Following an explosive cliffhanger complete with jaw-dropping reveals and twists, BET's crime drama The Family Business is back for another season and this time on the network's premium subscription streaming service, BET+. Based on the bestselling Carl Weber novels, the series follows the Duncans, an upstanding, tightknit family who own and operate a luxurious car dealership in New York. But their business activities are more illicit, prompting a string of events full of suspense and shock.
Led by iconic actor and famed Ghostbusters star Ernie Hudson as the family patriarch, L.C.Duncan, the executive producer of the show on BET+ tells PopCulture.com exclusively for our PopCulture @ Home series that things are about to get very intense in Season 2. "The plot thickens, things get a little bit more complicated," Hudson said. "Their position in the cartel changes because of this new thing that my son has come up with, and so now they're enemies, even more enemies, direct threats, not on my life necessarily, but on my children — and how do you hold it all together? It's a lot of fun."
Season 2 is set to pick up where its premiere season left off, with the Duncans recovering from the aftermath of their rival faction's assault on their home, sparking new rivals, drama and a turn in their business, involving the HEAT drug. As executive producer of the series, Hudson shares he's ensuring he's doing what he can to tell a profoundly impactful and empowering story about a Black family based on Weber's bestsellers.
"As one of the producers, my job, and I think the reason, aside from the fact that I'm acting in it, is just to do whatever I can — whatever is necessary to keep the show on point," he said. "And to do what I can to make sure we get the work was done that needs to be done. As far as the story goes, it's based on a series of books, and [Carl's] got about eight or nine books worth of stuff. How have we shaped that? But I really trust him. He's a wonderful writer."
Hudson goes on to share that he is also deeply humbled as a producer on the show to be able to be "part of the conversation," because as an actor and with most things he's done with his illustrious career, he's rarely in the conversation concerning the angle of production.
While the show features an all-star cast, including the likes of Valarie Pettiford (The Blacklist) and Emilio Rivera (Sons of Anarchy), Hudson's character L.C. Duncan is a favorite among fans with many even offering their love to the actor on social media involving the dynamic role. But just because L.C.'s the head of the Duncan household, doesn't mean he's immune to some very entangled moments of violence and drama — one of which almost threatened his life in the finale. While the outcome proved he's not someone to mess with, Hudson teases his character's direction is going to stun fans with Season 2 as the drama continues to reiterate it's not just about people, but the family.
"Their decisions impact everything else, and especially you. If you remember when we started the whole show, [L.C.] was thinking about retiring, turning it over to his son. [But] the wife and I, were going to just kick back now and enjoy it all. Of course, that's not going to happen," he said. "In this new season, it's much more complicated than even he imagined. He certainly didn't imagine this reveal coming up, and she didn't know it was her son, but he knows now. So, a lot of those things – it's just dealing with, 'I need to get out of this, but I can't now, because it's just too much on the line, and too much at stake.' And the decisions you make will impact whether somebody lives or dies. That's the difference between me and L.C. Duncan. I mean, he's made choices that I can't even imagine feeling like I would have to make those choices. But I know people who do see things in those terms."
While the series tells the story of a Black family entwined with crime and drugs, it's essentially a story about a unit that sticks together through obstacles and challenges despite being mobsters. Hudson admits the humanization of a family who are not exactly the good guys makes the series so much more appealing to the masses, especially in a time when Black voices are being amplified.
"We saw that a little bit on Sopranos, but I've never seen it in a Black family. You know what I mean?" he said. "And the things that I had seen, it's one-dimensional because he has to be that all the time. He has to show the world: 'This is who I am.' I think with L.C, we see him with his grandkids [but] there are consequences to all these things, and we don't normally with bad guys, get to see the consequences of that choice you made."
Hudson goes on to share that while L.C. is a profoundly crafted figure weighing the balance of good and bad, when it comes to his family — especially in light of his daughter, Paris (played by Javicia Leslie, God Friended Me) committing murder — he will still stand by her side. "My [onscreen] daughter kills this woman's son and I wouldn't have done it, but I got to be loyal to my daughter," he said of the dynamics between his character. "It's all of that stuff that, for me, it's nice to see, but I hadn't seen it, like I said, with an African American family. Of course, the show is very diverse, and so it's not just. But it's nice to see those people in that role."
With the series picked up for 12 episodes in its sophomore season, only six have been released and are available to stream on BET+ July 2. There is no plan as of now for heading back into the studio for the cast, but going back to work in a COVID-19 world is something Hudson is very aware of, stating how the health and safety of their cast and crew is a primary measure.
"As one of the producers, that's the thing we're faced with now. I mean, how do we go back to work safely? We certainly want to protect the people," he said. "We had an incident where one of the actors, just before we shut down, was infected and that was a scare because we didn't know it at the time and that's one of the hard problems with this virus is, nobody seems to be able to give us anything definite about it. Everything is suggestions."
Hudson adds how the city, the county and state all have their guidelines while the union has their own, but it all boils down to one thing: "How do we make that work in a way that's affordable and it's a real threat to low budget, or independent productions because some of the things that may be required is going to be very costly," he said. "Right now, we're still trying to figure it out and hopefully within the next month or so, we will. But as of now, nobody is going back to work that I'm aware of."
The Family Business Season 2 premieres July 2 on BET+, with the first six episodes of the new season available to stream. For more on Hudson, what he has to say about Ghostbusters: Afterlife and all of your favorite stars, keep it locked to PopCulture.com and stay tuned for the latest news on Twitter.