'Somehow felt it right for it to be this incredibly, wonderfully horrible character,' says showrunner Brian Tanen

By C. Molly Smith
August 08, 2016 at 12:00 PM EDT
Annette Brown/Lifetime
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  • TV Show

Who killed Peri Westmore? That’s been the driving mystery at the heart of season 4 of Devious Maids, and it’s a question that was finally answered during Monday’s finale.

Following Genevieve’s (Susan Lucci) reveal that Hugh Metzger (Sam McMurray), the director of Marisol’s (Ana Ortiz) movie, had raped her, it came to light that he had also assaulted Peri (Mariana Klaveno). She never said anything because she made an agreement with Hugh’s daughter to stay silent in return for being made into a star, but she decided to turn Hugh in when she caught him attempting to rape another woman at her party.

His daughter resorted to lethal measures to prevent her from speaking out — his daughter (and Peri’s killer) being Gail Fleming (Julie Claire). Here, showrunner Brian Tanen and executive producer Sabrina Wind unpack the finale, telling EW about Gail’s murderous ways, Marisol’s surprise disappearance, what lies ahead if the show gets renewed for another season, and more.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: In an unexpected twist, Peri’s killer was finally revealed to be Gail, clearing Spence (Grant Show) and relieving Rosie (Dania Ramirez). Why did you go with her as the murderer, and will we see her return behind bars or otherwise?

BRIAN TANEN: We love Julie. She played the wonderfully horrible Gail last season, and we knew we wanted to bring her back this year. When we were talking about who the killer could be at the very beginning of the season, we all were sort of shocked, and somehow felt it right for it to be this incredibly, wonderfully horrible character. As to whether or not we’ll see Gail next year, you never know on this show, so I wouldn’t rule it out.

SABRINA WIND: I hope so. I think she’s amazing, and her humor fits right in with the beautiful Devious Maids humor.

Who are some of the other characters you toyed around with as the killer?

TANEN: We went down a number of paths. On this show, nobody is safe, so we considered Hugh Metzger, Gail, every member of The Circle.

WIND: Ben (Carlos Ponce).

TANEN: Frances (Stephanie Faracy) and Kyle (Ryan McPartlin). We even talked about some of our main characters, but this really felt like the right choice.

WIND: The Gail avenue was absolutely the favorite, the most fun, and the one that was going to be most enjoyable and plausible.

In a touching moment, Carmen (Roselyn Sanchez) and Daniela (Sol Rodriguez) agree to work on their relationship, but there’s still the issue of Carmen believing Daniela’s father, Lucas, to be dead. Will Carmen find out that Lucas is in fact alive, and will Daniela come clean and reveal she lied about him being dead?

TANEN: I think all of us would love to meet Lucas in season 5, and that would be an incredibly fun character to cast. Now that Dani and Carmen have put some of their baggage away I think Dani probably regrets having lied about this thing when she was angry, and it would be interesting to see her having to come clean about it.

Evelyn (Rebecca Wisocky) and Adrian (Tom Irwin) also sort of reconcile, so can we expect them to get into more schemes moving forward?

TANEN: I think their story ends on a question mark. Adrian puts the ball in her court. He asks her, are we married or not?, and Evelyn who has always sort of had the power to answer this question has a decision to make. She has slept with him, she realizes on some level that they’re destined to be together, but there has been so much history between them, both bad and good, that I think there’s a real question as to whether or not they can be happy together.

WIND: I feel like they’ve been built to torment each other forever.

TANEN: They love and hate each other and I don’t think that will ever really change.

In other romantic developments, Peter (James Denton) proposes to Marisol. It was such a nice moment, but that happiness quickly fades when Marisol goes missing on their wedding day a year later. What’s ahead for the couple?

TANEN: The final moment has Marisol disappearing on her wedding day, so I think the bigger question that the audience will have after that final shocking moment is #whereisol, the idea that something bad has happened and we don’t know what.

WIND: They were going to live happily ever after for like a good, hot minute, but that’s not the way Devious Maids does things. Happily ever after gets squashed quickly and decidedly, because happily ever after is boring.

Presumably, she’s been kidnapped. Is there anything that you can tease about where she went and who took her?

TANEN: Something happened in that year between Marisol becoming engaged and going missing on her wedding day, and we will definitely unpack that moving forward.

Will the show go back into that year?

TANEN: Devious Maids has always played with timelines and shown flashbacks to show how things happened, so we could definitely go backwards or we could pick up where we leave off at the end, but I would definitely guess that most of next season will be about what happens next.

Rosie and Spence get a somewhat happy ending, with Spence being released from jail and Rosie announcing that she’s pregnant, but she still hasn’t told him that Tucker (Carter Birchwell) isn’t his biological son. Will that be addressed?

TANEN: It’s definitely still out there. It’s a big secret that Rosie has from Spence.

WIND: Did I mention that happily ever after is boring as heck? We don’t believe in happily ever after. Everything’s complicated.

Zoila (Judy Reyes) starts working for Genevieve again, with the condition that they won’t meddle in each other’s lives anymore. Is that really possible? Immediately after they make that agreement, Genevieve heads out on a date with a woman, which is new to her, and Zoila looks like she wants to say something.

TANEN: Genevieve and Zoila are another great couple on the show. Their connection isn’t romantic, [but] they are like an old married couple in some ways, so no I don’t think they can ever stop meddling in each other’s lives, and I think Genevieve has probably made somewhat of an impulsive decision at the end of the season and I would love to see how it turns out.

WIND: Zoila says “Yeah, let’s stay out of each other’s lives” thinking it’s going to help her, and then one second later realizes this is a terrible mistake, either working here is a mistake or thinking that we’re going to stay out of each other’s lives is a mistake, because this massive thing happens right in front of her, which really challenges Zoila on the promise she made one second prior.

Do you have any lingering thoughts about the finale, and what’s the word on season 5?

WIND: We had a blast this season shuffling the deck, watching characters play with people they’ve never played with before, and we’re looking forward to a new season, hopefully, where we get to bring them back home and explore new avenues.

TANEN: Like every season, we’re optimistic. I think fans would be really upset if we didn’t come back after that surprising, final moment. We are proceeding as though season five is coming.

WIND: We’ve been given very positive feedback from Lifetime, so we have every reason to be optimistic.

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