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Things are about to get dicey on Graceland.
The USA Network drama from White Collar creator Jeff Eastin revolves around a group of law-enforcement officers from the DEA, FBI and U.S. Customs who live together in an undercover beach house in Southern California.
Brandon Jay McLaren, who plays ICE agent Dale “DJ” Jakes, promises that more is in store for his character. “There’s a reveal for my character coming up and it takes him on a side journey away from the house, which was quite interesting,” he tells The Hollywood Reporter. “Jakes is very heavily developed in the last half of the season.”
He adds: “It’s a slow build; people might think they have Jakes figured out and the second half of the season there’s a big twist and there’s a few more reveals left.”
McLaren previews the rest of the season with THR and teases secret alliances, fallouts and a house in disarray.
The Hollywood Reporter: Since production ended months ago, what has your experience been like watching reaction to each episode as they air?
Brandon Jay McLaren: It’s nice because we all knew as the scripts came out [they] were getting progressively more complex. It was difficult sometimes when you read the review of the pilot and in your mind you want to say, “No, no just wait, things change dramatically for the better.” When you’re first introduced to the house and to all of these agents it’s from Mike’s (Aaron Tveit) perspective and everything seems bright and sunny, but as things go on you realize there’s a lot of things underneath.
THR: In the first part of the season, Jakes was integral to the house but he wasn’t a major player. How satisfying was it to have him be opened up more?
McLaren: I was really happy with the way they developed the character and the way they wrote for the character. I’m excited for this week’s episode in particular because there’s a really cool reveal.
THR: What can we expect in this week’s episode?
McLaren: The show continues to get dark, demons continue to be exposed and you’ll see some alliances in the house that you may not have known were there — secret alliances between agents working together.
THR: How is Briggs’ (Daniel Sunjata) secrets going to affect the entire house if and when they come out in the open?
McLaren: Charlie (Vanessa Ferlito) has this great line, “There are no secrets in Graceland,” but what you soon find out is that there’s a whole whack of secrets in the house. What holds the house together is the notion that there are in fact no secrets and as we slowly peel the onion and reveal the tangled web of lies that everybody is weaving, it eats away at the fabric of the house. My character never bought into the idea of the house anyway and you’ll get to find that out in later episodes.
THR: You mentioned secret alliances forming in the house. Who does Jakes gravitate toward?
McLaren: I can’t tell you that.
THR: Are there specific people in the house with whom he sees eye-to-eye more than the others?
McLaren: Jakes is the lone wolf in the house so he chooses his alliances very wisely so I can’t say who he cozies up with but it’s surprising and I think it makes for good drama when it’s revealed.
THR: Where is the state of the house at the end of season one?
McLaren: It’s at a different place than it is at the beginning of the season, but it’s more complicated. Mike was the catalyst for things unraveling because of his investigation into Briggs.
THR: What is Jakes’ take on Mike at this point in time?
McLaren: At this point in time Jakes is still keeping an arm’s length. Jakes is the type of guy where it takes a while for him to get to know but once you do he’ll be loyal to you for life. Right now, he’s trying to stay as neutral as possible unless he’s forced into dealing with Mike. He tries to avoid him really. Certain circumstances will arise that will push Jakes into the middle of the tornado.
THR: Do you have a favorite episode?
McLaren: There is one episode where everything is revealed and the house goes into disarray.
Graceland airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. on USA Network.
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