The acclaimed series Boss explores a universal theme: When faced with mortality, a man’s true nature is revealed. The premium cable channel Starz has brought the show back for a second season starring Kelsey Grammer in his Golden Globe winning role as Chicago Mayor Tom Kane. And this season Kane continues to struggle with his secret degenerative disease that reminds him life is short, so enjoy your power now.
In the wake of betrayals in his inner circle during season one, Kane has done some house cleaning, alienating all those around him. So now he needs to build up his city hall team in order to secure his legacy as he faces the end of his life. But he’s still holding onto deep, dark secrets.
The big question this season, Grammer says, is “can he change his nature and achieve redemption?” It’s a Shakespearian theme, and it was intentional to follow that kind of King Lear path with Kane’s madness continuing.
Grammer relishes playing the character. “It’s fantastic. When I jumped out of my limo at a pothole, I started saying, ‘I am the mayor of this damn city,’ feeling the power,” he describes.
New this year is actress Sanaa Lathan playing Mona Fredricks, a community activist from the South Side of Chicago who joins Mayor Kane’s staff.
Lathan describes her character as “a very smart, politically savvy woman who pursued politics to be an advocate for those people in that community, to make sure that they’re not abandoned with the big housing redevelopment going on. And I think Kane is really the only one who can do something about it. So when she has the opportunity to work with him, she takes it. It’s about the community. It’s not about admiration or devotion to him.”
Yes, politics makes strange bedfellows, and Grammer says, “It’s a utilitarian move on Mona’s part, based upon the fact that the one guy who can get something done is Mayor Kane. And I think there may be some appeal in the process of understanding how it works at the top of the food chain. She’s a bright woman, and can see that Kane’s office is ground zero.”
She hopes to influence him, and she does. And the Mayor takes “a little bit more interest in me than is political,” Lathan says. “But you will have to watch and see what happens.”
That’s how the new season of Boss has taken off with its fictional story about a corrupt politician who will do anything to retain his powerful grip. Grammer says he enjoyed shooting the first season in the Windy City, and was even invited over to City Hall to see how the Chicago machine works. The actor reveals, “I honestly try to learn as little as possible. Politics is disgusting.”