‘The Cleaning Lady’ Showrunners Tease What’s Next With Kamdar and Unpack That Love Triangle

Spoiler alert: The following article discusses the entirety of “The Cleaning Lady” Season 2, Episode 7, titled “Truth or Consequences.”

The midway point of “The Cleaning Lady” Season 2, the seventh episode aptly titled “Truth or Consequences,” sees the confluence of several narrative conclusions orbiting Thony’s (Élodie Yung) family and their accidental yet growing status in Las Vegas’ criminal underbelly; among them, Chris (Sean Lew) begins healing from his traumatic involvement in Marco’s death, the impetus of the Fox crime-thriller’s sophomore installment, and Arman (Adan Canto) shows how far he’s willing to go to protect Thony. It’s all part of the plan creator Miranda Kwok envisions on her quest to lead a series that embodies a type of “female ‘Breaking Bad,’” as Thony couches her wavering morality in a kill-or-be-killed environment.

“She was always resisting it,” the showrunner and executive producer told TheWrap. “She is somebody who’s always going to try to hold on to her moral center as much as she can, but at the same time, she can’t. She’s somebody who thinks that she can outsmart everyone and be in control and control everything. What Episode 7 tells us is that she can’t.”

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Three episodes earlier, Thony’s sister-in-law Fiona (Martha Millan) had a front-row seat to how second nature criminal activity had become to her, witnessing her intimidation and blackmail of a sleazy motel manager that was threatening to lord Marco’s accidental killing over Chris and the family. After Thony discovers additional copies of the evidential tape outside of his computer, which the manager had failed to admit to, she and Arman agree that he has to be killed.

“It’s like chess moves that are so much faster, and so many moves ahead, where she makes that realization that, ‘He has to be sacrificed in order for us to continue to live our lives and continue again to help Luca,’” Melissa Carter, who is an executive producer and recently promoted showrunner, said. “It’s interesting to watch that scene where Thony has just completely compartmentalized what they’re doing and has already justified it, where[as] Fiona is watching it happen in real time.”

While Kwok said she was keen to further explore Chris’ emotional and mental unraveling following Marco’s death, the creator was satisfied to have the narrative end with his confession to FBI agent Garrett (Oliver Hudson), who promised to keep the reality of the accident secret to spare the family additional grief. Despite the limited real estate on broadcast TV and focus on Thony’s overarching story, the experience exemplifies what’s at the core of the show — that of the barriers undocumented immigrants face in getting help from law enforcement or mental health professionals, which resulted in a “snowball” effect that had a “gravitational pull” on the family.

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“There’s a lot involved in being an undocumented immigrant that other people don’t have to face, and there are greater fears about what can happen to you [when] you don’t have certain rights and protections as other people,” she said. “And so even though it was an accident, there’s a fear that it won’t be considered that, and unfortunately, that causes the entire family to … choose things that they wouldn’t normally choose. And that had a real spiral effect.”

Going into the latter half of the season, which consists of 12 episodes, Kwok and Carter said the plot will mostly be devoted to Arman and Thony’s attempted takedown of Naveen Andrews’ chilling loan shark villain Robert Kamdar. As a ruthless and calculated criminal who weighs the humans around him solely financially, Carter teased that the plotline will be a “thorn in Thony’s side.” As her and Arman’s efforts have proved previously, working with the FBI is perilous territory, and the latter is forced to kill Garrett’s former informant Maya (Chelsea Frei) in order to prove their loyalty.

“[Kamdar] is somebody who really is an example of how power corrupts, and he is somebody who has through his life done everything he could to amass money, and therefore amass power,” Kwok said. “And now he’s at a point in his life where he can do whatever he wants, and he can do it without consequence, or so he believes. And so, because of that, he doesn’t regard people as people — he’s the master manipulator.”

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That’s part of what makes him “elusive” and “frightening,” Carter said, adding that out of every character on the show he lacks a distinctive moral center that might otherwise help curtail any murderous impulses. However, his one weakness is his genuine love and respect for (and obsession with) former flame Nadia (Eva De Dominici), which the co-showrunner promises will be “tested.”

Kwok teased, “We all realize that Kamdar has one vulnerability, which is Nadia, so she gets roped into trying to take him down as well.”

The rekindling of Nadia’s flirtation with Kamdar, especially in the wake of her understanding that Arman has developed feelings for Thony, will continue to be a source of an atypical love triangle and “fun seesaw” for the show. The showrunners are purposeful in steering clear of any one love of his gaining favor over the other.

“Arman is someone that has these two women that represent two sides of his soul: Nadia, who is so loyal to him and loves him so much, and is so completely supportive of his criminal side,” Carter explained. “There’s no moral debate about what he does in the criminal world. It’s just accepted that this is who they are in Las Vegas. And then when he meets Thony, she holds a mirror up to him and makes him question why he’s doing what he’s doing.”

For Kwok, Thony and Arman are moreso twin flames, with the former pushing the latter to be a better version of himself. “I think it’s beyond love,” she said. “It’s such a different relationship that we’ve never seen before, which is just two souls who have come together, who completely get each other.”

“The Cleaning Lady” airs Mondays on Fox.

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