07/18/2013 11:00 pm ET

'Graceland': Daniel Sunjata On Briggs' NA Group And How His Addiction Will Affect Mike's Investigation


This week's "Graceland" revealed a shocking secret about Paul Briggs (Daniel Sunjata): The FBI agent is attending Narcotics Anonymous meetings as a result of his heroin addiction. Will Mike's (Aaron Tveit) discovery affect his ongoing investigation into Briggs, and will he use that knowledge to end Briggs' career?

The Huffington Post spoke to Sunjata to find out how the ending of "Hair of the Dog" will impact the characters going forward, and whether Briggs has more secrets up his sleeve.

Briggs is at the top of his game, and Mike has been placed in Graceland to investigate him, instead of being assigned to D.C. Is there any part of Briggs that suspects Mike's motives for being in the house?
Absolutely, because Briggs has a past -- that is one of the things that's teased out over the course of the first season. He's well aware of it, and he absolutely second-guesses and has a little bit of suspicion as to why Mike would've been assigned to Graceland so unexpectedly. Briggs senses that there's something else going on from the very beginning.

As we saw in last week's episode, Briggs and Charlie (Vanessa Ferlito) have undeniable chemistry and a very close bond. What are his feelings for her?
Briggs loves everyone in the house; I think he has a special relationship with Charlie. You find out over the course of the season that they've worked together undercover in the past, and flirted with the possibility of getting together. We do so again during the season, but then break off from that and decide not to do it. I would say that Charlie is the one person in the house that Briggs has the most affection for and at the same time, the most conflict with.

At the end of tonight's episode, we learn that Briggs is attending Narcotics Anonymous meetings, so how does that revelation alter his relationship with Mike?
It definitely engenders in Mike a deeper understanding of Briggs' seeming contradictions. I think he understands where Briggs might be coming from, or at least begins to -- that's actually only the beginning of a series of pretty big revelations about Briggs and what he's going through and what he's been through. I think that's the point at which Mike starts to see Briggs through a more human lens and starts to empathize with him a bit more.

We've seen Briggs demonstrate his loyalty towards the other members of the house and seem to be a generally decent man. Could the suspicion from the higher-ups in the FBI be misplaced? Do you think that Briggs is a trustworthy guy and that his motives are mostly pure?
I do, but how could I not be sympathetic to the character that I play? [Laughs.] You try to be objective, but if you put yourself in Briggs' shoes, given everything that you end up finding out about Briggs and his past over the course of season, he's can be a sympathetic character. He loves the people that live and work in Graceland, but sometimes, the choices that he makes appear to be at odds with the fact that he does love them. Certain choices that he makes, because of his own agenda, sometimes put certain people in the house in danger, seemingly unnecessarily so, but then a scene later he might show up and save someone's life or do something that overtly protects that sanctity of Graceland itself. So he's a conflicted, wounded, but well-intentioned soul.

Presumably, if he'd been forced to take the heroin hit from Quinn instead of Charlie doing it last week, that would've caused major problems for him. How is his addiction going to play into the rest of the season?
I would say it complicates his decision-making process and it makes his intentions somewhat suspect. And I would go further and say that even in the season finale, it's not all neatly tied up in a nice little bow for the audience -- there's definitely a cliffhanger aspect that will hopefully bring the audience back for an assumed Season 2.

"Graceland" airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET on USA.

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