Utkarsh Ambudkar Hopes Ghosts Season 2 Cliffhanger Doesn’t Become a Walking Dead Situation

Ghosts star Utkarsh Ambudkar talks about season 2's wild conclusion and what he hopes to see in season 3.

“The Heir” – When a woman shows up claiming to be the rightful heir to Woodstone Mansion, Sam (Rose McGiver) and Jay (Utkarsh Ambudkar) enlist the help of a lawyer. Meanwhile, Isaac (Brandon Scott Jones) tries to decide how to spend half of Sam’s advance on his autobiography. Also, a surprise event takes place that could dramatically change life at the manor. Pictured (L-R): Utkarsh Ambudkar as Jay and Rose McIver as Samantha.
Photo: Bertrand Calmeau | CBS

This article contains spoilers for the Ghosts season 2 finale. 

Ghosts on CBS has wrapped its second season with an unexpected cliffhanger for the ghostly residents of Woodstone Mansion. Fans will once again have more questions than answers leading into season 3. Throughout Ghosts season 2, Jay (Utkarsh Ambudkar) and Sam (Rose McIver) have dealt with all sorts of drama in trying to launch Woodstone House as a B&B. Everything from faulty flooring to unreasonable guest demands, potential lawsuits, and more 

Although much of the focus revolves around Sam’s ability to speak to the ghosts, Jay has had time to grow into his own despite the limitations of not being able to see or hear the ghosts. He’s made new friends and is looking to work on expanding Woodstone’s culinary offerings. 

Den of Geek spoke to Uktkarsh Ambudkar about which ghost he believes left Woodstone for the great beyond, Jay’s character arc this season, what he would do if he had the chance to write his own episode and his favorite moments from season 2.

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DEN OF GEEK: What’s Jay’s logic for hoping it’s Trevor that gets sucked off?

UTKARSH AMBUDKAR: Well, he repeatedly tries to sleep with Jay’s wife. He doesn’t wear pants and he generally presents himself as kind of a douchebag although we know he has some more amenable qualities. And I think Jay may not know him as well as Sam or the other ghosts do because he can’t actually talk to him. Jay might be a little petty and he might want a little revenge for Trevor having tried to schtup his sister. We have no clue who it is. 

Since we don’t know who it is, is it a possibility that a ghost that we’ve already met is departing? 

I think it’s entirely possible that somebody that we know and love we may have to say goodbye to. I don’t know who that is. I have no insider information. I’m waiting with bated breath just like everyone else and I will be waiting for the next few months until we start season three again. The writers are in the writers’ room right now, and if there’s anything I know from Joe Port and Joe Wiseman and their team, their crackpot team of typists, it’s that they always go left when you think they’re going to go right. [NOTE: This interview was recorded before the Writer’s Strike].

That’s one of the things that makes this show so successful is that they’ve literally gone against common sense every step of the way, to great success. So we’ll see who it is, how it happens, why it happens. It’s going to be wild. I hope it doesn’t turn into a Glenn on The Walking Dead type of situation, but let’s hope that’s a worst-case scenario.

Jay is unusually quiet as Sam, the lawyer, and the newly discovered claimant to Woodstone Manor Kelsey are discussing the situation. Tell us what’s going on inside his head? 

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As an actor, this was one of the hardest scenes for me to play because what is going through my head is I’ve just eaten strip club sushi and I don’t want to shit my pants. So I’m not saying that I should get nominated for an Emmy for that performance, but I’m not not saying that I should get nominated for an Emmy.

Is he suspicious of Kelsey from the get-go or is he willing to hear her out?

I think Sam and Jay have been through so much that when these wild and sort of fantastical things now enter their life, their first instinct is to go with it. Skepticism doesn’t suit them. I think generally Jay’s just like, ‘wow, I guess we have to deal with this now’. And then after they do some information gathering, with the help of the ghosts usually, they realize that maybe something is afoot. I think they’re very trusting people and that can work against them at times.

This plotline was not in the season finale but why do you believe Jay initially hid the restaurant job application interview from Sam?

Because it’s not real, his life has forever changed. It’s a little bit of a sad scene, but he’s like, “Look, I just did it to do it. I did it just to feel like it was possible, knowing that it’s not.” So it’s a little sad, but I think he just did it because he wanted to pretend like his life was normal again. And he didn’t share that with Sam because obviously, it would have hurt her feelings because he knows it’s his wife and she loves him. And then you get into the whole thing of like, “well, I didn’t really mean it.” Jay doesn’t want to hurt Sam. He knows that she can’t control the fact that she sees dead people everywhere. So I think it was something that he did for himself just to feel normal and it had nothing to do with her or anyone else.

Do you agree with Isaac getting half of the publishing advance, even though he can’t really spend money because he’s a ghost?

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Ghosts have rights just like everyone else. We know how much of a control freak Isaac is, he makes Sam look relaxed. I think he’s more than entitled to it. He might have some ancestors. He might have a great aptitude for the stock markets and such, he might make some great investments. Who knows? So yes, I think he’s entitled to maybe even more than half the publishing. He needs to get a good lawyer.

Speaking of Issac, who should officiate his wedding to Nigel? 

I mean, if Isaac is being the pettiest, I would say Jenkins, the other barn ghost, or the other British soldier ghost who used to be with Nigel. That would just really drill it home. But as a fan of the show, I want Thorfinn. I would pay any amount of money to watch Devan Chandler Long as Thorfinn officiate any wedding.

Was Alberta right to hold a grudge against Hetty about withholding key information on who murdered her?

Yeah absolutely. Hetty had this information that would’ve shed light on the biggest mystery in her life. And you have to look at historically what’s going on, you have a Black woman from the 1920s who inexplicably befriends this robber baron’s wife, who, let’s be honest, probably had her own idea of what it was to have this woman in the house. They develop a friendship that’s essentially based on a lie. And if I’m Alberta, I’m deeply hurt because you didn’t just keep something from me, you kept the thing that would’ve made me whole from me. And if I’m Hetty I also understand that you’ve met someone, walls have dropped, the secret becomes the truth. The lie becomes the truth in order to develop this new friendship. But I have no idea how those two are going to work that out. That is a real, real big betrayal to come back from.

What was your favorite scene to film in season 2 overall?

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There are so many favorites but the Christmas episode was really great. Watching those guys sing their song on the steps was just gorgeous, and how much work I know they put in and how difficult it was for them to master that and for it to end up so beautiful. 

 We have such a huge cast, and because there’s a finite amount of time per episode and per day that we’re shooting with coverages and everything, it’s not economic time-wise to have the entire cast on set every single day. Anytime where all of us are in the room together such as the Christmas episode, when Thor and Flower are trapped in the ghost machine, or Alberta’s murder, those are usually my favorite days because you really see the dynamics of the group. You see the love, the communication. As actors, I mean, it’s one thing, but as people, we just have a lot of fun together. Those are really special moments where you can see your peers work hard and see their work be successful. 

Who was your favorite guest star to work with on Season 2?

I can’t just pick one because they were all so great. I have a soft spot for Punam Patel and Tristan D. Lalla, who plays Mark. Those are the first people Jay could speak to, and so I love them. I would say that it was a real, real treat to have Mathew Baynton, who created the BBC version of Ghosts, come and play a strange version of Pete in “Dumb Deaths”. We also had Rose Abdoo, Laraine Newman, Chip Zdarsky, Andrew Leeds, Rodrigo who plays creepy Todd. Oh, and then of course Tara Reid came and that was amazing. A little side story, Tara Reid came and we Face-Timed Rachael Leigh Cook, who’s a friend of mine, and so I had two-thirds of freaking Josie and the Pussycats on the phone, and it was amazing. I was like we just needed Rosario (Dawson) and it would’ve been a dream come true, but I need to see a Josie and the Pussycats reunion like 10 years ago. So that was a fun little moment.

Do you get any input on all of the pop culture references in the scripts?

We certainly give a lot of input, but you have two showrunners and a full writer’s room who are very good at their jobs. There are moments when they let us do our thing. One scene that stands out is possibly in season 1 when Jay goes on a rant about Jurassic Park, and they let me add quite a bit to that. I think even in the last episode with the run of baseball movies, they let me add a bunch of stuff to that too. I don’t think Sandlot was in the script nor was Bull Durham, I think I added all those in. 

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If you had to write a standalone Ghosts episode, what would the plot be, and which guest stars would you bring in to play supporting characters?

They’re doing a remake of Home Alone, but an action version. It’s like Home Alone meets John Wick starring Jean-Claude Van Damme. The film crew has rented Woodstone Mansion as the setting for this film. Jean-Claude Van Damme shows up and he’s like, “I want to stay in character. I want to live in the house. I want to be a person in the B&B and I want to do research on the house, so I know the ins and outs because I’m a method actor.” Sam and Jay are like, “Cool.” So Jean-Claude Van Damme comes and stays at the Woodstone Mansion to do research for his Home Alone meets John Wick movie, and hilarity ensues. I think only Trevor and Jay would know who he is so maybe it’s a way for them to reconcile their friendship, their mutual love of Jean-Claude Van Damme, and that’s all I got so far.

What does that mean to you to be on a show where discussing diversity and equity is a part of the plot and not just a sideline in the jokes?

I think there’s a balance. I think it can be a very much part of the joke because as a person of color, the humor is not lost on us, what it’s like to be immigrants and minorities in America. It’s part of what has helped our communities. I’ll speak for mine, my community sort of, survive and thrive, there’s a sense of humor about what’s going on. You have to call out stereotypes and you can’t always be angry. I think as we get to know each other, as the writers get to know the cast, as we all learn to trust each other more, as there are more people of color and minorities behind the camera, in the writer’s room, in the director’s chair, I think these stories become a lot more organic and easier to tell because there’s more knowledge going on sort of all over the set.

It’s not one person educating everyone and then everyone trying to learn in real-time, which is very difficult when you have a deadline to meet on a 22-minute episode of a comedy show. But the more general knowledge that everyone has together, these stories become less difficult to tell. There’s less like, well, what would it mean if… who gets offended if we… it’s more just like, well, we all know. So I think as we grow as a company we’re getting better at telling those stories a little bit more effortlessly.

Are you working on any side projects in between filming?

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I have a movie called World’s Best. It’s a hip-hop musical and it is premiering on Disney Plus on June 23rd.  I wrote the script with my friend Jamie King, and I wrote all of the music with my friends Charlie Bethel and Savan Kotecha, and I’ve co-produced it with Tommy Kail, who’s another friend of mine from Freestyle Love Supreme.

It’s about a boy named Prem Patel, who is a math whiz who doesn’t want to be a math whiz in middle school because it’s not working out for him. And he finds out that his late father was a famous rapper, and he really is in deep, desperate need of an identity change. I play his late father because I wanted to play a ghost for once. I start to visit him as an imaginary friend, and teach him all about hip hop and how to be a great rapper, and what it means to be an MC. And he has to then decide whether he wants to change who he is and be this person that he might not like, or embrace who he is and be his father’s son and his mother’s son. Punam Patel plays his mother and one of our Farnsbys, Kathryn Greenwood, is also in the film so it’s a mini Ghosts reunion.

What are your hopes for Jay in season 3? 

I think something simple, just like inventing time travel. You know what I mean? Trick out a DeLorean and live out his Back to the Future fantasies. I doubt that that’s going to happen, but a guy can dream. 

It would be fun to explore Jay’s family situation like what’s going on with his mom that kind of keeps Sam on the outside of that relationship. I would love to see Bela (Punam Patel) come back. Jay has got this restaurant going, so what does that mean? Who are the people that he needs to hire and how does he turn that rickety old barn into the next destination restaurant? He’s got a lot on his plate, pun intended, and we’ll see how that goes. I hope that it doesn’t create any rifts with Sam and the ghosts. It’s nice that he’s got this sort of project or this individual mission now that we can follow him on while he supports Sam and the ghosts’ shenanigans. This restaurant really opens up a lot of possibilities for active involvement for the character, so that’s exciting.

All episodes of Ghosts are currently streaming on Paramount+. 

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