‘Your Honor’: Benjamin Flores Jr. And Andrene Ward-Hammond Discuss The Triggers And Grit Of Showtime Drama’s Second Season
Showtime’s Your Honor will leave you questioning the extent you would go through to protect your family. The “in your face” drama reveals there is no right or wrong in getting what you feel is rightful justice.
Oscar nominee and Emmy winner Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) executive produces and stars in the series. His character, Judge Michael Desiato, goes to unthinkable, dangerous lengths to protect his son after the teen accidentally kills the son of a mob boss.
The fallout from his attempt to cover up the murder causes a ripple effect that touches everyone that comes in contact with him.
The gritty, fast-paced drama is at a turning point in its second season.
Set in New Orleans, Louisiana, Your Honor incorporates multiple storylines to create a plot of revenge, political corruption, race wars, and desperation.
Two of this season’s critical characters are Big Mo, the leader of the Desire gang in the Lower Ninth Ward, and Eugene, a lost teen on the run for his life.
Andrene Ward-Hammond brings the female gangster to life, and Benjaman Flores Jr. embodies the burdened teen. Shadow and Act spoke to the actors about the crazy web that season 2 has woven.
Flores began by giving his interpretation of what Your Honor is about. “The series takes us to so many potholes, and then those potholes introduce us to these new characters,” he said. “These characters introduce us to so many stories and unravel different things. But the main theme of the show is how far you will go for the one you love.”
Ward-Hammond added that the series is “what it looks like when one bad decision spirals out of control and affects everyone around you.”
The post ‘Your Honor’: Benjamin Flores Jr. And Andrene Ward-Hammond Discuss The Triggers And Grit Of Showtime Drama’s Second Season appeared first on Shadow And Act.
Although his character’s actions are traumatic responses from a lose-lose situation, Flores states that Eugene represents the voiceless.
“I feel like the character dynamic of Eugine is relatable,” he told us. “He holds a mirror up to a lot of people, causing them to resonate with him. They usually feel deeply for Eugene because they have been in those situations or know someone who has.”
The character’s need to get revenge is a universal understanding when someone feels they must atone for the loss of their family. But the choice to be the bigger person will also resonate with audiences.
“I feel like having to be the bigger person or turn the other cheek is something we [Black people] have to do so much, even when wronged,” the actor said. “But we sometimes have to understand it’s about choosing a different road.”
Eugene’s roads begin in the Lower Ninth Ward neighborhood of Desire and cross in the path of Big Mo. Ward-Hammond won’t describe the female gang leader as a villain but as the protector of her community–by any means.
“While her occupation is frowned upon, she looks over her community,” the actress said. “She does her best with the circumstances that they have been afforded. So, I think she’s just a Black woman dealing with her situation and making sure the folks around her are good.”
The storyline of Mo as the leader of the Desire gang creates a great dynamic where a woman is seen and heard calling the shots.
“I love it,” she said. “When you look at everything, you see women on the frontline. So I’m not surprised that Mo is the leader of the gang. Even when a man is the focus or has a position of power, there is usually a strong woman behind or beside him, giving him the best advice in his ear. The women are the ones holding it down.”
Both actors agreed that Mo is “highly calculated” and “very direct.”
The Brooklyn native suggested that’s just a part of being a Black woman.
“We have to be very aware of our presence in society,” she added. “We are very careful about how we communicate and how we carry ourselves. We have to dim ourselves because we can’t seem threatening, and unfortunately, we can’t seem too smart.”
Ward-Hammond states that although Big Mo allows the boys on the show to be boys, she clarifies that she knows exactly what they are doing.
The show’s theme of corruption isn’t only relevant in Desiato’s trail of lies but with crooked cops and political deception that resemble what we see in headlines daily.
Flores gives his opinion as Eugune, who has his number of run-ins with the judicial system on the series.
“The show did a great job of putting out what people are already aware is going in– the murders involving cops, the payouts, the secrets, people getting away with it,” he said. “We shine a light on that.”
Big Mo’s perspective comes from that as the Black woman forced to hold it all together.
“As much as we don’t like the occupation or how Mo supports her community, she’s still there,” said Ward-Hammond. “She gives back based on the cards that she is dealt. It’s so triggering because it’s a direct reflection of what we see now.”
She mentioned economic disparities and crimes against marginalized communities and how those things get ignored because no one cares.
“So when you get triggered about seeing our characters taken advantage of, that’s good. What are you going to do about it? Because that’s happening every day.”
The writing team does a great job of making viewers question their morale and assuming what decision they would have made in a situation.
Both actors did their share of research to understand the mindset of the characters they played. Filming in New Orleans, immersion into the culture of the city’s residences, and witnessing the inequality when you cross the bridge into areas like Desire.
Growing up in Memphis, Flores witnessed some of the same displacement within his city.
The connection between race and access is made clear in the show. The only thing more evident is the divide.
Big Mo and Eugene, like many, are not victims of their circumstances but responders.
Euguene is a reflection of Black innocence, and Big Mo is a representation of Black survival. Ultimately the two can’t coexist.
When asked what an alternate life could look like if their characters were plucked from their damaging environment, Flores couldn’t answer on behalf of Euguene.
“I don’t even think Eugene would get to the point of someone asking him about his mental health,” he said. “I don’t think anyone would care if they did; he wouldn’t know how to respond. I can’t imagine him seeing a therapist, opening up, or even crying. He’s seen so much and been through so much. I don’t believe he thinks there is an alternative to that.”
While it doesn’t make for happy television moments, the darkness of Your Honor is an honest representation of how morality is personal and the roads to redemption can have several detours.
The season finale of Your Honor season 2 will debut March 17 on streaming and on-demand. It will air March 19 at 9 p.m. on the linear network.