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'The Cleaning Lady's Martha Millan Talks Her Darker Storyline, Intense Scenes, and Much More 'The Cleaning Lady's Martha Millan Talks Her Darker Storyline, Intense Scenes, and Much More

The Cleaning Lady

‘The Cleaning Lady’s Martha Millan on Her Dark Storyline, JD’s Return, and Much More

THE CLEANING LADY: Martha Millan in the “The Brit” episode of THE CLEANING LADY airing Monday, Oct. 17 (9:02-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2022 Fox Media LLC. CR: Jeff Neumann/FOX

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The Cleaning Lady, now airing its second season on FOX, is one of TV’s best dramas—and, in the spirit of the holidays, the one show I’m most thankful for! And that’s exactly why I geeked out a little when I got the chance to talk with Martha Millan about all things season 2!

Millan, who graces the screen as Fiona De La Rosa, is forced to go above and beyond to protect her family when her life becomes heavily involved with the Las Vegas criminal syndicate alongside sister-in-law, Thony De La Rosa (Elodie Young). In the second season, Millan’s character becomes a larger part of the action as she deals with a darker storyline that connects back to the dangers of living as an undocumented Filipino immigrant.

In her chat with CraveYouTV, Millan revealed how she prepares to get into the role of Fiona, what the latest episode means for her relationship with Thony, and how JD (Ryan Sands) will factor into it all. 

In addition to some lighthearted questions (she reveals who the silliest person is on set), we also got a little tease of what’s to come for the rest of the season.

Check out the full interview below:

 

Fiona is in a very difficult position at the end of The Cleaning Lady Season 2 Episode 8 because she’s torn between her loyalty to Thony and protecting her kids. Can you speak a little bit about that?

Martha: Honestly, I didn’t even realize the direction of where Fiona was going to go in regards to what’s happening with Chris and everything. So, for me,  it just goes back to the family issues that the show really is based on in terms of how far you would go for your children. And as you can see throughout the season, it’s definitely taken me to a lot of darker places [laughs], especially with the world’s colliding this season. So it’s been challenging in terms of just the conflict she has with who she is as a mother and then, on top of that, being undocumented, but also just the love that she has for her children and, of course, the ride and die relationship that she has with Thony. So, as an actor, it’s just an emotional bliss of rollercoaster emotions. But for the character itself, I think for any mother to go through that, these are stakes that are so high, but it is a constant question of how far will you go for your child and your family.

 

How did you prepare and approach this much darker storyline for Fiona this season?

To be honest with you, I didn’t really know the direction they were taking Fiona, so it was just that every script that I received, which is, like, basically three days before we start shooting, it was always like, “what?” I always just take it in stride and just really trust the material that’s been given and obviously the direction that they’re taking Fiona in. But it’s like life. You don’t know what’s going to happen. So I kind of approached it in that way where when I would get a script and then see the experiences or the journey that Fiona is going to take throughout that episode, it’s all about just being in the moment. So the preparation was all about just, oh, my God, be present. Make believable choices. And I really tried to stay true to what would it be like to be a mother under those circumstances, and those are extraordinary circumstances to be in. So I just grounded it in the relationships that are founded throughout this series. But, yeah, there’s really hardly any time to prepare.

 

So you guys are just finding out all the twists and turns just like we are.

Yeah, exactly. We get eight days to shoot an episode, and so throughout that episode, within maybe three to four days before the beginning of the next episode, that’s when we get the production draft of the script. And yeah, so pretty much it’s like real life. You’re just finding out day by day.

'The Cleaning Lady's Martha Millan Talks Her Darker Storyline, Intense Scenes, and Much More

THE CLEANING LADY: L-R: Martha Millan and guest star Ryan Sands in the “The Brit” episode of THE CLEANING LADY airing Monday, Oct. 17 (9:02-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2022 Fox Media LLC. CR: Jeff Neumann/FOX

Well, we have this new character, JD, and he now knows a lot of their secrets and brings up a lot of issues that I feel Fiona never considered before. But can we trust him?

I know. And for me, it was like, I remember last season, everybody was asking, well, what direction would you like Fiona to go through her experience and in what way? And I was like, well, she needs some love, for crying out loud. With JD’s new character, there was definitely that essence that we don’t see, you know, throughout Fiona’s journey in season one. And in terms of trusting him with the way Ryan Sands is in real life, he’s such a good person. His energy is just so solid. And he was in Marvel’s Runaways, so he’s already a superhero in general, but in the show, I think his energy and his essence still translates, and it gives that kind of a balance that Fiona has been looking for in a way that she’s just never had other than Thony.

But in terms of trusting him, I mean, you never know, right?

 

This show makes me skeptical of everyone!

There are so many twists and turns, and when I’m reading the script and it’s like, “oh, my God, where is this going?” But right now, it’s all about just being in the moment and just kind of also being an actor and just trusting that this is probably going to take another twist and turn. But right now, we have to really portray the truth, which is she’s still there’s still chemistry between them. There’s still that past love. And obviously, the revelation that he did love her during that time is something that has, I guess, brought about new sparks. But again, this is a world of TV, and you just don’t know where those sparks can lead to.

 

Yeah, it’s like, am I wrong in hoping that his girlfriend doesn’t come back?

[Laughs] I know, right? Trust me. As Fiona, and looking at her character, obviously, there is that hope. I think just the hope that Fiona finds some kind of happiness, especially being thrown into this world of the dark underworld that Thony is experiencing, that we see some kind of light and hope for Fiona, especially after the 15 years that she’s been undocumented, and then to experience the underworld of Vegas with Thony. It’s something that we just hope for Fiona, I hope for anyway, too.

'The Cleaning Lady's Martha Millan Talks Her Darker Storyline, Intense Scenes, and Much More

THE CLEANING LADY: L-R: Martha Millan and Élodie Yung in the “Spousal Privilege” episode of THE CLEANING LADY airing Monday, Nov. 14 (9:02-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2022 Fox Media LLC. CR: Jeff Neumann/FOX

How does what’s going on right now in episode eight affect and impact her relationship with Thony moving forward?

Well, I think the way it’s ended, that’s the beauty of how the writers have created what they’ve created is that JD could be the wedge that possibly could be driven in between Thony and Fiona. Especially with the fact that he has brought up some very specific truths in terms of the relationship that she has with Thony has affected her life in the fact that her brother has been killed, her son is now involved, the family is in danger. All for this love, you know, for the love of her sister-in-law in the ride-and-die relationship. And JD really makes Fiona question if it’s all worth it because he’s involved, too, because of his daughter. And it’s extremely understandable why he’s cautious and why he doesn’t want her to be around Thony, because it’s just logical.

But through our eyes—as Thony and Fiona—this is all about family and what we do for family and to save Luca’s life and to protect Chris as well. And I don’t think JD understands how far we’ve gone at this point, but he’s definitely brought in such a very logical perspective that everybody should be able to understand except for Thony and Fiona.

 

Aside from being entertaining, the series is important for the strong female leads, diversity, immigration, and even making sure that there are real consequences for every action, for every character. So what’s been your favorite story to tell through The Cleaning Lady?

I think for me, in season one, it was just such an introduction to the world of being undocumented. The fear that they constantly experience every second of the day is that their lives could be taken away from them instantly. Whether it’s just driving and getting pulled over, whether it’s also the reason why Fiona really expresses her distress with Chris of getting in trouble at school is that they could also be deported by being reported by the school, et cetera. I mean, their lives are just living on eggshells every day. So for me, that’s always something in the back of my mind. And then now that we’re deeper into this darker world of Arman and Thony, it’s even more precarious in every way. Like, the level of fear is heightened, and the anxiety just doesn’t stop. So that’s something that I am aware of.

But I also wanted to be authentic in just the fear of a lot of what undocumented people do live day in, day out. And then not only that, being a single mother, I mean, like, we’re talking about so many situations that Fiona’s dealing with. But also, I also have to remember that there is a reality for people in this country that live that every day. So that’s something that I also want to just be very careful about. But yeah, I think last year with the “Ice Box” episode of being almost deported really hit home for Fiona. And I think a lot of things just upended her in every way and realizing that wanting to also find a way for her children, for Chris, so that he doesn’t have to go through what I’m going through. But it’s just a constant battle. For, I guess that’s what really interests me or, at least, inspires me to be authentic in the story.

 

I think that’s part of what makes the show so special and different.

It’s incredible how Miranda Kwok and Melissa Carter have shaped the show, that, they still touch on the reality of the topical and relevant issues that they’ve explored, but then also create like this, you know, all the explosiveness of entertainment value in TV and the dynamic relationships between Thony, Arman and Nadia (Eva De Dominici), and Kamdar (Naveen Andrews) and the now JD and Fiona. These are just really great elements of writing, but still trying to remain true to their plight in the show, of what they want to achieve as people, as individuals.

'The Cleaning Lady's Martha Millan Talks Her Darker Storyline, Intense Scenes, and Much More

THE CLEANING LADY: Martha Millan in the “Lolo and Lola” episode of THE CLEANING LADY airing Monday, Sept. 26 (9:02-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2022 Fox Media LLC. CR: Jeff Neumann/FOX

What is it like filming these intense themes? Is it as stressful as it is for us watching? Because I always feel like I need to have a drink after I watch this episode to decompress.

Oh, my God. I love that you said that. Because trust me, if you’ve seen any of my Instagram stories, it’s like you see it’s definitely all kind of congregating at a watering hole at some point just to release and distress. Because I think that’s the beauty of our job, is that we get to really live and tell the truth of what that moment means. But then for me, anyway, I step out of it, for sure, just to give myself some sanity.

I spoke to my sister about this and she’s like, you’re just so intense all the time. I’m like, well, if you think about the things that I’m going through, I mean, I don’t know if it would make sense if I would be just super chill about it. I don’t think there would be any believability in that. I think what’s great between Thony and Fiona, just you can see how the contrast of the two women, of how Thony handles these situations and in opposition to how Fiona deals with things. And it’s a beautiful dynamic, too, that the writers have created and allowed us to explore. So I think also that adds to the show in every way, the energy of the show in every way.

But yes, definitely, I have a drink or two after we finish a lot of the things. And then in between takes, I definitely always find a way to laugh, dance, have fun, even while I’ve got tears in my eyes or whatever. Because it is these are things if you are experiencing them in real life, I mean, you need to step out as an actor to understand that that’s not my reality, that’s just the reality of the characters.

So I definitely try to lighten things up on set in between takes.

 

Would you call yourself the silliest person on set?

I’m pretty much definitely the silliest person to the point I think it annoyed a director. [Laughs] I respect everyone’s process, whether it’s the director, the crew, or the other actors. For me, that’s all about just being creative. But I think because the scenes are so explosive and so intense, that, as a creative, individually, I need to step away from that, otherwise it’s something that’s going to become a part of me. I definitely dance around a lot. I definitely love to laugh, like I said, to the point where I think one director was quite annoyed by it.

 

I want to see the blooper videos for these!

Apparently, they’ve made one because we just wrapped, so I’m also curious too, but I’m not the only one. I mean, I definitely am silly, but I know that Adan Canto and Elodie, once they get into their giggle fit, they don’t stop! So I’m hardly ever on set with them, except for that one time when I did meet and work with Adan Canto, which was also extremely nerve-wracking for Martha as well as Fiona. But I know that those two, they’re giggle bots, they do not stop laughing. And then, of course, Oliver Hudson is the wonderfully, adorable ham on set as well.

'The Cleaning Lady's Martha Millan Talks Her Darker Storyline, Intense Scenes, and Much More

THE CLEANING LADY: L-R: Martha Millan and Élodie Yung in the “El Diablo Que Conoces” episode of THE CLEANING LADY airing Monday, Oct. 3 (9:02-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2022 Fox Media LLC. CR: Jeff Neumann/FOX

Is there a character you would like to share a scene with that you haven’t as of yet?

Oh my God. All of them! I love Nadia’s character and how they’ve developed her. And I would love to see the interaction because they’re both very fiery women, Fiona and Nadia. And obviously at different class levels, but they both have the same background, so I think that would be an interesting dynamic, and mainly because I love hanging out with her in real life too so it would be fun to just do a scene. And then, of course, Russo, I mean, I don’t know what kind of scene that would happen, but Liza Weil is one of my dearest friends, so we definitely decompress together after the scenes, but we never have them together unless there could be a possibility…

 

It probably wouldn’t be good for Thony!

No, it wouldn’t be good for Thony or Fiona if that would happen.

 

Anything possible though, right?

In this show, trust me! Because the fact that I ended up in a bathroom, watching someone being tied up, was definitely something I did not expect. I really commend the writers for their creativity, but it’s still grounded. And the pushed reality that we face each script is still grounded upon the basis of family values. And how far would you go? Because the relationships are so raw and real. I really am in complete gratitude to the creativity of Miranda Kwok and Melissa Carter and all the writers in the room. It’s amazing.

You said you finished filming the season, so without giving away too many spoilers, what can you tease for the rest of the season for fans? What can they expect?

Well, I think worlds have definitely collided, and once that happens, I think the consequences of that collision, and the actions that have been taken, will come to light. If that’s a good enough teaser!

 

Yeah, I like that. Now I’m even more intrigued.

 Trust me. Yes. When I read the last episode, I was like, “oh, my God. Okay, how are we going to do this?” Put it that way.

 

What one word would you use to describe the remaining episodes of the season? Just one word.

Unexpected.

I was, like, trying to think of something, but no, unexpected, because that’s what happened to me when I read it. I was like, “what?”

 

Maybe the word should have been “what?”

Yeah, that could work, with an exclamation and question mark! [Laughs]

 

The next episode of The Cleaning Lady airs on Monday, November 28, 2022, after the Thanksgiving break. You can read all of our reviews here

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Lizzy Buczak is the founder of CraveYouTV. What started off as a silly blog in her sophomore year at Columbia College Chicago turned her passion for watching TV into an opportunity! She has been in charge of CraveYou since 2011, writing reviews and news content for a wide variety of shows. Lizzy is a Music Business and Journalism major who has written for RADIO.COM, TV Fanatic, Time Out Chicago, Innerview, Pop’stache and Family Time.

The Cleaning Lady

The Cleaning Lady Review – Smoke and Mirrors (310)

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The Cleaning Lady Season 3 Episode 10 seems to getting its groove back—and best of all, it’s forcing Nadia and Thony into each other’s orbits. 

The latest development in the storyline brings them closer than ever before as they focus on a common goal of taking Sin Cara down.

As the episode declared, Thony found herself in a rather tricky situation, stuck between Ramona and the FBI. Neither was going to shake her, which is no way to live. Thony needed an out, quickly, and when it presented itself, she didn’t hesitate. Ramona said something to Thony that foreshadowed what was to come and illuminated her path forward—in every situation, even the powerless ones, Thony always looks for the power; the upper hand. 

So, when pushed into a corner, Thony found the power and did what she had to do, confessing that she knew Jeremy was FBI (he thought he was so slick—the poor man had no clue that his cover was long blown) and leveraging it to save Nadia’s life…. by killing her, temporarily, of course. Arman would be proud of the way they continue to have each other’s backs. 

It did seem as though Thony was going to make a full venture into the dark side when she offered to “take out” Nadia, but that wouldn’t be in line with the character—and her alternative actually allows her to walk back the line to freedom and innocence. She’s pushed the boundaries for so long for the sake of her family, but now, it’s done more harm than good. 

And getting out isn’t as easy as one might think. She tried reasoning with Ramona to cut her loose after she proved her loyalty, but the problem was always that, just as everyone before her, the leader of Sin Cara saw what Thony was capable of and deemed her to be valuable, and thus, she would always dig herself in deeper. 

But now, after essentially blackmailing Jeremy into helping her pull off Nadia’s death to the world, Thony has a chance at finding some normalcy. As does Nadia, even if the initial shock has her blaming Thony for “taking her life from her.” It’s almost like she doesn’t realize she didn’t have much of a choice—either she faked her own death or she actually died. She may not be “free” while she’s hiding out in a basement, but at least she’s alive, an once they finally take down Ramona, she will be able to get that second chance to really live. 

It’s unclear if the goal is to take down Jorge as well. Nadia was about to enter into a lucrative partnership with him, however, once he realizes that Thony and Nadia are behind the attack on his sister, I think it will prove once and for all that his loyalties lie with his blood family. There’s no way Ramona goes down for running the Sin Cara cartel and Jorge still strikes a deal with Nadia—he’s opportunistic, but not naive.

However, if you really think about it, Nadia doesn’t need him for the new luxury business venture. He needs her way more as she’s the one who has built a name for herself and developed a high-profile clientele. The only benefit of Jorge was that he had the means to unlock all of Kamdar’s money—and I’m sure she’ll find a way to leverage her link to the FBI now to get what she wants. In fact, with The Cleaning Lady renewed for another season, I think that’s what I’d be most interested in seeing—Thony and Nadia working together to open up their own business that allows them to launder money in the background. Be their own bosses!

Thony is now in the best position she can be in—she’s proven her loyalty to Ramona tenfold; she saved her life with the rogue surgery, and then killed Nadia, something that Ramona thought she didn’t have in her. She was quick on her feet, as usual, coming up with a solution that benefitted them both. Never underestimate a doctor! 

Thony is now Ramona’s greatest asset, and she doesn’t suspect her of working with the feds at all. None of those emergency protocols will matter when there’s someone on the inside feeding information that’s going about undetected (which will also come in handy with finding where they moved. Camila!). 

Plus, she has protection with Jeremy in her corner while feeding him information that can bring down Ramona and eventually buy her and her family freedom. And it doesn’t seem like Russo knows anything at all, which means there’s less likelihood of word getting out about Thony’s double-agent duty. 

It is a good pivot for The Cleaning Lady after wrapping up the storyline on Arman Morales, all while restoring agency to the female characters who have proven they can weather any storm. 

What did you think of the episode?

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‘The Cleaning Lady’ Renewal News That Left Fans Seriously Shocked

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The Cleaning Lady Season 3 Premiere Review - Arman

The Cleaning Lady has officially been renewed for a fourth season—but while TV show renewals tend to elicit excitement from fanbases, the Fox renewal is snagging some divided reactions.

Mostly, fans are expressing their shock that the show scored yet another season in light of Adan Canto’s real-life death, which heavily impacted the direction of season 3—and, according to many fans, not in a good way (though the creative forces behind it are trying their best to navigate a tricky situation). 

“This really surprises me. I miss Adam Canto but thought they did a good job this season. Thought for sure it would end its run this spring,” one fan wrote of the series getting the green light.

“Really? Why?” another simply pondered.

Someone else chimed in noting: “Surprising and yet not surprising, either. It was renewed for a season 3 with low ratings, so it’s not really surprising that it was renewed for a season 4 with even lower ratings. That being said, I thought they’d just end it this season after Adan Canto’s death. Not sure if this is a good idea or not.”

“The show is not very good this year,” someone else said, while elsewhere a fan mused that they thought there was “no chance.”

The surprises only continue as The Cleaning Lady is not part of Fox’s fall lineup, being held for the midseason instead. 

And in even more shocking news, Miranda Kwok, who developed the series, and Jeannine Renshaw, who was the showrunner during the third installment—taking on the difficulties of navigating a show without Canto’s Morales—will not be returning for the fourth season. If the person behind the show’s inception isn’t on board, it is surprising that the network has so much faith in a series currently averaging 2.2 million total viewers and a 0.2 demo rating.

Either way, there are plenty of fans who are surprised yet happy by the renewal as it allows the series to explore the future of the characters they love, like Thony and Fiona, without the added focus on Arman’s whereabouts. This season heavily tied into the grief of losing him, but hopefully, the slate is cleared next season and allows the storyline to flourish, with Thony making better choices and finding her groove. 

The renewal is said to be for 12 episodes, which will debut sometime in the spring lineup.

You can catch up on all of our The Cleaning Lady reviews right here!

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The Cleaning Lady

The Cleaning Lady Review – From the Ashes (309)

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The Cleaning Lady seemed like it was gaining its momentum back with the twist on Jeremy last week, only for The Cleaning Lady Season 3 Episode 9 to fall flat once again. 

It pains me to say this, but I can’t get into Ramona and Jorge being the new big bad, on the heels of an actually terrifying man like Robert Kamdar last season. They just aren’t compelling enough, even as the series aims to remind us that Ramona is cutthroat and will kill when pushed up against a wall. 

Thony wanted to find a way to remain resourceful to protect herself and her family, and thus, she began looking into Ramona’s health. It wasn’t long before she found what no other doctor was able to figure out–she was not in kidney failure, she’s suffering lead poisoning from a lodged bullet from years ago. 

Moments after her discovery, Ramona was on the makeshift operating table as Thony dug out fragments and attempted to make the most out of this second lifeline. It all just felt a bit too rushed for my liking—the whole season kind of feels like they can’t wait to get to the next big thing, all while simultaneously giving the vibe that not much is happening when it comes to momentum. 

The Sin Cara cartel is dull—and nothing compared to what Thony previously dealt with. 

And it took her absolutely no time to also figure out that Jeremy was snooping around her house and not to be trusted. From those flashbacks, it’s unclear if she thinks he’s the cartel’s enemy or if she’s aware that he’s an FBI plant, but either way, Thony is not pleased that yet another person has been lying to her. 

Jeremy seemed like a promising agent at first as he figured out a way to get close to Thony and solved the big mystery at hand that Sin Cara is a woman. He was unassuming and was able to ask questions without it coming off too suspicious or nosy.

But then he made such a rookie move. He’s not the kind of person to underestimate Thony, so why wouldn’t he assume that she would check the cameras/notice that a chunk of time was cut out? 

But what now? Will Thony confront him and take his deal to work with the FBI and bring down the cartel? It’s a dangerous option for sure, but it might be the only way she washes her hands of everything and moves on. Having Ramona and Jorge in her life has only proven problematic, plus, bringing them down while working with the FBI would be the best revenge for Arman. 

However, Thony is so engrained in this lifestyle, I don’t think she’d ever openly trust the FBI either. She likes to do things herself and for herself, and I’d assume that would play a key role in her decision-making.

The whole cartel storyline is also getting quite muddled as now Jorge has set his sights on Nadia, and is hoping to leverage her power and money into creating his own dynasty, apart from his sister’s since he thinks she’s “holding him back.” When confronted, Jorge made it seem like Ramona was still holding the reins, so he’s playing on both fronts and likely seeing if he’s better off with Nadia or Ramona in his corner. Either way, I can’t say I’m too invested in this and simply want to see Nadia out of the game for good, right along with Thony. 

As for Fiona and Chris, it definitely seems like they don’t know how to include them—and that’s a shame since they had such prevalent storylines at the beginning of the season as we learned more about Fi’s past—so they are now on this goose chase to find Camila. 

It’s possible finding Camila will open the door to a corrupt part of Ramona’s business, and that will be a way to take her down. And hopefully, Chris doesn’t have to suffer the loss of a woman he loves in the process. 

“From the Ashes” surely felt like a filler episode more than anything, but we are also seeing Thony once again prove her resourcefulness and rise up from the pain and suffering of losing Arman. She’s gained Ramona’s trust—which has to mean something—and must leverage that to free herself from this mess. I guess knowing that Luca is thriving in school due to all the sacrifices she made and all the hoops she jumped through is proving to her that there’s a reason for everything. 

What do you think of the episode? Are you enjoying this season thus far?

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