John Legend plays Frederick Douglass in “Underground” Season 2, WGN America’s critically acclaimed drama

With the country on the brink of Civil War, the struggle for freedom is more dangerous than ever. WGN America's "Underground," a critically acclaimed historical drama, tells the story of American heroes and their harrowing journey to freedom, with legendary Harriet Tubman blazing the trail.

"Underground" Season 2 premieres Wednesday, March 8th at 9:00 p.m. on WGN America. The debut season of "Underground" launched on WGN America last March.

"Underground" intertwines the lives of slaves, abolitionists and those resisting equality in the American south prior to the Civil War.

The show centers on a group of slaves planning a daring 600-mile escape from a Georgia plantation. Along the way, they are aided by a secret abolitionist couple running a station on the Underground Railroad as they attempt to evade the people charged with bringing them back, dead or alive.

Underground

Underground

Season 2 features GRAMMY, Golden Globe and Academy Award winning artist John Legend as renowned abolitionist Frederick Douglass. Legend is also an executive producer. Season 2 also features a new, original song from Legend, titled "In America."

It also features Beyonce's GRAMMY nominated smash single "Freedom."

Season two of "Underground" follows an unrelenting struggle for freedom within a divided America on the brink of Civil War, with each side vying to enact their own justice. In the premiere, a desperate Rosalee anxiously awaiting Noah's release from prison, joins forces with Harriet Tubman to fend off slave catchers and secure the safe passage of runaways.

"She can't live in peace and harmony knowing everybody else is in bondage," Jurnee Smollett-Bell, who plays Rosalee said.

Underground

Underground

"Noah has been in jail this entire time -- still trying to figure out how to get out. The entire time he's been locked up his perspective has grown, and you're going to see how that affects him going through the story this season. You're going to see that complete transition," Aldis Hodgeas, who plays Noah said.

Jurnee Smollett-Bell and Aldis Hodgeas

Jurnee Smollett-Bell and Aldis Hodgeas

As John battles for Noah's freedom in the courtroom, Elizabeth takes a more subversive path to abolitionism, entering into a secret society known as "the sewing circle." Meanwhile, Ernestine struggles with personal demons and seductive vices at a new plantation.  The fight for freedom continues, even as tragedy strikes.

Underground

Underground

The stakes are life and death in "Underground" Season 2. The show intertwines the lives of slaves, abolitionists and those resisting the end of bondage in the American south prior to the Civil War.

"It's amazing how involved these human beings were, and how heroic they were, so I felt it was time to open our world in Season 2," Joe Pokaski, creator/writer said.

Joe Pokaski

Joe Pokaski (left)

Each character seems guarded, keeping their emotions under the surface.

"You couldn't be exposed. You couldn't expose yourself for the risk of everything," Alano Miller, who plays Cato said.

"I think they were forced to at the time. I think 1857 and what they were doing, it leads so much to spies, which is why the Underground Railroad became a natural spy network during the Civil War," Misha Green, creator/writer said.

Alano Miller

Alano Miller (left)

"The theme of the season really is citizen versus soldier. Where do you stand on the fight? We ask, do the ends justify the means? Rosalee ends up doing very questionable things for the right reasons but is that OK?" Jurnee Smollett-Bell, who plays Rosalee said.

In Season 2, Rosalee, a former slave, teams up with the Underground Railroad's most famous conductor, Harriet Tubman.

Underground

Underground

"Rosalee doesn't know she's going to become this legendary historical figure. She just knows that she's a great teacher and she's like a big sister," Jurnee Smollett-Bell, who plays Rosalee said.

Aisha Hinds portrays the renowned Tubman.

Underground

Underground

"It excited me in the beginning and completely paralyzed me because I didn't know how I would be able to rise to the occasion and give her everything that she needed and everything she required and everything she deserved. This show is making history about history. They are essentially bringing theater to the television by offering her a platform to share her story for an entire episode," Hinds said.

Aisha Hinds, right

Aisha Hinds, right

Season 2 also follows the moral progression of Elizabeth Hawkes, once ambivalent to slavery -- now working secretly to destroy it.

"She faces a severe challenge, a set of challenges and has to make a commitment, a massive commitment," Jessia de Gouw, who plays Elizabeth Hawkes said.

The cast of "Underground" Season 2 includes the following:

  • Jurnee Smollett-Bell as Rosalee ("Friday Night Lights," The Great Debaters)
  • Aldis Hodgeas as Noah (Straight Outta Compton, Hidden Figures)
  • Jessica de Gouw as Elizabeth Hawkes ("Arrow," "Dracula")
  • Alano Miller as Cato(Loving, "Atlanta")
  • Christopher Meloni as August Pullman ("Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," Sin City: A Dame to Kill For)
  • Amirah Vann as Ernestine ("Girls," And So It Goes)
  • Marc Blucas as John Hawkes ("Blue Bloods")
  • Aisha Hinds ("Under the Dome," Star Trek Into Darkness) in the pioneering role of Harriet Tubman
  • Jasika Nicole as Georgia("Fringe," "Scandal")
  • DeWanda Wise as Clara ("Shots Fired")
  • Bokeem Woodbine as Daniel ("Fargo")
  • Michael Trotter as Biographer("Rosewood")
  • Jesse Luken as Smoke ("Justified," 42)
  • Sadie Stratton as Patty Cannon ("Code Black," "Boy Meets World")
  • Robert Christopher Riley as Hicks ("Hit the Floor")
Underground

Underground

Hailing from Sony Pictures Television, "Underground" is created and written by Misha Green ("Sons of Anarchy," "Heroes") and Joe Pokaski ("Heroes," "Daredevil"), who serve as executive producers alongside Emmy-winning director Anthony Hemingway ("The People v. O.J. Simpson," "Treme"); Academy Award-winning writer Akiva Goldsman (A Beautiful Mind, I Am Legend) of Weed Road Pictures; Tory Tunnell (King Arthur, Holy Rollers) and Joby Harold (King Arthur, Edge of Tomorrow) of Safehouse Pictures; John Legend,Mike Jackson and Ty Stiklorius of Get Lifted Film Co (La La Land, Southside with You); and Mark Taylor ("MadTV").

Ahead of the Season 2 premiere, FOX6's Jonathon Gregg traveled to Los Angeles to interview the cast and creators.

In celebration of the season two launch, fans are invited to "tweet up" with the cast and creative team as they live tweet the premiere episode, @UndergroundWGN. Fans can also catch up with "Underground" in advance of the premiere with a day-long, full season one marathon airing Wednesday, March 8, 2017 beginning at 12:00 p.m. ET/PT.

If you'd like to watch "Underground," you can see it on the following cable and satellite channels:

  • Time Warner Cable: Channel 9
  • DirecTV: Channel 307
  • ATT U-Verse: Channel 180
  • Dish Network: Channel 239

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