Patrick Wymore/CBS

Jericho finally hit the airwaves again last week, and my fave new castmember is Esai Morales—whom show runner Carol Barbee has described as filling the "vacuum of awesomeness" left by the departure of Gerald McRaney. Esai was originally asked to read for a different part, but the producers soon realized he was the perfect Major Beck. Turns out, they were right, so click in to get the dish from Jericho's newest resident.  (Mild spoilers inside.)

We're All Friends Here:  It was easy for Esai to settle into the existing cast, in part because he was already pals with Skeet Ulrich (Jake Green). The show also turned out to have a certain sci-fi appeal for Esai, who says, "I was shown the first and the last episode, and it was such an engrossing, there-but-for-the-grace-of-god-go-we, cautionary tale. I love the fact that on Jericho the public is the last to know what's going on, much like in real life. You have to watch out where you get your information from and think about who is pulling the strings for what purpose. It's a thinking man and woman's show."

Meet Major Beck:  Okay, sure, he's cute and competent, but can we trust the new guy? Esai thinks yes: "I see the major as a good guy in a questionable army. That's the problem: Do you follow the power, or do you follow the principle? He's a principled person in a powerful army. And the people who pull the strings are the true power behind what's going on—and he doesn't know exactly what's going on. He just knows he has his mission he has to fulfill."

Always, There's a Man Behind the Curtain:  Benry, is that you? Lost-style, this season on Jericho, there is a big bad keeping soldiers in check by separating them from their families. Esai says, "There are many ways to control a human being, and what makes Major Beck vulnerable is that he doesn't know where his wife and child are. And that's a problem. They tell him they have leads, but first of all, they want to know, 'Are you doing this, are you doing that?' "


Cliff Lipson/CBS

Allies or Enemies?  Esai and Skeet's relationship rocks in real life, but on the show, well, it gets just rocky. "Without giving too much away," Esai says, "I will say that he comes to feel betrayed by Jake. That's episode five or six, where he has to come down on Jake, because he understands there is an insurgency going on right under his watch."

Meanwhile, tune in tonight to see Skeet and Esai meet up with George Newbern's character, whom I like to call "President Father of the Bride" after his appearance in one of my fave Steve Martin comedies, but whose role in this dramarama is definitely no laughing matter.

Also, do you guys think Jericho's new look and feel is an improvement or a wrong turn? I love season two so far, but post your thoughts in the Comments!

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