Sleepy Hollow Season 4 Spoilers Janina Gavankar

Sleepy Hollow Newbie Janina Gavankar: I'm Mourning Abbie, Too

Sleepy Hollow Season 4 rookie Janina Gavankar has been here before.

“This is the third show that I’ve joined as a series regular in the fourth season,” she says, ticking off recent gigs during a visit to TVLine’s offices. “The L Word, True Blood, Sleepy Hollow. Bizarre. It’s like, ‘Oh, we’ve got to fill a spot, who are we going to call? Call Janina.’ Its very strange.”

And while fitting into an established series has gotten easier with practice, Gavankar says she is well aware that Sleepy is a somewhat special case: She’s becoming part of the Fox supernatural drama in the wake of Nicole Beharie’s controversial exit, an event that earned the show serious criticism from some viewers.

“I’m not an idiot,” a candid Gavankar says. “I’m totally nervous that people are going to hate me. But someone had to take the job, and I was so honored that [Sleepy] called me in the first place. I wasn’t going to say no.”

Gavankar’s character, Diana Thomas, is a former Marine-turned-Homeland Security agent. Spooky circumstance causes her to run into Ichabod Crane in Washington, D.C., in the Season 4 premiere (Jan. 6, 9/8c); though she’s initially skeptical of his claims of supernatural chaos, they soon find themselves working together to fight evil.

And if that scenario has you lamenting the absence of Ms. Grace Abigail Mills, Gavankar says, she gets it.

“The characters on the show miss Abbie. They are grieving for her loss, as the fans are. By the way, I’ve seen every episode — I am, too. She’s incredible. She’s part of the fabric of the show.”

Showrunner Clifton Campbell says he’s looking forward to viewers seeing Gavankar play the new character, “someone who is a fully formed, strong, independent woman who’s got a career that is very important to her,” he tells TVLine. “When she at first finds out that maybe her mission is a little bigger than she expected, she naturally girds for what that means — not only to her, but the rest of her family and the people she works with — and immediately finds a side of her, a calling that she wasn’t prepared for.”

He adds: “But once it happens, she is more than willing to throw down and join the fight.”

Gavankar says her partner in that battle, Tom Mison, is “a dreamy Englishman. He’s incredibly talented and he, this many years later, is still finding ways to elevate the material.” And while Crane is highly cerebral, Diana is more practical — often to comedic effect.

“My character’s a former Marine, and while he’s pontificating about the history of the annals of time, I’m sort of like, ‘So… can we shoot it?'” She laughs. “That’s really fun, because the Odd Couple aspect of the show is what gives it life.” — With reporting by Michael Ausiello

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34 Comments
  1. Angela says:

    She’ll get no hate from me :). The whole mess with Abbie/Nicole isn’t her fault, after all, so it’d be silly to hate on her for something she has no control over. I’m going to miss Abbie like crazy, for sure, as well as her special bond with Ichabod, and I’m unsure of how this season will play out, but I’ll still give this Diana character a chance and see how she fares. I wish Gavankar luck settling into the show.

    • DanS says:

      Totally agree with you on all accounts. Gavankar, is not to blame for what came before. To me, I’ve seen hatred spewed on actors for replacing a character that left for whatever reason, (hello, NCIS) and the venom is not only ridiculous, it’s demeaning and unkind. I liked the Abbie/Ichabod interaction and since it’s a totally different scenario for now, for what’s coming–until you see what’s been done–how will you know? I’ve watched the show from the beginning and will continue to watch it. If people want to pout because the show didn’t go along with their wishes, that’s on them. I welcome her.

      • Angela says:

        Ahhhh, yeah, I’ve seen some of the comments about the cast changes on “NCIS”. I’m a “Criminal Minds” fan and the same thing’s happened there, too. Some of the stuff people say in those sorts of situations is just…*Shakes head*. I shudder to think of how they handle changes in their everyday lives if that’s their attitude about a TV show.
        .
        I’m sticking with this season because I like Ichabod and Jenny and want to see how they’re faring, and I’m just generally the sort who sticks with a show to the very end in general, no matter what :p. I totally understand and respect other people refusing to watch anymore if they wish, of course. Some people have a hard time watching after a character they love leaves, people have their breaking point with a show, that’s fine.
        .
        But yeah, I really hope, whatever decision a fan makes about this season, they’re mature and respectful with their comments and critiques and so on.

        • PatriciaLee says:

          I understand, also, since I could not bear to watch Burn Notice after the showrunners or whomever killed off Michael’s brother. That was not the USA Channel and Burn Notice I had been watching for years up to that point. And I refused to be dragged into the new (more like downer game of thrones stuff) bleak enjoy being miserable focus of more and more current tv.

          When I make my first billion, I’ll start TV movies continuing and winding up things the way they should be in Allegiance, Almost Human, Believe, Breaking In, Benched, Chaos, Common Law, Complications, Cupid, Detroit 1-8-7, Eli Stone, Flash Forward, Alphas, Human Target, Houdini & Doyle, Ironside, Journeyman, Lie To Me, Life, Life on Mars, Limitless, Marvel’s Agent Carter, Mind Games, My Own Worst Enemy, Perception, Person of Interest w/Reese and Root alive, Pushing Daisies, Terra Nova, Terriers, The Cape, The Glades, The Good Guys, The Neighbors, The Reaper, The Unusuals, Trophy Wife, and Vegas.

          And the list continues to grow.

    • Bobbie says:

      Glad to read that people aren’t blaming the actress on taking a role.

      I know I am in the minority, but I am looking forward to the reboot, while I could see the amazing chemistry between the leads I actually didn’t like the character of Abbie, she became more unlikable as the series continued. Maybe it was NB’s growing frustration behind the scenes, maybe it was the writing/directing, but Abbie became a wet blanket.

      No doubt this is Sleepy’s last season, but I’ll try to enjoy it, TM is still a pleasure to watch.

      • Bobbie says:

        Just want to add, that I am hoping that Jenny gets more screen time, I was actually hoping that they would have just promoted Greenwood to lead.

        • Chuck says:

          I watched the screener last night and Jenny doesn’t show up until the last few minutes of the episode. And completely out of nowhere, somehow knowing exactly where Crane would be. He left her a voice mail earlier in the episode but there’s no explanation for how she just appears in the exact spot at the exact time the plot needed someone to be there. And the acting, aside from Mison and Greenwood, was just bad — but it could have also been the terrible writing and directing. If they’re setting out to make season 4 as unwatchable as the last two seasons, they’re on the right track. I was hoping a fresh start would reinvigorate a series I loved four years ago. No such luck.

  2. Iris says:

    She’s between a rock and a hard place, and I think she’s gracious. I hope that people won’t hate on her for merely accepting a job. It isn’t as if she was a Big Name who had actors axed in order to pay for her fat salary in the delusional hope that peeing all over the fans would boost the ratings. Nevertheless, as far as I’m concerned, Sleepy Hollow was Ichabod and Abbie and I will never watch another episode of that show.

    • PatriciaLee says:

      I agree with you, but if we don’t watch the show it won’t keep running. Do realize that Abbie could walk back into the series at any time…actually, any of them could. I look for TV movies to make the rounds, again, and that could be another option up ahead of us with Abbie, too.

      • Iris says:

        Oh, sweet child of summer.

      • Ray says:

        Err…if by “we” you mean Nielson households then yes. Otherwise, incorrect.

        • PatriciaLee says:

          The statistical bell curve is a real fact of societal flow. “We” works for both, and reflects both, in an overall brush stroke…for real. Don’t get discouraged that you and maybe your friends and family are not Nielson households (you wouldn’t be told btw) because your viewing habits do make a difference. Maybe, it is something as simple as unknowingly influencing a Nielson household to check out the show, or some other way. When I took Social Psychology at a university in 2002, the professor said the most powerful research on the planet was Nielson because they used random sampling. As an aside, I answered the phone at home in about 1996. Someone at the other end asked if we would be willing to be a Nielson community household. I said yes, and it was that simple: they came out and set up the equipment on our TV set and were told to just live our lives, not paying any attention to it. I couldn’t believe research results came from such simplicity, until I majored in psych, later.

    • dean says:

      Is this about Code Black?

  3. PatriciaLee says:

    This show has lost so many people I’ve really enjoyed, my head is spinning. I take comfort in the husband’s observation, “The best years on the Mentalist were the last two.” We’ll wait to see how the changes play out (literally!) before we gnash our teeth. Welcome aboard, Janina!

  4. Annie says:

    Her comments are really gracious. I don’t envy her, having to face the nasty comments but she’s been good about acknowledging that of course Abbie is a loss. And her comments about Tom are nice.

  5. Anna says:

    I don’t blame Janina but this article is a last attempt to do damage control. Fox, the show runners and the writers have done their best to erase AM’s importance along with not giving Beharie any credit for her characters brilliance. Only now do they finally realize Abbie’s importance and are desperately trying to pull some of the fans back. Good luck Janina and Tom but TPTB ruined this show. I have already given Sleepy Hollow too many chances.

    • jeanna says:

      Agree 100%. Fox and the show runners own this. Besides, it’s going to be up against Emerald City on NBC which looks pretty cool and will likely attract a similar audience.

  6. Marie says:

    Diana is a skeptic and interested in shooting first, talking later. So she’s basically a racially ambiguous, less dynamic, Abbie Mills. SH became so generic and uncreative. They keep trying to duplicate the original magic of the show but they got rid of or mistreated 80% of their talented cast. I’m still trying to figure out how they are going to discreetly slay monsters in the nations capital.

  7. jbj says:

    I have to admit that I was fully prepared to quit Sleepy Hollow, considering how much I struggled to finish last season. However, I think casting Janina was a good move for a show that’s been making a lot of terrible moves. Even though I’ve never seen her in a lead role, I really like her work. She can play scenes big or small and has an excellent sense of humor and timing. Of course, no one has ever accused Sleepy Hollow of having terrible *actors*! But, I can see her having the ability to craft an organic evolution in her character’s relationship with Ichabod, i.e. carefully and slowly create chemistry.

  8. BlittleU says:

    I hope no one is bashing this actress for taking a job. That being said, I have no interest in watching the “new” Sleepy Hollow. I might have given it a shot if Jenny had been promoted to co-lead, but bringing in a new character holds no interest for me. That the character comes saddled with a precocious child makes it even less appealing.

  9. evababy says:

    I don’t blame an actress for taking a gig. That said this sounds like a PR thing by the network to foster goodwill for her. Again, no shade on her taking a job. But I won’t wish her luck. The show is dead to me. Not only am I not gonna watch it any longer, they have retroactively ruined my enjoyment of the early seasons as well. I can’t even bear to watch the good first season anymore.

  10. CLV says:

    Given I used to watch the show for the magic of Tim Mison and Nicole, I am not going to pretend I have any interest in the new SH. TPTB don’t know how to treat their workers well. So I bowed out a while ago. Good luck to the newbie but for me it was about Abbie and Ichabod.

  11. abbidon says:

    Used to be my favorite show. The chemistry between Tom & Nicole was fabulous. I won’t be watching!

  12. sam says:

    Nice try at PR. Nobody hates you, Janina. In fact, I wish you lots of success in your career post Crappy Hollow.

  13. Smooches says:

    it would be really dumb for anyone to send hate her way. I would take the job too if I could.

  14. GambitGrey says:

    What controversial exit? I missed the last season.

    • PatriciaLee says:

      Abbie was written out of the show. Rumors abound…she wanted to leave to pursue other things (and/or be able to pursue other things in addition to the show) being one of them. Dr. Phil said once that when they discuss show production costs they talk in terms of seconds because costs are so astronomical these days. What used to be dealt with in months are probably dealt with in minutes, these days. Who knows. The husband said, “What?! She is the show!” But he’s waiting for the show to come back, if that’s any barometer. I’m along for the ride to see what happens next, even though I miss her and so many of the characters.

  15. Josh says:

    I loved sleepy hollow because of Abbie and Ichabod and the history aspect even if a lot was created to fit within the real components of history. I bid farewell to this series i hope that it does well for the viewers who decide to stay. I’ve moved on to timeless on nbc it’s my new favorite history show.

  16. LainyD says:

    This will make the new year bearable. I love this show and have been waiting anxiously for the news of it’s return.

  17. delorb says:

    Sorry, but any hate that was sent her way was due to the fact that she entered into the conversation in an ultra try hard mode. She was so extra on her panels that it turned a lot of people off. No one expected her to be somber, but most also didn’t expect her to be so OTT either. Over-laughing at unfunny stuff. Over-smiling the whole time. It was like she’d put on a mask to impersonate Janina instead of just being herself. Most people can suss when someone is being fake and they don’t like it. BTW, the synopsis for the episodes sounds so generic that I’ve got the sads.

  18. DIONNE says:

    Is Janina’s character supposed to be the new witness or are they still looking for her?

  19. lauren says:

    I’m not watching with Abbie gone, but that’s no actor’s responsibility. Season one was magic, I wonder what happened to destroy such a wonderful gem of a show.

    • PatriciaLee says:

      It’s happened to so many, we don’t ask. The industry is filled with so many Egos, we are lucky to get one unscrewedup year, with any show, much less all the screwed up endings the laudie-da I’m the artist in charge stick the audience with . I’ve just come to the point of blubbering thanks for just the one year, sometimes. And these are not evil egos, but the kind that produces art. It is what it is. If you do stick with the show as a ratings number, the Abbie actress would get residuals if it gets syndicated.