When Taken debuted last winter, fans of the Luc Besson film franchise on which the series was based knew they were getting an origin story. What they didn’t expect was that the drama and its core character Bryan Mills (Clive Standen) were almost unrecognizable to the Besson mythology.
Rather than give up on a promising premise, NBC instead opted to reboot its reboot, cleaning house on an oft confusing array of supplemental characters and bringing in Person of Interest’s Greg Plageman to oversee a more Mills-centric tale, augmented with just a pair of intriguing newbies.
In Season 2, Mills is still in the black-site Mexican prison when he, of course, witnesses a kidnapping. Meantime, his former handler Christina Hart (Jennifer Beals), now running her own private security firm, taps a pair of unusual allies to help free him — a former soldier and master negotiator named Santana (Jessica Camacho, The Flash) and a wry and dangerous super-hacker who calls himself Kilroy (Adam Goldberg, The Jim Gaffigan Show) and hasn’t forgotten that Hart once put him away.
Sitting on the Toronto set of the gang’s new “hide in plain sight” lair, Plageman says he wanted to add modern relevancy to the action and focus on what made Mills exceptional, not vulnerable. “Let’s see that resourcefulness,” Plageman explains. “Let’s see that guy that can take the mantle of someone else’s situation on and make that situation right for them. I didn’t feel his exceptionalism [in Season 1], and I wanted to understand what made this guy special … to show some flashbacks, learn more about what happened to this guy and why was he different.”
“The very first 10 minutes of Season 2 is where Bryan becomes a man,” says Standen. “It’s about new beginnings. … You want to feel Bryan’s in jeopardy every time, that there’s some blood, sweat and tears involved. That he keeps getting knocked down, but he keeps getting back up again. It’s gone back to the M.O. of the film, which is about one man who is just relentless. … That’s what I’m doing more now, is putting it down and socking it to the man!”
As for the woman who has his back, Beals says Hart’s compromised health plays into her own retooled M.O. “The forming of this new company, this new team, is really an effort to be pre-emptive and preventative, rather than having to come in after things are horrible. It’s a change in her psychology, and trying to do good. This direction gives an opportunity for Christina and Bryan to work together instead of being at odds. He’s learned the rules, and now she completely trusts him to let him off the leash.”
And while Goldberg’s Kilroy was brought in, in part, to lend levity to the show, Goldberg says there’s more to the shifty guy than a joke. “He’s just got a dark kind of viewpoint and sensibility and those wiseass aspects to his personality,” Goldberg says. “But there’s plenty of serious and darker moments, too. Just like life. Just like my life … but with more coding.”
Taken returns to NBC Fridays beginning Jan. 12