Not even dogs are safe on Power Book III: Raising Kanan.
This is what fans learned when the Power prequel premiered earlier this month and explored the origin story of Kanan, the character 50 Cent played in the original series. As part of that story, viewers learned that Kanan (played by Kirby Buckets‘ Mekai Curtis) grew up in a crime family in South Jamaica, Queens, and his mother Raquel (Madam Secretary‘s Patina Miller) was the boss. Raq had to constantly assert her dominance during Kanan’s youth — even if that meant having a pooch whacked.
Miller, whom executive producer Courtney Kemp says she all but stalked to cast the part, describes playing Raq as the opportunity of a lifetime. (Power Book III: Raising Kanan airs Sundays at 8/7c on Starz.)
“I have admired Courtney Kemp for a long time and as an actor, the dream is for people to love your work so much that they want to work with you,” Miller tells TVLine. “I’m the type of person who just tries to do my best at my job. But you never know who is watching your work.
“I’ve been on Broadway for a long time and to hear that someone like her had been, as she likes to say, stalking me as a fan of my work, is incredible,” she adds. “Courtney is a Black woman who really has changed the game in TV and she’s a heavyweight champion. And a person paving the way for me to be able to do what I do and do it like I’m doing it on this series. It was an incredible honor to hear that from her and to play this role. I was a fan of her work. It all lined up. This is a dream.”
The actress also says she hopes fans weren’t too angered or disgusted by the bloody death of Toni’s (AnnaLynne McCord) lapdog because it wasn’t intended to be gratuitous.
“The violence that you will see on our show is part of the Power universe,” Miller explains. “We only use violence to tell the story and only if it propels the narrative and moves things along. The dog’s death was symbolic of something bigger.
“When you see that scene, you already know the kind of person Raq is,” she continues. “When she walked into that nightclub, it isn’t something she wanted to do. But the way that that woman was, Raq had to check her in the worst way. Raq doesn’t resort to violence. That’s the last thing that she wants.”
Having the dog killed sent a message to Toni and to viewers, while giving a nod to The Godfather‘s horse beheading, Miller says.
“Raq is so smart and so street smart, she knows that in order to keep the peace and get what she wants, you have to be able to work with one another and work it out and work through it,” she surmises. “That’s her gift and she doesn’t resort to violence first. But she’s no punk. Raq knows when she has to use violence, much like the Godfather. I talked to Courtney about it and immediately saw the parallels. I hope people picked up on that homage.”