Valley Takes A Chance On "Human Target"

Christopher Chance has been shot, stabbed, beaten and blown up halfway to hell, but those injuries are small potatoes for the work-for-hire security expert when compared to the idea of putting a dear friend's life in jeopardy. When Chance is barely able to diffuse such a situation with only seconds to spare, the man is forced to take a good long look in the mirror and assess his image - and when he doesn't like what he sees, he decides to go into hiding and put the gun back in its holster for good, no ifs ands or buts.

Funny what a few billion dollars can change.

Naturally, "Human Target" would be a very different show if leading man Mark Valley wasn't spending almost every episode out on the field guns a-blazing, cracking wise and flirting with the girl-of-the-week - and all it took to restore his character's status as one of TV's great action heroes was an offer he can't refuse from sultry billionaire Ilsa Pucci (Indira Varma), who successfully attempted to lure him back into the spy game in last night's second season premiere episode, appropriately titled "Ilsa Pucci."

"He comes into contact with Ilsa - well, she actually comes into contact with him," Valley told CBR News during a visit to the "Human Target" set in Vancouver. Ilsa's husband went curiously absent some months ago, and she's spent every waking moment ever since trying to locate and hire the mercenary to solve his disappearance. Normally, the fact that Chance has gone into self-imposed exile would pose a problem for most potential clients - but Ilsa Pucci is decidedly not like most people.

"She finds out where he's been hiding out and talks him into coming back to take this one case," said Valley. "She ends up making him an offer that he really can't refuse with her resources."

Pucci's resources extend far beyond this one case, as Chance's handling of the philanthropist's assignment inspires her to make a deeper investment in the ex-assassin's business. Valley said that Ilsa's new position at the forefront of Chance's agency would certainly add a fresh coat of paint to several different aspects of the show - "We're staying in San Francisco and keeping the same loft, but it's getting a nice refab," for instance - and one change that he could personally testify to is the way that the show introduces new cases and clients.

"I think we'll start seeing some new cases. We might not necessarily be seeing the standard setup where the client comes in, Winston comes down and tells them the spiel, I lean against the pillar and say my thing," he said. "We're probably going to, at least in the first two episodes, we'll see some more unconventional introductions into these cases and clients."

There's also some potential for some serious conflict between Chance and his new boss. "We've been saving it and stewing it," said Valley. "I think it's always going to be there in any dynamic where you have several people making decisions, and how it really takes shape will depend to a large extent on the writers and how they set it up, and how we shoot it. I think in the future I've been told there's going to be more conflict between Chance and Ilsa - Chance is going to want to do this and do that, and she might say no, or she might want them to do this and that. We'll see. I think we're going to see the full flora of Chance's reactions from passive aggression to active aggression."

But Pucci isn't the only newcomer on "Human Target," as the second season premiere also saw the arrival of Ames (Janet Montgomery), a young thief with a whole lot to learn. "She's this young hustler," described Valley, "and Chance and Guerrero kind of give her a chance to come along, because they see a little bit of themselves in her. They also realize that, well, she makes mistakes and so forth, but she's got the potential."

Indeed, potential is the key word when it comes to season two of the hit action series, as Valley echoed his co-stars Chi McBride and Jackie Earle Haley in praising the arrival of new cast members. "From an actor's standpoint, it makes things a lot more, not necessarily easier, but you get a lot more for your dollar out of these relationships that are kind of continuing," he said. "It's a bit easier for an actor to get to build on a relationship than actually having someone new come in and remind you of someone from your past, and not really knowing who that is. It's much more interesting to kind of play out all of these different issues with more people. I've always felt that the more I can do, the more I can show who he is or what kind of mood he's in, by that same token, I'd say that the more people that are involved, the more opportunities there are to show who these people are and how they react."

"There's a lot to do, but I think as well, we're laying down the foundation for a wider potential of story opportunities to happen in the future," he continued. "What I think we're going to end up having is an environment that's going to be fertile ground for more stories, but there will be a little bit of a story going on within the team, as opposed to who's the client and what's the relationship with them. There will be a little bit more in-house drama."

The second season of "Human Target" airs Wednesday nights at 8/7 PM central on Fox.

Tags: fox, jackie earle haley, chi mcbride, human target, mark valley, janet montgomery

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