Graceland season three, you have some explaining to do. Spoiler alert: season two ends with the presumed death of Mike Warren, one of the two lead characters of the show. It’s not the usual “Is he dead or not?” television cliffhanger, but instead we watch Mike, played by actor Aaron Tveit, die in a hospital. The stunning revelation has fans up in arms, and of course has the rest of the Graceland characters and house in shambles, most of all Paige. But is Mike really dead?
Here’s why we think not. The entire premise of Graceland is Mike Warren and Paul Briggs, two FBI alpha dogs at very different points in their career, struggling to coexist in the same undercover house. Without Mike, the premise of the show is fundamentally altered to the point that Graceland is no longer Graceland, even if most of the agents living in the house return. The show could be opting to go in an entirely different direction, in which Briggs reasserts himself as house leader and the focus shifts to solving undercover cases. After all, there is some sense that the show might have been better off with that premise to begin with, instead of adding the cumbersomeness of the agents spying on each other and selling each other out.
But this all comes down to one word: ratings. Graceland is getting less than a third of the audience that it had at the beginning of season one, and barely half of what it had at the beginning of season two. This season veered off course not only by making Mike Warren increasingly unlikable, but also by pushing Paul Briggs into the background and limiting the screen time that the two had together.
The best way to fix that is to shake up the landscape for season three in a manner which puts the two back together but under vastly different circumstances. And what better way to usher than in than to get the remaining audience to tune in for the season premiere to find out whether Mike is still alive? It also allows the characters to have new tension to chew through, even as Mike decides whether to forgive Paige for selling him out.
But at this point there could be no worse way to try to keep the remaining audience around than by killing off Mike Warren. It certainly wouldn’t bring back any former viewers, or bring in any new ones. So the only way producer Jeff Eastin and company would really go through with it is if Aaron Tveit wanted off the show. As there is no indication of that, we’re willing to place a slight wager on Mike surviving. But don’t be surprised if he uses his presumed death as part of an opportunity to go undercover or start a new mission.
We’re half expecting Season three of Graceland to open with the premise that Mike is dead, then gradually drop more clues throughout the episode that he might still be alive before finally revealing it a week or two later. But fans will have to spend the entire fall wondering if that’s the plan or if Graceland really has offed itself by offing its lead character.