Tonight, TNT’s Franklin & Bash returns for its second season (10 p.m. ET), and while our favorite man-child lawyers, Peter Franklin (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) and Jared Bash (Breckin Meyer), have yet to mature, Gosselaar promises we will see them take on more responsibility this year. “Right off the bat, the guys are made equity partners, so they have a lot more high-profile cases. Instead of representing just the underdogs, which they were notorious for, they are representing the guys that they’ve always gone up against — the CEOs, the people who can bring in money to the company,” he says. “So they’re struggling to figure out how to stay true to themselves.”
Of course, that doesn’t mean the show is losing its lighter side. The season opener features one of Meyer’s favorite days on a set ever — Bash is inside a magician’s water tank demonstrating the equipment is faulty. (Yes, he should have thought that one through.) And Franklin’s arms get lathered up in sunscreen to show how their client could have easily slipped out of sexy female police officer’s (Kat Foster) submission hold when he thought she was just a hot woman dressed as a cop for the costumed Keg Man triathlon. (Producers wanted Gosselaar to go shirtless in court, but he insisted he at least wear the client’s gladiator costume armor, pictured, so as to not be completely gratuitous. Watch the scene below.)
More to look forward to this season:
• Guest stars Seth Green and Eric Mabius: In the season’s third episode (June 19), they play Franklin and Bash wannabes Jango (Green) and Rossi (Mabius), who represent a woman claiming to be the owner of a dog found by Evanthia Steele (guest star Cybill Shepherd), the favorite ex-wife of Franklin and Bash’s boss Stanton (Malcolm McDowell). Meyer cowrote the episode with series cocreator Kevin Falls and always had his pal Green in mind. Gosselaar would have loved to have seen James Van Der Beek step in as his doppelgänger, but Van Der Beek already guest starred in season 1 of the show as Bash’s ex-girlfriend’s fiancé. Luckily, Mabius was game.
• Guest star Jane Seymour, as Peter’s mom: She pops up in the second episode, airing June 12. What’s their relationship like? “It’s a bit granola, kinda crunchy. It’s loose. There’s a reason why Peter came out of the hot tub naked last season. He just has no qualms about being bare. You see why,” he says. The episode also features guest star Sean Astin, playing a wannabe crime fighter accused of chasing down a man who later died. It’s Jared and Peter’s first time trying a manslaughter case.
• A flashback to how Franklin and Bash met in the July 31 episode: We’re talking wigs? “Absolutely. We rocked the wigs,” Gosselaar says. “But they also had actors playing us because we went as far back as 10 years old. There’s a little twist to that as well.”
(Additional reporting by Sandra Gonzalez)