A New (Female) Fighter Will Be Joining ‘Kingdom’


Step aside, Ronda Rousey. There’s a new female fighter heating up the world of MMA—at least the fictional one—when Natalie Martinez (Secrets and Lies) joins the addictive, brutal King Lear-meets-cage matches drama Kingdom as beautiful pugilist Alicia Mendez. (The series returned for Season 2 on Oct. 14.) “Alvey sort of inherits her,” explains Frank Grillo, whose intense gym owner agrees to train the fresh blood being managed by his pregnant girlfriend (Kiele Sanchez). “He sees something in her.”

This isn’t the first time Grillo and Martinez have stepped into the entertainment ring together. “We did a movie called End of Watch [in 2012], and she actually trains in my boxing gym,” says Grillo, a longtime fighter himself. “So when her name came up, I said if she’s available, she is probably the only woman in Hollywood who can really fight. She is better than the guys, but don’t tell them that!”

The guys will have enough to worry about as it is. Grillo teases that recent winner Ryan (Matt Lauria) will “go through something that takes him off the track of being a real world champion,” while Alvey’s son, closeted up-and-comer Nate (Nick Jonas), “is still struggling with something that nobody knows about.” Even Alvey’s other son, wild-child Jay (Jonathan Tucker), has some dark clouds forming as his recovering-addict mother (Joanna Going) slips back into a tricky old behavior. So much for Alvey basking in the success he scored at the end of last season, huh? “It’s that old adage of be careful what you wish for,” Grillo says. “Besides, you can’t really ever be happy on television.”

Kingdom, Wednesday, Oct. 21, 9/8c, DirecTV