The Following's Shawn Ashmore Talks Weston's 'Aggressive' Return and a 'Very Satisfying' Finale

The Following Shawn Ashmore PreviewFollowing his recent not-so-pleasant run-in with Joe Carroll’s ruthlessly loyal acolytes, Shawn Ashmore‘s Mike Weston resumes his FBI duties on The Following this Monday (Fox, 9/8c). All seems well at first, but underneath the surface bubbles a damaged, newly hardened agent, not unlike his onetime idol Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon).

Here, Ashmore chats with TVLine about his character’s new approach to the hot-button cult-of-killers case, the walls (finally) coming down between Ryan and Weston and the “very satisfying” Season 1 finale that awaits devoted Following fans.

TVLINE | What is Weston’s mindset upon returning to work? Has barely cheating death done a number on him?
What’s amazing about The Following is that we don’t brush over moments like this. Because every episode is a day or two, Weston’s only really been out for about four days. He’s still very physically and emotionally affected by the beating he took from the followers — and we’ll see that when he gets back into the field. He certainly takes a different approach in dealing with the followers that they run into this week, and that makes sense. The violence for Weston has been very close, but this takes it to the next level. His life was obviously beyond being in jeopardy, and when he comes back he’s definitely more impulsive and has a more aggressive take on handling the case and dealing with the followers.

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TVLINE | Will we only see this side of Weston in his interaction with the followers or is it a PTSD-type situation that can erupt at any time?
Actually, there’s a little bit of both. The thing that I like and think is interesting about this episode coming back is that Ryan has been warming up to Weston throughout the case, but the sacrifice Weston made for Claire and for the case really helps breaks down the wall between them a little bit. There are some interactions between those two regarding Weston’s state of mind. If anybody can understand what Weston’s going through, it’s Ryan.

TVLINE | So, he’s not feeling any blame or resentment toward Ryan?
No, no. It’s not that kind of thing. Weston made that sacrifice fully knowing what he was doing. He wasn’t thinking, ‘When I get out of this, I’m going to be really angry at Ryan!’ [Laughs]

TVLINE | Will Roderick be in Weston’s sights given the hand the lead acolyte had in his violent attack?
It’s more the group as a whole… This wasn’t specifically on the page, but obviously because Roderick spearheaded the investigation [that left Weston injured] and Weston knows how important Roderick is to the cult, he is definitely hungry to get to the bottom of where and who Roderick is. That starts to unravel as the episodes continue.

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TVLINE | Theories are still floating around that Weston is an undercover follower. But after all he’s been through, can we finally, officially put those to bed?
You tell me! [Laughs] Even when we first started doing press for the show, people would tell me that Weston was a little creepy and I just couldn’t see it! He certainly is educated on Ryan Hardy and the case, but to me that just makes him a dedicated agent. So, I really think it’s up to the audience to make that decision. I find that fascinating. That’s when I knew that the audience was really into the show, when they turned the TV off and started creating potential storylines for the character. It’s amazing that people continue to have these theories. In my head it’s pretty clear that after what happened in Episode 8, Weston is on the up-and-up, but people will continue to theorize. [Creator] Kevin Williamson planted the seed of paranoia in the pilot and now those seeds are growing and you can’t stop it… In a great thriller, that’s what you want.

TVLINE | Give us your best end-of-season teases.
The consistency of the tone and the thrills are all there. What I love about the finale, without giving too much away, is that it’s very, very satisfying. Obviously, shows tend to end with cliffhangers because they’re exciting — and there certainly are aspects of that in our finale — but sometimes it’s frustrating for the audience if you don’t get any closure or any satisfaction of wrapping up arcs. There’s a lot of that in the finale, so it’s balanced really well… There’s closure to certain characters and certain arcs, but it’s also left wide open for a second season.

TVLINE | Now that all is almost said and done, how do you feel about the way The Following‘s debut season panned out?
Weston has expanded in such an insane, amazing way. I remember when you and I talked [at Comic-Con] and I didn’t know who Weston really was — and you could have asked me that question halfway through the season and I’d still have said that. I [wasn't] sure because we really do learn episode by episode… As an actor, you’re constantly on your toes trying to catch up with what Kevin Williamson is giving you. Now that the season is done, I’m totally satisfied. Weston, between the first time we see him stumbling over himself while meeting Ryan Hardy to where we end in Episode 15, has grown immensely. A lot of that isn’t always a positive, because he’s truly hardened by this case over the season, but it’s also exactly what you’d expect. What I love about the connection between Ryan and Weston is the parallel of seeing somebody that steps into this case fresh-faced, ready to go and then by the end of it is hardened just like Ryan has become over the years… It allows the audience to connect with Ryan, seeing a new character going through that from start to finish. That was really satisfying for me, to bring all those different pieces together with Weston.

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16 Comments
  1. Andy says:

    I’m happy to have Shawn Ashmore back on TV after a couple weeks of him being gone.

  2. Tina B. says:

    I love this show! Owning it and love Shawn Ashmore

  3. Pepper says:

    On this show, I suspect everyone of being in the cult. Even the little kid.
    I trust only Kevin Bacon. :)

  4. King says:

    He’s one of my favorited on the show! Glad he’s back!

  5. ENAD says:

    Satisfying for which group exactly? Joe’s Frieds or the incredibly incompetent FBI? The way the writers have been protraying the FBI, I’ll have to watch that before I believe it.

  6. Katrin says:

    Now I’m glad that Mike obviously does NOT die in the next episode… the preview clip made me believe that actually with Joe pointing a gun (or knife?) at Mike… that’s good XD

    • Ashley says:

      okay in tonight’s ep. he’s tied up and being held by joe and this is supposed to be his return? i guess the show started out great but it’s losing it’s touch. i’m going to watch it regardless but i hope season 2 will be better.

  7. Sara says:

    So glad he’s back and i can’t wait to see how mike and Ryan deal with the followers they encounter.

  8. Annie says:

    I still say its gonna be Debra that is a follower, hope not I like her character but I think it will be her….

  9. JMill33 says:

    “Weston’s only really been out for about four days”

    Huh? Four days? He was stabbed and severely beaten, beaten with a metal pipe. He wouldn’t be out of the hospital, let alone back on the job.

    • Chris says:

      LOL, how do you know that he couldn’t possibly be out of the hospital yet? You sound awfully sure for someone who has no way of knowing this.

  10. Lauren says:

    I really love Shawn Ashmore, he was my first childhood crush. But I just couldn’t get into the Following, I found the pilot really lame. I think I might have to give it another go though.

  11. Aprilcot says:

    I love Shawn Ashmore on this show. Although for the first couple of episodes I couldn’t remember his name and consistently referred to him as Bobby Drake… :)

  12. holdyoear says:

    I thought he bought it in last nights episode. Please do not kill him off. I enjoyed watching him in Lost Girl, and he is just as good in this show.

  13. lebron ball says:

    It’s hard to come by knowledgeable people about this topic, however, you seem like you know what you’re
    talking about! Thanks

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