Shameless' Emmy Rossum on Fiona's New 'Normal Existence' -- and How She Blows It Up

Shameless Season 4 SpoilersShameless heroine Fiona Gallagher has finally found stability in love and work in Season 4 (which premieres this Sunday at 9/8c on Showtime) — but can she hold onto it? And does she even want it?

Boyfriend Jimmy may be out of her life, but Fiona is still addicted to danger, so she messes up her healthy relationship with boss Mike by beginning an “unwise affair,” previews star Emmy Rossum.

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And things only get more troubling when Fi gets ‘cuffs slapped on to her wrists. Meanwhile, Lip isn’t quite fitting in at college, and Debbie is entering her teen years with frightening gusto.

Read on to find out what else is in store for the Gallagher brood.

TVLINE | At the end of last season, we found out what happened to Jimmy, but Fiona didn’t. What does she think is going on?
She definitely misses him, but I think she thinks… They ended with that big fight. He said he’ll come home, and then he didn’t. It goes to reinforce her old male issues and trust issues and abandonment issues. When we pick up, she’s dating her boss at the cup factory. She has, for the first time, a normal existence. She has this good job. She has money coming in. She has health insurance for the first time, which is huge. The kids are getting $5 for lunch instead of whatever leftover brown bag lunch she can pick up from the kitchen. They’re hanging out with his family. They’re doing tailgating parties outside the Bears game. She’s living this very normal existence.

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TVLINE | Is she enjoying that normal existence?
No. It’s this internal struggle. If you’ve always struggled your whole life, and then all of a sudden you don’t have to, there’s that misplaced energy and that familiar chaos that you long for. Basically, a couple of episodes in, she’ll start to get antsy. She begins to self-sabotage, much to my own chagrin. It is believable with somebody that’s grown up with chaos that they would explode.

TVLINE | Is not knowing about Jimmy affecting her?
No. It’s very believable to just hope somebody would go away, that they took your word for it and went away. It definitely causes her pain to a certain extent, but she just views it as a break-up. And I’m secretly hoping that maybe that’s all it is and that if you don’t see a character on television shot in the head, that they can actually come back.

Shameless Season 4 SpoilersTVLINE | What are Fiona and Mike like compared to some of her past relationships?
Mike listens to One Direction in the morning. He’s chipper, excited and he cares about her. If she doesn’t call when she says she would, he freaks out. So he’s not a car thief. He’s not dangerous. He’s sexy. He’s stable. For somebody that hasn’t grown up knowing that that’s what you should want, that’s what’s supposed to feel good, it doesn’t feel good for her.

PHOTO | Shameless Season 4 Poster

TVLINE | I hear his brother (played by The Newsroom‘s Nick Gehlfuss) comes in and shakes things up.
That’s one way of putting it. Yeah, his brother’s name is Robbie, and he’s fresh out of rehab. He is just her easiest way to mess everything up. She’s really addicted to chaos — not addicted to drugs or alcohol in the same way that Frank is. But there’s really a chaos about the Gallagher house that makes her feel safe, that makes her struggle but makes her feel comfortable. It’s familiar to her. So she starts to create that when there’s an absence of it.

Shameless Season 4 SpoilersTVLINE | Lip is now in college. How’s he adjusting to that?
He realizes that he’s not the smartest one in the room anymore. You actually have to work hard in college, and it’s not just about partying and mouthing off to your professors and being the smartest one in your high school classroom. That’s not enough in the college where he is. So he’s struggling to find his way there, to make grades and stay in school. When Fiona starts really struggling at home, he wants to leave college and come pick up the mess that she’s created at home. She doesn’t want that. She wants him to stay in school. She wants to fix her own problems.

TVLINE | And Ian enlisted at the end of last season. Does that mean we won’t be seeing him?
No, he’s back. He’s just back later in the season. That’s a fascinating arc because he’s been away for a couple of episodes, and the changes that have happened in him are pretty drastic.

TVLINE | What’s new in the other kids’ lives? Debbie is growing up.
Which is terrifying. She’s got these friends in school that are very sophisticated and very grown-up themselves. They’re much more progressive, romantically, than she is. One of them is even 13 and pregnant. And they’re advising her on dating and how to hold down a man. So she’s going through the process of trying to figure out what dating is, what feelings of infatuation and love are. It’s very interesting how that all gets confused with sex, control and power for her. And of course, she’s only 14, so we’re not doing anything to the actress that is at all uncomfortable for her. But it’s a more adult storyline than she’s ever had.

TVLINE | There’s a trailer with a clip of Fiona getting arrested. What’s going on there?
I can’t say anything more than Fiona makes a huge mistake.