Legends, the TNT drama starring Sean Bean as longtime secret agent Martin Odum, returns for season 2 Monday at 10 p.m. ET. Fans of the first season will notice differences right away. Visually, the show has moved from L.A. to Europe, and has brought a more cinematic look along with it.
Another main difference: instead of having Odum take on a new “legend” identity each episode, this season goes deep on one in particular. Back in 2001, Odum took on the identity of Dmitry Petrovich to infiltrate an organization of Russian gangsters in Prague. Season 2 of Legends flips back and forth between present-day Odum investigating his mysterious background in London and Petrovich’s criminal activities in Prague at the turn of the century, with a few scenes additionally set at a harsh prep school Odum attended in his youth. New showrunner Ken Biller said he and Bean worked hard to make Odum and Petrovich distinct characters.
“I think they really are two different characters,” Biller said at EW’s Legends panel at this year’s New York Comic Con. “The thing that interested me about the guy was not that he could put on a costume or a disguise and be someone else, but he could live for a time as someone else and have relationships and rivalries. What I wanted to do in the second season, instead of having Sean put on a different accent every week, was to find one character besides Martin Odum that he could sink his teeth into. If you watch season 2 it’ll be worth your while because you’ll get to know this Dmitry Petrovich character in a deep way.”
The new settings also bring a wealth of new characters. Morris Chestnut’s Agent Tony Rice returns from the first season, but Odum now also finds himself entangled with Steve Kazee’s Curtis Ballard, a dedicated FBI agent pursuing Petrovich both in 2001 and 2015, and Aisling Franciosi’s Kate Crawford, the teenaged daughter of Chechen immigrants with a mysterious connection to Odum/Petrovich. Although Bean is still the show’s clear protagonist, his costars also get chances to shine.
“The fascinating mix of actors and actresses all brought something very rich to it because they had something to play with,” Bean said at the Comic Con panel. “Last year, I thought it was okay — I thought we just touched upon the characters, we didn’t really explore them, and we were always trying to race to the end for some reason. I think this year with Ken’s help and the kind of revamp, we had time to explore that. It makes my job easier because I’ve got conflicting emotions and interactions with these characters. I think you’ll be interested because what seems a small char at the beginning, by episode 5 or 6 is the driving force of that episode.”
This season’s episodes, in fact, have a naming scheme designed to highlight the vibrant supporting cast. Monday’s premiere, for example, is titled “The Legend of Dmitry Petrovich.” Next week it’s “The Legend of Curtis Ballard.” This is merely one part of the season’s overall exploration of the way even civilians create different identities for themselves. It’s not just spies.
“The legends of the title of season 1 were the different personas Sean Bean’s character took on. The legends of the title this year is about who are all these other people?” Biller told EW this fall. “Who are they, really and who do they pretend to be in real life? It’s a very, very different, fresh approach to the material, and I think more novelistic.”
All of these new elements make season 2 an easy entry for Legends newcomers, but Biller also promises rewards for dedicated fans who have been following Odum’s quest for answers since season 1.
“The audience that watches this year will discover his real identity by the end of the season, and it will be very surprising and interesting, I can tell you that,” Biller said.