'Sleepy Hollow' Season 2: Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie talk Season 2, and their characters' chemistry. As you prepare to sort through new fall TV shows in the coming weeks, remember what you might call the "Sleepy Hollow" rule: a show that doesn't look all that promising coming out of the gate can build up a mighty head of steam.
When "Sleepy Hollow" premiered in September 2013 on Fox (12), it sounded like an absolutely insane idea for a weekly series. How's this for a long odds formula for success? Take Washington Irving's fictional character, Ichabod Crane (played by Tom Mison ); re-frame him as a dashing solider in the Colonial Army under the command of George Washington; add Ichabod killing the Headless Horseman; throw in the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse; wake Ichabod up from his 18th-century grave; pair him with a contemporary police lieutenant (Nicole Beharie ) in modern-day Sleepy Hollow; shake; and hope for the best.
Sounds like a ticket to cancellationville, doesn't it? Instead, "Sleepy Hollow" was a sleeper success, ranking as the No. 2 new drama on TV last year. The premise never got any less nutty – instead, it kept escalating – but what made the show work was the intoxicating chemistry between Mison's Ichabod, reacting with witty disdain to such modern conveniences as bottled water and skinny jeans; and Beharie's Lt. Abbie Mills, pragmatic, professional but admirably open-minded when it came to accepting the existence of a Headless Horseman rampaging through town. As Season 2 begins (9 p.
Sept. 22, on Fox/12) we'll be finding out just how Ichabod and Abbie get themselves out of the tight spots they were in as Season 1 ended. Ichabod was again in a coffin, buried alive; and Abbie was trapped in purgatory. Oh, and there's that detail of them discovering that the man they thought was a friend (Henry Noble) is really the son of Ichabod and his wife, Katrina (who's been kidnapped by the ever-busy Headless Horseman) and is one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Considering all this turmoil, the "Sleepy Hollow" panel at the Television Critics Association summer press tour was a lighthearted affair. Discussing the relationship between Ichabod and Abbie, which has both platonic and romantic overtones (complicated further by the fact that Ichabod is married) producers talked about how the characters need each other, and the intimacy that comes from that.
"And running around the woods in the middle of the night, chasing after monsters, is profoundly erotic," added Mison. "And so sometimes, I have to just throw a saucy look. Of the bond between Ichabod and Abbie, Beharie said, "One of the things that attracted me about this part is that she has a relationship with the man, but it's not romantic, and she's not necessarily defined by some sexual or amorous desires. And I love that they're so different. Crane has become, I guess, a family member to her.
The onscreen relationship, Beharie said, "Sort of mirrors our own relationship," in that "we've gotten to know each other, and there's a shorthand and a level of intimacy and transparency and vulnerability that you really wouldn't want to share with anyone, but we're just sort of forced into that situation. And I think it creates really interesting work for television. It happens very quickly. And in the world of it being this fantastic demon (and) witch-hunting world, it gives us a place to ground, and I think that's what people are relating to, maybe. Mison added, "I look forward to Season 9, when it's basically 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf' with demons.
At the Fox network party during the press tour, Mison shared a few more thoughts about the show and the new season, in which founding father Benjamin Franklin will make an appearance. "All of the founding fathers, every single one of them, has an amazing story," Mison said. "And so we're very lucky that we get to explore and play around with those.
" Though the show obviously plays "a bit loose" with history, Mison said, "we always try to put in interesting facts that people didn't know.
For example, "I didn't know that in the '90s, I think, they examined Benjamin Franklin's old house and found remains of bodies. Sounds like Ben will fit right in to the wild world of "Sleepy Hollow.