The psychological thriller “The Following” heads into its intense, spellbinding second season (which Fox premieres on Jan. 27, 2014) by catching up with a healthy and healed Ryan Hardy (played by Kevin Bacon) a year after the tragic events of last season. Following a horrific new murder spree on a New York City subway, the FBI calls on Ryan and Mike Weston (played by Shawn Ashmore) to speak with the lone survivor, Lily Gray (played by Connie Nielsen), in order to help them solve the case. Having worked tirelessly to rehabilitate his life, Ryan is reluctant to re-engage with the FBI. Instead, he proceeds with his own investigation behind closed doors, and finds a valuable ally in his niece Max Hardy (played by Jessica Stroup), a New York City police officer working in the Intel Division.
Throughout the season, Ryan will cross paths with several complicated individuals, including Mandy Lang (played by Tiffany Boone) and Luke (played by Sam Underwood), which furthers his suspicion that the reign of terror from serial killer Joe Carroll (played by James Purefoy) is far from over. That reign of terror included the mayhem wreaked by Joe’s devoted follower Emma Hill (played Valorie Curry), who is also back for the second season. The first season finale of “The Following” featured the highly anticipated face-off between Ryan and Carroll, ending in Carroll’s seemingly ultimate demise in a building that exploded. But is Carroll really dead? Here is what Purefoy said when I caught up with him for this interview at Comic-Con International 2013 in San Diego, where “The Following” had a panel discussion featuring stars and producers from the show.
So Joe Carroll seems to be alive after all. What happened and where did he go?
He’s going to be somewhere in the United States. He’s going to have a re-thought, a plan. He’s going to be learning from his mistakes. He’s going to realize that he was kind of selfish toward the end of the last season, when he was only thinking about his book and his family. And he’s going to love his followers again.
How can Joe Carroll be alive? They said in the season finale that Joe’s body was found in the burned building, and the body’s DNA was a match for Joe Carroll’s DNA. Can you explain that?
You saw a building blow up. You’re very aware that there is another body around that lighthouse somewhere of a man of a similar build. You are very aware that if there’s one middle lane for Joe Carroll, it would be to be prepared. There’s one guy who we know thinks ahead. You’ve got to tease people a little bit.
Do you get negative reactions from people since you play a serial killer on TV?
I get very little hate mail or hate tweets, which is interesting. Valorie [Curry, who plays Emma Hill] gets a lot. I don’t get very much. Maybe because he has a certain charm. It’s the accent. He just seems to care.
Do you think Joe Carroll kills indiscriminately or do you think he truly believes that there’s a justification for every death that he causes?
I do think in that period of his life, he felt there was beauty in death.
Does that change in the second season of “The Following”?
I wish I could tell you. I don’t know. This must be the most unsatisfying interview ever. We don’t really know what we’re going to be doing. I am going to be filming in New York for Season 2. Am I alive? Possibly? Am I dead? You know, there are flashbacks.'
Is your beard for “The Following” or for another role?
It’s for “The Following.”
For more info: "The Following" website
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