POWER: Courtney Kemp Agboh Previews Season 2 - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

POWER: Courtney Kemp Agboh Previews Season 2

June 5, 2015 by  

Credit: Starz

Credit: Starz

POWER is back this Saturday with its new season.

And with its expanded second season — ten episodes, up from season 1’s eight hours — comes new characters, evolving relationships, secrets being revealed, and much more. And, of course, Ghost is trying to navigate his desire to be an honest business man with his ties/connection to the less…ethical…business world he also resides in.

I sat down with POWER creator Courtney Kemp Agboh to talk about the show’s sophomore year, unconventional triangles, the fun input actors had this year, and more…

How has crafting season 2 been different for you and the team compared to the show’s first season?
Courtney Kemp Agboh: Oh, it’s harder. [Laughs] With season 1, interestingly enough, I had already written the pilot and the second episode by the time we opened the writers’ room, so as a result, we only had to break six episodes the first season. Coming into season 2, we had to break ten. Four more! It changed everything. It changed our hustle, it changed our ability — but we also knew what the show was then, so it was easier and harder.

Now that you’ve had eight episodes to watch what these actors can do, did that impact any of the directions you planned on taking the story?
CKA: Well, no, but I would say that we did this year that was different was we met with all of the actors early in the [writing of the] season. And we decided to ask them about their hidden talents, and then bring their hidden talents into the show.

For instance, Joe Sikora (Tommy) used to tag — he used to be a graffiti artist. So we put that in the show this season; you’ll see that at some point. When the character of Tommy is actually with a spray can, tagging the side of the building, that’s really Joe. We didn’t have an artist do that, that’s Joe.

Wow. I imagine it must be gratifying for the actors to get to do things like that.
CKA: Exactly. Omari [Hardwick (Ghost)] is still trying to have me let Ghost do poetry, and I’m like, “Nope! Ghost is not a poet.”

Yeah, I don’t know how that would work…
CKA: It wouldn’t. It wouldn’t.

Speaking of Ghost, he ended last season vowing to double his empire. How will that go for him in season 2?
CKA: Oh, it’s going to be complicated. He definitely commits to it, and once he’s committed to it, he’s still trying to get out. He’s still stuck in this alternate pull between his desire to be a legitimate business man and all the things he has to do to satisfy Lobos. And frankly, to satisfy Lobos so he can make money, so he can get his club back. And he finds all these different ways of solving his problems that hopefully people won’t anticipate.

Angie seemed to be on the verge of finding out the truth via a sketch. What can you share about her arc this year?
CKA: It’s interesting, because the accuracy of a sketch is all up to the audience; the audience knows who it is. But what I would say is she’s got to get that sketch completed. One of the things that is a question in the beginning of the season is, “How is she going to get that sketch completed? How is she going to get closer to her goal?” She figures out how to get the sketch completed. She definitely doesn’t let up this season, and is focused on solving this case with Lobos, and getting Lobos in jail. But because she doesn’t know which way she’s aiming, she can’t see who she’s aiming at.

Is this a season of collision for Ghost and Angie’s other lives? Or is it a series-long arc where their relationship will always have this other element the other is unaware of?
CKA: For me as a storyteller, I don’t want the audience to be so far ahead of my characters for too long. In season 1, we really played with that, because at the end of the pilot, the audience knew what the big question was. I think we had to do that, because the audience needed to know, what are we watching? I think our audience knows now what we’re watching.

So I decided, as a showrunner, that we were going to speed that up. We were going to allow our characters to learn more what was happening in the larger map of the story. In the micro, there’s still a lot of stuff they don’t know. And there are great questions that come up, episode after episode, like, is that going to happen? But we don’t hold on for a really long time to some of the bigger questions, I’ll put it that way.

Tommy did, seemingly, hear Angie reveal her law enforcement affiliation at the end of last season. How is that going to play into season 2?
CKA: The cat’s out of the bag with Tommy, and what we decided as a writers’ room — and Starz was generous enough to allow us to do this — was we’re not going to let that hang out for a really long time. It just didn’t make sense for Tommy to hold on to that piece of information for too long. So, the question of season 2 for Ghost is not really, “Will he find out?”; the question is more, once he knows, what the hell does he do now? I think that’s the journey we’re on.

And once Ghost knows, in theory, that could give him more power: he could manipulate or misdirect Angie to lead her away from him.
CKA: [Sarcastic] Ghost manipulate someone? No! That doesn’t sound right. [Laughs] Ghost is the most manipulative character on television, I think.

Do you view the Tasha/Angie/Ghost relationship as a true romantic triangle? Or given Ghost has stated he wants to be with Angie, is it essentially a moot point?
CKA: I think that Ghost/Tasha/Angie triangle is a triangle, but it’s a triangle less in terms of romance, and more in terms of the angel and devil on your shoulder. There’s a reason her name is Angela, in a sense. Not that Tasha is the devil, but Tasha is like, “Criminality is great.” Where Angela is like, “I think criminality is bad.” We as a society agree criminality is bad, we agree with Angela. But Tasha is a woman who is trying to preserve her status quo, and trying to be a good mom. That’s what makes her complicated. Tasha and Angela aren’t just a sex object or a love object or a love interest for Ghost; they also represent choices he has to make about a larger theme. It’s always going to be a triangle because it’s always going to be choices.

Tasha’s actually a better match for him. And one of the things we learn this season is that Tasha is a better match for him. When it comes down to criminality and strategy and help me with crime, and partner in crime — we say it in the first season, Bonnie and Clyde. That’s the right person. He made the right choice: when Angela disappeared, he made the right choice. And I think that’s something he has to struggle with, too: this person, Tasha, she’s not someone you can just write off.

How what happened to Holly will impact Tommy this season?
CKA: What I will say is this: Tommy has some guilt; certainly. He has some anger, certainly. He has some attachment issues anyway. I think one of the things we’ve been playing with a lot is Ghost is the love of Tommy’s life on some level. So how do we work with this betrayal when Tommy learns [what went down] — [Ghost] didn’t pull her in front of him to take the bullet, but might you say that?

You might wonder, if you’re Tommy.
CKA: You might wonder. It’s a complicated situation. Ultimately the relationship between Tommy and Ghost is what’s in focus.

50 Cent is a producer on the show, and he also appeared a bit last season as Kanan. Now that Kanan is out of jail, what can you say about his involvement in the world of the show?
CKA: Way more, way bigger [this season]. He gets out of jail, and he throws a punch into the side of our characters. Which is what it’s about. We talk about power in a positive way, but it’s not [always] about that — it’s about powerlessness. You think you’re in control of shit, and you can’t control anything. So…he’s the catalyst, the constant interruptor of everything Ghost is trying to do. His plan, Ghost’s plan, Tommy’s plan they’re all bumping.

There are also new players in the mix this season. What can you preview about them?
CKA: Well, I would say the David Fumero character [Mike Sandoval] comes in because there has to be consequences to Angela’s actions. The idea of that character was teased last year — the idea of there being a companion investigation in California. And then Rotini Ashinoko, he joins the cast as someone who has a prior relationship with Kanan. The world gets more tangled, and that’s why we added new characters.

POWER airs Saturdays at 9 PM on Starz.

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