Zoo returns for its third season on June 29th at 10/9c on CBS. Season three picks up ten years after the Noah Objective lead to the mass sterilization of all humans. The regular animals of the world have been cured of their aggressive behavior towards humans, but a new threat arises in the form of “the hybrids” – genetically altered animals developed by a shady organization known as “The Shepherds.” With a dwindling human population and the constant threat of attack from the hybrids, Zoo season three is set up to be the most intense installment of the series thus far.
James Wolk, who plays Jackson Oz, and Billy Burke, who plays Dr. Mitch Morgan, spoke with CBS Local’s Matt Weiss earlier today to give Zoo fans an inside look at season three.
MW: Hey James, Billy. Good morning, how’s it going?
BB: Hey, how are you doing, Matt?
MW: Good, good. So, when season two ended, we found out that Billy, your character Mitch Morgan is actually still alive. We also learned that Abraham and Dariela’s son is part of the lost generation, the last group of children born after the mass sterilization. What else has happened in the ten years between the animal cure and where we pick up with season three? How is the world different than it was when we last saw it?
BB: Well we pick right up with Jimmy’s character, Jackson, out west.
JW: Yeah, basically what you’ll find when you tune in on Thursday is that everyone is kind of in diaspora. Billy’s character Mitch, is kind of in his own world, he’s been in this tank where they’ve been keeping him alive. Jamie has become this very famous author and is living this very, kind of luxurious life in New York. Abe and Dariela are in Ann Arbor, Michigan, he’s doing research there. And Jackson, my character, is on the west coast of the United States, which has fallen into disarray because the hybrids have taken over. So, it’s kind of this apocalyptic feel. The audience will almost think they’re in a jungle somewhere and then they’ll find out that they’re actually in Portland with Jackson. It’s a really cool, texture-y world that will kick off season three that I think the audience will really be excited about seeing all the characters in their according places.
MW: In the first two seasons the main focus of the show was trying to cure the animals. Now that the animals have been cured, is curing the world’s sterility problem going to be the central thread?
BB: Well the sterility problem is only one arm of what we’re dealing with now. The real animals of the world, have been cured, but they’re dwindling in population as these, what we call hybrids, arise. These sort of ‘super animals’ that were created by a mad scientist.
MW: And James your character sent Abe and Dariela’s son a hybrid spike. Was that a tease that Jackson is tightly involved with trying to fix that problem as well?
JW: Yeah, exactly. So Jackson is out there on the west coast and because my father on the show created this sterility problem Jackson has this immense amount of guilt that he was somehow complicit in that. In order to try and exercise that out of him he’s going into these little villages, these little towns out on the west coast where people are kind of ostracized. He’s trying to get them all to safe zones to bring them back across the barrier to save them from this kind of ‘wild, wild west’ that has become the west side of the United States, which is a really, really cool world. We actually have a new production designer this year who did a knockout job from top to bottom creating all these different looks, and I think that feels really—
BB: That opening sequence is killer.
JW: Yeah, it’s pretty sweet.
MW: Awesome. Can’t wait to check out the new world. Now, Billy – to me your character Mitch is one of the most interesting ones in the whole show. His personality changes so much from when he first meets Jamie, he doesn’t like people, he says he prefers to be around animals, but then by the end of season two he is willing to sacrifice his life to save the rest of the team. Can you talk about the evolution of Mitch and maybe where that character is going this season?
BB: That’s just me. That just depends on how Billy the actor is feeling each day – just how I want to treat it [Laughs]. So, season one Billy doesn’t really like people, season two I open up a little more, I started feeling more comfortable. But yeah, that’s one of the great parts of doing this show and playing this guy is that he’s not a fast ball down the middle. There are levels that we still haven’t even explored yet, not even in this season. It’s nice to be able to play a guy who gets to say all the things that you don’t get to say in real life. All the things that people want to say, but they can’t and then bring it back with a little humanity sometimes too.
MW: It seems like every single character is constantly evolving…
BB: Yeah, and the Jamie character takes a big leap this season as well. She has become this sort of, super rich, high society person with a little bit of a dark underworld secret life.
JW: Like a Bruce Wayne type thing.
MW: Do you guys think that there are any truly good or bad guys on Zoo? To me it seems like everyone is in a little bit of a grey area.
BB: Yeah, there is nobody who is black or white, good or bad. Everybody’s got their demons to deal with.
JW: And throughout the season, that really gets played with a lot. The characters will kind of start to bounce off each other, fighting with each other, because everyone has what they’re gunning for to happen and it provides a lot of fun friction for the audience to watch.
MW: Sounds like we’re in for quite the ride this season. Now, before I let you guys go, I’m going to let both of you answer this question separately. I guess, James we’ll go with you first.
JW: Can’t wait.
MW: Can you describe the new season in three words?
JW: Exciting, reinvented, and fun.
MW: Awesome, Billy same question to you. And you can’t use the same three.
BB: Weird, much-better-weird-than-before, that’s more than one word… and heightened.
JW: That’s more than one word [Laughs].
MW: We’ll let you slide on that one Billy, you bent the rules a bit but that’s alright. Well, thanks a lot for the time today guys and can’t wait to start season three.
JW and BB: Thanks, Matt.
MW: Take care guys.
Zoo returns for it’s third season on June 29th at 10/9c, only on CBS. Check your local listings for more information.