The Romeo Section‘s second season is just one sleep away and I had the pleasure of visiting the set this weekend to chat with the show’s creator and showrunner, Chris Haddock, and members of the cast. Over the course of the season, I’ll be rolling out those conversations. First up, here’s what each had to say about what to expect in Season 2 of The Romeo Section. [Warning: General spoilers ahead.]
Right out of the gate, you may notice a different vibe, and Haddock enjoyed the slight reset vs. the focus of Season 1. “Because [Wolfgang] didn’t really have an ally, someone he chatted with and talked things over with, giving him a partner [in Brian Markinson’s Norman] allowed him to not have to be self-expository all the time,” he says.
“In the first season … it seemed a little unrealistic to have him involved in so many of the plotlines. When I thinned it out, [I ended up] writing a series of scenes for each character [instead of] intercutting. They have a power back to back when you stick with one character…and it added a feeling that there’s momentum. I wanted to make it really distinct this year, that they were distinct storylines, that not everyone was interacting with each other, and I found that strengthened the storytelling.”
Andrew Airlie, who plays Wolfgang, enjoyed the narrower focus, too. “Season 2 picks up about six months after Season 1. Wolfgang gets a request from a shadowy government type to focus his attention and efforts on one specific case,” Airlie says.
“In the first season, you see him managing a few different things. This year, he’s more focused with this challenge of trying to get to the bottom of a case that seems suspiciously like a terror incident that was perhaps manufactured or influenced by insiders in government or the administration of government. It’s very ingenious the way Chris has written it. I think it’s going to be satisfying for people who did see Season 1; I don’t think it’s going to be hobbling for anyone who didn’t.”
Brian Markinson joins the cast this season of The Romeo Section as Norman, a role that Haddock wrote for him. “Wolfgang and Norman, when they were younger, were in the game, and then Norman, because of who he is, became a pariah. He’s been living in the shadows for 15 years,” Markinson explains. “Wolfgang thinks Norman has a certain skill set that he can utilize. And that’s how it starts. We get to know a bunch [about Norman]. We’re polar opposites and I think it benefits the show.”
Eugene Lipinski‘s Al steps into a new role as handler this season. “Al is evolving. He’s becoming more covert. I thought in Season 1 he was the only one who was telling the truth,” says Lipinski. “In Season 2, his behavior is a bit more suspicious. He could become powerful.”
“At the end of Season 1, he and Sproule steal Lily from Wolfgang, and [this season], a certain competition happens. You know how men behave when there’s a woman around, especially old men, when a younger woman is involved. You can take it from there.”
When we start Season 2, Rufus is fully embedded in the heroin trade, and Juan Rieidinger says it’s wired into Rufus’s DNA to chase that high. “There’s something about the situations that he’s getting himself wrapped into that really appeals to him. In a way, I believe he becomes addicted to this sort of lifestyle,” he says.
“It’s a rush for him, It’s problem solving to the nth degree, having to figure out how to deal with these situations. There are the added perks of the money that he’s getting and the adrenaline. It comes down to this ambition that he has to thrive in this world that’s become more and more alluring to him.”
Fei Ren has an expanded presence this season as Mei Mei assumes control of her husband’s West Coast operation and gets her North American debut film off the ground. “This year, I have two roles. Mei Mei is so complex. She’s … ambitious, fierce, [and] sexy,” she says.
“Sometimes, she maneuvers situations with her charismatic side. She’s a chameleon [who has] to maintain [her] status as a movie star and also know whose ass to kiss, whose to impress, and whose to seduce. [The movie character] Fan Fan, has [more of] an emotional range [but her story] parallels Mei Mei’s.”
Check back throughout the season for more from my interviews. The Romeo Section kicks off Season 2 Wednesday at 9:00/9:30 NT on CBC. Here’s a sneak peek of the season premiere.
Photos Courtesy of Jeff Waddell and Brendan Meadows, CBC; Video Courtesy of CBC