The Secret Circle made a bold move in this week’s episode, one akin to its Thursday night companion The Vampire Diaries, by killing off a major character. Below, executive producer Andrew Miller shares with TVLine why he chose Nick (played by Louis Hunter) as the show’s first big casualty and what it means for the other characters — his sort-of girlfriend Melissa, in particular — going forward.
TVLINE | That was a big episode. Do you consider it a turning point in the series?
Yeah, I think it is. It was a very, very difficult episode for us because, obviously, it was a huge thing to kill one of our characters ,and none of us took it lightly. But it felt like a turning point because we wanted to set the story in a certain direction, and it just felt like you couldn’t do that without really grounding the reality of the show and setting up a real sense of consequences for actions.
TVLINE | The demon could have infected and ultimately led to the demise of any character. Why did you choose Nick?
Again, it was an impossibly hard decision. Looking at Cassie and Adam, their relationship or their story almost seems like it’s just starting. All the stories are just starting, but with Nick, we wanted to craft a four-episode arc where he starts as being this kind of mysterious, sort of jerk. And in a very short period, we wanted to take him from that place to this sort of romantic hero. And it just seemed like he was the best guy to do it with. And particularly with his relationship with Melissa, which became one of our favorite storylines, it felt like he was the perfect guy to do it with because we could make a very concise arc – a kind of coming-of-age and then, unfortunately, meeting a horrible end.
TVLINE | Did you ever waver, or was it always going to be Nick?
We knew it was going to be Nick from the beginning. Louis [Hunter] is a terrific actor and was really great about it and understood where we were going. I think he did an amazing job in last night’s episode and certainly all the episodes up to that point.
TVLINE | Did the other cast members know he was going to be killed off? Or was it a surprise to them?
They knew a little bit later. We talked to Louis first so we could discuss what the plan was and where the idea came from. And then we went through and told the rest of the cast. Everybody was very sad about the whole thing, obviously, but they were great about it.
TVLINE | You have very passionate fans, because of the books. What would you say to the ones who are upset that you’ve strayed from the source material?
I’m a huge fan of the books too, so I certainly know where they’re coming from. For us, the books are an amazing base for character and world and ideas, but they only go so far, because it’s just a three book series. What we’re shooting for is, hopefully, something that will run for many, many years. Because of that, we need to make changes. You can’t follow the books that closely because the books are going in a very specific direction, and we can’t do that. So there’s going to be changes. It’s not like Game of Thrones where there’s so much material to tap into for season after season. In this case, by nature of the fact that there are only three books in the series, we’re going to have to make some changes no matter what. All those changes are going to be difficult. Even the idea of limiting the circle to begin with was heartbreaking to me because there’s so many other characters that I just love from the book series. But again, it’s just the necessity of the television world and the nature of doing 22 episodes each year. So I sympathize. I understand. I feel much the same way. But I’m hoping many of the changes we make, people will love and, hopefully, there’ll be more of those changes than the changes people are sad about.
TVLINE | Going forward, how is Nick’s death going to affect the group and their desire to use magic and find answers about what happened 16 years ago?
That was an important thing for us because it feels like a lot of “fun and games,” this magic. The next episode really explores what it means to lose someone. It’s something that was important to me to tackle early on and, again, define the emotional reality of our world. You can’t look at magic the same way again after something like this happens to someone you love. That will affect how they proceed and what their goals are for their gifts.
TVLINE | How will Melissa cope with the loss?
Not well. It’s tragic for everyone, but so tragic for Melissa because she, for the first time in her life, found someone who really did understand her by the end and could see that she was more than just an appendage to Faye. I feel like Melissa has been living in Faye’s shadow for their entire friendship, which goes back forever. This is the first time she’s been stepping outside that shadow, and Nick was there to receive her. It was such a wonderful thing. Losing that person is going to be devastating for her and will affect the way she sees herself and the way she sees Faye and some of the others.
TVLINE | Melissa and Faye had their differences over Nick. Does this bring them closer together or push them apart?
What we’ll explore in the next episode is how everyone reacts to death in different ways. Sometimes, it seems callous. And sometimes, it seems inappropriate. Sometimes, it’s exactly what you need. You can never anticipate the way you’re going to react to this situation. Faye and Melissa will struggle to find the right balance, how to help each other through this tragedy. And in finding that balance, hopefully, their relationship will get stronger — but it may take a little while.
TVLINE | It seems the dangers of magic are more real not only to the kids now, but also to the parents. How are Dawn and Charles, especially, coping with what they’ve done?
Like with the kids, the tragedy affects them very, very deeply. They each react in very different ways and as parents. While Nick wasn’t one of their own, it was basically like one of their own. It brings what their plan is really to the forefront of their minds. It will cause them – at least some of them – to question what they’re doing and how to move forward. And that could become a problem in their relationship in ways they didn’t anticipate.
Secret Circle fans, are you sad to see Nick go? Was the death a shock to you?