I spoke with Brandon Jay McLaren last week on the phone about why Jakes decides to pursue a relationship with his son now, the challenges Jakes faces personally and professionally, and the demeanor in the house with Mike back.
Jakes ended season 1 with helping Briggs out. He was kind of forced into it because of something from his past, does that have any ramifications with Briggs going forward?
Well, we don't find out what that favor was that Jakes was paying back, so that's still a secret in season 2. You do get a sense that Jakes is at his wits end with what's up with Briggs and sort of urges Briggs to get his act together and stop expecting bail outs when his actions go awry.
What is the general feel about Mike returning to the house?
The general feel at the beginning is a little bit of excitement, if not, indifference. The great twist is that Mike comes back with a very different position in the house. He comes back expecting to be at the top of the pecking order and that is a little unsettling for some members of the house. He comes back in and you know he left as kinda a rookie still learning the ropes and then he comes back leading the pack. Not everybody's as willing to give away that control to Mike. It ends up playing into some interesting drama.
The Jakes we see at the beginning of Season 2 is a changed man. What sparked his desire for something different?
You know Jakes has a plan at the beginning of season 2 and he has every intention of following through on the plan and the plan being a success. And he expects everything is going to go as planned and we see how that plays out throughout the season.
How is Jakes' personal life going to affect his professional life?
This season, his personal life directly affects his professional life. That's the thing with Jakes. It affects so much of his professional life that it starts to affect other people in the house's professional life. That's also another source of conflict. Without giving too much away, there's a major, major hiccup that happens directly as a result of something that happens in Jakes' personal life and it kind of explodes. That's, you know, really what the show's about, where does the personal and professional intersect when your doing a job like this.
We see in the premiere, Jakes isn't labeling his juice any more, is that directly related to him trying to get the apartment and free himself of that "fraternity" feel of the house?
That's exactly what it is. It's about him really trying to make a change and knowing that he may be leaving. Trying to not only change his physical surroundings, but also about emotional state and mental state in order to invite what he hopes to be his son fully into his life. It's all part and parcel with him hoping to get his son back.
Why does he think that he'd be accepted back into his son's life at this point?
I feel like he thinks his intentions initially were good for leaving and he made a mistake. He feels justified in his decision, but he knows he made a mistake and he feels Cassandra should understand and not hold that against him.Whether he's right or not will remain to be seen. That's where his head is at in terms of getting his son back.
Career wise, if he leaves the house, what does he think he'll be doing?
I think he's up for doing anything. He'd go work at a rental car office if he had to. He just wants to prove that his son is the most important thing and if Cassandra demands that he leaves the job or live in the house, he'll do whatever it takes. I don't know if in his mind, he's thought that far. He's kinda taking it step by step, but he's wiling to do whatever. He'll drive a bus if he has to, he just wants to be let back into his son's life.
This season seems to be geared around the drug cartels? As a Customs Agent, how does he fit into the investigation?
He fits in, because all of the contraband going in and out of the country are all customs. The method of transportation, how they get it in and out, all that stuff. One of the main storylines has to do with Jakes and Johnny trying to sell the cartel on a specific method of transport. So he's very much involved.
What is Jakes' journey this season?
He hits a pretty hard bottom this season.His character really gets put though the wringer. He's tested emotionally and his resolve is really tested. His faith in the house is again tested. Dramatically, it's a hard season for Jakes, but for an actor that's wonderful stuff to play. I had a really really great time shooting this season. There's a lot of fun stuff.
Graceland airs Wednesdays at 10pm ET on USA.