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Sister Jude (Jessica Lange)
After a game-changingly merciless freshman season that netted 17 Emmy nods, co-creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk have packed up L.A.'s Murder House and relocated the series to Briarcliff, a Massachusetts mental institution. Though Asylum, which is largely set in 1964, introduces a whole new crop of characters, one of the most anticipated returning players is Lange. After scoring a Golden Globe for her portrayal of Constance Langdon in season 1, Lange now takes on Sister Jude, a nun who's more sadistic than saintly.
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Dr. Thredson (Zachary Quinto)
Quinto stood out in season 1 as Chad, the gay former Murder House owner who battled with Constance over the new owners' unborn child. This season, Quinto will once again tangle with Lange when the Star Trek actor portrays a psychiatrist whose forward-thinking ways conflict with Sister Jude's management style.
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Dr. Arden (James Cromwell)
He may appear harmless, but the not-so-good doctor is behind one of the season's newest frights: the Raspers. The mutated humans lurk in the forest outside of the institution and are a product of Arden's diabolical experiments on Briarcliff's inmates. Oh, and Arden may or may not be a Nazi, so think about that the next time you're watching Babe.
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Sister Eunice (Lily Rabe)
After playing Nora Montgomery, mother of the infamous Infantata, last season, Rabe ramps up her relationship to Lange as second-in-command Sister Eunice. Eunice may seem to be a bit dense, but Rabe promises there's more to her.
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Monsignor Timothy O'Hara (Joseph Fiennes)
Sister Jude's superior finds himself on the receiving end of the nun's affections (and fantasies), but he's not entirely innocent. Not unlike the red lingerie under Jude's habit, there are dark intentions under Msgr. O'Hara's grace and piety.
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Leo (Adam Levine)
For his TV acting debut, the Maroon 5 singer — perhaps the most anxiously awaited newcomer of season 2 — will play one half of a newlywed couple visiting modern-day Briarcliff. If you thought Rubber Man was a formidable foe, wait until you meet the Big Bad whose attention Leo draws. Let's just say, this adversary effectively kills the honeymoon romance. And, since this is American Horror Story, it's safe to guess that's only the start.
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Teresa (Jenna Dewan Tatum)
Mrs. Channing Tatum plays the second half of Asylum's high-profile newlywed couple. She may look fierce here, but something tells us it won't be long before she'll be screaming in terror.
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Kit (Evan Peters)
Peters has gotten rid of the shaggy blonde hair (and rubber suit) he donned to play Constance's dead son Tate in season 1. This year, he'll be subject to Sister Jude's brutal punishment (read: shackles, canes). One of the newest Briarcliff inmates, Kit is committed after being accused of murdering his wife (played by Britne Olford), though he claims she was abducted — and not by humans.
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Lana (Sarah Paulson)
The psychic powers of Paulson's season 1 character Billie Dean Howard are gone, but the actress still plays a character with intuition. Lesbian journalist Lana is committed to the asylum by her own girlfriend after she nearly exposes Briarcliff's darkest secrets.
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Shelley (Chloë Sevigny)
The Big Love veteran plays nymphomaniac inmate Shelley. Little else is known about the character, but the actress promises season 2 will be just as fun and crazy as the first. Emphasis on the crazy, of course.
(Reporting by Tim Stack, with additional reporting by Melissa Maerz)