Fans of The Catch will find a very different show when they tune in for the season 2 premiere on Thursday night.
The youngest series in Shondaland, The Catch stars Mireille Enos as Alice Vaughan, a Los Angeles-based private investigator who was targeted by con man Benjamin Jones (Peter Krause). But he ended up falling in love with his mark and ultimately going to jail for her by season’s end.
When the show returns, gone is the case-of-the-week format, and the series instead will put its focus on character-connected cases, like the introduction of Alice’s brother Tommy (Grey’s Anatomy alum T.R. Knight), who arrives with a problem of his own and looks to his sister for help. It’s all part of the show embracing more rom-com aspects in season 2 as part of a bid to bring in fresh viewers by undergoing a bit of a reset. To get the scoop on how the show is different, EW sat down with Enos:
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: The season premiere resets the series in a lot of ways.
MIREILLE ENOS: It does. That was the goal, to start over. We put some great pieces in place in season 1, but with the change from the original concept and everything, we were flying by the seat of our pants. In season 2, we had an opportunity to say, “Okay, given the things that were working, what do we actually want to do with the show?”
Did you have any input on the changes?
Yes, we sat down — me, Pete, Allan Heinberg, Shonda Rhimes, and Betsy Beers — and had a creative meeting before rebooting, saying, “These are the things we really enjoyed doing, this is when we felt like the show was singing, these are our hopes for season.” It was a really positive conversation because we were all on the same page. We went into season 2 with this renewed energy and feeling like the love story really worked and the high jinks really worked. When we would mire ourselves in a case of the week, that felt less like what the show wanted to be. We loved it when the two worlds were thrown together, like when I got to work with Sonya [Walger], so we were definitely hoping to do a lot more of that, which is true in the second season; we’re all thrown into this soup pot together. It makes it really fun.
Before you knew you were going to get that renewal, how difficult was that for you guys in hoping to find an audience?
I never concern myself that much about it, because it’s out of my control. The only thing that I can do is show up every day, do the best job I can telling the story that’s in front of us. You make creative decisions every day. There is so much storytelling happening right now, and there’s such a wide range of audience, any given show will have people who adore it and people not so much. You just forge ahead, and it will either find its niche or not, but you’d make yourself crazy trying to figure out the magic elixir. I felt like we were all putting our heart into it, and we got a second season, and that was happy news. All of us in season 1 felt like there was real potential here, and we hadn’t 100 percent tapped into it, so we were all really glad to get a second season and get to try again.
Tell people who didn’t watch season 1 what this show now is.
The important things to know when you’re starting watching this show, if you’re picking up in the middle, are our two lead characters: Benjamin Jones comes from the world of crime, he’s an established con artist, and Alice Vaughan is a high-powered private investigator. They love each other. Their love is undeniable, although the way that they got together is Ben had designs on using her as a mark. Then, in that process, they fell in love. All the cards came onto the table, and the show is a test of how two people who love each other can make it through whatever the odds are. We pick up in season 2, and there’s a new set of problems: Benjamin Jones gave the ultimate sacrifice, he gave himself up for Alice; he’s in prison. Alice’s very powerful firm is in wreckage. So now, from that place, how do we rebuild? How does Ben make a deal so that he can use his skills to work the system to his advantage? And how does Alice rebuild her company? The choices that she has to make, she finds herself in bed with the bad guys. So both of them are working now on the opposite side of the line and trying to make that work.
For part of last season, the audience was ahead of Alice in knowing what was Ben’s true motives were. How do you think Alice is different now being in the know?
She’s trying to stay one step ahead of the law, which is different for her. She’s now working some of the people from Benjamin’s world, and she’s trying to keep things as close to legal as possible, but also she’s got secrets now that she’s having to safeguard. That’s new for her.
Yes, he did go to jail for her, but where does trust now lie in their relationship? Is there still a part of her that’s guarded with him?
It’s not that she distrusts him in any way. I actually think that their trust is proven, but there are still questions about what being in a relationship with this man means about her life, and is it the kind of life that she wants? There are constant twists and turns, there’s constant attention from the law, she’s in bed with people who make very questionable choices. That will be her life if she chooses him. So, throughout the course of the season, as these things come up, she has to look at it in the face and say, “I choose him, but do I choose the context that he comes with?”
T.R. Knight is joining the show as Alice’s brother. Can you talk about that dynamic between Tommy and Alice?
We are different with our family than with any other people in our life. The only person that Alice had in season 1 to really show an intimate curtains-dropped side of herself was Ben, and that lover dynamic is very different from a brother. So when we added a brother character, suddenly it opens the possibilities to revealing Alice’s history and backstory, which in season 1, we didn’t have any time to look into [that]. Her brother is a mess, she’s always having to pick up the pieces for him; that’s been true historically in their relationship. So we get to see this scrappy big sister/mom part of her come out, which we haven’t examined before.
While the show is getting away from the case-of-the-week format, what are we going to see in terms of them trying to rebuild the firm?
The cases that the firm takes are all tangled up in the main characters of the show, so you’ve got Tommy, who brings in his troubles that they have to help him with. You have people from Kensington firm that are tangled up in their own messes that Alice gets involved in. So all of these main pillar characters are now being thrown together and having to use their skills to solve things. There aren’t any sideline cases. All the cases that happen are connected to their past. Valerie (Rose Rollins) has someone from her past that comes in; some more is revealed about her. We have to solve one of those cases.
Is there a little bit of a dynamic shift between Alice and Valerie this season as they’re rebuilding everything?
I don’t think so. I think that relationship stays steady and true. They continue to be touchstones for one another as their history comes back up more in this season — looking at past loves and choices. There continues to be Alice and Val sitting on the couch with a glass of something, saying, “What’s the next step?”
There’s also a new foil this season with the introduction of Gina Torres as Agent Justine Diaz.
Gina Torres is so great. She brings in this really fresh, powerful energy into that con world dynamic. She’s an FBI agent, but she’s working with Ben and Rhys (John Simm). She’s such a powerful point to that triangle between those two boys. It’s really fun. It continues to be tumultuous, although the boys love her. Rhys develops a romantic fascination with her. She bats him around like a mosquito.
Tonally, how do you think season 2 is different from season 1?
Allan Heinberg likes to surprise the audience by bringing it down to something grounded, so throughout the season, there will be this surprising moment, where the stakes are high and the feelings are real, but overall, it lives in the lighter, more playful tones, and then occasionally it drops into something really real.
Anything else fans should know about this season?
I’ve never gotten to tell an epic love story before. It’s just a delicious kind of storytelling. The world is complicated right now, so to have places of escape is a nice way of renewing ourselves. That’s what we’re attempting to do with The Catch.
The Catch returns on Thursday at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.