‘The Following’: James Purefoy Teases His Killer’s Master Plan

James Purefoy of 'The Following' (Photo: FOX)

Serial killers are having a moment right now on television. As Showtime’s “Dexter” prepares to enter his final season of slaying bad guys this summer, two new killer masterminds are moving into broadcast territory, with NBC’s midseason “Hannibal” (based on the Hannibal Lector from “Silence of the Lambs”) and Fox’s dark new drama, “The Following.”

The fear factor of “The Following” is what’s captured viewers’ attention, along with the compelling relationship between the two charismatic leads, Kevin Bacon’s retired FBI guy Ryan Hardy and his prey, literature professor-turned-serial killer Joe Carroll, played by British actor James Purefoy, who’s perhaps best known on TV for playing Mark Antony in HBO’s cult series “Rome.”

Or perhaps it’s the other way around. Because it’s Carroll who’s calling the shots from behind prison walls and orchestrating mayhem via his cult of followers — and torturing Ryan Hardy, both psychologically and physically.

On tonight’s third episode, the origins of this cat and mouse story is revealed when viewers learn in a flashback how Ryan Hardy and Joe Carroll’s relationship actually began. (Check It Now Below)

Watch a Sneak Peek of Episode 3:

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This week we also meet a new follower named Rick Kester (guest star Michael Drayer), and when Hardy and the FBI try to ruin his very determined plans for revenge, it leads to “a surprising outcome.”

Viewers can also look forward to the twisted triangle between three of Carroll’s followers, who are holding his son hostage, taking a sharp turn for the worse as Paul’s issues with Emma and Jacob’s relationship comes to a head when he tries to turn Jacob against the maniacal babysitter.

Click here to use xfinity.com/tv to DVR “The Following”

How the warped worshipers fit into Carroll’s overall master plan is slowly being revealed as the poetic killer carves out a bloody path to gory glory. “He’s had 10 long years in prison to know what he wants and how to get it, and he’s worked out an incredibly complex plan for that to happen,” Purefoy told XfinityTV.

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But Joe Carroll’s ultimate end game is a mystery.

“In the grand scheme of things, in the super-objective that he’s after,” viewers will soon wonder, “is all of this just a smokescreen?” Purefoy teased. “That’s the kind of thing you have to think about with this show. You might just be being sent on a massive, massive red herring.”

“What [Joe] wants is actually quite simple,” Purefoy told us, “How to get it, is very complicated.”

What does he want? I’m not going to tell you that,” he laughed. Purefoy doesn’t want to spoil it and admits it may be several seasons before it’s revealed. We also may not learn too much about the mad man’s backstory right up front, but Purefoy says that’s a good thing.

“Joe Carroll’s around for a long time,” Purefoy said. “Generally speaking, if you find out too much about somebody’s backstory, it means they’re going to die.”

“The Following” airs Mondays at 9/8c on FOX.

Catch-up on Last Week’s Second Episode, “Chapter 2” Now on XfinityTV:

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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