Over the course of one year, things have changed for The Following's Ryan Hardy.
Although he is still haunted by the idea that Joe Carroll is not in fact dead, as any believe, and continues to pose a danger out in the world, Hardy (Kevin Bacon) has in many ways moved forward with his life.
"Last year Ryan had nothing to lose. He was okay walking into a room knowing he may not walk out of it. This year is different," explained series creator Kevin Williamson in a new featurette. "Ryan has a reason to live. Ryan's found hope. Ryan has gotten his life together. Ryan's got his heart in check. Ryan's got his sobriety in check. Ryan has got a reason to live this year."
The FBI agent's reasons to live revolve mostly around Mike Weston (Shawn Ashmore) - an FBI agent who has become his right hand man - and his niece Max (Jessica Stroup), who is an NYPD detective. As season 2 moves forward, Hardy will be concerned with protecting these two members of his small family.
"If I had to sum up what this year is about, it's about family," Williamson stated. "We witnessed Joe Carroll and how he creates his family, and now we see Ryan Hardy and he's sort of created his family. He's got Mike, he's got Max, and he's got people he cares about. And now he's going to fight for them."
Ryan's relationship with Mike, however, will be slightly strained as the seasoned agent endeavors to keep his young comrade from becoming too much like himself.
"There is some trauma that [Mike] is suffering from when we start the season - he's sort of straddling the good and bad of his profession," Williamson explained. "Ryan Hardy wants to push Mike away because he doesn't want to see Mike become him."
Find out how Ryan, Mike, and Max will fare against the new threat of Luke (Sam Underwood) when The Following returns at 9 p.m. ET on Jan. 27 on Fox. Click the video below to see a preview of season 2.