In the first few minutes of Sunday’s Ten Days in the Valley premiere, a little girl named Lake confesses to her mother that her court-mandated visits with her father are often very lonely.
“Sometimes when I’m gone, when I’m with Daddy,” she whispers, “I miss you so much that I think I want to go to heaven.”
It’s a jarring line both in the moment and in retrospect, after Lake is kidnapped from her home while her mom, Kyra Sedgwick’s Jane, is working in the backyard. The crime kicks off the 10-episode season, which follows Jane and those she knows — many of whom may have had a motive for taking Lake.
But Lake’s line of dialogue almost didn’t make it into the episode, star Kyra Sedgwick tells TVLine.
“We fought to keep that line in, and they were like, ‘It’s a little hard-edged,'” she recalls. “I was like, ‘That’s why I took the show! So please don’t cut that line.'”
Series creator Tassie Cameron adds that she understands why the line caught the attention of those who’d seen the script. “There was some discussion about whether it was too heavy a line for a little kid to say, and whether it was too dark,” she says. “I mean, my feeling is, not at all, because I’ve heard little kids say that.”
Cameron clarifies that Lake isn’t communicating suicidal thoughts or anything of that nature. “It’s a 7- or 8-year-old trying to make sense of things and trying to say the most dramatic thing they can say.” Still, she adds, chuckling, “I was like, ‘Maybe it is too dark. So I changed it… and Kyra came back, she’s like, ‘You took out my favorite part!'”
As viewers saw last night, the scene stayed as-is. And the tone it helps set — mystery tinged with dread — will continue as the drama progresses through its season. Cameron says she wrote each character with a “primal secret. Some were fairly benign and some were much more dangerous, and I gave them all something that — whether the actor knew it or not, or whether the actor wanted to know it or not —the writing room all knew what those [secrets] were. It was baked into the very first script.”
Starting in Episode 2, “People fall away” as suspects in Lake’s disappearance, Sedgwick teases. “But it doesn’t become totally and entirely clear until —” She catches herself and laughs. “You really have to commit to the 10 episodes.”