HomeAAPI ActorsSean Lew and Martha Millan Highlighted in Season 2 of The Cleaning...

Sean Lew and Martha Millan Highlighted in Season 2 of The Cleaning Lady

by Jana Monji, AsAmNews Contributor

Supporting characters from the first season of “The Cleaning Lady” are getting new, exciting storylines in the show’s second season. The second season premieres tonight on Fox.

During season one, Martha Millan and Sean Lew who play mother and son respectively, were background and supporting players in the drama that surrounded Élodie Yung’s Cambodian doctor Thony De La Rosa. Thony is living and working in Las Vegas on an expired visa to help her son Luca get treatement for a rare bone marrow diseason.

If you watched the first season, Lew played Chris, a young man still in high school. Millan plays his mother Fiona, Thony’s sister. Chris is a bit surly at the beginning and is not always the best older brother when it comes to babysitting his sibling. Having his aunt, Thony, there has complicated matters in ways that were obvious and others that were not.

“Coming into a show like this during the first season, I didn’t know what to expect either. Honestly, I was just grateful to have such a prominent role in such an incredible show. Being in the first season, being an angsty teen, I’ll take that,” Lew said.

In this season’s shocking turn of events in the first two episodes, Lew is thrown into the spotlight and his relationship with both his aunt and mother come sharply into focus.

“When I first read the script for Season 2, I was on the set for something else and they were rolling. So I was just reading through it in silence and then the moment I got to the part where I was involved, I stood up from my chair and then,” Lew mimicked silent shouting. “I couldn’t speak because they were rolling.”

Seeing him in a Zoom interview, Lew is cheerful and smiling with an easy laugh as is Millan. They seems quite different from the snarly, impatient teenaged boy and the worried and often-worn down mother we saw in The Cleaning Lady during season one.

For Lew’s Chris, toward the end of Season one, he’s suddenly realized that he wasn’t born in the US and like his mother Fiona and his aunt Thony (and by extension Luca), Chris is an undocumented immigrant. He’s both lost and gained a nationality.

And yet, being an undocumented immigrant in Las Vegas becomes a minor emotional annoyance compared to the new developments in the second season.

“This is way past any of his little teenager issues,” Lew commented.

Although Lew can’t give away any spoilers, he did tease Chris’ new journey in season two.

“What does happen in the second season, I will say I can’t even express how grateful I am on Sean’s perspective because it’s giving me an opportunity to really dig deep with my mom on the show and the other cast. Honestly, what happens in the second season is just past any expectation you may have from what you’ve seen in seasone one of Chris.”

He thanked Millan for being a great co-star.

“I couldn’t imagine a better mom for me in the show; she has helped me immensely in tapping into playing Chris,” Lew said.

Millan was obviously touched by Lew’s words.

“For me, I don’t have kids, so this is such a great opportunity to really live that and experience that. It’s so easy connecting with Sean.”

And in the interview, their affection shown through. With both Lew and Faith Bryant who plays Jaz, Fiona’s daughter and Chris’ sister, Millan said, “We just had a really good connection right from the beginning. They are just to down-to-earth; there’s nothing inauthentic about them. I think therein is where our bond lies; we’re just very truthful with each other.”

Lew laughed and added, “Sometimes a little too truthful at times!” When asked to explain, Lew chuckled and admitted that he recently “subconsciously eye-rolled at her and I didn’t realize that.”

Millan quickly cut him off and said, with her index finger pointing, “Both eye roll at me all the time!”

Lew defended himself and said, “Faith, she does it too often. For me, I try not to. That’s almost like her personality for Faith.”

If only Bryant had been there to defend herself.

“This is what  I understand what teenagers actually really do. This is what I’m experiencing as an on-set mum which is wonderful because you do have those moments with your kids,” Millan said.

Millan was grateful for the opportunity to tell the story of an undocumented immigrant.

“It’s an honor finally playing a Filipina role where I can really do a deep dive into the character, instead of just playing a stereotype that just comes on set and is gone. This is really a humanized portrayal of undocumented citizens,” she said.

“Their struggles and all the issues that they face are real,” she added.

Of course, what happens in Las Vegas stays in Las Vegas (for now) and the circumstances that Millan’s Fiona finds herself in are extraordinary.

“We have the mob as well,” Millan said as she explained Fiona’s situation.

Not every undocumented immigrant finds themselves involved with the mob and cleaning up crime scenes, after all.

“We keep it grounded through the relationships and the dynamics that we’ve all formed. That’s why I feel it’s still relatable in every way,” she said.

For Millan, the personal relationships between the characters has showcased Filipino culture “and our joy of living.”

“That’s it’s a real honor to explore my culture. I grew up in Australia, but I’m Filipina. Everyone has their own perception of this culture,” she said.

After the Season 2 opening event, Lew has no set expectation for what may happen in The Cleaning Lady, but however things might go, viewers should buckle up for a surprising ride away from reality and into a Las Vegas underworld where mothers will do anything for their children and Filipino and Cambodian cultures are blended into the Las Vegas landscape.

Fox’s The Cleaning Lady Season 2 premiere on Monday, 19 September at 9/8c on Fox.

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