Sonja Sohn Breaks Down Amanda’s Devastating Decision

Television

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Will Trent Season 2 Episode 5 “Capt. Duke Wagner’s Daughter.”]

All eyes were on Amanda Wagner (Sonja Sohn) in Tuesday’s episode of Will Trent — including those of a man she desperately did not want to see her ever again. Following up on last week’s cliffhanger, which saw Amanda receive a threatening call and scratched message warning that it’s “time to pay,” audiences finally found out who was stalking her in “Capt. Duke Wagner’s Daughter.”

As it turns out, a traffic stop changed her life back in the ’80s. After pulling a man over at night, she was viciously attacked by the driver and declined to report the assault after he drove away. That assailant went on to commit multiple subsequent atrocities to women, targeting them by putting nails in their tires so they’d have to pull over and be vulnerable to attack. Amanda took matters into her own hands by planting enough drugs on him to have him sent to jail for a long time. Unfortunately for her, his sentence wasn’t for life, and when he got out, he decided to exact revenge against Amanda.

Not only did he threaten her physically, but he also threatened to expose her for falsifying evidence, which would threaten her status as leader of the GBI. While Will Trent (Ramon Rodriguez) was supportive of Amanda and encouraged her to keep the lid on her past misdeed, Faith (Iantha Richardson) was devastated by her mentor’s decision.

Even though justice was served — for the right reasons, this time — the scars of Amanda’s past will continue to show for some time. TV Insider spoke to Sohn about her big episode to find out how this changes the game for the character and what it will mean for her relationships.

Amanda is always really strong in the show, so what’s it like for you to tap into this more vulnerable side of her in this episode?

Sonja Sohn: Oh, it’s really exciting, you know? Yeah, it was just exciting to do. She’s the boss, a.k.a. the supervisor, so there’s not a lot of real estate for her for that role. It’s not even about her but for the role given to me in terms of a one-hour episode. So when we get to see more of her backstory and more of her life, history, what makes her tick? It’s very exciting.

Speaking of that, this is the first time we see the present-day character get to address the sexism and abuse she went through. What’s it been like for you to see those flashbacks of the character, and was that backstory already factored into your performance before?

First of all, I just thought Sydney Park‘s work in those flashback episodes, I love her. With a character, you’re invested. It’s my job to be invested in the character in the role. I put it all into it, and when I saw her give those performances that were really knocked out… I had not factored into Amanda’s history that she had been brutally assaulted on the job. I knew she had been harassed, but you don’t know that kind of information.

You build out. You have to build out all kinds of history that are kind of gonna go one way or the other, depending on what shows up, but this was not an element that I factored into her history. So it was a discovery for me, and when I saw it as an actor, there was an excitement there. It’s, “Ah, there’s something I can sink my teeth into.” But also that gives me an, “Oh, all of this is now informed by this.”

You have to create that no matter what. I’ve created some things for her before, which I don’t need to reveal, but when you get to specifics from the show from the writers themselves, it gets aligned with their vision, because the writers are the visionaries. And I’m trying to show up for what they have in their heads.

So another element of her that has been revealed is that she planted evidence. Morally, there’s some gray area there because the guy that she did it to definitely deserved to be behind bars. Do you think she was afraid of getting exposed or was she ready to just own up to it?

I don’t think she wanted to be exposed. She didn’t want to lose her job. But the good news is that Amanda eventually really did own what happened, and so she was willing to walk away from her job and step fully into her integrity. I mean, I get it… And you know, there are a lot of women who are going to agree that Amanda did what she had to do, but at the bottom of it, it is wrong.

And if Amanda wasn’t willing to give up her job, the audience would have lost respect for her. We would not have to be on Amanda’s side. We needed to see her come around and go, “Okay, I did what I did… and I’ll pay for it now.”

And one way to pay for it is that Faith seems really disappointed in her. What do you think it’s gonna take for her to gain Faith’s admiration and trust? 

I don’t think she’s gonna gain back Faith’s trust. You can’t…  Once the innocence is lost, once you lose your virginity, you can’t go back. That becomes a moment, like an emotional — she’s lost. There’s an innocence that’s been lifted, a filter. She had Amanda on a pedestal, you know what I mean? “My mama was faulty, but at least there’s Amanda.” And she’s going, “Oh wow, Amanda’s human, too.” … That’s her character, but I think that sends Faith on a whole other trajectory.

Sonja Sohn in Will Trent

ABC/Disney

I want to talk a little bit about the fashion. When Amanda put on that dress, it was almost like a suit of armor. Do you feel that way about how she connects to her clothing? It’s always very intentional.

In some ways, in one world, the clothing is the character, right? There’s something about the clothing, the way she dresses that informs who this character is so much for me in a way that I can’t really describe… In that particular episode, in that particular scene, yes, absolutely — because of what she’s doing. But I also believe that, I mean, is it a suit of armor? Is it like a tool for clothing? We’re all communicating with how we decide to show up, right? And she’s very aware of that. She’s very aware of that.

In the last scene, it seems like Amanda wants to say something to Will. What do you think she wants to say, and why did that phone call from his nephew stop her from talking to him?

Because she knew he was in a moment. He’s got some things going on that she knows nothing about. And it’s also his father… It’s like, “Oh, you didn’t tell me this.” And also, just as they’re going [together], Will helped. A different part of Will opened up to Amanda in this episode. At the end, he’s going, “You don’t have to do this.” He’s now showing his affection for Amanda for the first time, and at the end, that’s all she’s got to hold on to… She’s tripped up, she’s a little battered at the end of this, but you know what? She’s a little closer to Will. He comforted her, right? And, “Who was… now you got another family relationship?” So Amanda’s taken aback, she sees it as a threat. This is where Amanda feels vulnerable. She’s weak. It’s understanding how to handle those feelings… And also she has no control, and she’s stuck.

Will Trent, Tuesdays, 8/7c, ABC

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