On “Human Target,” Jackie Earle Haley plays Guerrero, a former assassin who hasn’t lost touch with his ruthless nature in the same way that Christopher Chance (Mark Valley) has reformed his own image. Indeed, there are pretty much only two things to can count on when it comes to Guerrero: he’s entirely unpredictable, and he doesn’t play well with others.
That last bit could pose something of a problem as two new characters are stepping into the world of Fox’s “Human Target” for its second season: Ilsa Pucci (Indira Varma), a recently widowed billionaire who becomes an investor in Chance’s operation, and Ames (Janet Montgomery), a young thief with plenty of skill. Whether or not Guerrero is going to get along with either of these women remains to be seen, but when it comes to Haley himself, the actor sees the addition of these new cast members as a natural progression of the series.
“It’s kind of like life — things change over time, you know?” Haley told CBR News on the set of “Human Target” in Vancouver. “But while it’s changing, there’s still a lot of the dynamic from the first season still here. I think it just starts to add a bit more depth. We get these two new characters: one is Ames, who is kind of a despicable mini-me Guerrero, and then we get Ilsa, who becomes our benefactor and becomes in charge of the group in a sense. I think these two characters help to define the three guys from last season, as well as to find themselves.”
But Guerrero isn’t looking to be defined, certainly not by someone who thinks she’s his boss. “Just the notion of a boss,” Haley laughed when asked of Guerrero’s views on Ilsa. “Someone asked me a question a minute ago, ‘What’s it like for Guerrero to have a new boss?’ And I’ve never thought of it like that. The company has a new boss — but I’m thinking of stuff from Guerrero’s standpoint, and I don’t really consider her Chance’s boss. I know that Chance is letting her pay him a bunch of dough and maybe she calls some shots here and there, but in terms of being Guerrero’s boss? Technically it might be the case, but I don’t think it’s ever dawned on Guerrero.”
“The Ames character is great, because she’s a little thief,” the actor assessed of Montgomery’s character. “There’s a despicable quality to her. She’s definitely got some talent, but she also has a lot to learn. I’m not even sure where it’s going, but there’s definitely a side of her where she is to Guerrero what Guerrero is to Winston (Chi McBride).”
Haley said that Guerrero’s annoyance with Ames would take its course for a while, but as time pushes on, he’ll start recognizing her abilities and — dare he say it — might even start caring about the young thief. “I hate to use the word ‘care’ with Guerrero,” he laughed, “but you’ve got to write a word!”
Even as Guerrero is getting to spend some time with the newcomers, he’ll have more than a few opportunities to square off against his old pals, especially his longtime rival Winston. “I do know that in the third episode Guerrero gets to spend some time with Winston. I’ve gotta tell you, while I’m having fun with the new dynamics, it’s like I longed for that,” said Haley. “It’s cool to be back together, not just for the characters, but for the actors too — Jackie gets to hang out with Chi! But Guerrero gets to be with Winston. It’s stuff that we’ve established. It’s kind of fun to go back there and see what’s going on there.”
While Ames and Ilsa might serve to unlock new information about both themselves and the old guard of Chance, Winston and Guerrero, Haley said that he hopes the writers will continue to keep something of a lid on his character. “One of the greatest aspects of Guerrero is that he’s enigmatic,” said the actor. “I think it’s really important to keep a bit of mystery with him, because he is that kind of character. He’s the kind of guy that while you see him working with these guys, and we’re getting to know them, I’ve always felt — and I don’t know if it’s even fully true or how it will bear out — but I think Chance knows pretty much all that there is about Guerrero, but I don’t think he gives it up to everybody. I think he’s told Winston a heck of a lot. But these guys come from a very dark and shady past, even what they’re doing now. Guerrero still plays by the rules that come from the past, which are, no rules. Because to be effective and to really guard your own safety in life, you want to minimize the risks. For a guy like Guerrero who kind of knows how all of this works, he’s not going to play by a set of moralistic rules — it’ll just create risk for him.”
“Taking that a little bit further, I think that who he is with these guys and this business, there’s quite a bit that he’ll let them know, and at the same time, I think he plays stuff close to the vest because maybe some things are on a need to know basis,” Haley continued. “I really like his mysterious quality. Hopefully every time we learn a little something about him, it’ll come with two or three questions, too. It’s what I loved about the season finale: we learned a little bit more about Guerrero. We learned that he has some skill — we had a sense that he probably did, he was doing something to throw people into trunks and stuff — but more importantly, we learned that he was there six years ago when Chance was an assassin. But when we learn that, it also came with questions: ‘Well, jeez, he must have been there much sooner, too.’ You could tell that they’ve known each other for a long time before this moment. So it really came with more questions. How do they know each other? How far back do they go? What is their relationship?”
The full extent of who Guerrero is, where he comes from and what he stands for may never be revealed, but as far as Haley is concerned, that’s all well and good as long as the writing remains topnotch. “I’ve always felt that [executive producer Matt Miller] has taken so much of the good of the first season and he’s just adding to that. It’s kind of interesting,” he said. “These new characters help to open up the show a little bit by adding more characters that we can subplot off of a bit more. I think it brings a really neat dynamic.”
The second season of “Human Target” premieres on Wednesday (November 17) at 8/7 PM central on Fox.