by Jana Monji, AsAmNews Contributor
The first season of The Cleaning Lady ended with relationships that could be described as: It’s complicated. Thony (Éloid Yung)—a married Cambodian surgeon from one of Manila’s best hospitals—found herself caught between her gambling-addicted husband Marco (Ivan Shaw) and Arman Morales (Adan Canto)—a member of the criminal cartel who protects her and her son in exchange for her services as a cleaner of crime scenes in Las Vegas where Thony works as an undocumented cleaning lady. Also in the mix is FBI agent Garrett Miller (Oliver Hudson) who wants to use Thony to help take down organized crime through Arman.
In Season 2, a sinister bloke brings total moral corruption to the mix: Robert Kamdar who is played by Naveen Andrews. That’s where things get geometric.
Fans of “Lost” (2004-2010) will be familiar with Andrews who played Sayid Jarrah and was nominated for a Golden Globe and a Primetime Emmy. The London-born Andrews is of Asian Indian descent and became a naturalized US citizen in 2010. According to the assessment of the cast during a virtual press conference, his character, Robert Kamdar, is a “morally bankrupt” man. But, he’s also a man in love or at least in lust for the woman who got away. That woman isn’t Thony.
The Arman-Thony relationship is already complicated by Garrett. Showrunner/executive producer Melissa Carter said what’s fun about Hudson’s Garrett is he’s “someone who doesn’t play by the book.” He does have a “moral center” and “He want to go get the bad guys; he considers himself a good guy, but in doing that, he’s often the rule breaker.” And series creator, writer and executive producer Miranda Kwok warns, “Garrett is also going to shade a little bit darker this season.”
If there is a darkening of Garrett as he pursues Arman, Arman is finding himself changing as well.
For Arman, Canto said, his relationship with Thony “brings him back to his roots, which are very family-oriented, good, descent, honorable heart–you know, wanting to do the good thing, wanting to do what’s right.” Arman ended up where he is because he first needed to save his father and then he needed to save himself. During Season 1, there was romantic tension between Thony and Arman, but remember both are married.
Marco may love Thony and his son Luca, but he has come to question Thony’s relationship with Arman. Yet from Season 1, we know that sadly, his first priority is his gambling. Arman is married to Nadia (Eva De Dominici). Nadia connects Thony and Arman to Robert Kamdar.
In a virtual press conference, Melissa Carter said, “We had to turn the tables because all Season 1 for Nadia was always knowing that she was getting ditched for The Cleaning Lady. We had to bring a handsome, well-cultured, sophisticated man to sort of lure her away.” That may be a wake up call for Arman but what will he be for the rest of the Season 1 characters?
Andrews said, “There’s no other way of looking at this. He can’t be anything other than the maligned influence underlying for the other characters. I wish it was not so. But this particular character seems to be so morally bankrupt and devoid of empathy that I can’ really deny that he wouldn’t have anything other than, as I said, a malign influence on the other characters, which is sad.”
Carter directly responded saying, “We’re going to work on that. Don’t worry. When we saw Naveen Andrews play Sunny on The Dropout, we
knew we had to have him. I mean, his work speaks for itself, but that role particularly showed a corruptible character who is driven and unexpected, and that’s why the character of Robert Kamdar is so threatening and dangerous in that he is morally bankrupt, and yet he has this deep love for Nadia, his ex who got away. So that just gives a delicious mix to the soup that we have. So we wanted a new big bad this season, and Naveen is doing an amazing job taking that across the goal line.”
As Nadia, Eva De Dominici said of Andrews’ portrayal of Kamdar, “He’s also very charming as well. Yes. It is dangerous, and it is very powerful, but it’s
very charming. I mean, when I saw him playing Kamdar, I could really see how Nadia fell in love with him.” And yet there were reasons he is her ex.
In a one-on-one Zoom interview, Andrews said he was interested in joining the series because, “The actors, the cast, gave it this emotional punch that not every show has.” The character he most responded to was Millan as Fiona, but it doesn’t seem that he’ll encroach too much into her world although he was careful not to give any spoilers about his character. Of Kamdar, Andrews said, “He almost has this supernatural unsettling quality,” and that “His effect on the other characters is going to be deleterious.” With Nadia, “There’s a sense of unfinished business between them. It was a relationship of consequence.”
From the interviews, there seems to be room for development of his character. Kwok said, “Now we have this love quadrangle that we’re playing all season long.” Carter quipped we’re straying into geometry. That’s how complicated things are getting. Still, Robert Kamdar isn’t involved in the shocking events of the first two episodes.
Andrews warned, “Once you get over the shock of the first episode, you have to be ready for even more shocking events.”
Tune in to Fox’s The Cleaning Lady as things get geometrically steamy and seamy on 19 September 2022 or stream it on Hulu.
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