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Adam Harrington Talks SHADOWHUNTERS’ Shocking & Emotional Turn

BY Jennifer Griffin

Published 8 years ago

Adam Harrington Talks SHADOWHUNTERS' Shocking & Emotional Turn

Forget the DVR. Shadowhunters’ next episode is one that every fan will want to watch live.

In last week’s tumultuous cliffhanger Clary and Jace were transported via the Portal Rune to Valentine’s secret lair where they were stunned to discover a surprising prisoner in the form of Michael Wayland, Jace’s father (guest star Adam J. Harrington).

Their discovery raises a series of pressing questions for fans. Has the TV series taken a bold deviation from book lore? How will Jace adjust to the idea that he is no longer an orphan? Is the man in the locker really Michael Wayland, and which secrets of Valentine’s might he be willing to share?

We caught up with Adam J. Harrington this week to see if he might be willing to share any secrets of his own. Under discussion on our call: this Tuesday’s “shocking and emotional” installment, a long overdue father/son reunion and what really happened to Michael Wayland.

ScreenSpy: For those among us who might need a little brushing up on our Shadowhunters lore, who is Michael Wayland and what happened to him?

Adam Harrington: Michael Wayland is Jace’s Dad. He was supposed to have been killed 10 years ago by Valentine. There’s a lot of mystery surrounding Michael and what happened during the uprising, and his relationship with the Circle. We know from Jace that Valentine killed his father. That’s what Jace believes. What we also know is that Luke was Michael’s Parabatai.

ScreenSpy: What has fan reaction been like to the news of your casting, considering Michael Wayland is dead in the books?

Adam Harrington: The fans have been awesome. At first, understandably, there was a little bit of ‘How can you be Michael Wayland?’ But there have been so many tweets since saying ‘Welcome to the family. We’re so happy you’re on the show.’ It made me feel very good and very welcome and I’m hoping the remainder of the season satisfies, and people really get something good out of it. We had such a great time putting it all together.


(Freeform/John Medland)

ScreenSpy: What’s Jace’s initial reaction going to be to getting his Dad back?

Adam Harrington: I really enjoyed working with Dominic [Sherwood] because of what he brought to this. You’re watching a young man, who, in the world of the show, has grown up to become a soldier. He’s a very tough Shadowhunter. He’s been without a father for 10 years. He was adopted into the Lightwood family, and Alec is his Parabati, and that’s formed his family, but if you strip away the lore of the show, you essentially have a young man who is an orphan, and has forged his own path from a very young age for ten years.

So imagine what it would be like to be reunited with your father after a ten year absence. I thought Dom did a beautiful job in this upcoming episode in particular. Jace is not only dealing with wanting to help Clary find Jocelyn, but now this happens. Why is his father there? What’s the truth and what’s really happening? I’m excited for people to see how Jace deals with this. There are some shocks to come.

ScreenSpy: I thought it was interesting that Clary attempted to use the portal shard to find her father, but found Jace’s father instead. Knowing the kind of show Shadowhunters is, is there going to be more to your character than meets the eye? I’m going to come right out and say it. Can we really believe Valentine had Jace’s Dad stowed away all those years?

Adam Harrington: To the second part of that question, I will say, you’ll have to wait and see. What I love about the Shadowhunters world is that things are rarely simple. There are many many layers to the truth and how the truth comes out.

As far as there being more to Michael than meets the eye? [laughing] As with all the characters in this show, there is more to him than meets the eye. Given that he has been captured by Valentine and kept alive all these years, there’s definitely more to him than meets the eye.


(Freeform/John Medland)

ScreenSpy: Jace is facing huge crises both personally and in regards to his standing as a Shadowhunter, and suddenly his deceased father is rather miraculously back in his life again. Is he initially going to lean on him, or will his return cause even more problems for Jace?

Adam Harrington: Tuesday’s episode will explore all of those things. The writers have done a beautiful job addressing the return of a long lost loved one.

It also has to be said that it doesn’t escape anyone’s notice that Michael Wayland’s returning is at odds with what they’ve all been told. This is not a group of naive young people. There is doubt and a sense of protection towards Jace as to whether this is really him. They’re trying to figure it out.

If I –- God forbid – had someone I love pass away then suddenly show up, I would want to know that it’s them and that they’re really back. This upcoming episode does a great job at exploring that idea.

I don’t think fans will be disappointed with how the episode plays out.

ScreenSpy: Shadowhunters is quite a physical show. Did you have to do a lot of preparation for the fight scenes?

Adam Harrington: We did actually. They have a well oiled machine. They’re fantastic. The cast trains really hard, and the stunt crew behind the show are amazing.

There’s an upcoming boxing scene that Dominic and I trained for, in addition to the big scene with Isaiah [Mustafa] and Dominic. Those scenes are actually pretty intense, and Dom and Isaiah are so good at that stuff. There are abdominal spin kicks that Dom does that are all him. That’s not his stunt double. It’s all Dominic.

I have to say, watching them work, and seeing the amount of training they’ve put into bringing these characters to life, was pretty amazing.


(FREEFORM/John Medland)

ScreenSpy: Following your time as Ethan Conant on the CW’s Secret Circle, you’ve been very busy in dramatic roles on shows such as CSI and Criminal Minds and AMC’s TURN. How did it feel to be returning to an urban fantasy landscape, and how do you look back on your time on that show?

Adam Harrington: I’ve always enjoyed shows that use supernatural elements as a metaphor for the kind of stories they’re telling. On Secret Circle the relationship stories were what I especially loved.

And you’ve gotta love the whole the whole demonic powers angle! When I was a kid I wanted to have telekinesis. ESP! Telekinesis! That was so cool to me. The idea of being able to move things with my mind just totally captured my imagination as a kid. So a part of me, coming into this world, is really at home with the supernatural element of it. I love the abilities everyone gets to have.

But what I love most about returning to a world like this is how important all of the relationships – particularly family, and the idea of family, are. There’s betrayal and first loves and father son dynamics. I was really happy I got to return to that because a lot of the stuff I’ve done recently has involved weapons and death! [laughing].

It’s nice to come back to do something that has more to do with wanting to live. I think these types of shows are wonderful. There’s the lore of the world which is fascinating, and so much fun to dive into, but then there’s how they reflect what it’s like to be human.

ScreenSpy: I have an embarrassing fan question sent in over Twitter to ask you. It’s not about your underpants this time.

Adam Harrington: Oh God. Boxers!

ScreenSpy: It’s about your shirt. On or off?

Adam Harrington: At this very second?

ScreenSpy: On the show. Will you be shirtless? I’m compelled to ask.

Adam Harrington: [Laughing] I’m very flattered. You’ll have to wait and see.

ScreenSpy: Adam, what’s next for you?

Adam Harrington: I’m recurring on season 3 of AMC’s TURN. It starts airing April 25. Lieutenant Gamble returns and he’s as charming and devious as ever.

In the meantime, I will be live tweeting Tuesday’s episode.

ScreenSpy: Will we see Michael Wayland again in Season 2?

Adam Harrington: Watch the next episode and that will answer your question … maybe.

Shadowhunters continues with “Blood Calls to Blood” on Tuesday March 22 (9:00–10:00 p.m. EDT) on Freeform.

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