One of the best surprises about USA’s first season of “Graceland” – a sudsy action-thriller about a bunch of good looking government agents all living and working undercover in the same beach house – was how quickly it settled into a serialized and more involved over-arching storyline rather than episodic weekly police procedural cases. When the show returns for its second season, then, there is no case-of-the-week to gently introduce newcomers to these characters and their complicated lives – and of course, the show is all the better for it, from fans’ perspectives. The second season jumps right in, picking up the cliffhanger left at the end of season one and hits the ground running.
Yes, that phone call Briggs (Daniel Sunjata) made to Mike (Aaron Tveit) in DC was no red herring and is significant enough to send Mike packing back to Graceland, even though his new life in DC includes new titles and a new love interest (“Haven” star Emily Rose). It doesn’t hurt though that his attempts to find the next big Bello-sized bust has turned up mostly dead ends – or have they? Things begin to fall into place quickly in the first two episodes of the new season screened for press, as Mike’s new investigations into drug smuggling via public bus lines collide with the goings ons in Southern California, where loose strings aplenty are still fluttering about Graceland.
Briggs may have found a way out of his Oden predicament by the end of last season, but the show does not let us forget quite so quickly that he killed and then covered up a murder, especially as Juan Badillo’s widow Kelly (Brianna Brown) becomes a major player in the emotional arc of not only Briggs, but a guilt-stricken Charlie (Vanessa Ferlito) as well. Plus the Mexican cartels aren’t so happy with Mike as they still believe his undercover alter-ego Marine killed their leader and is on the lam. It’s a tangled web of dangerous scenarios that puts Mike back at Graceland in a new leadership position, immediately raising the tensions in the house, all while Jakes (Brandon Jay McLaren) is looking to make some changes of his own.
There’s no shortage of action in the first two episodes, operating already at slightly higher octane levels than season one, and the emotional stakes appear to be higher as well. Romantic complications abound as Briggs and Charlie have grown closer since their mistrust last season, though obviously there are still some very big secrets between them that could lead to an even bigger blowup. Mike’s new DC love Jessica is beautiful and supportive, professionally and personally, but he clearly has not forgotten about that kiss with Paige (Serinda Swan) either. The ending of episode two is rather maddening where those two are concerned. As “Graceland” becomes more serialized, rooted in complex mythology and the stakes are raised even higher, it just becomes more and more difficult to wait a week between each episode.
“Graceland” season 2 premieres on Wednesday, June 11th, at 10pm.