Janina Gavankar, <i>The Gates</i> Janina Gavankar, The Gates

After last week's premiere of ABC's The Gates, it's clear that there's more to the show's upscale community than white picket fences and soccer moms. There's the high school teen who needs to keep his anger in check so he doesn't accidentally turn into a werewolf. Then there are the witches who work their magic under the guise of holistic remedy makers. And let's not forget the married vampire couple, the Radcliffes, who've already drained and dumped one unfortunate contractor.

Could there be even more otherworldly residents lurking in the picture-perfect neighborhood? Turns out Deputy Leigh Turner may also have something to hide. Actress Janina Gavankar reveals how things are amped up in the next episode (Sunday, 10/9c), what her character is up to, and why she thinks The Gates is different from other supernatural shows.

The Gates is not the next True Blood — and it's not trying to be

TVGuide.com:  We know things are not so normal at The Gates. What's coming up?
Janina Gavankar: We evolve quickly from the happy, shiny "Welcome to The Gates" first episode. Things go awry very quickly. It's not necessarily bloodier, but the overall feel is a bit more dark and intense. I think it's important for people to see what The Gates are first like and what the pamphlet makes you feel it's like... then when we start seeing the darker bits, you can still remember it's supposed to be the safest place to live.

TVGuide.com: Will it become more clear who's human and who's supernatural?
Gavankar: Yes, but there are definitely zingers along the way. We love reading our script because we don't know what's going to happen next. They told us in advance about our own characters, but I don't know what's going to happen to most of the other characters. It's kind of on a need-to-know basis.

TVGuide.com: Leigh seemed a little shady in the premiere. What can you tell us about her?
Gavankar: Leigh is a deputy who is in The Gates for a reason, but I can't tell you what that is. I can say she is there for the same reason as many other people — safety. And she needs that safety because she has a secret. You get to learn a little more about her in episode three. Her secrets start unraveling a bit, but she tries to keep them down. I will tell you this, though: She's not a vampire, she's not a werewolf, and she's not a witch. So go ahead and try to guess [Laughs].

TVGuide.com: With all the supernatural shows out there, what makes The Gates different?
Gavankar: One of the reasons why this is such an interesting show to me is because we put a very human spin on a supernatural theme. It's a great analogy for the immigrant experience. There's the idea of leaving everything behind and trying to make it and assimilating. These really big universal themes that we play with are human conditions. There really is something in it for everyone. The parents are going through normal parental issues. There's the younger high school element. Puberty sucks and everyone feels that they're different in high school. But that, coupled with having to worry about your hormones because you might have a werewolf flare and turn in the middle of homecoming? That's awkward!