‘Power Book II: Ghost’s Melanie Liburd on Carrie’s Addiction & Her ‘This Is Us’ Future
Like the rest of the characters on Power Book II: Ghost, Professor Caridad “Carrie” Milgram (Melanie Liburd) doesn’t have it all together. But fortunately, there’s plenty of time for her to figure some things out, as the Power spinoff has already been renewed for a second season.
“I’m so excited,” Liburd tells TV Insider. “Obviously there was a huge fan base in Power before, and you just never know how they’re going to respond, but I think they’re happy, which is great.”
Here, Liburd discusses Carrie’s addiction, why she keeps going back to her ex-fiancé Jabari Reynolds (Justin Marcel McManus), hopes for Season 2, and what she’d like to explore if she returns to This Is Us.
Carrie’s relationship with Jabari is complicated, to say the least.
Melanie Liburd: Jabari and Carrie have a long history. They were engaged. They just had one of those relationships where they really don’t bring out the best in each other and it can get quite toxic, but they just can’t seem to let each other go. That’s how it was before when she lived with him and they were engaged. And then she moves away, and he writes this book about her, which was a huge betrayal, even though he wrote about her using another name but clearly about her and her addictions and her issues.
Then she finds herself at this school and she hasn’t seen him probably for about five years and they’re looking for someone to fill a position and she gets in contact with him and helps him get the job. But I think she doesn’t realize all this is going to be sparked up again. They know each other very well so it’s easy to slip back into bad relationships.
We know she’s a sex-and-love addict, but how much is that what draws her back to her ex and how much is it about that history?
Sex addiction or love addiction in general is just making bad choices and feeling like you’re out of control. She meets her sponsor, and her sponsor even tells her, “You’ve done this before, Carrie. You know this is bad,” and she still does it. I suppose it’s just understanding addiction and how it works and being in a narcissistic, codependent relationship which can get very messy.
What do you think it would take for Carrie to remove herself completely from that situation and stop going back to him?
[Creator, executive producer, and showrunner] Courtney [A. Kemp] is really good at writing about people in this kind of whirlwind of going through something in their life in the midst of it. Maybe in 10 years’ time, Carrie might grow and think, “Oh, God, that was a terrible time and I made such awful, awful decisions and why couldn’t I get out of it?” but right now she’s struggling with it.
Really, she’s got all of her stuff together. She’s got a great job. She’s brilliant at what she does. Yet, there’s something in her. What makes her do this? What makes us do anything? Childhood trauma, making bad decisions, addiction, what would make her stop? What makes any addict stop? I suppose just loving yourself, getting support, knowing you can be OK on your own, being able to fill that void on your own and knowing that going down this bad way is going to make you feel worse ultimately.
Having him right next door at work doesn’t help, and she put herself in that position.
I know! Why? Why did she put herself in this position? Why? That’s the thing. Did she do it purposefully? Who knows? Subconsciously, maybe she wanted some of that craziness because she’s so addicted to it.
And we see that Carrie wants to help her students, particularly Tariq. What does she see in him?
Carrie sees something in Tariq. Carrie has this really interesting relationship with her own father, and I’m sure more will be divulged as we go along and maybe more into Season 2. She had a very complex relationship with her father and her father pushed her and was very just brilliant at everything and he was quite bully-ish.
She sees Tariq as a kindred spirit and she sees the turmoil and the complex relationship that he must have had with his father. She sees that in him and she wants to help him and she connects with him in that way. But also, Carrie does things hugely inappropriate, too, like hold a massive vigil when he asks not to have a vigil and things like that.
Are we going to see more of that, of Carrie getting involved where she shouldn’t?
Oh, yeah, lots of it.
She has the best intentions, but not for the situation.
Exactly, that’s what’s so interesting. Stepping into someone else’s shoes and going, wow she really thinks this is a good thing to do and she really needs it. She can’t help herself because she has to have things her way and control things and it all seems perfect in her world for her to be helping people, but it’s not really everyone’s reality.
And what are the chances that we’ll see you again on This Is Us?
I would love to go back. I really would. Zoe’s in the family, so she can pop up at any time, so I’m hoping at some point, absolutely go back and give them a surprise, surprise Kevin. Check in on Kevin, that would be fun.
Especially with what’s going on in his life right now.
I know! I’m not completely up to date, but I heard twins, so it’s all a bit crazy, bless him.
Since that show plays in different time periods, is there one you’d like to see Zoe pop up in?
I would love to go back and do some of Zoe’s backstory. I think that would be so interesting. She had a very interesting childhood and she makes documentaries, so maybe in her younger days, when she was traveling. She’s such a free spirit. Yeah, she’s such a fun character to play. A lot’s going on with Zoe. … Maybe even the ’90s.
Power Book II: Ghost, Sundays, 9/8c, Starz