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‘Midnight, Texas’: How the Author Behind ‘True Blood’ Rewrote Her Own Vampire Rules to Create a More Tolerant World

Plus, a guide to who’s who among the witches, angels, psychics and other misfits in NBC’s supernatural romp.

Peter Mensah, "Midnight, Texas"

Peter Mensah, “Midnight, Texas”


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“Lem is unique in that he doesn’t have to kill to survive,” said Mensah. “He does what he calls leeching, which is something he can do to a greater or lesser extent. He can leech to the point of death, or leech in such a refined way it’s a soothing experience. He’s fairly surgical in his use of it.”

This frees Lemuel up to make real relationships with those around him. “He doesn’t see them solely as food,” said Harris. “He sees them as people who are on this trip with him, though he will live much longer than any of them, but this is what he’s got to work with and he is part of a group, which is pretty rare for him.”

Joe Strong, Angel

Jason Lewis, "Midnight, Texas"

Jason Lewis, “Midnight, Texas”


Joe (“Sex and the City” star Jason Lewis) is a tattoo artist by trade and an angel by birth (or however angels are made). This means he can sprout wings and fly when no one’s looking. He’s also very, very, very old.

“The town itself is a nexus point for reality. It is a spot between Earth and Hell that’s very thin. He has been there at this battle before. He has been watching over this space on the Earth for a long, long time. So he has a lot of history there. He’s watched this possible Armageddon trying to come and manifest itself in this place for quite some time. I think the idea of him being there now is it’s a place where supernaturals have congregated, unbeknownst to themselves why they’ve been drawn to it. And it’s a place where they can exist without having to be under society’s conventions.”

Joe Strong is also in a longterm relationship with Chuy (Bernando Saracino), who is also his business partner and does nails in the same shop.

Strong Angel tattoo and nails shop, "Midnight, Texas"

Strong Angel tattoo and nails shop, “Midnight, Texas”

Hanh Nguyen/IndieWire

“I’ve done a lot of thinking and pondering on what that means for these two characters,” said Lewis. “You’re dealing with a love affair that’s spanned over a thousand years the way we’re presenting it. I think basic human sexuality concerns go by the wayside.

“In today’s political climate where it feels like we’re slipping so far back on the values and ideals that we’ve achieved as a society, I am so stoked to be something that flies in the face of other people’s considerations. These are not gay angels. That’s just a label, man. These are two creatures who love each other, and love is the paramount interest and way beyond human sexuality concerns. This whole idea of us and them, it’s just got to end. The fact that I get to play that character, bring on the criticisms. I’m ready to answer.”

Creek, Human

Sarah Ramos, "Midnight, Texas"

Sarah Ramos, “Midnight, Texas”

Cathy Kanavy/NBC

Even among the show’s non-magical, non-supernatural humans, Creek (“Parenthood” star Sarah Ramos) is the most mundane one. She works two jobs around town and is a dutiful sister and daughter who is about to have her world rocked this season.

“Creek’s father is kind of a classic, small-town deadbeat guy,” said Ramos. “He is an alcoholic and a controlling father who wants to know where she is at all times and doesn’t want her to have a relationship with Manfred, the psychic who comes to town. She is only staying in Midnight, Texas because she’s taking care of her little brother Connor, who’s 17 and she wants to leave when he’s 18 and he can take care of himself, but she doesn’t want to leave him alone with their very controlling father.

“There’s definitely secrets, but her world is about to get a lot bigger,” said Ramos. “She’s about to learn a lot that she didn’t know about her childhood and why she’s in Midnight, Texas in the first place. She’s going to have to decide whether to say there or to leave.”

Olivia, Human

Arielle Kebbel, "Midnight, Texas"

Arielle Kebbel, “Midnight, Texas”

Cathy Kanavy/NBC

Olivia (Arielle Kebbel) has had a very dark past, and since she’s a freelance assassin, her life isn’t going to get lighter anytime soon.

“I immediately understood her pain and anger and wounds​. There is a lot in myself that I hide or that I haven’t necessarily let out because sometimes anger can be seen as a negative emotion​,” said Kebbel. “T​his was an opportunity for me to really show that it’s important to let those emotions out and it doesn’t need to be a negative thing and to show​, what a woman with a horrific childhood and past looks like​. She is so tough on the outside​, ​she’s a bad​ass and she can handle anything at any moment​. ​I really wanted the audience to see the pain behind her eyes because that’s something you can’t hide​.​“

In order to work out of her home office, so to speak, Olivia has an elaborate lair that includes a velvet-draped boudoir, a ridiculously large walk-in closet that would make any spy jealous, and quite the arsenal hidden away in a cupboard.

“It’s thousands of dollars a day to have that equipment in there, so they purposely took the guns out [for this set visit],” said Kebbel. We know exactly when we are shooting those scenes and the rest of the time they live in our minds but it’s a very impressive arsenal. Before I even learned about the closet, I walked on set to see her apartment for the first time and was blown away… I kept having to pinch myself… I knew I would have a closet that would require different wigs and shoes and accessories but we hadn’t actually seen it yet. That was a whole extra layer of excitement. When I got to see her closet for the first time, when the doors first opened, I was like, I am so James Bond!”

Olivia's lair, "Midnight, Texas"

Olivia’s lair, “Midnight, Texas”

Hanh Nguyen/IndieWire

Olivia is also in a relationship with Lemuel, and when she gets worked up, he helps her take the edge off by leeching her energy. “Obviously, he is centuries older than her, but they’ve both had horrifying life experiences along the way, which allows them to really see one another in a way that no one else does and that’s how they connect,” Kebbel said. “The leeching…I remember talking to Monica [Osuwu-Breen] about it and I was like, ‘This is more intimate than sex. I felt like it needed to be a beautiful moment because they’re literally keeping each other alive. We’ve all felt those days when we’re going to explode, and Lem releases those feelings from her. He’s giving her life and in turn she is giving him life because he doesn’t have to feed on blood, he can feed on her anger and her emotions.”

Continue to next page for the a pet cemetery cameo and a cat>>

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