Sanaa Lathan

Ruthless Chicago mayor Tom Kane (Kelsey Grammer) would've been smart to recall the adage "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned." In Season 2 of the dark political drama Boss, Kane will face the ire of the many women in his life whom he's scorned — not to mention betrayed and humiliated.

As the season opens, the mayor is still the city's top dog, but "at a great moral cost," explains executive producer Farhad Safina. No kidding. He's had his disloyal fixer Ezra Stone (Martin Donovan) killed, blackmailed sex-addict gubernatorial candidate Ben Zajac (Jeff Hephner) and forced out his chief aide Kitty O'Neil (Kathleen Robertson) for relaying inside information to Ben, her lover.

But while the wily pol is reasserting his will over Chicago, he's losing his battle against a degenerative disease that will take his faculties — he already suffers hallucinations — and ultimately his life. "The major arc this season," says Grammer, a Golden Globe winner for his first dramatic role, "is Kane finally coming to terms with his illness. Now he believes he needs to leave something good behind."

Despite his new resolve, it may be too late to expect forgiveness from the women he has crossed. "The Boss women, despite some poor choices, are strong, focused, even Machiavellian," says the actor. Adds Nicole Forester, who plays Maggie Zajac: "They're all capable of seeking revenge."

Kitty O'Neil, Kane's former aide-de-camp
Played by: Kathleen Robertson

"After spending her entire career dedicated to and sacrificing for Tom Kane, Kitty's life has been turned upside down," says Robertson. And how. She's unemployed, pregnant by the married Ben Zajac and living back home with her mom. "She should probably leave Chicago and start fresh, but Kane and Kitty are more alike than not: She's addicted to the proximity to power." Look for Kitty to make shocking decisions about her job, the baby and how much to cooperate with crusading anti-Kane journalist Sam Miller (Troy Garity). "Season 2," says the Beverly Hills, 90210 grad, "is about a woman finding her place in the world."

Maggie Zajac, Ben's wife
Played by: Nicole Forester

"Ambition burns inside her," says Safina about the betrayed spouse who finally let her claws out at last season's end. "It's become clear that Maggie isn't a dutiful, supportive wife of a young candidate," adds Forester. "She's a political animal in her own right. She's just as smart as Ben and more cunning and will do anything possible to get the job done of moving into the governor's mansion. She becomes an important figure in Ben's campaign. I don't know if Kane knows just how much he's dealing with Maggie when he thinks he's dealing with Ben."

Meredith Kane, Tom's Wife
Played by: Connie Nielsen

"I always knew that Kane's most formidable opponent would be his wife," says Safina. The politically connected daughter of a former mayor gave Kane the cred that made his career, but she's now trapped in a marriage so dysfunctional, her husband sent her to seduce a needed backer. "Meredith still thinks that power is the only currency that has importance," says Nielsen (Gladiator), "and she sacrificed her child's [well-being] to it. But this season is about self-discovery for Meredith. Like a lot of women who thought that power was through their husbands, she may look for her own ability to hold that power."

Emma Kane, Tom and Meredith's daughter
Played by: Hannah Ware

The only daughter of Chicago's first family is in jail when Season 2 begins. The addict-turned-pastor was sent there by her father, who gained political capital with her arrest after he learned that Emma was supplying meds to her church-run health clinic via her drug-dealing boyfriend Darius (Rotimi Akinosho). "She's at her lowest, just trying to survive," says Ware. "She lost everything because of her actions." Even worse, she's forced to go under house arrest and live with the parents she hates so vehemently. "She only wants to not do drugs, but Emma is drawn to danger," says the actress. "There's someone new she grows quite attached to."

Mona Fredricks
Played by: Sanaa Lathan

"Mona is the center of Kane's dark emotional journey this season," says Safina. A product of the projects and now a happily married mother of two, "Mona is very passionate about the community of Lennox Gardens, which Kane is about to rede­velop," Lathan explains. "Her objective is to make sure that these people don't lose everything. Kane becomes enchanted by her moral integrity — and a little more," the Nip/Tuck vet reveals. "Mona is supposed to be uncorruptable, but she's still a politician." And we all know what kind of bedfellows politics makes.

Boss returns Friday at 9/8c on Starz.

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