'Good Behavior' creator previews Season 2, now with more Ann Dowd

TNT’s Good Behavior, one of TV’s best-kept secrets, returns Sunday night for a second season that finds recovering addict/thief Letty (Downton Abbey’s Michelle Dockery) and hit man Javier (Juan Diego Botto) trying to give Letty’s son, Jacob (Nyles Steele), a “normal life.” As you see in the sneak peek above, it’s not going well.

“They’ve said they’re going to do things right now, but immediately when their backs are to each other, Javier’s still a hit man, and she’s still stealing things, and because they’re both so perceptive, they can’t really hide it from each other for all that long,” creator Chad Hodge says. “Within 20 minutes of the first episode, they find out the truth about each other, which leads to that big argument in the garage toward the end of the [hour], which is them confronting the reality of their situation versus pretending it’s something else. Letty and Javier have a very hard time changing themselves. The question of the show — in Season 1 and Season 2, but Season 2 in a bigger way — is should they change themselves? What is good and what is normal is different for everybody, and they face a lot of judgment from everybody around them, but they really understand each other, which is why I think it’s such a great love story.”

Ann Dowd as FBI agent Rhonda Lashever in Good Behavior. (Photo: TNT)

Of course that romance is also complicated now because Letty had to sell out Javier to get custody of Jacob, and though she warned him in time to ruin the FBI’s bust in the Season 1 finale, agent Rhonda Lashever (The Handmaid’s Tale Emmy winner Ann Dowd) still wants to find Javier. The good news: That means we get to see more of Dowd. “I would put Ann Dowd in every episode if I could, and, actually, she is in eight episodes of the 10 this year, so she’s basically a series regular,” Hodge says. The role became larger than originally conceived in Season 1 because, he says, agent Lashever is “so specifically good and bad. Even though she’s an FBI agent, she sort of has a criminal streak in her. She does her own thing. Instead of the FBI vehicle they give her, she drives her own Mercedes Sprinter, and decks it out, customizes it to a T.”

He also credits Dowd’s performance. “As we’ve seen in all the amazing things she’s done — Leftovers and Handmaid’s Tale — she’s strong, and threatening, and scary, and then she makes these characters really specific and tries a million things. With agent Lashever, there’s a lot of humor we write into it, and she just goes for it. She’s told me this is the hardest role she’s ever had to play because of the humor, and that she’s never sure where exactly to land things, but, of course, she always does it brilliantly,” Hodge says. “And the chemistry between her and Terry Kinney [Letty’s former parole officer, Christian] is just fantastic. You’ll be seeing a lot of them in Season 2.”

Lusia Strus as Estelle in Good Behavior. (Photo: TNT)

Also returning for Season 2, of course, are Letty’s mom, Estelle (Lusia Strus), and Estelle’s new husband, Rob (Joey Kern). “Rob is a good example of most of the characters on Good Behavior where you might start out thinking like, ‘Oh, Rob’s an idiot’ or ‘Rob’s dumb’ or whatever, and then you end up falling in love with him over the course of episodes. It’s the same with Estelle, and the same with, well, anyone, really, in the show — there’s no totally bad or totally good character,” Hodge says. “I just love their energy. They’re so funny. And, you know, Rob loves Letty and Rob loves Javier, and he has the biggest heart of any character in the show, and is the only one with a real job, except for Lashever. It’s always a struggle, because Estelle is worried about Letty and worried about her grandson, Jacob, and Rob wants to give Letty every chance in the world. So that’s the conflict they’re dealing with.”

Season 2 of Good Behavior premieres Oct. 15 at 10 p.m. on TNT.