8:00pm PT by Kate Stanhope
'Graceland's' Manny Montana on the "Mourning" Ahead for Johnny and His Next Case
[Warning: This story contains spoilers from Thursday's episode of Graceland, "Pinon Tree."]
It was a win-lose situation for Johnny (Manny Montana) on Thursday's episode of Graceland. The FBI agent was finally able to put drug dealer Carlito (Erik Valdez) in handcuffs, but he also split from his love (and Carlito's sister) Lucia (Jamie Gray Hyder) after putting his job, and his life, on the line for her. So where does Johnny go personally and professionally from here? Montana spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about Johnny's "mourning," his next undercover assignment and the season finale that will blow fans away.
It was a little shocking to see how things ended for Johnny and Lucia. Were you surprised to see how the story resolved itself?
I was because I always thought that Carlito was going to die in some way, shape or form. I didn't know if I was going to be the one to do it but I thought he was going to die. But after having Johnny kill Sid, I really liked that they had him pull out at the last minute and not kill Carlito because it shows how much … he was in mourning after he killed Sid. It was heavy on him. So I liked the fact that the woman he loved is pushing him to kill her brother and he stops at the last minute because it's the right thing to do. It comes full circle to what Johnny was in season one – just a good-hearted guy trying to do a good job.
They end up going their separate ways. So do you think Johnny regrets not killing Carlito?
No, I think he's happy with his choice. He is going to be in mourning, though, like whenever you lose someone you love, especially with guys. He does what normal guys do: starts sleeping around and acting like a fool and thinking that that's going to solve his problems. Johnny goes through mourning for a couple of episodes and then he gets put on a whole new case.
This was Johnny's first big undercover assignment and he compromised himself a lot for her. How does it change him professionally?
At first, he thought that the world and his job were just black and white and now he sees that there's a whole lot of grey. After this, he goes back to just helping Briggs and Mike with their cases. And then around episode nine or ten, he has his own case and he falls into a whole new line of stuff that he gets mixed into. And I think it's even scarier than the Solano stuff to tell you the truth and I'm looking forward to seeing what the audience reaction is to that.
How will we see him change with this new case? Does he hesitate at all to get closely involved after his relationships with Carlito and Lucia?
This one is different. The Solano storyline was hard because love was involved. The next one that he gets into is he goes undercover with this Mexican gang and he doesn’t like these people. He doesn’t like anything about them. I guess he respects them a little bit, but he's looking to put them down as soon as possible. There's nobody there he has any feelings for. He just gets in really deep because this gang is huge.
Will this case have any connection to what Briggs is working or Mike is working on?
Yes, most definitely.
You said Johnny will be in mourning for a bit, but how will this romance with Lucia affect him in the long run?
I don't think it does. Yes, and no. It's like when anyone goes through a breakup, you hurt over it but then when you meet the next one, it's even better. He's going to go through it, but Johnny is getting back to being who he was in season one, having a lot of fun and helping everybody else out in the house until he gets in the mix with Briggs and Mike. Then shit is going to hit the fan towards the end of the season.
Looking back at season one, what do you think has changed the most about Johnny?
I think the evolution. I always say it like this: I feel like he was always trying to be like Briggs, and then when Mike came in, he tried to be like a mixture of both of them. Now that he's seen how everything's done and he's grown and he's done his own missions, Johnny has his own style and I think the house is starting to respect his style too.
Now that you've wrapped production on season three, what hints can you give about the finale?
I can say that when I read it, I was like, "Holy shit, how are we going to do this? And if we do, what is season four going to be like?" If I'm saying that as one of the actors, I know the audience is going to be blown away. Graceland has a hard season finale to top after last year. I know, and I say this with that in mind: This season finale tops that.
Graceland airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. on USA.