Graceland Creator Discusses Briggs' Deadly Season 3 Dilemma, 'Unpopular' Paige's Guilt... and, Oh Yeah, Mike!

Graceland Season 3 Mike Dead or Alive

As Graceland — USA Network’s initial foray into darker programming with fewer “blue skies” — has demonstrated in its first two seasons, its beach house full of federal agents are prone to bad decisions, and then must contend with the consequences.

Having based the drama series on a real-life assembly of assorted federal agents under one (now-defunct) vacation home’s roof, Eastin in his research came to realize, “There was sort of a morality that became the house morality. And it wasn’t necessarily by the book. It was, ‘We’re doing this to stop bad guys,’ and ‘the end justifies the means’ became kind of an operating principle.”

“That idea, that you could become sort of judge, jury and executioner on your own that really did compel me,” Eastin continues. “This year especially, we kind of get into that. If you asked me what the theme of this season would be, I would probably say: How far would you go? It becomes pretty edgy and, hopefully, provocative.”

Graceland also is pretty serialized, when compared to other USA Network fare including Eastin’s previous foray. “White Collar wasn’t really a Case of the Week show but pretty close,” he notes. “But with Graceland, from the beginning they said, ‘Hey, characters welcome.’ And to USA’s eternal credit, they’ve let me do that!”

What you need to know (or remember) before cuing up Season 3 (premiering Thursday at 10/9c):

After crooked LAPD gang task force boss Sid Markham (CSI: NY alum Carmine Giovinazzo) framed him for a massacre at the Solano cartel compound, wounded FBI agent Mike Warren (Aaron Tveit) landed in the hospital under a fake name — though housemate/DEA agent Paige Arkin (Serinda Swan) snitched to Sid his whereabouts, bitter as she was to learn of Mike’s involvement in sex slavery victim Lena’s murder.

Elsewhere, FBI agent Paul Briggs’ (Daniel Sunjata) undercover alliance with Sid was jeopardized, Johnny Tutorro’s (Manny Montana) cover inside the Solano clan was blown, and pregnant Charlie DeMarco (Vanessa Ferlito) got worked over by money launderer Germaine Marsden, before he vanished.

In the photo gallery below, Eastin reveals what’s ahead for each and every Graceland resident — except, you know, the possibly dead one.

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. m3rcnate says:

    So this article is basically just 1.5 paragraphs worth of quotes from Eastin. :/
    Still feel how i have always felt and from my polling, how a lot of Graceland fans feel, which is they really hurt the series with season 2, especially what they did to Paige. I fear what is coming is what i am expecting and if so, damn how disappointing, especially from Eastin who did such an amazing job with White Collar.
    (To be clear, my expectations are that they will try to use Paige feeling guilty and self destructing as a plot device to get us the fans to feel bad for her and in turn subconsciously forgive her for the disgusting thing she did to Mike. They will also use that plot device to give themselves a way for the other characters to forgive her, because they will be so busy feeling bad for her and trying to help her that what she did will just slowly die away into distant memory [total BS].)

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      Sounds like you missed the preview slideshow, “m3rc.”

      • m3rcnate says:

        Thanks, i did. But i wish i didnt read it lol. Why? Well now i’m even more ticked at Eastin about Paige. “This season is about her forgiving herself”…..wait what now? Forgiving herself for putting out an assassination on a ex lover and Federal Agent? I’m sorry but i dont care about self forgiveness or any of that crap when someone commits a capital crime that gets you lethal injection.
        I mean….what? The last person i want to forgive Paige is Paige, that is sooooo high and mighty to think that you should forgive yourself for murder when you have no paid for it (turn yourself in, prison time, lethal injection).
        From this point on anything she does (like most of the people in the house but most of all her) is completely illegitimate legally. Any arrest she makes is null and void because she is a an attempted murderer of a Federal Agent. Any high and mighty speech she makes this season or in the future, any “your a scum bag” comment to a bad guy…they all mean NOTHING because she is the scum bag, she is the criminal, she ordered a hit on a Federal Agent.

  2. Maryann says:

    The only character I care about is Mike. I couldn’t care less about Paige, her guilt or her “redemption”. If he is dead, I am done.

  3. Bwhit says:

    I watched the finale again last night and it made me more annoyed about what Paige did. Mike stayed at that warehouse basically for her and tried to save Lena and Paige gave him up like it was nothing. It’s really unfortunate because I loved Paige in season one, she was loyal and tough. They all made poor choices last year but she made the most irreversible one. I hope the house doesn’t just do a group hug and say it’s okay because that would be terrible writing in my opinion. The show wouldn’t be the same without Mike in my opinion.

  4. wild_child says:

    Eastin, just stop talking. You’ve ruined Paige beyond redemption, you know it and now you’re trying to sell us with this bogus “forgiving herself” redemption arc. Not interested.

    • Bwhit says:

      I wonder if they thought us fans were going to be understanding with what she did because Mike did some shady things. I read an interview that said Mike needed to pay for his sins in Eastin’s POV but what sins deserved what Paige did? I bet when Graceland ends they will admit that this arc was a bad idea.

      • m3rcnate says:

        Couldn’t agree more. Always blows my mind when they are surprised to learn things so clear and pivotal while writing and shooting. I mean really? It took “fan testing” to learn they ruined Paige? WOW.
        I’d say the same about the story arc they had Rachel on “Suits” go through (the flash backs to her seducing a married man, having an affair, then in the present cheating on Mike with the ex then lying about it and manipulating, etc”.
        I think they get caught up writing stuff, just thinking of arcs and they come up with “oh i know! lets have her tell the bad guy where Mike is, that will be dark, that will be her reacting to what she precieves Mike to have done”. Yet they don’t realize that there are lines, and once you cross them you can ruin a characters likability and make it so the fans are never on her/his side again. They did that with both Paige and Rachel IMO.

      • ndixit says:

        Yeah, Eastin’s interviews made me wonder about his weird sense of morality. Apparently Mike had to pay for his ‘sins’ which constitute of him covering up Lena’s murder in order to keep the investigation going so they could bring the entire operation down. Meanwhile Briggs is a good guy despite having been a drug dealer, having committed homicide, and having attempted to kill Mike just because he thought he had the tape, without any proof. And I just don’t see how there is any justifying of Paige’s behavior, whether you agree with Mike’s actions or not.

  5. JBC says:

    S1 of Graceland was so good, and I was glad that it got picked up for S2. S2 was a bit of a disappointment and then the Paige and Mike scenario got me so angry that I felt the character of Paige should be written off. Going with a guilt trip all season isn’t necessary. There could have been alot more storytelling with the team going after the bad guys before they made you despise one of the team, i.e. Paige. I will watch the premiere and hope Mike is still going to be a character in the house, but if they kill him off, no need to watch.

  6. DebG says:

    Not knocking Graceland (In fact I can’t wait for the premiere), but I sure do miss the “blue skies” programming USA used to have.

    • m3rcnate says:

      Couldn’t agree more. Remember when the shows used to be FUN to watch? They had some drama and were sexy but Burn Notice…While Collar…S1 of Graceland…S1 of Suits…Psych…Covert Affairs…Royal Pains…
      Now USA is dark and moody and all about melodrama and being risque. I mean really? “Satisfaction”? When i saw that pilot trailer and read USA Network describe it as a “modern love story” i laughed my ASS off.
      Its mind blowing that Eastin doesn’t realize why we loved S1 of Graceland was because it had that blue skies feel. It was light, bright, sunny beaches of LA, a family type team of Federal Agents in a beach-front mansion. They had fun, they surfed, they worked on cases, things got dramatic but then would lighten a bit.

  7. njartist says:

    Graceland was so far off the mark with season 2 that it wasn’t even funny. I think that
    the writers and producers need to make sure that there is fresh air flowing in the offices
    and writers room. Regarding Paige-she should be held accountable for what she did to
    Mike. If he dies she is an accessory to the murder of a Federal Agent. If he is injured
    she is an accessory to assault on a Federal Agent. That would be the best way for
    the producers/writers to handle this issue. If Mike is still around he needs to also
    be held accountable for his excessive zeal and going beyond protocol in many situations.
    I still cannot believe what a train wreck Graceland became. In fact last season was
    so bad I had to watch it each week to see just how ridiculous it was becoming. It was
    like watching a slow motion pie fight with spastic chimps. Graceland had the potential
    to become a long running series but the question is how are they going to salvage
    this wreck. There is no reason to consider having the same agents each season-what
    is this the Big Brother of crime shows? The producers/writers could introduce new
    agents because quite frankly each character was poorly written last season. I am
    going to continue watching to see how this season develops. Hopefully it will get
    back on track. I remember the promos for Graceland during the last episodes of
    Burn Notice. I could not wait for Graceland to begin and now after last season
    lets hope they get someone to watch. BTW-wasn’t there talk of a series spinoff
    from Burn Notice featuring Jessie &Sam? USA is one messed up cable network.
    They cancel Covert Affairs and leave Royal Pains, Graceland and{ maybe} Dig on
    the air? Cover Affairs in retrospect should have left Annie in the CIA and w/o a
    “heart condition”. Thinking back that is where it went off track. Still it deserved
    a final season to wrap up the story of Annie Walker including such chestnuts
    as letting her sister know she really wasn’t dead. One final comment regarding
    Graceland the problems are not with the actors it is with the writers and producers
    who either think too much or too little about what they are doing.

    • m3rcnate says:

      It couldn’t be more true that when you have a show with Cops or Federal Agents breaking the law, it becomes difficult to watch as it becomes less and less realistic as they face no consequences, and the writers & show-runner take things to far and have characters cross the line then barely get their hand slapped.
      You are telling me (Eastin) that the “punishment” for Paige putting out an assassination attempt on Mike (a Federal Agent) which is a capital offense, punishable by “lethal injection” is for her to feel bad? To spiral from guilt? And then forgive herself? LMFAO!!!!!! And you wonder why your show/characters/world isn’t relatable? Isn’t believable? Isn’t fun to watch since S2?
      Especially when we live in this era of TV with shows that are killing off characters as a result of the characters actions (not just their bad actions, but their good actions, ie Jon Snow/Eddard Stark, etc).
      And to watch a show that you KNOW nothing will happen to Paige because what are the odds this USA Network show (not a network known for killing mail characters) has their gorgeous lead actress (who is very talented and had a great character in S1) get arrested/turn herself in and face the legal punishment for what she did? (aka the actress is no longer on the show as her character is in prison/dead). ZERO.
      These shows (ones that don’t show any consequences of significant weight) try to trick you into forgiving the character because they write the character in a way that makes you feel bad for them, feel pity for them (them spiraling from guilt, etc) but its BS.
      For example, after they fraked up big time with Rachel on “Suits”, they had every Rachel scene in the next 6+ episodes be her in bed having just had sex or about to have sex with Mike, being an awesome supportive sexy girlfriend, then have Mike propose to her in the finale. They were trying to remove the bad taste in your mouth of her disgusting flash backs and cheating by over-compensating and having all her scenes be her being a guys dream girlfriend, having the actress be basically naked and horny, then having Mike propose so they can move the “arc” on to them being a happy engaged couple.

  8. ndixit says:

    My deal with Graceland is very simple. If Mike is alive, I will give it a watch and see if the quality improves. If not, then I’m out. The second half of season 2 was trash and it unfolded on all the characters. Paige is a lost cause for me. No amount of forgiveness from others or herself will change that. Briggs is ok. I mean I still can’t see him as a good guy after everything he’s done. I hope Charlie gets a good storyline because she’s one of the few bearable characters on the show. Can’t stand Johnny’s immaturity and Jakes’ misery. I really hope they tone those down.

  9. Mara says:

    It seem like every one commenting here has forgotten all the despicable things Mike did and then how he was so self-righteous about them. I absolutely hope Mike is dead as he was not at all enjoyable to watch. I don’t care about him at all with his attitude that he is better than everybody else and yet he does the same kinds of things causing people to get killed so his career goals are met. I don’t understand all the Paige hate when Mike essentially did the same thing.

  10. John says:

    Everyone’s talking about how bad Paige is, deservedly. But Briggs is just as bad, and if anyone should be punished, it’s him

    • LC says:

      I was just about to say something similar. I would argue that what Briggs did was worse – manipulating Amber to kill Mike was very much premeditated, while Paige acted impulsively out of hurt that he lied to her. Not excusing it, of course, just pointing out the differences.

  11. njartist says:

    Reading through the comments by viewers of Graceland and viewing the l preview
    I think for S 3 it is time to wrap up these characters for good. Lets face they are all
    “damaged goods”. If there is a S 4 bring on new agents and some sort of handler
    to oversee the operation to keep the agents in line. I wrote that S 2 was like watching
    spastic chimps playing paint ball. It seems that from the preview posted S3 is going
    to a soap opera-Days of our Lifes / Federal agents. I will watch just to see how this
    train wreck turns out. Hopefully it will turn out to be some good TV. Even though
    The Bridge was on another cable network I find it hard to believe that it was cancelled
    but Graceland wasn’t. That show went off the mark during its S2 but the damage was
    not as bad and the show should have had a S3.