And just like that, the secret is out. Well, that secret and a few others.
The explosive season 2 finale revealed that the person who extorted Eric for $100,000 was actually his half-brother — from John’s second family. But finding out that John was a bigamist wasn’t nearly as shocking as the secret that topped it all: Amanda killed Kate.
Juliette Lewis, a.k.a. the woman known for her role as Detective Cornell, talked to EW about what went down in the finale and what we should expect after that crazy cliffhanger.
On finding out that Amanda (Mekia Cox) killed Kate:
“[At first] I didn’t know who did it; they don’t tell us. I could’ve made them tell me, but I liked not knowing. Initially, I thought she was suspect for a few different reasons, so I like that it came back to her. When you take a gig like this, you basically talk [with the show creator] about stuff and she’ll give you an overview of the arc of your character and she won’t really give you secrets that she doesn’t really need to give you. She might say, ‘By episodes 5 and 6, we’re going to learn about your husband and your backstory,’ and she might tell you a little bit about what that is. So, you don’t know much and that’s part of what makes it challenging and exciting. It’s that you literally get a few days notice with that script and then you show up and perform it to the best of your ability. It’s completely different than my DNA in movies, the way you know everything and can talk to a director.
I must say Mekia — I was thrilled that she got such juicy stuff to play. I think she does an amazing job, I adore her as a talent and as a person and I [was] really excited to see her shine and get her wickedness on and show all this emotion.”
On reading feedback about the show on social media:
“We do the live-tweeting, but I live my life by the motto of ‘Whatever happens, happens.’ I’m so into the journey of things, so I have no idea what’s being said. With anything that’s done well, it’ll just stoke some fire. A lot of people will be like, ‘No, it should’ve been this way.’ Some people will be like, ‘Whoa, that’s radical.’ That’s what I love, and good writing is creating that fire and people talking about it.”
On playing Detective Cornell:
“I always wanted to give Cornell this intensity at all times … You’re not going to come to my character for any comic relief. I just wanted to make it deathly serious all the time. Some homicide detectives are really jovial and lighthearted and not totally PC, so Cornell is just by-the-book and all serious business.”
On Detective Cornell’s character development:
“It’s interesting to see pain in an individual that prides herself on her professionalism and unemotionality and unbias — you have to be that way in order to be a homicide detective — so that’s really what I enjoyed about it. Something so different from myself. Because, even a person in that line of work is not very animated in their everyday life or emotional, which is totally opposite from me. Even those people feel the depths of despair and they feel longing and they feel all of those things, so to show how that person felt those things or went through extreme struggles was exciting. TV is wild. You just play the role you’re given and you show up and do the best that you can.”
On Cornell’s relationship with Eric (Michael Ealy):
“I think it’s funny, these cops-and-robber type of relationships. Even though they’re adversarial, there can be a respect. So I think she respected how hard-headed Eric was, how much he was digging. Because she saw herself in him because she was in a similar predicament. She totally would defy the law and go around and find out who did this and I think she respected that. Her way of thinking comes off all personal, but nothing’s personal. She’s just trying to find her leads, chase it down, do the numbers, find the avenues — it’s all mathematical.”
On Cornell trapping Amanda into confessing:
“Cornell just had her ‘a-ha’ moment and she laid out the trap. I think it’s mostly a stylistic choice in the type of the show. It’s like giving your audience every detail. They were just tying up all the different loose ends. Again, in this type of thing, you just follow the lighting. I think with this type of genre, they were just tying up any sort of plot twists and giving people their own answers. It’s a very seasoned season. Last season left us with a cliffhanger. I think it frustrated a lot of people in the best sense, but each season is going to have its thing.”
On that huge cliffhanger and what’s next for Cornell:
“Oh, God. I have no idea. There’s a few ideas. The options are endless and really exciting, but I’m not sure what else to say or where ABC will even stand with us. We just hope for the best. You never know — it’s all a journey and an adventure. I have theories but I can’t say them because I might get in trouble.”