Season 2 of Graceland is more than halfway over, and the Gracelanders are nowhere near catching Carlos Solano. With Paige chasing the Tinker Bells, Johnny chasing Lucia, Jakes drinking his sorrows away, and Briggs having hallucinations about Kelly Badillo, the house is in complete chaos. Now that Mike the pseudo-boss is undercover at Sulla’s house, Graceland may completely fall apart. Graceland star Aaron Tveit gives us some insight into the mind of Mike Warren and what challenges the Gracelanders still face this season.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY COMMUNITY: Paige and Mike have gone completely cold since Mike refused to take down Sulla. Is there any hope for them as a couple?
AARON TVEIT: Just as things really began to start, they got to the point in the course of this mission where they had this huge disagreement over these girls. Mike has other priorities at the moment other than his romantic life. Mike is out in Graceland to work, and his main concern is being the best agent he can be. He isn’t in touch with how his decisions affect the others. Mike and Paige completely disagree about the place where the girls are. Paige is more concerned about the eight girls inside, while Mike is concerned with the thousands of girls that could still be trafficked. All Mike cares about right now is the mission.
Mike’s legal limits have been pushed really far this season. Does he have a point of no return on the “what’s right for the greater good” scale?
This coming week, everything really comes to a head. The legal aspect is really interesting. It’s really fun for me. When you meet Mike in season 1, he is this by-the-book guy who has a bright future and everything. As he has taken over the house in season 2, he has realized the need to be able to work in the gray area. In order to save this mission, he really goes outside the boundaries of the law and has to let a lot of things go. Mike has to make more and more decisions about what to let go in order to save the mission. We see that especially in the next episode.
Have Mike’s long-term goals changed this season? Do you think he’ll still go back to D.C. at some point in his career?
It was really interesting picking up [season 2] with him having been in D.C. Sometimes you think your whole life you want something, and then you get it and realize you didn’t know what you wanted. When he was in D.C., everything was all bureaucratic and trickle-down. No one was really doing anything.
He really missed the things he learned about himself while being a field agent. Right now his only concern is being the best field agent he can be. Mike has become almost how Briggs was in season 1, while Briggs is trying to keep a straight mind. Mike is starting to realize that he and Briggs are more similar than he imagined. Mike loves being a field agent and being on the ground, in the action. I don’t know if he will ever want to go back to D.C.
Will Caza and the recording of Juan’s death come back into play this season?
The tape becomes the primary focus of the end of the season. How the tape is dealt with takes over the focus of the rest of the season. That plot was something I thought was really great in the first season. We kind of got away from it, but through the rest of season 2, it starts to rear its head again. It has really been haunting Briggs, which is why he has tried to keep himself on the straight and narrow. When the tape resurfaces, it brings up all sorts of things for Briggs.
Everyone on Graceland is very flawed. What do you think Mike’s biggest flaw is?
Yeah, a bunch of very flawed people. I think Mike is blinded by ambition. He is unbelievably driven and hungry for success. He doesn’t notice how his drive affects the people around him. The feelings of people around him aren’t in his thought process when he is making decisions about the mission. All the characters [on Graceland] are really different and have a lot of flaws. I think that’s one of the things that makes Graceland so interesting.
What is your favorite thing about being Mike Warren?
When I got the part, there were things I really connected to and thought were similar to me, but as the show goes on, I’ve realized I’m nothing like this guy. That’s what’s interesting—seeing the change and how he’s evolved. It’s been really cool. I have friends and family who watch the show who have told me, “I have no idea who this guy is.” That’s great: playing someone that is so different from me, where people who have known me my whole life don’t recognize him.
Was there something that particularly surprised you when switching from stage to screen work?
I’ve done a lot of television, but getting used to working six months straight on set was really challenging. When you’re working on a play or a movie, you’re working with the same story for a long time, but with TV, every week you’re diving into a whole new story. Every week you have to reset and move forward. That has been a challenge, but really interesting. I love working on a television schedule and getting to go on these new journeys each week.
If Mike weren’t an undercover agent, what do you think he would be doing?
I think he might be a cutthroat investment banker or businessman or something. He is really good at compartmentalizing his feelings, so I think he would do really well in the finance world.
What music does Mike listen to when he goes running?
He definitely does some gangster rap, but I think he is really a heavy metal guy. Real death metal. He has a lot of inner demons and needs something to rage out to when he is running.
And finally, the traditional way we end a Graceland interview. Who’s the better actor: Mike Warren or Aaron Tveit?
You know, I think Mike is probably a better actor, especially with the people in the house. You’ll see what happens this coming week with the façade to cover up the truth. Mike is telling this big lie to the house and everyone around him really believes it.
Graceland airs Wednesdays at 10/9C on USA.