'Graceland's' Aaron Tveit: Mike "Will Be Around" in Season 3

Tveit and co-star Daniel Sunjata say the USA drama will go back to basics.
USA Network

Will Mike live on Graceland?

It may seem like straight-forward question, especially considering that, in the final moments of Graceland's second season, Mike was seen in a hospital bed flat-lining. But this is TV after all, and cautious of spoiler-phobes everywhere, Aaron Tveit chooses his words carefully.

"I will be around," the actor tells The Hollywood Reporter. "We don’t know in what capacity."

Star Daniel Sunjata is equally evasive about Mike's future. "He definitely appears in some way, shape or form in the season premiere."

With the third season of the USA drama set to kick off Thursday, Tveit and Sunjata spoke with THR about entering "Ned Stark territory," Charlie's baby and going back to basics.

There is the big question about your character. Does that make production any different? Have they gone to any extra lengths to keep that under wraps?

Aaron Tveit: They found a very creative way to tell the story and so I don't really want to give too much away as far as that. There's care to be had to not let certain things get out.

Is it hard having this huge elephant in the room when you've been promoting the show?

Daniel Sunjata: It's difficult because you don't want to get fired for accidentally giving a spoiler but it also allows us to live in the realm of ambiguity when we talk about the show.

Tveit: I think we're doing what we can and you also have to accept that what you can't control, you can't control. The thing about this year too is we're hopefully going back to more of what the show was in it's first season which is about the relationships between these people in the house instead of everything getting so spread out away from that. I think that, without people knowing what necessarily is coming next, they can know that hopefully the thing that they were able to relate to and got them hooked in the first place is what we'll be going back to.

What are the themes and issues that everyone in the house will be dealing with?

Sunjata: Answering for past aggressions, so atonement, penance. … A lot of characters in the end of season two made some really bad decisions, so we have to deal with the fallout and the repercussions of those decisions.

Tveit: The second season, everyone was on their own personal vendetta or quest and decisions were compromised for their end goal, whatever that was. So all that needs to be addressed and people need to take responsibility for the consequences of that.

Season two ended with Charlie expecting Briggs' baby, but creator Jeff Eastin made it sound like she would lose the baby this season. Is that still the plan?

Sunjata: Now that's up in the air.  I think that there are going to be some red herrings thrown in the audience's direction in that regard. She does start season three pregnant.

What is ahead for Briggs and Charlie as a couple?

Sunjata: There's a deepening of our relationship, but maybe not in the way or in the direction that the audience might suspect.

At the end of last season Sid says, "I know where you live," and insinuates he's going to go after other people in the house. What is the next step of that threat?

Tveit: The place is in jeopardy. The fact that somebody of that ilk knows that there's this place of undercover agents and what that could mean for the people living there. He's somebody that needs to be dealt with one way or another immediately.

Sunjata: And we do cut to the chase.

Tveit: It’s a primary focus of the beginning of the season.

How do you think the tone is different for these new episodes?

Sunjata: For those who were tuning in because they wanted to see who was going to be sleeping with who in Graceland, there's going to be a lot less of that, but that makes for better TV. … We're more directly focusing on the fact that Graceland is not really the house that we all live in. It is the net of relationships that exists between the six of us. We are Graceland.

Tveit: Maybe the poor decisions that people made in season two have allowed these characters to realize that they do actually need each other, instead of being their own islands in this place. It's the only place that they can take some solace and lean on other people and trust other people.

When the writers started working on season three, did you have specific requests for your characters?

Sunjata: I personally wanted to see a return to the heart of the show, the core of the show, which is the relationship between Mike and Briggs; the tension that exists between the two of them. That dichotomy between this young, top-of-his-class recruit who comes into a world that he wasn’t necessarily planning on entering… and this salty veteran Paul Briggs, who has secrets and is being investigated by this young man even though he doesn’t know it. So season three is more a return to that being the heart of the show. In season two, we spiraled away from that so I did mention to Jeff that that was important to me.

Tveit: Its like a love story between these two guys but at the same time, they never know whether or not they can trust each other so it's really, really complicated.

Sunjata: Add into the mix that now nobody is necessarily safe. We're traveling into Ned Stark territory from that first season [of Game of Thrones]. Now we're starting to tread into those waters so it really just leaves a lot of uncertainty for the cast as well as the audience.

Graceland returns Thursday at 10 p.m. on USA.

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