A series about the world of fake psychics may seem like a completely untapped resource for a gritty television drama, but for creator Les Bohem (Extant, Taken), it’s not so new. “I’ve had this idea—fake psychic has real visions—for something like 10 years.” However, the true meaning of the show, Bohem says, is to tell the story “about a bad guy in a bad world who slowly starts this incredibly impossible journey to sainthood.”
Charlie Haverford (Jeffrey Donovan) is a hard-luck magician in L.A. paying the bills by telling fake fortunes to gullible people with lots of cash. His road to redemption proves mighty difficult as Charlie’s wife (KaDee Strickland) hustles along in the same line of work and they ultimately tussle with a powerful gypsy family, led by Rita Marks (Isabella Rossellini) and her son, Fonso (Angus Sampson). Let’s meet the colorful cast and see what’s in the cards for their merry teasers and tricksters.
Shut Eye, Premieres Wednesday, Dec. 7, Hulu
Who he plays Charlie Haverford, “a very lost character. He met his wife in an adult club, and they were both so lost,”Donovan explains. “Charlie thought he could translate his skills to con people out of their money.” But when an incident makes him actually start seeing visions, look out.
Where You’ve Seen Him Season 2 of FX’s Fargo as put-upon almost-heir Dodd Gerhardt and as former covert agent Michael Westen on USA’s long-running actioner Burn Notice.
The Crystal Ball Says… “I visited psychics and tarot readers,” Donovan says. “I also interviewed mentalists over the phone and the research kind of jaded me.” That said, the actor isn’t a total skeptic. “I think that there is a top one half of 1 percent out there who have true abilities that we can’t comprehend.”
Who she plays Linda Haverford, a former Las Vegas stripper who is “currently medicated and a self-professed housewife known to dabble in palm readings and tarot cards,” Strickland says. “I believe these people [Linda deals with] are like a den of snakes.”
Where You’ve Seen Her In ABC’s Secrets and Lies and for six seasons as Charlotte King on Shonda Rhimes’s Grey’s Anatomy spinoff, Private Practice.
The Crystal Ball Says…Given her profession, Linda is probably not the most trustworthy. “These people take any shred of information they can get and they exploit the human heart with it, and they can drain bank accounts without batting an eyelash.” Strickland herself leans toward believing to a certain degree. “I love the possibility of something greater than myself,” she says.
Who she plays A “mysterious, shady” character from Las Vegas. “[My character] Gina is a hypnotist, and I would go so far as to say she’s a master manipulator,” Chriqui says. “The interesting thing about her is that she’s a sweet soul. She’s a survivor, so she does what she does because she has to…so she thinks.”
Where You’ve Seen Her In TNT’s Murder in the First, as Adam Sandler’s main squeeze in You Don’t Mess With the Zohan and as the fetching Sloan in both the series and big-screen versions of HBO’s Entourage.
The Crystal Ball Says… Chriqui doesn’t regularly get her tarot cards read, but “I really am into the healing arts,” she says. “I do believe in energy. I believe in going to healers. I believe in all of that. There is a realm that we don’t see that is very real. It’s as old as time.”
Who he plays Fonso Marks, “a single father who is very loyal and dedicated to his children and his mother,” Sampson says. He and his mom, Rita, are ruthless in running their string of fortune-telling parlors and hustlers, but familial issues are also in the mix. “When you’re tied to your business partners by blood, it makes business decisions a lot murkier and trickier.”
Where You’ve Seen Him He played Tucker in the Insidious films and appeared in Mad Max: Fury Road. The Aussie actor recently played costar Donovan’s brother, who similarly had some mommy issues, in Fargo.
The Crystal Ball Says… Fonso may be thankful for those with deep pockets seeking psychics for help, but Sampson keeps his own beliefs simple. “I believe there are believers and nonbelievers.”
Who she plays Rita Marks—Rossellini says the word “nasty” is the best way to describe this head of a powerful family of grifters. Also, since this woman loves both money and her kin, she sets her own rules. “Rita has her own morality, which others mostly consider immoral.”
Where You’ve Seen Her Besides being the daughter of film great Ingrid Bergman, she’s appeared in cult classics like Blue Velvet and Death Becomes Her and more recently alongside James Spader on The Blacklist and opposite Jennifer Lawrence in Joy.
The Crystal Ball Says… The actress keeps her own feelings on psychics to herself but said of her Shut Eye alter ego, “Rita is duplicitous, even about clairvoyance. She believes in it but also knows that the interpretation of the signs is very difficult, if not impossible.”
Who he plays Eduardo Magana, “a guy who needs Charlie’s help,” Zayas says. “He believes in Charlie’s power and needs help with his family, particularly his son.” But Zayas’s Eduardo is not just a client. “There’s a lot behind him, which will unfurl throughout the season.” The actor is thrilled with the show’s complexity and adds, “One thing I love about this show is that no character is black or white.”
Where You’ve Seen Him After roles on Oz and Dexter, Zayas played Sal Maroni on Gotham and Sheriff Aguirre on the second season of Netflix’s Bloodline.
The Crystal Ball Says… Zayas may not be the first guy to run to a spiritual adviser for advice but says, “they’re interesting people and believe in what they’re doing. They’re very good at articulating what the other person or client is trying to explore.”