Brush up on your target practice, review your fibbing skills, and ready your hairspray: Quantico season 2 — a.k.a. Quan2co, a.k.a. Quantico: CIA Edition, a.k.a. 2 Quan 2 Co — is almost here.
Picking up six months after the events of season 1 (you find EW’s recap here), Alex (Priyanka Chopra) is no longer in the FBI, but still wants to achieve what she set out to do and protect her country. When she gets tapped to train at “The Farm,” the CIA facility whittling down potential recruits to the best and brightest before hiring them to become agents, she embarks on a new, much darker path than before…
Alex isn’t the only one hitting reset this year; Quantico has undergone its own reinvention, especially when it comes to the plot. Sure, there’s still a training facility, twin timelines, and a kooky (and crazily photogenic) cast of characters surrounding Alex, but the stakes have grown exponentially higher. For one thing, The Farm is nothing like the FBI Academy. Head instructor Owen Hall (Blair Underwood) is tougher on these recruits than Liam (Josh Hopkins) or Miranda (Aunjanue Ellis) ever were, and surprises don’t just come from the training missions.
On top of that, Alex is there with a completely different mindset. As Chopra told EW, “She’s suddenly outside of her comfort zone.” At The Farm, she doesn’t go in with the confidence she had when she arrived at Quantico. She’s unsure of herself — and with the other recruits coming off far more impressive than she does right off the bat, Alex is climbing uphill. She’s used to building connections quickly, but she doesn’t make friends as quickly as she would like — even though some may appear friendly at first — and familiar faces don’t help matters.
That said, Alex isn’t just struggling in the present timeline; her future looks bleak as well when the season begins. An attack on New York occurs a year after Alex begins her time at The Farm, and a hostage situation quickly turns deadly and even ropes in the president of the United States. Chopra and showrunner Josh Safran have been careful not to divulge much of what’s going on in that future — Safran likens it to Die Hard — but both say the twin timelines will be much easier to tell apart this year, thanks to the future story happening over a single day. Subtitles and effects will also underline which timeline is being shown.
The Returning Cast
Along with Alex, Ryan (Jake McLaughlin), Shelby (Johanna Braddy), Miranda (Aunjanue Ellis), Nimah and Raina (Yasmine al Massri), and Keyes (Henry Czerny) will return. In the present timeline, Alex and Ryan start off in a cozy, happy relationship, while Alex and Shelby begin the season as roommates in New York. (Characters who survived season 1 — like Caleb, played by Graham Rogers, or Will, played by Jay Armstrong Johnson — could potentially return. But listen closely while watching the premiere — you’ll hear updates on almost everyone from season 1 in characters’ dialogue.)
The original cast members also got together for a cute Instagram video.
Quan2co introduces a stacked cast of newbies to the team. EW stopped by the set in early August to ask them for bios in a quick lightning round:
Head instructor Owen Hall (Blair Underwood) used to be a top CIA operative before transitioning to a teaching career. According to Underwood, the “how and why” behind that career change will prove pivotal to the season’s events.
Dayana Mampasi (Pearl Thusi, an actress known for her work in her native South Africa) is a driven lawyer from Zimbabwe who graduated Harvard at the top of her class and went to to work for NGOs. “She has a Type A personality, she’s a bit sassy, and she’s still trying to place herself at the beginning of the series,” Thusi teases. “As it goes on, she develops in different ways.”
Slippery thief Harry Doyle (Russell Tovey) is the brassiest of the group. American-born but U.K.-raised, Doyle will “steal your wallet, drain your funds, and then put the wallet back in your pocket,” Tovey says. “He’s a bit of an Artful Dodger.”
On the other hand, Lydia Bates (Tracey Ifeachor) is a nervous, brainy actuary who’s eager to please. But don’t discount her too quickly; she’s hiding something from the start. “Lydia is a bit of a mystery in the first episode,” Ifeachor tells EW. “She’s very organized, she is always used to being in control and knowing everything, so this kind of new situation throws everything on its head.”
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Sebastian Chen (David Lim) is a pious, soft-spoken recruit who knows when not to speak. “He’s a ninja,” Thusi says, a statement Tovey quickly echoes. Lim, though, defends his character’s actions — or rather, inactions. “Yeah, he’s a little more reserved, but he’s there just focused on becoming an operative,” he says.
Still, photojournalist León Velez (telenovela star Aarón Díaz) may be the recruit to watch out for when the season begins. “I wish I could tell you everything, but I can’t,” Díaz admits. “Whatn I can tell you is, don’t believe anything you see, because we’re all deceptive.” Sounds about right. Just judging by their short bios, personalities will clash, and the competition’s going to get tough.
Find out who joins Alex’s inner circle and who poses a threat when Quantico returns Sunday, Sept. 25, at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.