“The Following,” Fox’s often-gruesome serial killer investigation show, gave viewers a bit of a surprise in its third season premiere. And no, we’re not talking about the new killers who were introduced. We’re talking about the cheerful, happy wedding sequence that opened the episode, as FBI agent Gina Mendez wed her partner, as series lead Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon) and others laughed and danced. “It was short-lived, wasn’t it?” says Valerie Cruz, who plays Mendez, with a laugh.
She’s speaking of the distraught man who showed up and tossed blood on the guests during the party, but Cruz says it was a fun break for the cast to film the scene. “I think Shawn Ashmore live-tweeted, ‘So weird to see everyone so happy! And I think a minute and a half later, I was tweeting him back, ‘Well, that was short-lived, so don’t worry! No reason to feel weird.’”
Cruz says this season will see its fair share of new villains (you may have noticed the couple with the “Natural Born Killers” vibe in the premiere), but don’t expect the show’s main killer, Joe Carroll, to fade away.
“I think the whole idea is that as the years go on between Ryan [Hardy] and him, you don’t know where one ends and the other begins. They start to merge together. I think Ryan carries a lot of Joe Carroll in his psyche.”
Viewers can also expect a certain amount of moral shakiness on the part of the good guys. “Everybody has a touch of the criminal in them this year, to some extent,” hints Cruz. Even Gina? “I guess in some ways, because she continues to always look the other way. I think they’re all complicit.”
As to what it’s like being on a show with such a high body count, Cruz reveals, “No one is safe, ever, on our show.” With that in mind, it sounds like something pretty crazy will go down in Monday’s episode. “When people watch episode 2, it’ll be shocking. I think I am allowed to say that. It’ll catch you by surprise.”
Viewers can expect Gina and Ryan to be on slightly better ground this season. “The relationship is less adversarial, for certain, and I would say more friendship-oriented.” That said, Ryan can be a tough friend to have. “He puts people in harm’s way or at risk because the drawing the line of right and wrong and how to do things eludes him. That will continue to elude him and continue to be an adversarial sort of encounter between the two of them as far as the best way to approach things.”