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‘Will Trent’ finishes up Season 2 knowing Season 3 is coming

Rodney Ho – The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (TNS)

During the production of Season 2 of “Will Trent,” set and shot in Atlanta, the cast and crew got news every TV show wants to hear: ABC had given them a third season.

“I never had that experience before,” said Ramon Rodriguez, who plays Will Trent, the titular Georgia Bureau of Investigations agent with no shortage of quirks and traumas. “We got to announce it in person to everybody. It was a celebratory moment and kind of surreal. We got to thank the crew. Then we had to dive back in and shoot a scene.”

Ratings have risen steadily, giving ABC a police procedural that could potentially last several seasons. ABC said the third episode this season had its best ratings to date. The series, based on a series of books by Atlanta author Karin Slaughter, wrapped Season 2 last month at Eagle Rock Studios in Norcross, where the show shares building space with Paramount+’s “Tulsa King” starring Sylvester Stallone.

“We’re doing something right,” Rodriguez said. “That’s a great feeling. People are tuning in and spreading the word.”

Actress Erika Christensen, who plays Angie Polaski, a hard-nosed Atlanta police detective, enjoyed six seasons of NBC’s “Parenthood” from 2010 to 2016. She said she is an eternal optimist when it comes to a show surviving long term. She even purchased a home in Atlanta before Season 2 was guaranteed.

“But it’s OK,” she said. “Atlanta is dope!”

Jake McLaughlin, who plays Angie’s quip-heavy detective partner Michael Ormewood, is just enjoying the ride.

“It’s kind of like striking gold,” McLaughlin said. “I’ve done a lot of pilots. Some went a season. That’s the nature of the beast. I have five kids and I live in Idaho. I’m very grateful to be here. I’ll never retire!”

“Will Trent” only has 10 episodes this season because of the dual writers and actors strikes last year but should get at least 18 for its third season. The season finale is set to air May 21.

The sixth episode of Season 2, which aired April 9, ended on a happy note as all the key players gathered for a potluck dinner party. Will, a foster child who only recently learned details about his mother, introduced his affable uncle Antonio (John Ortiz), a family member he had just met a few days earlier.

“Family is something he has always longed for,” Rodriguez said. “It’s the first time he has met someone who is blood family and could give him some answers to a whole bunch of questions about his mom and childhood and what happened. The end of that episode is really sweet. It’s his personal life meeting the work life. It was pretty heartwarming.”

But happiness is never a long-running feeling on a show like this. By Episode 10, Angie is in hot water herself. There is an intense interaction and she defends her actions in front of Will in a scene set in an interrogation room.

“The past comes to bite her in the butt,” Christensen said on set last month. “This season finale is so huge, it could be a feature film length episode.” Typical episodes take eight days to shoot. The season finale took 11.

Will and Angie, who have known each other going back to childhood, tend to hook up and break up on a regular basis. “When they break up, they know they can get back together,” Christensen said before Episode 7, which aired April 30. “Both have the best make up we’ve ever seen and the worst break up we’ve ever seen, both upcoming.”

Rodriguez said Will keeps having flashbacks of his 12-year-old self, which came to a head episode seven. “We don’t know what it means or signifies,” he said. “That starts coming to a head. It gets really complicated.”

On the set, the grungy Atlanta Police Department offices and much plusher GBI offices are adjacent to each other. Will and his GBI partner Faith Mitchell (Iantha Richardson) have their own offices across the hall from each other and are often seen in them. The set dressers provide each with generic photos of metro Atlanta on the walls such as the Gold Dome. The only true personalization in Will’s office is a photo of his mom, which he looks at on occasion.

APD detectives Angie and Michael, on the other hand, have small metal desks facing each other in the open office area, desks they hardly ever use. To convey action, they are almost always standing, not sitting anyway.

Christensen chose to do the interview in Faith’s nicer office space, not her fake desk.

“GBI has a bigger budget and maybe more interesting cases,” Christensen said. “We think it’s funny that they have this fancy place.”

She noted that “APD cases we deal with are low stakes because what’s done is done. Sometimes it’s accidental. But the GBI cases are always active. Kidnappings. Serial murders. They are urgent and on a time limit. It’s always fun when they have GBI and APD work on cases together.”

Sonja Sohn, “The Wire” alum who plays Trent’s hardened boss Amanda Wager, came on set to do press on her off day. She loves that her character gets a meaty backstory and doesn’t just solve cases every week.

So far, we know she almost adopted Trent when he was an infant and protects him on multiple levels. We also learn she planted evidence in the mid-1990s to ensure the man who nearly raped her would end up in prison for 30 years. He leaves prison to wreak revenge on her during the episode that first aired April 2. (Spoiler: Will kills him.) She admits her long-ago malfeasance but manages to keep her job.

“As a woman, it looks like justice because there would have been no justice otherwise,” Sohn said. “But if you’re a stickler for rules and law and order, she broke the law and was a bad cop for doing it. Is there a right or wrong? Not really. It depends where you are on the dial.”

If you watch

“Will Trent,” 8 p.m. ET Tuesdays, ABC.

©2024 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Visit at ajc.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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