Are you ready for a family reunion when ABC’s Stumptown returns for a second season?
The first season ended with private investigator Dex Parios (Cobie Smulders) opening the door to find her mother—who’d abandoned Dex’s brother Ansel (Cole Sibus)—on the other side. What’s next? Smulders, Jake Johnson (Grey McConnell), and Michael Ealy (Miles Hoffman), along with executive producers Monica Owusu-Breen (who joined for Season 2), Jason Richman, David Bernad, Ruben Fleischer, and graphic novel author Greg Rucka tease what to expect as part of the drama’s virtual [email protected] panel.
Meeting Dex’s Mom
Yes, Dex and Ansel’s mother is very much a hot topic when looking ahead to Season 2, of course. “It’s interesting when you have one trauma that you deal with and then there’s an origin trauma that appears in your life,” Owusu-Breen notes. “It’s interesting because for Dex, taking care of Ansel and being the rock in Ansel’s life let her put off dealing with her feelings about the abandonment. And so Mom showing up is a little bit of a kaboom into her life.”
The show is about figuring out how Dex became who she is, and “our parents are a big part of that, so the nature versus nurture of it all is something we’ll get into,” Richman adds. “Hopefully how she got her name. That mother-daughter story is something all the writers are anxious to get [to].”
After all, Season 1 was about Dex’s “journey to face her past,” Smulders says, and we saw her acknowledge what she needed to fix to move forward. As a vet who struggles with PTSD, she reached out to the community she found. It was “probably the first time in her life she sought out someone who has a similar experience and healed herself through that,” she adds.
As for dream casting, all Smulders would say it’s “an exciting role.”
What’s Next for Grey and Miles
“The nature vs. nurture aspect is an underlying theme this season for all the characters,” Richman says.
After all, we’ll see more of Grey and his dad’s (Matt Craven) relationship, considering his father’s insistence he’d changed seemed to ring false when it was revealed he’d been in town doing a job for sketchy people. Johnson is excited to see what’s next there, especially with the origin of that storyline. “The idea was Matt was going to do a one-off, but he’s a really talented guy,” he shares.
Meanwhile, we don’t know what the future holds for Hoffman now that he’s turned in his badge. “I’ve been pressing the writers for a career on the pole,” Ealy jokes. “I think for Hoffman, male stripping has always been kind of a fantasy of his.”
And Smulders is hoping to delve more into the world of businesswoman Sue Lynn Blackbird (Tantoo Cardinal).
Season 2 Dream Guest Stars
When it comes to their wish lists for guest stars, the actors are dreaming big. “Is Streep available?” Smulders asks, while Ealy names Benicio del Toro and Johnson suggests Daniel Day Lewis (as a costar) and Leonardo DiCaprio, coming into a bar after closing and Grey turning them away then finishing a conversation with Dex.
The Sort-Of Love Triangle
As Owusu-Breen says, the show didn’t have a will they/won’t they relationship, but rather treats it as they did, so now what? The characters “felt so real,” she explains. “They did good things but they weren’t superheroes. They weren’t perfect. Their lives were messy. Their relationships were messy.”
And while marketing seemed to push a love triangle, to Johnson, “I never really felt like I was in a love triangle,” he admits. “It felt to me like Grey and Dex were friends, and there will always be something between people who are really connected, but it didn’t feel as present as the scenes with Dex and Miles in terms of their romance.”
On Hoffman’s part, Ealy didn’t mind being “the medicinal cure for Dex’s woes,” but he also didn’t see it as a typical love triangle. “Maybe this is how Dex starts true friendships,” he suggests, getting the thumbs up from Smulders.
Johnson also likes that while Miles and Grey had things to deal with, they “seem to like each other from the get-go,” rather than have the guys in opposition.
“Heart of the Show and Set” Ansel (Cole Sibus)
The cast loves working with Sibus, with Smulders calling him “the heart of the show and set.” Johnson notes that his improvs in scenes are “really funny” when he hits emotional moments, they’re not “forced in the edit” or “stolen.”
Richman also notes that Sibus “conveys a certain truth that’s undeniable” and they gravitated towards the way he can be the “medicine in a scene.” “He can bring that dramatic conclusion in a way no one else can do,” he says, adding that Sibus had a list of things he wanted to do (like drive) and as we saw his character fight for his independence, it fed into his relationship with Dex and opened doors.
Stumptown, Season 2, Fall 2020, ABC