A group of undercover agents from various law enforcement agencies in the United States, including the DEA, the FBI, and the ICE, live together in a confiscated Southern California beach house known as "Graceland". Rookie FBI agent Mike Warren is assigned to the house fresh out of Quantico training.
Cast and characters
Daniel Sunjata as Paul Briggs, FBI: A senior FBI agent and current resident at Graceland. He graduated Quantico a legend, but after a traumatic experience and absence, he returned an almost different man. He was assigned to be Mike Warren's training officer, unbeknownst to the both of them and everyone in the house that the rookie agent was there to investigate Briggs. It was revealed that Briggs had been tortured by a mysterious man named Jangles and was forced into a heroin addiction. He was one of the members of "The Estate", a prototype of the Graceland house. One day while he was away, the Estate burned down and killed all of the agents inside, including his girlfriend, Lisa. He is suspected of causing the fire, which is why he was being investigated. Thus he began his quest to find Jangles, who was the actual culprit. Briggs drunkenly mistakes FBI control officer Juan Badillo for Jangles (who was dressed undercover as Jangles) and shoots him. He buries Juan's body, not knowing that he was an FBI officer. Briggs was also revealed to be Odin Rossi, a drug dealer in California who was notoriously known as a "ghost". In Season 2, Briggs tries to move on restart his life, but his past begins to come back and haunt him.
Aaron Tveit as Mike "Levi" Warren, FBI: He begins Season 1 as a rookie FBI agent graduating straight out of Quantico. Coming out at the top of his class, his initial goal was to work in D.C., but things take a turn when he's unexpectedly sent to California to live in a house with other agents. He is inexperienced but smart, and under the guidance of his mentor, Briggs, begins to get used to the undercover life. He is surprised to find out that he was sent to Graceland to investigate his training officer, but carries it out, even through conflicts with his roommates and putting his life at risk. In the end, he takes down drug lord Bello and is given the chance to finally go to D.C., complete with a rockstar reputation. In Season 2, he returns to Graceland after a failed operation, wanting to redeem himself and get his rockstar status back. But when he returns to Graceland, the house has changed. He heads a new operation and intends to do whatever it takes to get the job done, even if it means pushing his roommates to their limits and breaking a few rules.
Pedro Pascal as Juan Badillo (Season 1): An FBI control officer who was assigned to Mike's investigation into Briggs. While undercover as "Jangles", he confronts Briggs about his suspicions and is drunkenly shot and killed by the agent. Briggs pulls down the mask covering Badillo's face and later buries him, not realizing that he is a fellow FBI agent.
Jenn Proske as Abby (Season 1): A woman from Baltimore, Maryland who became Mike's girlfriend, after being introduced to him by Mike's roommate, Paige. She moved out west for the summer to take a break before beginning her career in law. One day, Mike brought Abby home and upstairs (which is against the house rules), where Abby saw Paige dressed undercover and holding a gun. Frightened, she confronted Mike and broke up with him when she felt he was lying to her.
Scottie Thompson as Lauren Kincaid (Season 1): A DEA agent who initially lived in Graceland before Mike moved in. Her partner, Donnie Banks was shot during one of their undercover ops, where she was undercover working with the Russian Vzakonye crime family. Donnie got transferred out of Graceland and she tried everything in her power to bring him justice, even going as far as putting the rest of the agents and herself at risk. She gets kicked out of Graceland after Paige reports her to the DEA. In actuality, Briggs set Lauren up to get transferred in order to keep her identity safe from the Russians.
Gbenga Akinnagbe as Jeremiah Bello (Season 1): A rising criminal warlord and ex-military man from Nigeria, who resides in Long Beach and was involved in smuggling both drugs and weapons. His drug supply came from the Caza Cartel, and he worked with Mike, who went undercover in order to get close to him. He is shown to be merciless, even towards his own men. He gets arrested and sentenced and discovers that Mike is a fed.
Vincent Laresca as Rafael Cortes/Jangles (Season 1): A Mexican Federale who befriended Charlie and worked with her. He was revealed to be "Jangles", the mass murderer affiliated with the Caza Cartel. He was named so by the FBI due to the sound of his jangling keys during his murders. He was the one responsible for torturing Briggs and getting him addicted to heroin. Charlie goes to Cortes' vacation house and they are trailed by Briggs, who confirms that he is Jangles after discovering a set of keys in his bag. Both Briggs and Charlie are captured, tied up, and tortured by him until Mike arrives and shoots him dead.
Christopher Redman as Whistler (Season 1): He was a heroin junkie, C.I. (confidential informant) for the FBI and a friend to Charlie. Charlie had Whistler's best interests at heart, seeing his skill as a carpenter and giving him a chance to start his life over by suggesting that he put his cut of money from the FBI into buying a house to fix up. He does not go through with the buy and later on dies from a heroin overdose given to him by Quinn.
Ciera Payton as Cassandra (Season 1–): Jakes' ex-wife and mother of his son Daniel. She left Jakes due to the difficulties of having a family while he works undercover. She works as a nurse in a local hospital. In Season 2, she files a restraining order against Jakes, preventing him from seeing their son.
Raheem Babalola as Derek (Season 1–): Cassandra's boyfriend and father figure to Daniel. He met Jakes at a bar, unbeknownst to him that Jakes knew exactly who he was. After striking up a conversation, he reveals to Jakes that he is a former gang member who left that life behind after getting shot twice during a drive-by. He woke up in a hospital and fell in love with the nurse, who turned out to be Cassandra. He currently lives with Cassandra and Daniel.
Deniz Akdeniz as Wayne "Bates"' Zelanski (Season 2): A DEA agent who was assigned to work and live in Graceland, taking over Mike's room after he left for D.C. He quickly formed a friendship with the other roommates, especially Johnny. He was transferred out of the house after Mike moved back in and had to decide between him and Jakes in order to work on the bus line case.
Emily Rose as Jessica Foster (Season 2): Assistant Deputy Director of the FBI, and Mike Warren's lover.
Brian Lowry of Variety said while everything here is compatible with Burn Notice, the show's high notes can't disguise how ordinary a visit to Graceland feels. Television critic Matt Zoller Seitz wrote, "Graceland doesn't strike me as a series that will reward close scrutiny, and I am not convinced it's knocking itself out to be one. USA sent out the pilot and the fourth and fifth episodes, and I didn't feel deprived for not having seen episodes two or three. At the same time, though, this is not an entirely trivial series. It's the kind of work that I like to classify as "deep shallow," in that it deals in familiar tropes and simple themes but articulates them in a clever, stylish way."
After the season 1 finale aired, Carla Day of BuddyTV said that "throughout the season, Graceland went in unexpected directions that kept the characters fresh and made it exciting to watch."
Upon its season 2 renewal, USA Network president Chris McCumber praised Eastin for once again delivering for the network, saying "Graceland’s brilliant serialized storytelling mixed with striking cinematography and a captivating ensemble cast has clearly resonated with a wide audience. We’re proud to be the home to one of the summer’s top new cable dramas and anticipate Graceland will be a long-term player for the network." According to the article in Variety where TV Reporter AJ Marechal called it "one of the top fresh cable dramas of the season", Graceland's first season averaged 4.3 million viewers, and increased according to its Live + 7 Day (DVR) ratings.