Preview: What’s Coming Up On Shonda Rhimes Series For The People!

For The People March 6For The People

Tom Verica is one of Hollywood’s busiest people! Viewers of How To Get Away With Murder know him as Sam Keating, the not-so-nice late husband of Viola Davis’ Annalise. Off-screen, he works as executive producer/director of another of Shonda Rhimes’ series For The People!

Soap Hub caught up with Verica to talk about what’s coming up on For the People, which returns for season two this Thursday, March 7 at 10 p.m. ET on ABC, and why Sam keeps popping back up on How To Get Away With Murder — despite his being killed off the pilot!

Can you set up season two of For the People?
We’ll be taking on some of the relationships [established in season one]. We land and fly with Hope Davis (Jill) and Ben Shenkman (Roger) and the spark that they have. People seem interested in their dynamic and their struggles at work. We jump right into some cases that we feel are fantastic coming out of the Southern District [of New York]. Many of them come out of the news at night.

Do you take from the headlines?
Some. We balance out our heavier cases with some lighter ones. Our take is not necessarily from a political commentary but from an individual look. What happens to a particular relationship [within the show] based on what happens in the courthouse?

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What topics would you like to address on the show?
Voter registration/voter fraud is something we tackle. We want to be careful because we don’t want to get on a soapbox. Doing a legal show and, in particular, doing one in the federal justice system is something that people can easily pigeonhole. Our show is about trying to find a balance [between the cases and the lawyers’ personal lives] and finding longevity in the relationships among the characters.

Can you talk about any new characters for this season?
Yes. We’re introducing a new character, Ted, a private investigator, played by Charles Michael Davis (The Originals). We put Ted and Sandra (Britt Robinson) together. There’s a spark there and their chemistry is fantastic. Charles is a terrific addition to our cast.

It was a surprise to see Sam return to How To Get Away With Murder last season and be revealed as Gabriel Maddox’s (Rome Flynn) dad. Can you talk about why he continues to pop up?
Sam comes back when we look at the origins of the relationships between characters on the show, specifically about Annalise (Viola Davis) and her past. Pete [Nowalk, HTGAWM’s creator/executive producer] said to me, ‘I have an origin about Sam.’ I said I’m always up for anything that shows Sam wasn’t just this linear son-of-a-bitch. My feeling was let’s find those moments in his life and look at the decisions he made that show where things went south for him. My real son [Dante Verica] played my son [young Gabriel] on the show. I was very proud of that. He’s not an actor but he impressed the hell out of me.

For the People airs Thursdays at 10/9c on ABC.

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