The actress, who plays DI Alex Drake on the BBC One drama, confirmed that the programme's writers decided to focus on sinister plotlines for the second series.
Speaking to We Love Telly! magazine, Hawes explained: "It is a darker series. Alex is even questioning whether she actually belongs in 1982, and if 2008 is just an odd memory.
"Which one is her real reality? There are more stories on police corruption and less of the spoofy clown stuff this time."
The star also admitted that viewers can expect a change in wardrobe choices for Alex as she continues to explore her identity.
"We haven't gone down the silly '80s fashion route again because I don't think Alex would wear those clothes," she said. "When we first met her, she was given the things she wore, but now she's had a chance to go shopping."
Ashes To Ashes returns on Monday at 9pm on BBC One.