When Sleepy Hollow debuted four seasons ago, Ichabod Crane was a time-transplanted Colonial Army captain with an eidetic memory, a yen for donut holes and a keen ability to apply historical wisdom to modern supernatural snafus.
But over time, series star Tom Mison notes, the peculiar genius was as likely to save the day as he was to be moved to the brink of tears by bespoke emoji while hopped up on dental anesthesia.
“What really worked with him in the first season was that he thought he was the smartest person in the room, and most of the time, he was,” Mison tells TVLine in an exclusive one-on-one interview ahead of the show’s New York Comic Con panel Sunday. “Whereas then he became a bit more of a buffoon.”
But Abbie’s death in the Season 3 finale, as well as a subsequent move to Washington, D.C., and a new gig for the surviving biblically foretold Witness, are the kind of things that sober a guy. So when we meet up again with Ichabod in the Fox drama’s upcoming fourth season, which premieres in early 2017, he’s “in a new place, with new people. That puts him more on guard,” the actor adds. “There’s a little less buffoonery, which I’m very, very pleased with. Because it doesn’t do any favors for Ichabod — or Tom.”
In a candid chat, Mison gives us the lowdown on Ichabod’s new partner Diana (played by True Blood alum Janina Gavankar) as well as some insight into his final days working alongside former co-star Nicole Beharie. starting with the Witness’ emotional farewell in the Season 3 finale.
TVLINE | Ichabod and Abbie’s good-bye on the porch swing was a pretty monumental scene. What do you remember about shooting it?
I remember Nicole and I talking mainly about how cold it was [outside] [Laughs] We were very aware. It’s difficult not to be aware of how good a thing we had. I mean, there’s no disputing it. The characters were terrific together. And I think we worked really, really well together.
[The porch scene] wasn’t the last thing we shot together. You know, before the porch scene, there’s a bit in the archives where she takes me into the porch? That was the very last scene we shot together. That was strange. We’d both worked terribly hard to find this relationship, and we knew we had each other’s backs. When there were tough days, or when there were scripts that were very difficult to read — let alone perform — we’d help each other through it. And so, yes, it was peculiar knowing that would come to an end. But then also, I… didn’t know that there would be another season.
TVLINE | Nobody knew there’d be another season.
So as much as [it was] the end of Ichabod and Abbie, I thought it’d be the end of the show.
TVLINE | When we pick up in Season 4, how different is Ichabod from the man we last saw in Season 3? How has Abbie’s death and this new take on his mission changed him, if they have changed him?
There are a lot of similarities. You don’t suddenly see him wallowing and pining and tearing his hair out and howling “Abbie!” at the moon. Because that’s not really his manner. Lyndie [Greenwood] and I were talking earlier about [how] it makes Ichabod and Jenny far more driven now, because… [it’s] for Abbie, rather than despite Abbie’s death.
TVLINE | You’ve had to perform a lot of exposition in the first three seasons. This season, we meet Alex and Jake, who work alongside Ichabod in this new, secret government group. It seems like there’s the opportunity for them to maybe take on some of that.
Oh my God, I can’t tell you how grateful I was when I saw that. Jake is a fanboy, and Jake is so eager to show Ichabod that he can fight alongside him, that [portrayer] Jerry MacKinnon gets to do some of the exposition. So mercifully, there’s a little less for me. Don’t worry, I still get to exclaim at people rather than talk with them. [Laughs]
TVLINE | Talk to me about Diana. We see their first interaction in [the sizzle reel that aired before the show’s New York Comic Con panel], but it’s unclear… there’s a lot of shooting and yelling and things like that.
It’s Sleepy Hollow, after all. [Laughs]
TVLINE | Exactly. How do they get on, immediately? Is it an antagonistic relationship at all?
Yeah. She has just lost her partner, and doesn’t believe in the supernatural world, and is thrust into it with a man from 250 years ago. That might sound a little familiar from maybe three years ago. So she, having lost her partner, and Ichabod loses his… there is a hole that needs to be filled, whether they will admit it or not. Janina and I seem to have found something quite nice, where we don’t want to fall straight into each other’s arms and be partners. And hopefully — I haven’t seen any episodes yet — but hopefully, that reads.
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