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Image Credit: James Minchin III/USA Network

'Graceland' star Vanessa Ferlito talks season 2, what's in store for Charlie and Briggs, and 'sauce night'

Graceland returns to USA on Wednesday, June 11, at 10/9 C with more drama and an even crazier house than we saw in season 1. The wait for the return of a summer show is always excruciating. It’s been a full year since we’ve seen Mike, Charlie, Briggs, Johnny, Paige and Jakes. With everything that happened in season 1, a full season rewatch is definitely in order before next week’s premiere, and USA is making that easy: You can watch the entire first season of Graceland on their website.

Graceland follows the lives of six undercover federal agents living in a government-seized beach house in southern California. They surf and eat tacos, but they also constantly put their lives in danger trying to take down horrible criminals. After the events of season 1, everyone in the house is a little riled up, and the dynamic between these characters is very different going into season 2. In season 1, we were introduced to Graceland through Mike Warren (Aaron Tveit), but as the show continued, it quickly became a true ensemble, not a show about one man.

In season 2, we get to see more of the other housemates’ stories and delve into the tension that occurs with these agents and friends from different law-enforcement agencies all working out of one house.

We talked to Vanessa Ferlito, who plays smart, seductive and extremely complicated agent Charlie DeMarco, about what it’s like playing an undercover FBI agent, what’s in store for Charlie and Briggs, and the intricacies of “sauce night.”

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EW Community: So what can we expect from Charlie in season 2?
Vanessa Ferlito: Oh my god, you’re going to die! It starts off really slow for Briggs and Charlie ’cause, you know, we’re a little traumatized from everything that has happened, but then — you are going to die.

The tone of the first season starts pretty light and gets darker as everyone goes further undercover and loses the trust of the house. What is the tone going into season 2?
Very dark. To-the-next-level dark. The heroine stuff (in season 1) was really dark, like stuff-that-goes-on-in-the-world dark. FBI agents that have to do drugs to stay alive. This season it’s more about the house. There’s the girl-trafficking stuff, which is really dark, and the relationship between Charlie and Briggs gets crazy. 1176326_564728833564907_615249080_nSeason 1 ended with a huge cliffhanger with that tape recording of Briggs and Badillo. Does the FBI really still use cassette tapes?
That’s a great question. I have no idea. No one has ever asked me that. The only person in the world that I know who still uses cassettes is Quentin Tarantino, and when he makes a mix for you, if you don’t listen to it, he gets really upset. The writers do so much research and sit with FBI agents, and the prop department is great, so if they put that in there, I trust them.

What first attracted you to the role of Charlie?
I was excited to be able to play an undercover agent, and also, it’s not a procedural show. It’s not just about the cases. It looks into the characters. There’s love. It’s heartbreaking at times. It’s really intense.

I get to be an FBI agent, but don’t have to risk my life in real life. I get to go home. Sitting with real FBI agents during season 1 was incredible, especially seeing women in these jobs. The stories they have to tell are amazing.

The friendship within the house is really amazing and is a big part of what makes Graceland so unique. How is the dynamic on set?
I’m actually with Serinda (Swan, who plays Paige Arkin) right now. We’re shopping. I’ve never experienced the chemistry that we all have. We are all really close. We actually really enjoy coming into work. We’re all friends. On a TV show, it’s not like a movie — you’re together every day. It can be really intense. We all just really get along. No ego, nothing.

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There are so many twists and turns on Graceland. Is there a reveal in season 2 that really shocked you when you first got the script?
Oh yeah. Oh yeah, for Charlie especially. I think the fans are going to fall on the floor. Charlie is feeling a little insecure in the beginning of the season. She thought Briggs was Odin. We still don’t really know if he’s Odin or not. She feels really guilty. She’s obviously always loved Briggs.

Briggs and Charlie decide to give it another shot. Everyone is trying to get Charlie to go undercover, but she wants to stay behind the scenes. They’re concerned about what is going on with her, because she’s not acting like the Charlie they know. She slowly gets her confidence up, and Charlie and Briggs make something really great happen. Old Charlie comes back for a bit, but then her whole world falls apart. Something falls into her lap and something else that she’s dealing with comes out that is going to change Briggs’ and Charlie’s lives forever.

Oh, that’s a good spoiler. Very cryptic. The sauce episode is one of my favorites of season 1. Do you have any family recipes or traditions that have been passed down like Great-Nonna Franscesca’s ragù?
We have sauce night again this season! I’m Sicilian. It’s all about food with Italians. That’s why it was really important to incorporate that into Charlie’s story. We eat sauce every Sunday night in my house. I’m always cooking. Food is what keeps the family together. When we’re at my house, the TV is off, we sit at the table and talk about our day. I love sauce night.

This season the house is falling apart. Charlie’s like the mom of Graceland. She’s worried about everyone. You never know who’s going to come back from the day. Everything is falling apart, and she says, “That’s it, we’re having sauce night.” She tries to bring them back together.

OK, last question. Who is a better actor: Vanessa Ferlito or Charlie DeMarco?
Charlie DeMarco. Definitely Charlie. I’m a terrible liar in real life. Can’t lie for shit. I could never do what Charlie does with all those drugs around and guns in her face. I would break down. I respect these people. They risk everything. You’ve got to really love your job to be an undercover agent — or, you know, just be out of your mind.

Graceland returns to USA on Wednesday, June 11, at 10/9 C.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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