Showtime’s gothic horror drama Penny Dreadful had a fantabulous second season, and one shining spot in it was Broadway legend Patti LuPone. LuPone has made an appearance in several series recently (Girls, American Horror Story), and though she was only in one Penny Dreadful episode, her character the Cut-Wife had a huge impact on Vanessa’s (Eva Green) arc. Wisely, show creator John Logan is now bringing LuPone back for Season 3, but as a new character: Dr. Seward, an American therapist who “treats Vanessa with an unusual new approach.” Of course, everything is unusual on Penny Dreadful, so there’s no telling what that means.
There is certainly precedent for actors returning as different characters (on Law & Order, for instance, someone might return several times playing different roles), though it’s fairly rare in cable dramas. Garret Dillahunt in Deadwood is one example. I’m not a huge fan of it happening (because it can be confusing for casual viewers, and distracting for everyone else), but I’m definitely intrigued by what LuPone will bring to this new character, especially given how haunting and powerful her Cut-Wife was.
In addition to Dr. Seward, Penny Dreadful’s third season will also be adding Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Henry Jekyll, played by Shazad Latif (The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel). While I think Penny Dreadful is really successful in creating new characters (rather than pulling everyone from literature), I’ve been impressed with the new places its taken some otherwise familiar stories — like with Frankenstein and his Creature — so Jekyll/Hyde will be a new, welcomed (and unstable) addition to the cast.
According to a press release, other new Season 3 characters include:
- Christian Camargo (Dexter) as Dr. Alexander Sweet, a zoologist who strikes up an unlikely friendship with Vanessa.
- Sam Barnett (Jupiter Ascending) as Dr. Seward’s mysterious young secretary.
- Wes Studi (Hell On Wheels) will become a series regular as Kaetenay, an intense, enigmatic Native American with a deep connection to Ethan (Josh Hartnett) who also becomes an ally to Sir Malcolm (Timothy Dalton).
- Jessica Barden (Far from the Madding Crowd) as Justine, a young acolyte to Lily (Billie Piper) and Dorian Gray (Reeve Carney).
(Regarding Kaetenay, he just sounds like a substitute for Sembene … why did we have to lose Sembene in the first place?) What do you guys think of these new characters and LuPone’s return?
Penny Dreadful’s third season, which will run for nine episodes, will return in 2016 on Showtime.