Shantel VanSanten’s aim remains true in ‘Shooter’ Season 2

If a series with the title “Shooter” ups the action stakes in its second season, that comes as no surprise to its female lead.

Shantel VanSanten was directly in the line of fire as military veteran and skilled sniper Bob Lee Swagger’s (Ryan Phillippe) wife Julie as Season 1 of the USA Network drama series ended. The former “One Tree Hill” and “The Messengers” actress, who says she loves “action that engages you physically and mentally,” came back “happy and willing” for even deeper involvement in the show’s sophomore round that begins Tuesday, July 18.

While plot details have been scarce, the new “Shooter” story arc evidently brings danger right to the ranch of the Swaggers and their young daughter Mary (Lexy Kolker). “Our writers are really wonderful at constructing character arcs within the action,” VanSanten notes, “the slow burn of getting to know Julie and Bob Lee and their relationship and, by the end of Season 1, being able to see where her heart and her strength really lie.

“That’s in protecting her family and, obviously most importantly, her daughter. To see them as a family unit and a team is what I think is the core and the heartbeat of the show. That’s what they fight for, what has kept Bob Lee and so many Marines I’ve spoken to alive, seeing your family and having that moment when your kid runs into your arms. Now, the fight gets brought to our front door, rather than being on a bigger scale.” VanSanten hints that she “did a lot of gun training” to prep for the return.

(Left to right) Shantel VanSanten, Ryan Philliippe and Lexy Kolker star in “Shooter,” which starts its second season Tuesday, July 18. on USA Network.

With co-stars Omar Epps, Cynthia Addai-Robinson and Eddie McClintock also back, “Shooter” – inspired by the 2007 movie starring Mark Wahlberg, an executive producer of the series, and Stephen Hunter’s novel “Point of Impact” – has notable Season 2 cast additions. Desmond Harrington (“Dexter”), Beverly D’Angelo, Harry Hamlin (“Mad Men”), William Fichtner (recently of “Mom”) and WWE’s Randy Orton appear in the new stories.

“Shooter” faced several telecast delays last year due to real-world shootings. “I respected our studio’s and our network’s decision to postpone the show out of respect for the lives lost,” VanSanten reflects. “It’s hard, because some of our art is going to mimic life, and life is going to mimic art … but there is a time and a place, and a respectful way of doing things. We all had faith, and we knew the story we were telling was an important one.”

Before she began “Shooter,” VanSanten played police detective Patty Spivot on The CW’s “The Flash.” She says she remains very open to returning to that adventure if the producers can fit her in.

“I haven’t had a conversation with them,” she allows, “but what’s cool is that with our shooting schedule now, I am free. They start in July and we finish in July, so if they wanted to bring me back, I’ll shout from the rooftops that I would love nothing more than to go and reprise that role.”


Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin has decades of experience covering the television and movie businesses, winning Tribune Media Services’ Crown Jewel Award in 2008 for his performance in the company. Over those many years of interviewing and writing, he has spoken with everyone from Robert De Niro and John Travolta to Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett … from Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.

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