspected because Elizabeth reported to the Centre that he enjoyed life in America. Feeling betrayed, he distanced himself from her (“Trust Me”). While in New York for an operation with his old flame, Irina, he ended up having an affair with her. After returning home, he told Elizabeth that she was the only woman in his life (“Duty and Honor”). However, Claudia told Elizabeth about his rendezvous with Irina. Betrayed, Elizabeth confronted Philip about the act and told him that their relationship would remain only professional (“Mutually Assured Destruction”).
At dinner one night, Philip and Elizabeth announced their separation to Paige and Henry. As expected, they took the news hard (“Safe House”). After a few weeks apart, Elizabeth told Philip that she was ready for him to return home, but he responded by saying that he got an apartment (“Covert War”). After rescuing a compromised Elizabeth from an FBI trap, he realized that she got shot by Stan. After she got surgery inside a safe house, she asked Philip to return home (“The Colonel”).
Seducing Martha Edit
Donning his alias of Clark Westerfeld, an Internal Affairs worker, he began interviewing Martha Hanson to get information from the FBI counterintelligence office. He assured her that his job consisted of overseeing the United States‘ counterintelligence agencies in order to safeguard their security (“Pilot”). After a couple of visits to Martha’s apartment, he began to seduce her to gain her trust. It was clear that Martha developed feelings for Clark, possibly because she was a lonely woman with a time-consuming job. They then began a sexual relationship (“Mutually Assured Destruction”).
When Sanford Prince informed Elizabeth about a possible meeting with an air force colonel, Philip wondered if it would be a setup. He devised a plan to plant a bug in Frank Gaad’s FBI office to see if the potential meeting was sincere and pitched the idea that Martha could do the task. Elizabeth did not think she would go for it, but Philip went through with his plan by first proposing to Martha. At their wedding, Elizabeth and Claudia were present posing as his family members. Because of their faux marriage, Philip asked Martha to plant a bugged pen inside Frank’s office, and she agreed (“The Oath”).
FBI Threat Edit
When Stan and his family moved in across the street from them, Philip and Elizabeth took their children to meet them. While discussing work, Stan announced that he was an FBI counterintelligence agent specializing in hunting down Soviet agents. Worried that the FBI was onto their operations, Philip considered defecting but was silenced when Elizabeth pledged to remain loyal to their country (“Pilot”). Despite the threat of having an FBI agent for a neighbor, Philip and Stan became good friends and regularly spent time together (“The Clock”).
After noticing Martha’s odd behavior at work, Chris Amador spied on her apartment premises and saw Philip exiting the building. Assuming that Philip was getting FBI information from Martha, Chris confronted him and planned to take him downtown for questioning. When Philip rebelled, they got into a fight ending with Philip accidentally stabbing Chris with his own knife. Philip quickly escorted a wounded Chris to an empty safe house and gave him morphine to calm him down. Since Chris failed to show up to work that day, the FBI figured that the KGB was involved in his disappearance. When Elizabeth arrived at the abandoned building, she assisted Philip and interrogated Chris regarding what the FBI planned to do in retaliation of his kidnapping. Following Chris’s death, they dumped his body by a random dumpster. The FBI took the hit hard and planned to avenge his death by whatever means necessary (“Safe House”).
After successfully bugging a clock inside of Caspar Weinberger’s home office, Philip and Elizabeth were able to hear some details about Reagan’s missile defense system (“The Clock”). However, their accomplice, Weinberger maid Viola Johnson, confessed to the FBI that she had helped a sketchy couple plant the device in the office a few months beforehand. Because their was usually a man and a woman involved in most of their recent investigations, the FBI deduced that Viola’s perpetrators were the notorious couple they had been looking to unmask (“The Oath”). Unbeknownst to Philip and Elizabeth, the FBI planned to catch anyone who approached the car holding the Weinberger tape. When Philip took the meeting with the air force colonel, Elizabeth strolled through town to retrieve the tape from the car by the Weinberger house. Realizing that Elizabeth was compromised, Philip rushed to her location and picked her up when she was only a few feet away from the car. With the FBI closing in on them, Elizabeth got shot, but they narrowly escaped after a high-speed car chase across town. The day ended with Philip waiting for her to get out of surgery from her bullet wound (“The Colonel”).
Murder Mystery Edit
Over the years, Philip and Elizabeth occasionally worked with another Directorate S couple, Emmett and Leanne Connors. They met up with them again for a mission to control a Lockheed employee’s security codes. Later that week, both families attended a fair in order to see each other’s children. Emmett asked Philip to do a brush-pass with his agent, Fred, to get intel on stealth technology. After the risky operation, Philip and Elizabeth went to the Connors’s hotel room to return the intel to Emmett. However, they found him, Leanne and their daughter, Amelia, murdered inside. Philip grabbed the rest of Emmett’s stealth intel from his briefcase before departing the room. While leaving, he saw the Connors’s son, Jared, returning to their room from the pool. Philip ran down the stairs as he heard Jared screaming from the sight of his slaughtered family (“Comrades”).
Horrified and paranoid, Philip began to investigate Fred as a potential suspect in their murders. He ran surveillance on him and broke into his house. While searching through Fred’s stuff, he found nothing out of the ordinary. After encountering a trap there, he was electrocuted and knocked out for a while. He woke up with Fred, still unaware of Emmett’s death, trying to signal Emmett. Philip convinced Fred not to kill him and explained everything. Following the successful plea, Fred trusted him and became his agent (“Cardinal”). With the Connors’s killer still on the loose, Claudia returned to seek Philip and Elizabeth’s help in finding him. Her number one suspect was Andrew Larrick, a homosexual Navy Seal who was blackmailed into working with the Connorses (“A Little Night Music”).
After discovering that Larrick was not the killer (“Behind the Red Door”), it was later revealed that Jared had murdered his family. As he died from a bullet wound caused by Larrick, he admitted that he killed them because they would not let him enter the spy business after he found out who they were. Days later, Claudia told Philip and Elizabeth that Jared was recruited into the KGB’s Second Generation Illegals Program. Their new handler, Kate, had approached him, told him his parents’ secret, seduced him and won him over in supporting the Soviet cause. With Jared dead and the Centre eager for more agents, Claudia told the Jenningses that Paige was their next target. Philip met with Rezidentura head, Arkady Zotov, to tell him that he would quit the KGB if they approached Paige they way they did with Jared (“Echo”).
Larrick Threat Edit
At Claudia’s urging, Philip and Elizabeth went incognito as CIA security to meet with Larrick. During the tense meeting, they discovered that he did not kill the Connorses. However, they learned of his involvement in Martial Eagle, a base where the United States secretly trained Nicaraguan contras. Kate instructed them to assassinate the field commanders working there. In order to get inside, they needed him to know who they really were. Later on, Philip met him outside of a gay club to show him that he was part of the KGB (“Behind the Red Door”). After planning to infiltrate Martial Eagle with Larrick and Lucia, a Nicaraguan intelligence agent, they learned that Lucia was going to kill Larrick inside the camp (“ARPANET”). Philip got angry after hearing that Larrick killed Lucia when she attacked him in his home (“New Car”). During the Martial Eagle operation, Philip took pictures of the contras’ training but had to kill an American personnel who spotted him. The inevitable act shook Philip to the core (“Martial Eagle”).
In Nicaragua, Larrick wanted revenge when he heard that the Jenningses killed more people than expected at Martial Eagle. He returned to the states for vengeance, killing George (“Yousaf”) and Kate in the process of locating Philip and Elizabeth (“Stealth”). After decoding Kate’s encrypted messages, he learned of Jared’s location and tailed Elizabeth while she rushed to exfiltrate him (“Operation Chronicle”). Learning that Larrick was awol, the Jenningses evacuated their house and traveled to a motel near Abigail’s cabin where Jared was staying. However, Larrick knew that they were there because of his earlier act of following Elizabeth relocate Jared. He confronted Philip, Elizabeth and Jared by Abigail’s cabin and planned to turn them in to authorities. After a brief fight started by Jared, Larrick was shot and killed by Philip (“Echo”).
Stealth Technology Edit
With intelligence from Fred, Philip and Elizabeth posed as movers at a submarine plant that contained specific plans valuable to the Soviets. Philip photographed the plans they needed while Elizabeth intimidated one of the plant workers who was onto their scheme (“The Walk In”). Weeks later, Kate met with Philip to discuss some terrible news. She informed him that the plans he and Elizabeth stole were fake and that it caused a Soviet submarine fatality. The tragic event killed 160 men of their own, burdening Philip deeply (“New Car”).
In disguise, Philip attended a speech delivered by Anton Baklanov, a Jewish scientist who escaped the Soviet Union 10 years beforehand. He was supposed to enlist Anton to work for the Soviets, but soon realized that he was not recruitable. Because of Anton’s reluctance, Philip and Elizabeth were ordered to forcefully exfiltrate him back to the Soviet Union. While kidnapping him, they encountered two Mossad agents who were unwilling to give him up. After a brutal showdown, the female Mossad agent stole the Jenningses’ car, driving away from the scene with Anton in the trunk (“A Little Night Music”). Philip and the injured Mossad agent hid inside a safe house. While there, the Mossad agent taunted Philip about how his whole life was a lie. When the Soviet Union made a deal with the Mossad to release 1,500 Jews to Israel, the Mossad exchanged Anton for Philip’s Mossad hostage. Philip drove Anton to a ship dock to transport him back to the Soviet Union (“The Deal”).
To keep up with American technology, Kate instructed Philip to bug the ARPANET, the network that would become the basis for the internet. Dressed as a journalist, he was accompanied by his agent, Charles Duluth, to learn about the advanced system from a computer expert. Charles found out the code for the computer lab and gave it to Philip, but they realized that the lab was full of students. Philip set off the building’s fire alarm and entered the lab to access the ARPANET. However, a student returned to the room to grab his wallet and noticed Philip in there, leading to Philip killing the innocent man. The guilt weighed heavily on him, and he wondered if the mission was worth it (“ARPANET”).
Back in Russia, Anton told Vasili Nikolaevich that he needed details of the radar-absorbent material (RAM) to keep up with American stealth technology. To retrieve this information, Fred told Philip about a former engineer named John Skeevers who specialized in RAM. Posing as a Vietnam War veteran, Philip befriended John at a pharmacy and paid for his medication. Later, he visited John at his home and learned that RAM consisted of a paint containing tiny iron balls intended to block radar signals (“Stealth”). Meeting with Fred again, Philip and Elizabeth convinced him to wander into a secure area of a stealth factory wearing special absorbent shoes to get samples of the RAM paint (“Operation Chronicle”). After successfully getting the samples, he threw the shoes into a random dumpster for the Jenningses to pick up. However, he was shot by police in the process and died shortly after (“Echo”).
War in Afghanistan Edit
Because of the Soviet tensions in Afghanistan, Kate told Philip and Elizabeth to target Yousaf Rana, a Pakistani intelligence officer, to learn about the US arms shipment to the Afghani Mujahideen. Instead of Elizabeth seducing Yousaf, Philip enlisted his agent, Annelise, to do the job. Annelise told Philip that Yousaf did not know much because his boss, Javid Pervez, kept him out of the loop. In order for Yousaf to step into Javid’s position, the Centre ordered the Jenningses to kill Javid. At a hotel one night, Philip listened to Annelise and Yousaf having sex while Elizabeth killed Javid in the pool (“Yousaf”).
Marriage with Martha Edit
When a new position opened up, Martha considered applying for it. Since it was for an office irrelevant to Philip’s operation with her, he convinced her to stay in the counterintelligence department (“Cardinal”). After having a fake fight with Martha to get out of her apartment earlier than usual, she began having problems with him. She filled out an application for a senior clerk position in Frank’s office and considered putting her married status on it (“A Little Night Music”). When she could not reach Philip, she almost checked ‘married’ on the paper, but Elizabeth, dressed as her sister-in-law, Jennifer, visited to convince her not to (“The Deal”).
After Martha told Philip that she no longer wanted to spy on her coworkers, Philip toyed with a tape recording to make it seem like they made fun of her looks. But she changed her mind, and he did not play it for her (“New Car”). However, he later played her the forged tape recording which poisoned her relationships with her colleagues (“Martial Eagle”).
Since the FBI counterintelligence office was incompetent about properly storing classified files, Martha kept requesting for better care of them. When they failed to take precaution again, she took many files to her apartment for Philip to see. He worried that she would be caught, but she wanted to prove a point. She then admitted to him that she knew he wore a toupee. After having sex, Philip shot down her idea of having children (“Operation Chronicle”).
Paige began to slowly attract attention from her parents. After Paige walked in on them having sex, Philip wondered the number of times she had been checking on them (“Comrades”). One day, Paige skipped school to visit Elizabeth’s supposed great aunt Helen Leavis. After Helen faked having dementia with Paige present, she called Philip saying that Paige had paid her a visit. When Paige got home, he confronted her for lying and skipping school (“The Walk In”).
Interested in Christianity, Paige began praying and reading the Bible, which annoyed Philip to an extent but not nearly as much as Elizabeth. When he learned that Paige donated $600 to her church without his or Elizabeth’s consent, he became enraged and they got into a heated fight. Later on, he confronted Pastor Tim to keep Paige away from the church, but Tim said that he could not deny anyone access to a sacred place (“Martial Eagle”). Afterwards, Philip became more accepting of Paige’s newfound faith and considered letting her attend a church camp, much to Elizabeth’s dismay (“Yousaf”).
Unlike Paige, Henry did not receive as much attention from his parents. An independent preteen, he broke into his neighbor’s home while they were on vacation to play Intellivision, a video game console (“ARPANET”). After his neighbors returned home to find a sleeping Henry on their couch, they told Elizabeth of the event. Later, Philip and Elizabeth dealt with his crime by confronting him. They sat in silence as he pleaded with them that he was a good person (“New Car”).
Seems cold on the outside, but has an undeniable compassion for human life, especially for his family and also himself. He starts to question the morality and purpose of his work.
Philip seems to be as committed as Elizabeth to his work and believing in the cause. He is loyal and willing to do everything it takes to complete his mission. However when it comes to choosing between his family or his country, Philip always put his family first. He loves his wife and his children deeply and seems to be more affectionate and compassionate than Elizabeth.
Skill Set Edit
Spy Life Edit
Philip uses the following aliases:
- Clark Westerfeld - works in intelligence oversight (Seasons One-Three)
- Scott Birkeland - Swedish intelligence officer (Seasons One-Three)
- Ted Davis - Vietnam veteran who fought in the Battle of Hamburger Hill (Season Two)
- Justin Nezer - (along with Elizabeth as "Kelly Mainstill") as Deputy chiefs of staff for the vice president's office (Season One)
- Jim Baxter - lawyer and lobbyist living in NY and commutes into D.C. few times a week (Season Three)
- Martha Hanson (Season One-)
- Annelise (Seasons One-Three)
- Charles Duluth (Seasons One-Two)
- Fred (Season Two)
- Andrew Larrick (Season Two)
- Yousaf Rana (Season Three-)
- Kimberly Breland (Season Three-)