When "Human Target" returns for its second season on Fox, Christopher Chance and the gang will take aim at some new recruits. Up first on the docket is multi-millionaire philanthropist Ilsa Pucci, who first comes into contact with Chance as a client requiring his services before recognizing the value in his operation and consequently deciding to bankroll his future endeavors.
But even Pucci's powerful presence allows room for another feminine presence. Enter Janet Montgomery, who joins Indira Varma as the second new series regular on "Human Target." The British actress plays Ames, a master thief who decides to lend her considerable skill set to Chance's team - but only after they catch her in the midst of a high-level theft.
"She's one of the best thieves [in the world] and she gets caught, unfortunately. I think it's one of the first times she's been caught and isn't able to talk her way out of [it]," Montgomery told CBR News of her character's introduction. "She knows who Guerrero [played by Jackie Earle Haley] is, and she knows his reputation, and I think she's genuinely shit scared - until she realizes that she has a lot of respect for this guy and what they're doing. She thinks that maybe this is something she could be involved with. 'I think they need me,' is what she's thinking, and I think they agree with her."
Montgomery said Chance's willingness to accept Ames as part of his operation owes a lot to the fact that he sees himself in the young thief. "If you could see Chance and Guerrero when they were younger, she's like them," she said. "I think that's why, although she can be bloody annoying, she's endearing. They've been there. She's so skilled and so smart that they can't ignore that she's something special."
Among the character's various skill set is her obvious sex appeal, though Montgomery said she's fighting against having Ames rely too heavily on her powers of seduction. "In some moments, it's needed and it's good," she said. "But for me, what's more interesting, is that she can be one of the guys and achieve the same things they can, but maybe in different ways. I think it's more about her just being this chameleon who can become anyone. Because she can do that, and do it on the turn of the hat, most people in the situation think that she must know what they're doing - that's how she gets in places. Sometimes she uses sex appeal, I'm not going to lie, but I don't want it to be every time. I think the writers agree with me on that. It's not about her being very sexy - she's just badass."
"It's like Angelina Jolie, who can take a role that's written for a guy and just play it," she continued. "She's one of the only people who can do that. She can also do the sexy thing - let's be honest, she's one of the sexiest people on the planet. I'm not trying to be Angelina Jolie, because I probably won't succeed, but what I love about Ames and what makes her so enjoyable to play is that she's an obscure shape with all of these different sides I can explore. All of these characters she becomes, because she's so perceptive of other people around her, she just knows how to play every situation to her advantage."
But Ames' abilities can only take her so far given her overall newness to the spy game, which occasionally makes her a liability for the team. "But even if she fucks everything up, if she does something wrong, her heart is always in the right place," Montgomery insisted. "She's always doing whatever the greater good is in her mind, so even if that isn't the greater good, it's what she believes is the right thing to do. Chance and Guerrero can't knock her for that. Winston can, because he's 'above the law,' but they can't knock her for that. They would do the same."
The character's lack of respect for Winston stems from the fact that the two characters crossed paths earlier in her life, back when Winston was a cop and Ames was just a kid stealing on the streets. "She just takes the piss out of him," Montgomery said of Ames' relationship with Chi McBride's authoritative character. "She just thinks he's this cop, and she has no respect for cops. She doesn't give a fuck about him."
"Guerrero, on the other hand, she's like, 'Oh my god, this is the guy I want to be.' He's cool. In the second episode, you see her follow him around and show him what she can do," she assessed of her views on the team's shady spy, before adding about Mark Valley's Christopher Chance: "In the third episode, there's some really nice moments between her and Chance, which I really like. There aren't any romantic elements, and I don't know that there will be, between her and any of the guys. Right now, where the character is, she's not the kind of gal who's going to fall in love. But if she did fall in love, I do think it would be with someone older - that would be interesting."
As one of two new cast members on "Human Target," Montgomery said that she's trying not to think too hard about how her presence is going to alter the foundation established by the core trio of Valley, Haley and McBride. "I tend not to think about things like that," she said. "I don't want to put any added pressure on myself. I'm just thinking about getting the best out of my character that I can and working with the guys on what they've already created. I'm trying to bring something else to it. It's already working, so I don't want to come in and change it, I just want to bring in a different element."
So far, mission accomplished.
"The writing has been phenomenal," she assessed of the season's progress. "Episode three is great for me, selfishly, but also speaking with Jackie, it's just so well-written. You can't ignore that. I can't think of anything that's like 'Human Target' on TV at the moment. I feel that they've been very ambitious this year. The first episode is like a feature film - you shoot a feature in, what, eight weeks at least, and this was like eight days. The crew is working really hard, the actors are working really hard and the writers are working even harder. Everybody is all working really hard to make this show even better than last season."
The second season of "Human Target" premieres on Wednesday (November 17) at 8/7 PM central on Fox.