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Secrets and Lies EP talks season 2, episode 3

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ABC/Richard Cartwright

We’re three episodes into the second season of Secrets and Lies and, as you might’ve guessed, the secrets and lies are piling up. Though it’s still not clear who murdered Kate (Jordana Brewster), we’ve been left with plenty of people to suspect of the crime. Executive producer Barbie Kligman spoke to EW to spill a few details on what to expect from the rest of the season of the murder mystery, which airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.

In Sunday’s episode, Eric (Michael Ealy) continues to discover more of Kate’s secrets while trying to track down her missing assistant, Liam (Graham Phillips). In doing so, he finds out that Liam is not at all who he says he is and might have had a little more to do with Kate’s death than Eric had originally suspected. Read on for Kligman’s teases about what the future holds for these characters.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Last season, things were up in the air and no one, including Ben himself, was really sure if Ben (Ryan Phillippe) killed Tom (Aiden Malik) or not. This season, Eric is really standing his ground when it comes to proving his innocence and doing anything to prove that he didn’t kill Kate. Is it safe to assume that he’s innocent at this point?

BARBIE KLIGMAN: No. It’s interesting when you read Twitter and look at people’s reactions, it was pretty clear in the [season 1] finale that Ben was innocent and that his daughter Abby (Belle Shouse) had done it. I think people were a little upset that we finished off Cornell (Juliette Lewis) getting Abby in the webisode. And the reason we did that is because last season, “Cornell Confidential'” was more her side of the story, whereas the TV show was more his side of the story. But I think that Eric is definitely hiding things. His assertion that he’s innocent could be true, but it also might not be true.

Detective Cornell finally eased off of him in episode 3. Should we expect things to start looking up for him in the next few episodes or is he going to dig himself into a deeper hole than the one he’s already in?

It’s interesting because it raises the question — some of the stuff, you’ll find out in episode 4 — that it’s possible that Cornell doesn’t really think he did it. Or it’s possible Cornell is making him think he did, so he digs himself into a deeper hole. That’s what [Cornell] could be doing. On [Eric’s] side of things, until he gets an answer to who Kate really was and all the secrets she was hiding and who really killed her, he will continue to dig himself into a deeper hole. 

He’s trying to do a little damage control to clear his name, but it seems like things are about get worse from here.

Yeah. It opens up a bit. What I love about what we’re doing with this season is that season 1 was all Ben Crawford’s point of view until episode 9. And in episodes 9 and 10, we split it between him and Detective Cornell. This season we’re opening it up a little bit sooner, so episode 4 starts to split the point of view between Eric and Detective Cornell.

Speaking of Detective Cornell, why was it important for you to keep her around and throw her into this brand new storyline?

It was never supposed to be an anthology in the sense of a true anthology like American Crime or American Horror Story. The hook of the show, from the Australian version which only had one season, was that it’s a 10-episode mystery/crime show but it’s not from the point of view of the detective. And yet, the detective would always be the returning character.

Does that mean we should expect more of a storyline from her this season?

We’re going to learn a little more about her. We’re still going to get into what all of these people are hiding but in episode 6 and 7 in particular, there’s a bit more of a focus on what’s going on in Cornell’s life as well.

Are we ever going to learn about all those prescription bottles that Amanda (Mekia Cox) took out of her purse in episode 1?

Yes. Every single clue is important, not necessarily to the murder. Everyone is hiding something and most people think they can go through their lives and keep their secrets secret and tell their lies and keep going. But when someone is murdered and a detective starts poking around and people begin poking around within their own groups, everything starts to come to the surface. So, whether or not it’s a secret that’s relevant to the murder, everybody’s secrets will ultimately be exposed because of a murder investigation.

It seems like almost every character is a little suspicious at this point. 

The idea is for it to be a fun ride and to maintain people’s interest so that they can lean in and for them to always trying to be guessing who did it. Every single person is a viable suspect, from Eric all the way down. You have to address everyone and get into their secrets, but part of the fun is the audience going, “Oh my god. I was so sure it was the dad, but now the best friend looks creepy.”

Kate is being portrayed as the perfect wife to Eric. It definitely makes it more interesting to see that contrast now that we know she was hiding so much from him.

That’s one of the things that made certain aspects of this season more fun to do than last season. The tragedy of a 5-year-old boy being killed is just terrible because it’s obviously nothing a 5-year-old boy did. He obviously doesn’t have secrets and lies and all these things he’s hiding. He’s just a tragic victim. When you get to a grown adult, a homicide detective will stand over the body and ask, “What happened to get you here? What did you do? Who did you know? What did you say? What did you see?” That’s a path that we can explore this season.

What should we look forward to for the rest of the season?

There are great reveals in each episode. As this season unfurls, we’re going to learn a little bit more about Danny (Kenny Johnson), who was in Liam’s apartment. We’re going to learn more about every member of the family and we’re going to learn about Eric. And Kate, obviously.