Before Cathey’s passing in February, Cinemax spoke with the actor about his character’s evolving opinions.  

Cinemax: Where do we find Chief Giles at the start of Season 2?

Reg E. Cathey: At the end of Season 1, he really felt he was ready for whatever was going to happen, and was strong enough to deal with it. In Season 2 he finds out that he needs help.

Cinemax: Giles, Kyle and the Reverend all have different perspectives on what can be done about the merge. Where does Giles stand?

Reg E. Cathey: His stance is of violence. He’s been possessed, he’s been exorcised, so he’s seen what that is. He thought he killed Kyle and has dealt with the guilt of that. It still weighs heavy. What I’ve always loved about the show is that if you took all the supernatural elements out, it is still a moving drama about what human beings go through just to get by. It’s beautiful.

Cinemax: Does Giles think the merge can be stopped?

Reg E. Cathey: Yeah, with guns. The Chief saw that these people are willing to go through razor wire. It’s pretty serious and scary.

Cinemax: He’s realizing it’s bigger than he thought.

Reg E. Cathey: The fact that his place in the community has changed and doesn’t matter now that he realizes how big this is. It’s so much fun to play a character that thinks he knows everything — and finds out he knows absolutely nothing.

Cinemax: What’s your personal take on the merge?

Reg E. Cathey: I’ve been wanting it to go to a place where these demons, whatever these things are, are good. I don’t think it’ll ever go that way but part of me wants a conversation with one of the entities where they go, “I don’t want to be here, but if I have to be here, I’m going to make you better than you are.”

We’re all looking for a tribe. We’re all looking for a family, a community and what does that mean? And what does it mean for this strange entity trying to do the exact same thing? It’s trying to find its place in the world, too. So who’s right, who’s wrong?