Spoiler alert! Don’t read the following unless you’ve watched this week’s episode of Jane the Virgin, or else you’ll risk the wrath of Rogelio De La Vega.
Just when Jane the Virgin thought she was in for a happily ever after, the show dealt her a cruel plot twist as it left the young newlywed a widow.
Monday’s episode saw Jane’s husband Michael (Brett Dier) kiss his wife goodbye and go take the LSAT. But as the hour unfolded, the former detective experienced complications related to his season 2-ending gunshot wound, causing him to collapse and die at the testing center.
Following the episode, actor Brett Dier tweeted a note thanking fans and the show’s cast and crew, while showrunner Jennie Snyder Urman posted a letter on Tumblr and talked to EW about the show’s big twist.
With some time having passed since the heartbreaking moment, EW spoke to Dier about having to say goodbye to Michael… and Jane.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: When did you first find out that Michael was going to die this season after all?
BRETT DIER: Jennie [Snyder Urman] brought me into her office at the end of Season 2 and told me. I already had an idea what it was going to be because of the Season 1 spoiler from the narrator. That’s when I had my first clue. But when she brought me in in Season 2, I was like, “They’re going to tell me I croaked.” It was a weird feeling. Because even though I was kind of prepared, reality sunk in and I was like, “S—.” I loved playing Michael so much. He felt like a big part of me. And knowing he was going to die was such a weird thing.
And it seems like you had to keep it a secret for a while.
Yeah, I did. The episode that aired last night I shot three months ago. So I’ve been keeping it quiet for three months, and before that for six months. [Laughs] So nine months I’ve probably had to keep quiet.
Did you try and convince her not to kill him off?
I honestly didn’t. Because it felt like it made sense to me when she said it. I get it, and I get that it’s the journey that has to happen for the characters. I understood it. It was just really hard to film the scene of him dying. That was a really weird day for me.
Did you discuss how or where he might die?
I didn’t know how he was going to die except it was going to be from an artery thing. It actually happens to one percent of gunshot victims that get shot in the lung and heart area, and it could be up to a year after, which is really scary. I didn’t know how it was going to go. I had no clue.
How did it feel knowing it was in the middle of the season as opposed to the start, which is where it felt like it was going to happen?
It made it even more impactful because it gave the audience hope again and then they took him away again. It made it more intense, but it was a cool move too to do it mid-season. Because that’s more of a season finale [type thing]… It was also a more graceful way, and it had a bigger meaning, because everything was going so well in their life and in their marriage, and that episode up to that point was so happy and then just all of a sudden, the worst thing happened.
And it felt very real. You never know when you say goodbye to someone that it’s the last time.
Yeah! That’s why you have to love the people in your life as much as you possibly can, because you never know. That’s what I took away from that actually. Reading that and going through filming that made me just really want to love the people in my life as much as I possibly could and never take them for granted.
I saw that you left Gina a message saying goodbye as Michael. What inspired you to do that?
You know the scene on the phone when she found out on the phone and broke down crying? She had to film that scene and I wasn’t going to be there on set, so she asked me if I could do something of some sort so I could help her get there. So I left that [message] for her. She didn’t need it because she’s a pro, but I’m glad it helped her in some way. So I left that on there for her to watch when she was about to do the scene.
Did filming it help you say goodbye in a way?
I think just letting go of this character was enough for me. I didn’t really need [it] because I was living him. That whole episode for me was super emotional. I remember I would have tears in my eyes in scenes where I wouldn’t have to have tears in my eyes because I was thinking of what was going to happen. [Laughs]
What was it like shooting those flash-forward scenes of Jane and Michael’s future in the first episode of this season, knowing those two characters wouldn’t get there?
It was pretty sad. That’s another thing I took away. Just taking for granted assuming that you’re going to live for that [long]. It’s living in the moment and appreciating it as much as you possibly can. I took that away too. It feels like it’s a very spiritual thing to go through for me.
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Jennie Synder Urman teased that Michael might be back in flashbacks. Is there anything you can tease about when we might see him next?
I think it’s just going to be in Jane’s mind. Like fantasy stuff and seeing me pop up in places when she looks at something that reminds her of Michael. Stuff like that. I’m just kind of guessing, but I’m assuming that’s what it might be.
So you haven’t gotten a chance to shoot anything yet?
No, I haven’t. Not yet.
What do you think you’ll miss most about playing Michael?
The love he has for Jane. The amount of love he has for Jane, and how sincere he was in that relationship. I’m going to miss that Michael and Jane relationship because I thought it was a really beautifully written relationship… I also like the fun stuff with Rogelio. I liked the comedic moments that I got to do [and] the detective stuff was fun too. It was just tough to memorize the large amounts of dialogue like cracking the case. That was tough for me because there was a lot of exposition and terminology and names like Mutter and Sin Rostro, [and] you’d only have a day. But the action part was fun.
Jane the Virgin airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on The CW. Read EW’s postmortem with the EP here.