Being a single parent is difficult enough for any woman.
But when Pure Season 2 opens at 10 p.m. Tuesday, May 29, Anna Funk faces her own special challenges.
Throughout Pure Season 1, Anna and her husband, Mennonite Pastor Noah Funk (played by Ryan Robbins), sought to bring down a Mexican drug-smuggling ring which was plaguing their Ontario community by going undercover.
Noah was the heart of that operation, but Anna was the brains.
Things didn't go as planned. Noah's drug-addict brother Abel was shot and left to die in the Mexican desert.
To save his foster son Ezekiel, Noah shot and killed Eli Voss, the cartel boss, on Pure Season 1 Episode 6. Then, feeling that he had violated the church's tenets, he left the community and his family.
Anna was excommunicated by the church. Forced to sell their farm, Anna and her children, Tina and Isaak, move to town and they make a meager living by cleaning houses.
Then she gets an offer she doesn't dare refuse from the ruthless new leader of the cartel.
Anna's former high-school beau, Bronco Novak, has left the local police force, as AJ Buckley was unavailable due to his role as Sonny on SEAL Team.
The new police presence is Valerie Krochak (Zoie Palmer), an ambitious forensic accountant with her own personal issues, who recruits the wandering Noah to help her bring down the drug ring.
Another new face this season is Alyson Hannigan (How I Met Your Mother), who plays Esther Dunkel, a former Mennonite who now helps the cartel launder its money.
Chatting with TV Fanatic after Pure Season 2 was filmed, Funk talked about her character's best qualities and the challenges she is facing and what's ahead for the rest of the cast.
How did you get involved with Pure?
It was a pretty traditional audition process. I had read about the event that the show is based in a newspaper years earlier. As soon as I heard they were doing the project, I was pretty intrigued and very excited. Then I auditioned for it. I got to do a screen test with Ryan, which was wonderful and amazing. Then we got to make the show.
What do you like most about your character, Anna?
That's a hard question to answer because she's a very complicated woman. The thing that I enjoy the most is her resilience. She's not someone who is ever going to run away from something. She is always, always going to try to solve a problem, to work through an issue.
Especially as the show moves through Season 2, those issues or problems that she's trying to solve get even more intense and unsolvable than they were in Season 1. Figuring out how to work through that was really, really satisfying.
For much of the first season, Anna's intelligence and steely nerves kept Noah alive during his ill-conceived undercover crusade. Where did she find those qualities?
A lot of that comes from her background. Choosing her life as a Mennonite, as a wife, as a mother, running that kind of household requires an immense amount of strength. She does have a very unshakable faith as the bedrock of who she is. The two things combine into a real practical quality and that problem solving.
She's a woman that's been running a farm and raising children and taking care of her family and living in her faith. All of that combines to create someone with a really steely background. She's infinitely capable.
Why did Noah go away, just when his family needed him most?
From my perspective, he didn't see himself as the man his family needed. After what had happened in Mexico, he had so violated everything that they believed in, as a family, as a people, that him being there with that stain on him would actually make the situation worse.
Whether or not that is true I'll leave up to the viewers. After what had happened, I don't think he could look his family in the eye, let alone at himself in the mirror.
As Season 2 opens, Anna and her family are scraping to get by. How could the community elders excommunicate Anna when so many in that community were employed by the cartel as well?
That injustice is the motor for so much of what happens at the beginning of Season 2. I think that sometimes there is a belief that if you cut off a limb, you'll save the tree. Or if you point the finger at someone and say “That's the problem. Get rid of that,” everything else will just go away.
Anna took the fall. She was made to be a lone scapegoat. They had hoped that by getting rid of her, somehow they could just go back in time. But that's not the way things work.
Anna can't get away from the cartel, as she soon finds herself facing a real “Sophie's choice” from its brutal new leader. Explain in broad terms what's she's up against.
Eli Voss has been taken down. But he's just a part of a much larger machine, and that machine is pretty relentless. When the people who are still involved in that drug pipeline realize who had been working so efficiently, Anna's name is bandied about and trouble comes knocking.
There is a whole bunch of threats made that push her into a situation where she has to revive the drug trade or someone's going to die.
How long can she keep her return to the dark side from Tina, who's pretty sharp?
Tina's incredibly sharp. Probably a lot less time than she thinks she can. Anna is always trying to protect her children. Her focus is so much on that that she forgets they're incredibly savvy, they're incredibly self-sufficient, exactly how she raised them to be. So of course they see through what's going on certainly faster than she wants them to.
Noah falls back into his bad habit of working with a rogue police officer to bring down the cartel. How long before the two of them reconnect?
There is an inevitable confrontation. But the thing that I would want people to remember is that they haven't seen each other in over a year. It's been a very long time since they have been face to face or since Anna has had any real word of where Noah is or what he's doing.
How will Noah and Anna's relationship be tested this season?
It will be tested by the circumstances they've found themselves in again and their changing priorities. There is a real fork in the road that they have come to. Their relationship is going to be tested from all side, and certainly by other romantic suitors.
There's a real possibility for Anna to maybe make her life easier, a lot more like she thought it was going to be. That's another massive choice that she's going to have to make.
What else can viewers look forward to this season?
The new gentlemen in charge are terrifying. People are going to be satisfied and terrified by our new drug-cartel representatives, if you can call them that.
We've got a really delightful police presence this season. They bring a lively side to the show in what they're doing at the police department.
But that's just the tip of the iceberg. There's a ton going on this season. Viewers aren't going to be disappointed.
Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.