Halfway through season 2 of Secrets and Lies and it looks like things are finally beginning to come together: Cornell (Juliette Lewis) is opening up about the death of her partner, while Eric (Michael Ealy) is finding answers to one of the many burning questions he once had about Kate’s (Jordana Brewster) past. But he’s also learning a few sketchy details about his family along the way.
In the latest episode, Eric tracks down the adoptive parents of the baby Kate gave up when she was 16, believing they may have been involved in Kate’s murder. But his search ends with him finding out some shocking information about Patrick (Charlie Barnett) and Melanie (AnnaLynne McCord) that leads him to believe the two of them haven’t been completely honest with him.
Executive producer Barbie Kligman talked to EW about what went down in episode 6, her take on the season so far, and what’s to come in the final episodes.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Detective Cornell is finally showing some emotion. Why was this the right time for Cornell to show her softer side?
BARBIE KLIGMAN: It was interesting. When we split the point of view, one of the merits of that was getting to show more of her. But also, as we split the point of view and started to show the case going in different areas, we also wanted to show the pressure that she’s feeling in solving the case. From the power of this family, from the pressure she gets from Major Bryant (David James Elliott). And because it’s every bit as much her show as it is Eric’s. There’s so much more there and it felt like the right time in terms of his journey and what she was going through. [Episodes] 6 and 7 really open her up. We’re still solving the case but it felt like a good time and it was important to explain why she didn’t have a partner and to explain that maybe she wasn’t always like this.
Should we hold out hope for the police finding out who killed her partner?
No. Every now and then it was a house of criminals, so they had no way of knowing. And they escaped and she had to focus on her partner and they’re in the wind. It’s the sad part of it. Her whole thing is about closing cases and getting justice and she can’t get it for her own partner. That’s part of what drives her.
What about her last interaction with Danny (Kenny Johnson)? This doesn’t seem like it’s going to end well, with Cornell dismissing him even though he still hasn’t gotten the answers he wants about his daughter’s whereabouts.
Cornell, although she was about the case, she was also trying to help him. But she’ll only help him to the extent that it doesn’t hurt her. So it’s tough, because whatever he does and wherever he goes, he has to be more stealth. It’s not like, where she was sort of an ally before, he can continue to depend on that. She does have a soft spot — she has a daughter that she may or may not have done right by over the years. So there’s a particular emotional component in understanding the importance in what he’s doing. He’s a cop and he’s not exactly a bad guy; he just wants to find his daughter. It’s a slippery slope from here because everyone, to some extent, is out for themselves. But she has started to exhibit some humanity and I think that, when it comes to him, she has some. It’s extra tough being in the position she’s in with Major Bryant. Because she really has to be careful about what she does, although it’s pretty great what she did in episode 6.
Are we going to see more of Cornell’s daughter?
In episode 7. We play it out and it’s about the ongoing struggle of addiction and family problems and doing the best you can even if the best you can isn’t good enough. Getting into that, when Cornell has a stone face at work, there’s a lot more going on there that we’re not necessarily privy to, so I think it adds more depth to her.
We’re starting to see a different side of Eric. He’s starting to act like he has nothing to lose when it comes to Cornell and what she may or may not hold against him in the case. What can you say about his change in behavior?
The crass version is what Danny said to him in episode 4, which is, “Looks like someone’s balls finally dropped.” But I think Eric insists that he didn’t kill his wife, Eric is committed to finding out not just who killed her but who she really was. And he’s on this journey and he’s tired of taking her s—. It’s a much more proactive, in-your-face, I’m-not-afraid-of-you Eric, which, I think, is nice for his arc.
Melanie and Eric just got into a very heated discussion where she taunts Eric about the things he didn’t know about Kate. Why is there so much animosity from Eric’s family toward Melanie?
Melanie is very smart and she loves her husband, but there’s something about Melanie that isn’t quite right. And you’ve seen enough of her behavior to know that. But some of it is the chicken or the egg. Is she being such a bitch because of how they are to her or is she just like that and they know it, which is why they don’t like her? I think that most of them see her as not good enough for that family.
She comes off as being a little insensitive about everyone’s issues. Does she do this on purpose or is that just how she is as a character?
I think it’s a combination. I do think they’ve always made her feel like an outsider, which you can even see at Thanksgiving — she just wasn’t one of them and she’s been with Patrick for about five years. It’s almost like she’s letting her freak flag fly because these people have never really given her the time of day.
Patrick once mentioned that Kate was the only person in his family who treated Melanie with respect. But it’s starting to look like some of the evidence is pointing toward the two of them. Why would they betray Kate like this even though she was so nice to Melanie?
At the end of the day, you can’t help who you are. And I think Patrick and Melanie may not have actually disliked Kate, yet they’re both people who, when they go into self-preservation mode, it becomes a slippery slope of, “I did this and then I tried to hide it. And then there was this and it got worse and then there was more,” which is really going to start to come out in [episodes] 6, 7, and 8.
We haven’t seen John in a while. Is he up to something?
He’s up to something. He was out in [episodes] 4, 5, and 6 and then he’s back for all of them. He was gone for a week or two “on business” and then he’ll be back for the remainder of the episodes and it’ll all tie together — where he was, what he was doing, and what he’s hiding.