SPOILER ALERT: This post contains spoilers for the Season 2 finale of Fox’s The Cleaning Lady.
Season 2 of The Cleaning Lady came to a close Monday night with a two-part finale that killed two key characters and left Thony (Elodie Yung) to pick up the pieces.
Despite warnings to stay away from Robert Kamdar (Naveen Andrews) as the FBI closed in on him, Thony once again took matters into her own hands. While Arman (Adan Canto) was eventually able to take him down, FBI agent Garrett Miller (Oliver Hudson) was also killed in the process — disintegrating Thony’s connection to law enforcement and ruining her chances of saving her sister Fiona (Martha Millan) from deportation after the two are caught stealing medical equipment and administering an experimental drug to Thony’s son to save his life.
Arman and Thony will have to work together to bring Fiona back to the United States, but Arman wants to keep their plan from Nadia (Eva De Dominici) — who has just inherited all of Robert’s wealth.
“It’s really resetting the board in an interesting way,” co-showrunner Melissa Carter said.
Carter and her co-showrunner Miranda Kwok spoke with Deadline about the decision to take a big swing by killing two major characters in one fell swoop, and how it will create a domino effect of consequences for those who are left standing.
DEADLINE: Talk me through the decision to kill off two big characters in that finale episode.
MELISSA CARTER: We always knew that Naveen Andrews’ character was going to be someone that was just going to be [in the series] one season, and we wanted it to be a thrill ride. We wanted him to really put Arman under his thumb. There’s this possibility of romance with Nadia, and so we wanted to feel that satisfaction that finally, [the story] brings Arman and Nadia back together to take revenge on him. I think the inspiration of taking out Garrett is the unpredictability of this world. We want to just show how unsafe the world of crime is and that anyone’s life is in danger at any point in time. So that was kind of the big, the big reason, and wanting a cliffhanger at the end of the season. But the other the other part of the motivation is that, with Fiona getting deported, Thony no longer has that law on her side. She no longer had that ability to get Fiona back, so that ultimately is going to push her deeper into crime.
MICHELLE KWOK: We absolutely love Oliver. He’s been such a supporter of the show, and I think that’s also part of that decision is that it would be so heartbreaking, so devastating to lose one of our leads. [It’s about] the importance of showing not only the unpredictability, but the consequences [of Thony’s actions]. Thony is a character who is always the smartest person in every room. She’s so resourceful. She’s got all the chess pieces moving, and [Garrett’s death] really shows her that she can’t control everything all the time. She isn’t in control, and that she’s going to make mistakes. Thony, for the past two seasons, has been on this tightrope of morality between the law and the criminal world and trying to navigate both. She’s always wavering in that and finally made these decisions that did not work out for Fiona or for Garrett.
DEADLINE: Is Garrett’s death and Fiona’s deportation going to help Thony realize she needs to take a step back and follow someone else’s lead at times?
KWOK: That’s the big question. What way is she going to go? Has she learned from her lessons or not? Garrett is somebody that kept trying to pull her out of this life of crime and pull her away from these these bad decisions that she keeps making. Now that he’s gone, what is she going to do? At the same time, with Fiona deported, she has to now make even more risky decisions and more potentially detrimental mistakes trying to get her back. It’s going to be this push-pull, but even more intense, even more elevated, and even more complicated.
DEADLINE: Naveen Andrews plays such a great villain. What do you think he brought to that character?
CARTER: When we saw Naveen in The Dropout, I got really excited because he really brought so many layers to Sunny Balwani. His portrayal really surprised me. We were looking for that nuance, and he embraces the bad guy character with such zest, such zeal, and he really enjoys it. It’s right on the edge like almost a little campy but not. It’s grounded. He was a delight to work with and just always on it. He was just game to try anything and so it was fun to create this character that really is so nihilistic.
KWOK: Robert is somebody who definitely amasses money for power, and he’s done that and so now he’s untouchable. Or he thought he was. It’s just that really lovely, nuanced character, somebody who’s so unpredictable, and a different kind of villain. Somebody who could be so calm and then just like snap at an instant is kind of what we were looking for that he really delivered for us.
DEADLINE: What are you looking for in future adversaries who you might add for later seasons?
KWOK: I think what we’re always interested is somebody who can challenge Thony and Arman and push them a little beyond their comfort zone to do things they wouldn’t normally want to do. But at the same time, hold a mirror up to them as well. Arman and Thony hold up a mirror to each other and show each other you know, who they are at the core. So I think with each villain that we bring in, we want them to bring something that is able to allow our characters to self reflect as well.
DEADLINE: So, Arman and Nadia are back together, but Thony and Arman are now embarking on this mission together. What does this signal about how this trio is going to fare moving forward?
KWOK: I think we’re going to continue to have a really interesting love triangle, and actually now the stakes are higher for everyone. Well, for Thony, she was always trying to save her son. Now she’s trying to save Fiona. And Arman is even more connected to her than before, and he also he does feel responsible, even though he knows Kamdar had to die in order for them to be safe. He knows that it was also his responsibility. It’s going to put all three of them at odds, which is just fun stuff to dig into.
CARTER: Also, Nadia is now in a place of power. Arman and Nadia are not legally married. She has inherited everything of Robert’s. I feel like there’s nothing quite like the aphrodisiac of power and money that’s going to keep Arman close to her as well.