Living with roommates is hard enough, but can you imagine the tension if you lived with six other federal agents under one roof (even if it was a fancy beach house)?
Such is the premise of USA’s successful action-drama ‘Graceland,’ which will premiere its second season on June 11.
We chatted with Brandon Jay McLaren (‘Falling Skies,’ ‘The Killing’) who plays customs agent Dale Jakes, about the show’s sophomore season, TV and the lasting legacy of ‘The Power Rangers.’
RELATED NEWS: 'Graceland' Adds Brit Morgan, Nestor Serrano for Season 2
TVRage: What was your initial attraction to ‘Graceland’ and to the character of Jakes?
Brandon Jay McLaren: I remember when my manager sent over the pilot and she was like, 'Brandon, I just read this. I think it’s really cool, I think there’s a uniqueness about it, and I think you’ll really respond to it,' and I read it, and she was exactly right. At the time I read it, it was unlike anything I had read in awhile. The character just popped off the page as authentic and real. It was based on a true story, and the situation was so inherently interesting. These six federal agents who live in the same house together from all different agencies. So, it was a combination of all those things.
TVRage: Since the first season, what’s changed the most for Jakes?
McLaren: You know, Jakes is on a real roller coaster ride this season. He hits a real bottom this season. He kinda extends himself a little bit, goes out on a limb and gets some disappointment. But he picks himself up. Last season, he was more on a steady trajectory, but here it’s more up and down, which is really, really great because you get to play a wide range of things.
TVRage: What’s the biggest difference between the first and second season?
McLaren: I think this year, because we’ve already established everyone already, you really get to know more about each character this year. This year, we get to go a little bit deeper into their lives with more detail, things that make them tick. And I think, overall, just the stakes for everyone is just a bit higher, so that ramps up the drama, ramps up the tension and ramps up the action. I think this season is a bit upgraded, and I think people will really respond to it.
TVRage: What do you enjoy most about working on the show?
McLaren: First, I have to say I love my cast. My cast is great. They’re all really, really talented and really, really dedicated to the show, and it’s just a joy to be around. Those scenes in the kitchen, we all have a great time. I really really love going to work there.
TVRage: The show is a police drama, but it’s also a show about roommates. Have you had any horrible roommate experiences?
McLaren: Yeah, I had some trying ones. Nothing terrible, but I’ve had some hard ones. I think anytime you live with anyone there’s trying moments. So, yeah, definitely, I’ve had difficult times with some roommates in the past.
TVRage: What can we expect for Jakes in this new season?
McLaren: Well, you know, his son is back, so you get to see that relationship more. There’s a little bit of a love interest in the second season as well. And then a lot more of dealing with all of the personalities in the house. And again, that question that keeps coming up, which I think is the crux of the series, is that line, 'How far do you go to get the bad guy? How far are you willing to go?' We keep exploring those things.
RELATED NEWS: 'Suits’ Recruits Neal McDonough in Recurring Role for Season 4
TVRage: You’re also known to a lot of ‘Power Rangers’ fans as the Red Power Ranger: SPD. Did you hear there’s going to be a new movie?
McLaren: Yes, I’ve heard that!
TVRage: What do you think is the appeal for the franchise? It’s been around forever.
McLaren: I think they’re on the 20th, 21st season, so they must be doing something right, to be able to last that long. If you think about when they first came out, if you think about all the technological changes that has happened since then, everything looks completely different. But for whatever reason, that ‘Power Rangers’ formula has stood the test of time. Children still love and respond to that. In terms of the film, if they try to go the way of the recent superhero movies, the Marvel movies, and they go a little darker, I think it could be something really cool. I think it could be something actually cool and interesting.
TVRage: Since this is a TV website, I have to know: what are you watching on TV these days?
McLaren: That's a great question. I’m watching 'Bates Motel.' I like that. I’m still getting through ‘Breaking Bad,’ I know it’s over, I’m behind, but I’m still plugging away. I’m halfway through Season 3. It is phenomenal. I really think it’s the gold standard. I’m also still getting through ‘Game of Thrones.’ It’s so hard, though, with Twitter, because everyone is ruining everything all the time. I know all the major story points because I’m reading it on Twitter, and I’m like 'Goddammit! I’m still watching this!'
'Graceland' returns for its second season on Wednesday, June 11 at 10/9c on USA.