Craig Robinson: 'Killing It' characters 'punched in the face' by life, bureaucracy in S2

Season 2 of "Killing It" -- starring Claudia O’Doherty (L) and Craig Robinson -- premieres Thursday. Photo courtesy of Peacock
1 of 5 | Season 2 of "Killing It" -- starring Claudia O’Doherty (L) and Craig Robinson -- premieres Thursday. Photo courtesy of Peacock

NEW YORK, Aug. 17 (UPI) -- The Office, Pineapple Express and Mr. Robot alum Craig Robinson says he loves the dramatic portions he gets to play in his rags-to-riches comedy, Killing It.

The show stars Robinson and Our Flag Means Death actress Claudia O'Doherty as down-on-their-luck, Florida snake hunters Craig and Jillian.


By the end of Season 1, the partners have scratched together enough money to buy a farm on which they can grow a rare plant needed to make a popular health supplement.

Premiering Thursday on Peacock, Season 2 shows them struggling to navigate weather-related and bureaucratic obstacles.

"I love getting into the drama aspect of it," Robinson told UPI in a Zoom interview conducted before the Screen Actors Guild strike last month.

"We have a blast doing the jokes, and there are some incredibly funny people who come through [as guest stars]. We come full circle, going through comedy, drama, with the heart and the edge and the darkness. It is too good!"


Season 1 ended on a positive note, but it doesn't mean smooth sailing ahead for Craig and Jillian, who is facing deportation to her native Australia.

"We end up winning the [snake-hunting] contest and get some success, and it looks we're going to get our first big check, get this harvest out and then we just get punched in the face and stomach over and over again with life and bureaucracy," Robinson said.

Jillian is more easily satisfied and sees a silver lining, however, since she finally has gotten a new car after enduring years of financial troubles.

"I got a Kia!" O'Doherty said. "That's a huge break for Jillian. It is a major development for her. She's gone from living in a trailer inside a billboard [towed behind her car] to having a Kia and renting an apartment. Things are going incredibly well for Jillian at the beginning of Season 2."

O'Doherty loves the show's flashback format.

"It starts with Craig as this big successful businessman and we know that he starts really from the bottom at the beginning of Season 1," she said.

"The plot has to progress in really dramatic ways. So, that's what I was really excited to do -- these really major plot twists."


The actress said she was surprised to learn how much governmental red tape is involved in farming and how daunting that can be.

"I didn't know anything about all of that stuff," O'Doherty said. "But the writers seemed to have researched all of the realities -- and the crazy things these characters go through -- really well. I was like, 'This is fascinating!'"

Throughout the show, honest, man-with-a-plan Craig and trusting, impulsive Jillian are seen becoming close friends who always have each other's backs, despite their completely different personalities.

Robinson described theirs as a "sort of brother-sister relationship" by Season 2.

"Craig wouldn't be in this position without Jillian and vice versa," he said of life on the farm.

"They need each other and there is a recognition of that and sometimes Jillian has to figure out ways to correct Craig's morality and then sometimes Craig has to figure out ways to correct Jillian's wanting to be everyone's friend."

So far, Craig has never completely lost his moral compass or hope that he can achieve his dreams because his late father instilled strong values in him when he was a boy.

"He thinks about his father who told him, 'Work hard and have faith everything is going to work out,'" Robinson said. "That gets quite tested. Does he always keep [his values]? We'll see, I guess."


Also strained this season is Craig's relationship with his ne'er-do-well brother, Isaiah (Rell Battle).

"Isaiah is on the run and Craig doesn't know if he is alive or dead because he won't return Craig's calls," Robinson said. "By the time they see each other, it is pretty contentious."

Craig has better luck this season reuniting with his deaf ex-wife Camille (Stephanie Nogueras) and tween daughter Vanessa (Jet Miller).

"They are awesome and it was fun learning sign language and communicating with Stephanie and Jet is just an awesome human being, so there is a genuine affection for them when we go into those scenes," Robinson said.

The stars said they think the show's depictions of family, friendship and the quest for success resonate with viewers.

"I think everybody can relate to struggling to make their dreams a reality and, also, maybe to the idea that, even if you achieve one thing, you'll just be trying to achieve something else. It's an inherently tricky structure -- capitalism," O'Doherty said.

"Jillian's life is notched up three clicks easier now by virtue of the fact of getting a little bit of money, but then things start getting more complicated when she tries to get more money than that."


In the show, Craig and Jillian's lives are completely changed by $20,000, the cost of another character's purse.

"Everyone struggles at some point. It's a common theme and there is a way out," Robinson said.

"There is a way to survive, but you've got to give it all you got, if you're going to take that next step."

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