Omar Epps & Shanley Caswell on ‘Explosive’ Power Book III: Raising Kanan Season Two

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Raq and Kanan may have thought they could keep Detective Howard down, but he’s back in Power Book III: Raising Kanan Season 2, and could he be looking for revenge?

The jury is still out on what Howard’s next move will be when it concerns his ex and son, but Howard will be back in a significant way, as will his partner, Burke, who’ll be getting caught up in the aftermath of Howard’s shooting.

We talked to series stars Omar Epps and Shanley Caswell about where the second season will find their respective characters and how they would describe the prequel’s new season!

Shanley, when we meet back up with Burke in season two, what has she been up to, and what will she be getting into this season?

Shanley: Yeah. So, she starts asking questions about the circumstances surrounding Howard’s shooting, and she’s asking it from all sides. She’s diving in with everybody in Howard’s life, and she starts getting into some sticky territory.

People tell her to back off, and she doesn’t really listen, so she gets in deep down the rabbit hole, and yeah, that’s all I can say.

Omar, in season one, Howard goes through a lot, obviously from- I don’t have to rehash it for you. He goes through a lot. So, when we meet him in season two in the beginning of season two, what kind of place is he in mentally? Where’s his head at?

Omar: I think his head is in a ball of confusion. I think he has a lot of anger, but most of all, he’s dealing with vulnerability internally because it’s this trifecta. He dealt with a life-threatening issue physically. He found out that this kid he’s known around the neighborhood might be his biological son, and then that same kid shot him.

So, when we meet him in season two, it’s like this whirlwind of emotion. But the thing that I honed in on was his vulnerability. That’s something that we hadn’t seen from him but juxtaposed that against his whole identity is about control, and he’s trying to hold onto that image.

He’s still that dude, whether it’s in the department or on the street, so he’s exuding that externally, but internally he’s really, not, I mean, when I say vulnerability, I don’t mean soft. I mean, he’s trying to figure out who he is. How did he get to be here? And how does he get back to having that control that he’s used to having?

Yeah, I get you.

In season one, Shanley, Burke and Howard have a bit of a rocky time, but I think Burke seems to care for Howard in certain ways. What is it about that dynamic that you think Burke connects with? Or do you think it’s rooted in “He’s my partner, and I need to help him?” Do you believe that there’s something else there, like a connection?

Shanley: Yeah. I definitely think a lot of the respect comes from just the partnership and a level of respect where I’m thrown into a world that I totally don’t understand. And he kind of shows me the ropes a little bit. And I wouldn’t say like, teaches me, because it’s like trial by fire.

You’re not thrown into it, but he knows what he is doing. And I think there’s a respect there from her part where she, I don’t want to say, looks up to him but values what he has to teach her about how the world actually works, especially because he knows it best. So, yeah.

Omar, Howard, and Raq have this history and, in the present day, this adversarial dynamic. Raq wanted him dead, so we have this idea of how Rock feels about Howard, but how does Howard feel about Raq right now?

Omar: You know, what’s interesting? I think that Howard will always have a soft spot, and it is hard for Raq because of their history, but they play a chess game where the stakes are life and death.

And so, I think he feels a bit of resentment towards her, but it’s buffered because, in the backstory, he kind of understands why she is the way that she is. But it’s just that now that the joke is on him, and he ain’t having that.

So they’re just like two ran the Rams with the horns they’re just butting, and they’re just going to keep butting until one of them falls back.

Shanley, can you tell us a little about the relationship between Burke and Jukebox? Does she want to protect her? It feels like she sees herself in her a little bit. Can you talk about that dynamic?

Shanley: I think there’s a little bit of both. In the beginning, she looked at Jukebox as a way to get in with the Stark family and get a little bit more information.

But as she got to know her and what she was going through, she may have found the crack open in the door a little bit and put her foot in because she wanted that information. Eventually, she came to care for Jukebox.

She wouldn’t be doing things that she’s doing. She’s not getting enough back for it to only be for the benefit of her professionally. I think that there’s definitely something that she sees in Jukebox that reminds her a little bit of herself and what she’s gone through. And so, she cares for Jukebox, I think, genuinely on some level.

Or maybe that’s just me projecting my own affection for Hailey Kilgore. I think that they do have an unspoken mutual respect.

And Omar. I was curious, do you think, coming off everything we were talking about with Howard, do you think that he is a vengeful person?

Omar: I think he has been certainly. But I think it’s for him, it’s less under the guise of vengeance and more under the guise of what needs to be done. As they say, you got to get your hands dirty, and his hands are full of filth, mud, and manure, and that’s his comfort zone. I think he looks at it like that.

Now, again, as I said with Raq, it’s like instinctually, he might want to take revenge, but even with her, it’s a deep thing when you kind of know why somebody is the way that they are.

You kind of give them this space, this little buffer of maybe you can get to them, and I think that Howard’s narcissist is that buffer. Cause he thinks he has, I still got control over her. So, I ain’t worried about that. Not knowing that she’s on a whole different level of maniacalness at this point in her life. So that’s kind of how I look at that.

That’s interesting. I was going to say, it’s kind of like being a little bit naive, maybe about how you’ll be able to affect someone.

Omar: Yeah. Yeah. There is a naivete say because I mean, look, and this has been fun playing the character because, as all actors, you build a backstory and a whole universe for this character. So for me, in terms of the notion that Kanan might be his biological son, there’s a hurt there that he doesn’t want to admit to.

But where does that come from? What’s Howard’s backstory? Was his father in his life? What was his whole familial background? Is, it all informs why he’s lone Wolf and why we meet him, and he’s that way.

So now, being faced with this possible possibility that this kid is his son, that there’s hurt there and there’s also a fury there, because had he known, maybe he would’ve been able to show up better. Maybe Kanan, wouldn’t be the way that he is now or the way that he becomes. So all that comes into play.

Yeah, for sure. Could you guys each give me three words to describe the season?

Omar: Three words. I couldn’t do one before. Now it’s three.

Shanley: I’m thinking of vocabulary words. I’m going to copycat from the last one. Secrets. Oh God, what else? I would say empire. And then I don’t know what else. Omar?

Omar: I’m going to say explosive. I’m going to say unexpected. And I’m going to say entertaining.

Power Book III: Raising Kanan airs on Sundays at 9/8c on Starz.

***This interview has been edited for length and clarity.***

Whitney Evans is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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