Graceland Season 3 Spoilers

Graceland's Serinda Swan Weighs In on Paige Hate, Unsexiest Sex Scene Ever

This Thursday on Graceland (USA Network, 10/9c), Paige Arkin will go undercover in a bid to get cozy with wannabe Armenian crime boss Ari’s rival, Toros. Offering Briggs a hand with his op is part of Paige’s “penance” for (very understandably) bungling the team’s recent attempt to gaslight Ari.

Paige of course also has some atoning to do — if only to herself — for her decision to sic murderous Sid Markham on Mike in the Season 2 finale, an impetuous, emotional decision made in the immediate wake of learning that her colleague, roommate and sometime lover lied to her about sex trafficking victim Lena’s fate.

Here, Serinda Swan catches TVLine up on the “Twitter hate” she has fielded on behalf of her fictional alter ago, previews Paige’s new undercover gig (and the “rough” sex involved) and shares her thoughts on costar Aaron Tveit’s upcoming visit to Rydell High.

TVLINE | First rewinding a bit: You took your lumps at the end of Season 2. Jeff Eastin himself said that Paige went from being one of the most popular characters to “probably the most unpopular,” after she ratted out Mike to Sid. How was that for you as her portrayer? Was it difficult?
You know, that’s when the faith of who created the show and the writer comes into play. You look at it and say, “OK, you know what you’re doing and I trust you.” I mean, obviously I had some questions because it was such a shock for even us. Basically, last year we had to take a little time off in between [episodes] because there was an injury on set, and when that happened, all the scripts got rewritten and I was like, “Whaaaat?” For the entire season we knew what was happening and within less than a month, I suddenly was ratting out Mike.

TVLINE | It was so harsh.
It was. I think it definitely leads up to a great arc this season for not just Paige but for everyone in the house, and it adds another layer of tension. But yes, that night that it aired I’ve never had so much Twitter hate in my life. And it still goes on. They’re like, “Girl, I love you but why did you have to do that?” I’m like, “I didn’t.” There are people like, “Die, Paige.” I’m like: Calm down, people.

TVLINE | I would argue an actor’s job isn’t necessarily to create someone that people love but to create someone who makes people feel things. Maybe?
It’s exactly as you said — to make people feel things or have an experience or to support another cast member that’s going through something. There are always a million different reasons [for storyline twists] but yeah, that was definitely one of the first times I’ve read a script and been like, “I’m sorry, what? What do I do?” But a lot of people forgot what really was going on that season and the amount of deceit and manipulation thatGraceland - Season 3 Mike was doing to Paige, and how much those [white slavery] girls meant to her and how much impact the sex trafficking storyline had on her. She definitely lost her mind a bit.

TVLINE | Since her role in Mike’s near-murder was revealed, do you feel like Paige now is incentivized to really do right by the team, to make up for it?
I think she’s right in the middle of that – and less for the team, more for herself. One of the biggest hurdles she has this season is to find her moral compass again and to realize that she got so affected by her love for Mike, and also by her love for Lena, that she lost who she was. It’s a fight between forgiving herself and accepting forgiveness from Mike. In the first two episodes, she said, “You’ve got to stop trying to save me” and Mike said to her, “I forgive you,” but the line that ended up getting cut out was, “Does it look like I’m looking for forgiveness?” Yet it didn’t need to be said. That’s the tug-of-war throughout this season, which is interesting, because I was worried that I’d be a martyr, trying to fix everything, but that’s not who Paige is and I love her for that. She’s basically like, “We’re all a bunch of corrupt assholes and it’s about time that we stopped saying that the bad that we do in this world is OK just because we have a badge.”

TVLINE | Do you feel like Paige and Mike have at least one more big conversation ahead of them?
Absolutely. Whether it is something that is shown or whether it’s something that you can tell that has gone on in private, there are definitely conversations that need to be had. But they continuously have each other’s back no matter is going on. There’s an undercurrent of love that will always be there. Will they ever be together again? I don’t know. But will they always love each other, will there always be that extra connection? Yeah.

TVLINE | Despite his neckbeard.
Yeah, despite his neckbeard. [Laughs] And that is only going to get worse for the next little while. As it stands, I just have to get used it.
Graceland - Season 3TVLINE | Tell me about Paige’s role in what Briggs has got going with Ari.
As part of her fight for penance, she agrees to go under with the Sarkissians based on her mistake with Colby, burning the wrong fingers [during the frame job]. Nobody’s really holding her accountable, but it’s one more “rock in her backpack” to carry around. So when Briggs needs somebody to help, he knows there is a manipulation there, that she feels obligated to do it, and that storyline continues on almost all the way to the end. It’s definitely a crazy first introduction into the world. and it’s going to be a rough couple of episodes.

TVLINE | I wanted to talk about that. In one of her first encounters with Toros (played by Val Lauren), there’s a good amount of roughhousing in the bedroom. How tricky is it to playfully slap each other around without accidentally hurting someone?
I actually was deathly ill that day, so sick. It was awful. I kept apologizing to Val, and he was such a gentleman about it. People assume that when we have these very aggressive love scenes or whatever it may be that it’s all very sexy. But my face was leaking, so it was not cute at all. I know, this is what every viewer wants to hear! I should just be like, “No, it was amazing and I love it,” but no, it’s not a sexy thing.

So when you have a scene like this, basically you have a conversation with the other actor about your boundaries. There has to be a certain amount of [physical contact] in order for it to play real but there has to be a boundary in order for the person to feel safe. Val was like, “You can really hit me.” I’m like, no, dude, you don’t want me to really hit you. Finally, the stunt coordinator came over to say that for one of the takes, I’m actually going to have to slap him — and Val was super stoked. Our stunt coordinator was like, “Serinda, go like 25 percent,” because I was a gymnast and I do a lot of stunt training, and Val’s like, “No, just hit me really hard.” I smacked him so hard that he was like, “I though you broke my nose!” It was so bad. His face was bright red. It was a crazy scene, but I think the fans are going to enjoy it.

TVLINE | What kind of finale are we getting this season?
A crazy, amazing one. It rivals last year’s, that’s for sure.

TVLINE | Is one of the roommates going to gravely disappoint us?
Don’t we always? Don’t we always gravely disappoint at some point? One of us always f–ks up in some way, but this is definitely something that I don’t think people will ever see coming.

TVLINE | Ending on a lighter note: Aaron Tveit got cast as Danny Zuko in Fox’s Grease: Live production. Is he the sort who belt out songs on set, between takes?
He belts those songs. He dances. He sings. He twirls. He’s amazing. I’m excited to see how they put it altogether, but we will all be watching for sure!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Cass says:

    She says someone was injured on the set and it caused them to write the season. I don’t remember hearing anything about that. Can someone enlighten me on what happened?

  2. Wordsmith says:

    I really hope there’s gag reel footage somewhere of Aaron Tveit singing and dancing on set. The show is generally so gritty and dour that I almost can’t even picture it.

  3. Bwhit says:

    I like that they have been keeping Paige and Mike at a distance since their scene in the second episode. I thought they were great together but that was kind of ruined obviously. I still wonder how the rest of the house would react if Briggs and Mike told them what she did but that will probably come up at some point. Great interview, so happy that Serinda and Graceland is getting some love. Oh I am pretty sure that it’s Paige Arkin :).

  4. derek117 says:

    I’m one of the apparently few people who was Team Paige at the end of last season. IMO, Mike was a total a-hole…and uncaring when Lena was murdered. He just wanted to get the Bad Guys–and close the case, and get another Award. He’s about the Glory.

    On the other hand, as Serinda says, Paige was committed to SAVING the girls…not just busting the ring. Paige promised Lena that she would not let her get hurt, but Mike kept the game going in order to get the arrests he wanted. So, I still feel he needed to pay a price for Lena, and Paige put “people” before career.

    Bottom line: the fact that Graceland’s writers didn’t tease out the ambiguity in Paige’s choice is, IMO, a failure on their part. It is this type of moral crucible that makes shows like The Americans and Homeland much more thoughtful and complex.

    • JBC says:

      Paige put people before career, but she was ok with having Mike killed?

    • Bwhit says:

      He didn’t kill Lena so to pay with his life is not the answer. Being given up by a housemate and your former girlfriend to someone you know is going to commit murder is not okay. Were Mike’s tactics appropriate? No, but if that house only had been shut down another would have popped up in its place. It’s your opinion but I respectfully disagree with it.

      • Kelly says:

        True. I thought for Mike it was more about getting the head of the sex trade ring so he could shut it down and save all the future victims. If he had called the op after Lena died he would have saved only those girls, the ring would have kept operating, and Lena would still be dead.

    • Mara says:

      Yes!! Thank you. I agree!

  5. JBC says:

    They needed a throw away character to do the betrayal to MIke, not one of the official team. It was stupid to use the character of Paige to go that far. The team needed to figure things out as Briggs did and ride to Mike’s rescue. Then the throw away character could go by the wayside and nobody would look at Paige this season questioning why she is still in the story.

  6. m3rcnate says:

    On one hand she says she was shocked by the changes, and that she questioned what Paige was going to do, but on the other hand she talks about trusting in the show-runner and him knowing what he is doing (ironic because the question included the context which was the show-runner admitting they messed up with Paige and that they are trying to fix her so she is likable again).
    I really like when the actors and even show-runners come out and admit they feel the same as the public. Recently at SDCC Plec and the cast said they were tired of the love-triangle and it was getting really really old and annoying and how Plec was forced by CW to keep it going and not change stuff, and how a bright side to Nina leaving is they can kill the love triangle, make Daemon the villain of sorts again (S1, S2 style) and concentrate on Stefan and Caroline as the main “love story”.
    Another positive revelation at SDCC was Sarah Carter of Falling Skies (along with both Drew Roy and Connor Jessup) talking openly about how they hate the love triangle, how they are so happy its done, how the turn-over of multiple show-runners and groups of writers really hurt their show. I especially liked Drew saying how the constant changing of writers and show-runners meant tons of plot holes and things disappearing like “Mech Bullets” and how he thought those were useful and cool then they never showed up in the show again after a new show-runner took over.
    I even think i read once that Meghan Markle didn’t like what happened to Rachel on Suits last season. Could be wrong on that one.
    Still, my point is, i’m not a big fan of actors/actresses backing up bad writing. Paige sucked, not because she became unlikable, but because of bad writing, bad character development, and overall a poorly written season. I would be curious to know what the season would have turned out like pre-injury (never heard that an injury upset the season).
    Also… she sleeps with the crime-boss guy? Lol, gross, way to make me like/respect her less.
    It shocks me they don’t get what was loved about S1 and how to keep it that way for the most part. S2 is the perfect example of a season going in the COMPLETE wrong direction and crapping on everything S1 did so well.

    • Dean says:

      well you know the old saying: one needs to suffer for their art, the rule apparently applies to a tv show crew.

  7. Dean says:

    Serinda is one of my favourite actresses and I hate that they’ve made her character to Graceland what Andrea and Lori were to walking dead.

  8. SPAM says:


  9. Murica! says:

    I really liked Paige, but the writers really ruined her character. I don’t know if I want her to stay around, or die.

    • JBC says:

      I like the actress, but in my eyes, the character needs to resign and move on and a new character join the house. PA could show up once in a while, to help the team with something but it is silly to have her stay at the house. Briggs needs to throw her out quietly, making it look like it’s her decision.

  10. King says:

    Paige is still my favorite. I don’t care what she did to Mike.

  11. tallsy says:

    I’m genuinely surprised USA approved the season 2 finale script. Where’s executive meddling when you need it?

    I feel bad for Serinda, but Paige should be gone.

  12. Glenda Dollar says:

    Time for Paige & Mikey to kiss & make up!

  13. Glenda Dollar says:

    Love the show & cast! I have watched season 1 & 2 so many times I practically have the script memorized!

  14. Yup says:

    What Paige did to Mike is completely inexcusable. There’s no redemption from that. She should be in jail, not living side-by-side with the person she got killed (which she did–he was dead for 6 minutes; he died). Mike’s actions at least were understandable. He was looking at the bigger picture, and trying to shut the whole trafficking ring down, and Lena was dead anyway. And for that Paige tried to murder him? And now we’re supposed to forgive and forget? Sorry, no. I feel sorry for the actress, but the writers destroyed her character irredeemably. Every time she pops up on screen, I think “murderer.”