With the premiere of The Cleaning Lady set for this Monday, little is known about what to expect for the series in its sophomore season. Thony (Elodie Yung) is dealing with Marco (Ivan Shaw) taking Luca at the end of last season after helping Arman (Adan Canto) take over Hayak’s (Navid Negahban) empire. But now, there seems to be a new foe added to the mix.
Robert Kamdar, played by Naveen Andrews, is a wealthy ex-lover of Nadia (Eva De Dominici) who is called upon by her for a favor. He owns several properties including a fancy casino sports bar in the city, but he has his sights set on something bigger – a piece of Arman’s gun business – and Arman’s wife too.
“Sex, drugs, and – not necessarily – rock n’ roll,” Naveen Andrews describes his character to The Nerds of Color. “[Robert] has some unfinished business – and [Nadia] is the one that got away.”
That’s a lot to take into a series that centers undocumented workers working in the criminal underworld of Sin City. Though audiences were never introduced to Robert last season, Andrews shares that Robert has been there all along, but just observing and waiting for an opportunity to present itself.
“He’s willing to offer help but, of course, it comes at a price,” says Andrews. “The nature of that price and how he exacts that – at least, to me – means that he cannot help but be a malign influence on the other characters.”
Andrews did reveal that Robert is a man without empathy – which means Arman (and Thony) may be dealing with a sociopath. But, the only thing keeping Robert from truly being demented are his feelings for Nadia.
“[Robert]’s idea of a sense of self – it’s warped,” says Andrews. “For me, personally, I’ve got kids. That’s a good thing for me. [I’m] aware that there’s somebody else on the planet much more important than me. So, to deal with a character that has no natural empathy – he might be able to fake it, but [he] doesn’t know what it feels like. That’s psychosis to me.”
Audiences can expect some intensity between Arman and Robert. Andrews says Robert is a very manipulative and determined man, so he will do whatever it takes to come between Arman and Nadia. Arman will definitely have to watch his back.
“[Robert feels immense] jealousy [towards Arman],” Andrew reveals. “He sees somebody that he could possibly [have] a relationship with – as debilitating as he might have found it to beat it to his warped sense of self. The fact that she’s found someone – who he could see why she’s with this person – it can’t help but provoke insecurity and jealousy.”
As for how Thony plays in all of this, Robert does meet her – finding her “beguiling.” He questions why Arman and Nadia would use a cleaning lady to conduct mafia business, but realizes there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to Thony.
“His intellect is piqued by a kind of curiosity because he is immediately aware that she can’t just be that,” Andrews shares. “Something’s not quite right. The world is getting a presentation, not the reality.”
Andrews is also aware of “Armany” – the ship between Thony and Arman – but doesn’t know if Robert’s romance with Nadia will get the same support. There may be people who will push for Robert and Nadia in order for Thony and Arman to grow closer, but Andrews isn’t quite sure what the audience might think of Robert in general.
“I don’t know how, quite honestly, how [the] audience will react to that dynamic,” Andrews laughs. “That’s really out of my hands.”
So, is Robert more friend or foe in the series? Andrews provides an ambiguous answer saying not everything is black or white when it comes to his character.
“It’s not up to me to judge any character morally,” says Andrews. “We’re all complex. And it’s the complexity that makes acting rewarding.”
The Cleaning Lady’s second season premieres on Monday, September 19 at 9 pm on FOX.