In the season two premiere, Graceland had the challenge of bringing Mike (Aaron Tveit) back to California on a full-time basis without looking like they were forcing the issue. After completing his assignment last year, Mike headed back to D.C. to take up a comfy desk job with a direct line to the Director of the FBI position he so highly covets, but after living the undercover lifestyle, when the call came to head back to Graceland, he hopped on the first plane. Simple enough it seems, but the real challenge was finding a reason for him to stay that made sense for the story.
If you didn’t tune in for the first season, this episode gives viewers enough of the cliff notes to make it an easy starting point for new fans. The relationships between the characters are fairly obvious – Briggs (Daniel Sunjata) and Charlie (Vanessa Ferlito), Mike and Paige (Serinda Swan) (and the new girl). And there’s also the non-romantic relations in the house that become clear enough pretty quickly. Everyone gets along, but some do so better than others.
Graceland is an interesting set-up because it combines FBI, DEA, and U.S. Customs agents into one convenient location. This works to everyone’s advantage, right? Less going through bureaucracy to find willing collaborators, or red tape to get permission for ops. The first season established the importance of maintaining these relationships, and before the end of the season two opener, Mike has apparently already forgotten that lesson, even though he learned it the hard way on his last stay at Graceland. Instead, in what should have been a call for celebration turned into an unintentional power play.
Mike already walks a fine line. He was sent into the house originally to investigate one of their own, and even though he somehow managed to turn that scenario into a positive experience, he’s still that guy. There’s always been an overarching question in his case of whether he belonged, and the writers have always answered that with a variation of yes. Until now. The awkwardness in the room was palpable when he uttered the words, “For the next eight weeks, you guys will be working for me?”