Sonya Walger and Allan Heinberg Dish On Season 2 of The Catch
Season two of ABC’s The Catch premiered on March 9th, and I’m so excited to share details from our interview. During the #BeOurGuestEvent we sat down with Sonay Walger who plays Margot and Executive Producer and Showrunner Allan Heinberg. After screening the first three episodes of the new season, we wanted to get all the details about what we should expect in the new season. Last fall I had the opportunity to visit the set and talk to Costume Designer Peggy Schnitzer.
I’ve been really excited to see what happens in the second season since Ben went to jail for Alice. During our interviews we learned that Allan actually came in and re-wrote the show. He’s the one responsible for the show we have and love today. He’s also responsible for changing Sonya’s character Magot. Allan talked to us about the process to changing characters and redoing the pilot.
AH : Yeah, they shot a pilot, and it was about Alice was a forensic accountant, and everybody played different characters; Sonya was not in it; Peter Krause was not in it… They had shot a camera test. That was all the footage that had been shot, so they were just about to shoot Peter and Sonya into that existing script but the network couldn’t figure out what the show- based on the scripts that came after, they couldn’t figure out what the show was.
And so that’s when I was brought in to say, if you reimagined it, what would it be, and how much would it cost us.
This season we get to see some familiar faces join the cast. We had to find out from Allan if his time working on other ABC shows influence his casting.
AH : Well I had been on Scandal when I got this job, and Grey’s Anatomy before Scandal, so I’d been in Shondaland for about ten years, and I had a real sense of what I would wanna see if I were watching Thursday nights, and I knew that HTGAWM is pretty dark for me, so I knew I wanted a sort of lighter, more fun, sexy, fashion forward- I worked on Sex in the City; I sort of miss that- I miss smart people talking smartly to each other, wearing amazing cloths, and talking about real love issues like how relationships really work.
So, and that’s sort of my thing, anyway, so we referenced the Thomas Crown Affair in the pilot; we referenced Ernst Lubitsch called Trouble in Paradise in episodes two, three, and four with, I don’t know if you remember the princess who comes in, and Ben befriends her- that’s all a steal from Trouble in Paradise which is one of the best movies ever made if you get a chance to see it. I’m a pop culture junkie, so I try to put as many Easter eggs as possible. I was a huge happy endings fan, and so as Zach Knighton came on at the end of last season, and John Simms came on because I’m a huge fan of John Simms, so pulling in as much of that stuff as possible, as well. No lost references yet, but…
If you’ve seen the show, you know that it’s filled with playful banter, catchy pharses, and whitty one liners that make the show unforgettable. In addition to the catchy lines and phrases, the fashion is amazing. You can read about my interview from last fall for more on the wardrobe, but here’s what Allan and Sonya had to add.
SW : I tell you my favorite thing is going in for a wardrobe fitting, and that is not usually the case. Usually, you go to wardrobe fittings and there’s a tired lady who’s, like we don’t do black on this show, so here are these ugly pantsuits. That’s usually what wardrobe is like. When you go in with Peggy, and there’s just a rack of the most exquisite dresses…
She’s wonderful, and has just the best eye, and I think this is the fun of doing season two of the show she now knows my body better than I do, so the dresses are not ones that I would pick. I’m the mother of two- I’m lucky to get dressed in the morning, so just to be zipped into a thing with heels, and the hair, and it’s glorious. It’s glorious. And it just means by the time I’ve been through the works, Margo’s there. Like it’s such an enormous part of being a character is having the right look, and jewelry, and hair, and makeup, and things. It’s like zipping on a suit and then half your work is done, really, it’samazing…
The show is filled with so many stong female leads, and this year with the addition of Gina Torres, we wanted to know if the guys were starting to feel outnumbered.
AH : I think when we brought Rhys on full time, Peter Krause was like, all right, we’re okay now. I’ve got my partner; he feels a little bit better, and now they’re sort of a comedy trio with Gina joining them this year, so I think this year that’s sort of went away, but in the beginning, I think for Jay and for Pete, there may have been a little, like, there’s a lot of ladies. I’m not sure that our side is being represented, and we used to have that on Grey’s quite a bit, too.
But Pete, I mean, it is a duet, the show, really it’s an ensemble but he and Mireille really are the show- it’s interesting because I think the biggest change that I made was to give his character a point of view. If you’d seen the original pilot, you’re in her head the entire time. You have no idea what he’s thinking or why he’s doing what he’s doing. So the big change was act two of that original pilot is all from Pete’s point of view. So you fall in love with him; you understand that he’s in love with her, like, it really is a duet in that sense, but we do have a lot of really strong women.
This season we see Margot turning to Alice for help, the same woman she tried to send to prison once she realized how much Ben loved her. I was curious to know if they were going to have a new relationship or was Margot just using Alice since she needs her right now.
SW : I can speak to as far as you’ve seen. I think what’s really fun is that Alice and Margot discover they have perhaps more in common than they thought, and there’s a sort of begrudging mutual respect while still there’s a lot of wariness because Margot is Margot, so you wanna be careful of that. But I think that was one of the things- those beautiful therapy scenes that Allan wrote us in season one. What I think was so lovely there was the sort of- Margot had this moment of realizing they, they were both betrayed by the same guy.
You know, they actually have all this common ground and so that sort of moves into season two where I think they, they sort of realize they’re both strong, empowered, intelligent women who can go toe-to-toe, and neither one is gonna stand down. And then when they realize neither one is gonna stand down, then they have to kind of work together. I love the relationship. I obviously just love doing scenes with Mireille, so it was fun.
We see quite a few hook ups in the first three episodes alone of the show. Some were more surprising than others. Character development is key to growing a show and taking it to new levels. We asked Allan and Sonya to share a little with us about how characters are developing this season.
AH : What’s interesting on the show is that the heroes and villains are so sort of clearly drawn at the front of it, right? He’s a bad guy who took all for money. She’s someone who was victimized because she fell in love, and then it shifts so quickly so that even someone like Margot Bishop who kills people for a living- by her own admission becomes someone you actually feel for, and root for.
And, and that was sort of the beauty of it. When Sonya and I met, I got the job, and then I met with all the actors one by one, and I said, congratulations, you have a new showrunner, and a new character to play- I hope you like it. And so everybody was great. She was especially great because she got it immediately, and pitched me in that first lunch, and I said this in the press previously, she said, what if the way that Alice and Margot finally meet is that Margot is pretending to be Alice’s therapist?
And I was like, I don’t know how to do that right now, but that is the best idea I’ve ever heard. And so I came back to the writer’s room with that idea, and they were all really eager for it to be in, like, episode two or episode three. And I was like, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. We wait.
Allan went deeper into how they earned Sonya’s trust and helped develop her character Margot into her current role which was so different from the original pilot.
AH: I was really writing for Pete and for Sonya and, and the previous version, they were sort of being put into something that had already existed. And this was me as a fan saying, like, I want you at your most British like, smartest, most British, and most crafty- she’s got the big vision for everything, but Margot’s role is interesting because she’s barely in the pilot. She’s got, like, three scenes/four scenes…
SW : Two.
AH : Two scenes. You just have to trust me on this- this becomes your story. Your family becomes, like, a huge part of what this is. The benefactor is gonna be either your mother or your brother, and trust me, it will develop, and I don’t know if shebelieved me, but she pretended to believe me. And sure enough by episode two, three, four, you just start to see it shift and grow so that it really, I mean, it really in some ways becomes as much Margot’s show as anybody’s show.
Like, by the time Rhys shows up, and then Sybil shows up, for me, everything changed when Rhys showed up because they had a scene- a brother/sister scene where they were on the bed together, and it’s one of my favorite scenes we’ve ever done, and I just wrote a big four-page dialog scene just because I had John in my head, and that’s when the show changed for me, and I was like this is now. So you really have no idea when you start, the degree to which it can grow and change, and it has everything to do with your cast.
“The Catch” is a sexy, scintillating game of cat and mouse between L.A.’s top private investigator, Alice Vaughan (Mireille Enos), and the man she loves, Benjamin Jones (Peter Krause), the world’s most formidable con artist.
At the beginning of season two, con man Benjamin Jones has gone from committing the ultimate betrayal to performing the ultimate sacrifice, when he turned himself in to the FBI to save Alice from wrongful imprisonment. Now in jail, Ben is forced to reckon with his criminal past, while the team at Anderson Vaughan Investigations must come to terms with getting in bed with the bad guys. How will Alice and Ben game the system — and each other — to stay together and overcome their less-than-legal pasts?
Be sure to tune in tonight for THE CATCH – “The Dining Hall” – Alice discovers some very hard truths about her brother Tommy and Val is forced to dig into her past in order to help with his case. Meanwhile, relationships are tested as Margot and the AVI team have to navigate their current realities, and Ben and Rhys’ latest con may turn out to be a little too risky, on “The Catch,” airing THURSDAY, MARCH 23 (10:00-11:00 p.m. EST), on The ABC Television Network.
ABC’s The Catch airs on Thrusdays at 10 PM ET/PT, be sure to tune in weekly during the #TGIT segment.