Ah, yes. It’s that time of year again. The days are longer, the nights are warmer, and Graceland is back on my DVR schedule.
Premiering last summer on USA, a fresh-out-of-the-box Federal Agent Mike Warren placed in a Southern California beachfront house, affectionately nicknamed “Graceland” with other FBI, DEA and Customs agents. Graduating top of his class, his housemates are a bit skeptical about why he hasn’t been fast tracked straight to DC. After a stumbling start, Mike proves himself a valuable to his training officer, Paul Briggs. Little does Briggs know, Mike has been specially placed there to investigate his fellow agent.
Ok, enough with the book report. To be honest, the only reason I was originally interested in the show was because Broadway star Aaron Tveit (Mike Warren) was in it, and I’m a big fan. But then again, who wouldn’t be a fan? Incredibly talented, Disney prince good looks, the voice of an angel… One could go on for days. Anyway, I’m usually not one for these types of shows. If there isn’t some sort of sci-fi or fantasy element, I get very snooty with my TV, proclaim “BORED”, and move on to something else. But, I thought, Mr. Tveit is a pretty great actor (especially after how he portrayed Enjolras, leader of the revolution in the latest movie version of Les Miserables), why not give it a shot? Ok, ok, it was more like “AAAAH! AARON IS GOING TO BE ON MY TV! I NEED ALL THE EPISODES IN MY EYEBALLS IMMEDIATELY!” But you get the point.
I was very pleasantly surprised with how the first season unfolded. The storylines are so twisty-turny, wibbly-wobbly that it really held my interest and kept me screaming for more. The depth of Paul Briggs – effortlessly portrayed by Daniel Sunjata – really grabbed me. I outright hate that guy. He is shady as all get-out and no matter what he does, I am always waiting for him to figuratively (or literally, for that matter) stab someone in the back. With Briggs, you either love him, or hate him. But those who hate, LOVE to hate him.
The rest of the core cast is expertly written and acted. Manny Montana as the snarky, almost Navy SEAL kid who is always great for the comic relief (not to mention the eye candy factor for those of you into dudes). Vanessa Fertilo as hard-nosed Charlie DeMarco is not a chick you want to mess with. She is very much a part of the boys’ club while still managing to stay very female. Serinda Swan as Paige Arkin is by far my favorite female that has been on the show yet. She’s gorgeous, hilarious, and her back and forth discussions with Johnny and Mike are great. Brandon Jay McLaren brings Customs agent Dale Jakes to life in a quiet way, which is a nice balance to the rest of the personalities in the house, but don’t let him fool you. He is as explosive as the rest of them. The chemistry of this cast makes you feel like you could live in that house and be a part of all the best inside jokes.
And let’s not forget the bad guys! Drug Lord Jeremiah Bello, played by Gbenga Akinnagbe is downright terrifying. He is a ruthless business man with a fondness for pouring melted, boiling hot lead onto people, or sending people back to their bosses minus a hand. Bello is the guy in charge, and he makes sure that all his people toe the line, or its lights out. He will just straight up kill you and your whole family and not think twice about it.
So what happens now? After taking down the two big bads of the first season – putting Bello in jail, and putting two in the chest of Federale Rafael Cortes who was really the notorious bad guy boogey man “Jangles”, Mike Warren, promoted out of Graceland and up to Assistant Deputy Director in DC, and Briggs was seemingly cleared of the death of FBI Agent Juan Badillo.
It looks like USA is pulling a BBC – Sherlock, sent off, called back as soon as he leaves. Mike is coming back to Graceland, not as the green rookie, but as the boss. My mouth is fairly watering at all the delicious drama that is about to unfold before me. There are so many questions that need answering. How is Briggs going to handle his trainee being his boss? Can Mike handle all that pressure being plopped into his lap? What’s happening with Bello in jail? Is Odin Rossi, Briggs’ alter ego going to re-emerge? SOMEONE BRING ME THE HEAD OF PAUL BRIGGS! AND WHAT ABOUT THAT KISS BETWEEN MIKE AND PAIGE???
Excuse me. My fangirl was showing.
With Agents of SHIELD, Supernatural, Sleepy Hollow and Sherlock all on hiatus (then again, when ISN’T Sherlock on hiatus?), I worried that I would be relegated to reading my entire book collection AGAIN, and then have to spend the rest of my entertainment time watching Chuggington and Doc McStuffins with my two-year-old son. Actually, I like Chuggington, and Doc McStuffins is pretty much awesome, but that’s beside the point. What is going to fill my weekly fangirl need for emotional distress during this long, hot summer? Well, my friends, never fear. Graceland is back and looks better than ever.
The second season begins on Wednesday on The USA Network