*SPOILER ALERT* *SPOILER ALERT* *SPOILER ALERT* *SPOILER ALERT* For Part 1 of the interview with Courtney Kemp Agboh, click HERE
Part 2 is below.
DLD: My next question is weird: who is James St. Patrick? And I ask that because I’ve watched 2 seasons of this show, each episode 3-4x and all I’m absolutely sure of is he loves his kids and he wants to go legit. I can’t trust what he says or what he does.
DLD: You’re laughing, but as a viewer I’m like, “What is this man thinking?!” Who is he at the core, other than a man chasing the American Dream?
Agboh: He’s the black man in America! He is trying to make a way out of no way. and every time he tries to make a way out of no way, he has to shift his hustle a little bit because people are coming at him in a different way.
The truth is that he is a little bit of a fiction, a little bit of a figment of Ghost’s imagination. James ST. Patrick is who young Jamie wanted to be when he grew up so he’s performing an identity. Ghost is always performing. He wants to be “Breaking Good”. I really set out to write that.
DLD: In the penultimate episode of this season, Ghost has this primal scream when he sends Shawn on his way. I saw the memes about he scream, there was so much discussion about that scream. What was that exactly? It’s a sound, but it says so much.
Agboh: That’s a great question for Omari. It just erupted naturally from Omari in scene. There was so much rage and so much frustration from Ghost with Shawn, like don’t be THIS. I invested in you and I don’t want you to be this. Ghost feels like he failed in that moment.
DLD: Was there in-fighting in the writer’s room about Shawn being killed? I think when a series regular goes, it’s a hard decision. It was the natural conclusion for his story arc but still.. ugh! Was there a fight for him to stay?
Agboh: That character actually dies in the original outline for the pilot. No one in the writer’s room thought he would go that long. Sinqua Walls, the actor that plays Shawn, is so interesting that we decided to keep writing for the character. But in the writer’s room, there was no fight because it wasn’t a new decision.
In the original script for the pilot, Shawn was Ghost’s illegitimate son from a relationship prior to Tasha , but Tasha did not know that, so when she masturbates in front of Shawn we the audience would have found out later that she had no idea that Shawn was actually her stepson. We didn’t end up telling that story. But he always died. We said to Sinqa, you earned your way to 17 episodes.
DLD: Dre is an equally confusing character as Ghost. I hate to make other TV show comparisons, but I see him as the “Marlo” to “Avon” and “Stringer”. He’s the next generation, a colder, harder, worse version of the one that came before him. I can’t read him. He says one thing and does another. What is he up to? He wants to be Ghost?
Agboh: Here’s the arc. Dre wants to serve Kanan because Kanan saved his life in jail. And then over time working for Kanan, he realizes this MF is f---ed up. Ok. When Kanan kills Shawn, that’s Dre’s last moment. Dre was fighting for supremacy over Shawn throughout the season, then he sees that you get that number one spot, and what do you get? Dead. He understands what Kanan has been saying: Ghost stabbed me in the back; Ghost put me in jail, all of which is true. But Dre has perspective at the end of the season, like, I know why that n---a did that… because you’re crazy. You’re a bad dad, and a bad boss. I’m outta here.
DLD: Do you have a favorite scene from the show?
Agboh: Episode 107, Ghost kills Rolla. It’s the whole show in one scene. Ghost is thinking, I want to be good, I’d like to be good. I love this kid, I don’t want to do it. What he is saying is making sense. My frontal lobe is clicking with what he’s saying, but I can’t trust it. I have to be bad.
DLD: Do you have a favorite character? Based on what you said earlier, I’m guessing it’s Tasha?
Agboh: I do. But I can’t tell you who it is.
DLD: A mystery!
Agboh:I try not to have favorites, but there is a character that expresses more of my inner monologue than any other character. That’s what I’ll say. There’s one character that’s more like me.
DLD: Was it intentional to have viewers lose love for Angie? I know in the beginning I was rooting for her. As an engaged— at that time— woman, I was like yeah, I know he’s married, but I was rooting for him to be with his mistress. My circle is professional women, and I think some people feel there’s a disconnect in how Angie can be so smart at work, and so stupid about love. I get why Ghost sticks by her, but not always why she sticks by him.
Agboh: In episode 102, Paz says to Angela, “you think about love like you’re a little girl, it’s not rainbows and butterflies”.. She’s standing in the dining room at her apartment and she smooths her sister’s hair and she talks to her about how Greg is a good guy. And Angela is “yeah, but…” because she wants this fairytale. If you go back and watch that scene, I think it will explain everything.
There’s definitely a polarizing effect that character has and people either love her or hate her. I feel so strongly that her behavior is real. We’ve all been with that man. He’s terrible. He sucks. You should walk away. Why aren’t you walking away?! You can’t.
Sometimes the actors will ask me, well, do I have to do this sex scene and I’m like, “yes!” Part of what keeps you hooked is the stuff that is released in your body when you have really great sex with someone. It’s a drug that you get hooked on. We joke around about getting hooked on that dick but that’s actually a really thing!
DLD: Dickmatized is real!
Agboh: Pussy-whupped is real! People don’t think that it actually happens.
DLD: I think the visceral reaction some women have toward Angie is they want her to make the decision that they couldn’t make when they were in that situation, they continuing to engage with him. You kind of want this character that you were to make the decision that you could not or would not when you were dating the guy that you should have walked out on early on, but didn’t.
Agboh: I say for those people: wait for season 3. At some point, he is going to do something that she can not forgive.
DLD: Can you give us hints as to what’s coming in season 3?
That’s a pretty big hint. She cannot forgive him. He doesn’t do it ‘til the end of the season.