‘The Traitors’ Host Alan Cumming Explains Why the Show Brought Kate Chastain Back for Season 2

'The Traitors' Host Alan Cummings Explains Why the Show Brought Back Kate Chastain for Season 2
Alan Cummings and Kate Chastain. JSquared Photography/Getty Images
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The Traitors host Alan Cumming is giving fans an explanation for why the show decided to bring back Kate Chastain so late in the season 2 game.

“It was a discussion that we had with the network and the feeling was that she would have different, fresh eyes,” Cumming, 59, told TVLine in an interview published on Tuesday, February 20. “She didn’t play the perfect game in season 1, so it wasn’t like bringing back a mastermind. It wasn’t like bringing back [season 1 winner] Cirie [Fields].”

After an explosive first season that saw Chastain, 41, sabotaging missions and bluntly accusing fellow contestants — “RACHEL! RACHEL IS A TRAITOR!” — the Below Deck star nearly made it to the finale before getting booted by the four remaining players.

Despite multiple attempts to get kicked off the team, Chastain ultimately became an imperative key to season 1 as the Traitors used her as a shield to block themselves from suspicion. Becoming a scapegoat, Cumming said, is one of the reasons producers wanted to see Chastain back in the game.

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“Kate actually had unfinished business from Season 1 and she was a fan favorite,” he explained. “We enjoyed spicing things up, having a little bit of a lift.”

Cumming added that Chastain’s personality is one “phenomenal” for TV. He noted that it’s also important to keep players “guessing” about what will happen next. “It’s a murder mystery at the end of the day, so we enjoyed Kate arriving halfway through,” he said.

Season 2 of The Traitors premiered in January and saw a brand new group of reality TV stars from shows like Big Brother, Survivor, Real Housewives and more come together at Scotland’s Ardross Castle. While there, they must figure out who amongst the Faithful contestants are Traitors, whose goal is to eliminate the Faithful and claim the $250,000 prize for themselves. As the game continues, Faithfuls banish those they believe have betrayed them — and Traitors take to the night to murder those who threaten their strategy.

The Traitors Host Alan Cummings Explains Why the Show Brought Back Kate Chastain for Season 2
Euan Cherry/PEACOCK

While Chastain was not initially in the season 2 cast, she appeared in episode 5 just moments before the first Traitor, Dan Gheesling, gets voted out. By the eighth episode, Chastain has been recruited to join the dark side with Phaedra Parks, the only Traitor left in the game after Parvati Shallow was also banished.

“I was definitely caught off guard,” Chastain told TVLine about getting the call to return to the show. “I said, ‘Did you watch the first season? Are you sure you got the right number? This is Kate Chastain. I think you’re calling a different Kate.’ They said, ‘Think about it,’ and I just thought it was such an honor to even be invited back a second time. We worked it out. I found a nanny for the baby. It was such an honor to be asked back.”

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Whether or not Kate accepts Phaedra’s invitation to the dark side remains to be seen, but she has been widely regarded as a major reason for the Emmy-winning show’s success. While the physical challenges are a major part of what sparked her initial disdain for the game, Chastain was excited to throw a wrench in the mix with her season 2 return.

"What makes my return to The Traitors so exciting is that no one saw it coming … myself included!” she told People last month. "I was willing to give it another go because I knew the cast this year was stacked with so many big, fun personalities. And let’s face it: when Alan Cumming invites you back to his castle, you go!"

New episodes of The Traitors season 2 air on Peacock Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET.