'Revenge' Boss Talks Shocking Death and Its Impact on Emily's World

"We felt it was the right creative decision," says Sunil Nayar
ABC

Revenge viewers were in for a shock Sunday night.

Daniel Grayson (Joshua Bowman) was shot in the final moments of the episode, dying in the arms of ex-wife Emily (Emily VanCamp) just as he'd come to a realization that he wanted to put all his wrongdoings behind him and be a good father to the baby that Margaux (Karine Vanasse) is carrying. (Read a full breakdown of what happened here.)

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On Monday, showrunner Sunil Nayar talked to The Hollywood Reporter about the decision to kill off such a major character and what's next for the Hamptons elite.

I'll just get straight to it: Why Daniel?

(Laughs.) Josh and I had breakfast and really talked about the journey of the character, and we wanted to do something big and splashy and have a cliffhanger in the back half of the season. We were thinking about the journey of Daniel, and thought it would be fun and challenging for us to try to redeem him — we brought him and Emily closer together — and then pull the rug out [from viewers]. We got great emotion and a great story out of that. We reached a real turning point with his character. There are sad things like at the end of last season with the deaths of [Conrad and Aiden], and we felt it was the right creative decision.

What was Joshua's reaction?

He was great. He was completely on board and really wanted to make sure if and when Daniel's journey ended, that it was something that was surprising and redemption. That was important to him and us; we didn't want it to be meaningless, or come out of something evil or vile. What the show does so well is let the characters evolve; [for example], Amanda was a real danger and threat in the beginning. Even if Daniel didn't evoke sympathy at the beginning of the season, from a storytelling standpoint it was a great story with Daniel. The stories we get into out of this for Victoria, Emily and Margaux are terrific and charged in a way they weren't before.

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Why did Daniel go into Emily's house?

He was on the beach struggling with his own internal demons about the substance of his character. He was realizing that as a father, he needed to do the right thing, regardless of the consequences. In the flashback story, his father told him to protect himself at all costs. But as Daniel considers becoming a father himself, he realizes he needs to act more honestly because those are the values he wants to hand down to his own child. When he heard the commotion at the manor, the old Daniel would not have gotten involved, but the new Daniel wants to see what's happening.

What is the impact of his death on Emily and everyone else in her world?

It's devastating for all of them. What's interesting, as we see in the aftermath, is that everybody — meaning Victoria, Emily and David — all had a hand in creating the situation that led to Daniel's death. There's shame, but also all of them aren't going to totally agree who is to blame in Daniel's death. This is a great trauma. Where does the blame lie? How are these people going to channel their grief and sorrow and anger with regard to each other? This really amps things up again. And Margaux doesn't get the life she deserves with Daniel, which is heartbreakingly sad.

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How does Victoria and David's relationship change as a result of Daniel's death? He also was on the verge of poisoning her before they heard the gunshots.

There are unresolved issues and unfinished business with her. But she had a surprising moment of total honestly that he was not expecting. He was thrown off a little bit. But sometimes, even if you don't like the person, you can respect what that person is going through. Victoria is devastated, and her world has been rocked. She turns to David.

Joshua Bowman as Daniel (Photo courtesy of ABC)

Will we get to see the mysterious Malcolm Black anytime soon?

You will see the mysterious Malcolm Black [Tommy Flanagan from Sons of Anarchy] in January.

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What's next for Jack? Seems like the poor guy just can't find love.

Jack leads the life of Job. Every time he gets a let-up, something happens. We will see going forward that he's strengthened a bit and devastated. He thought he had something intimate with Kate [Courtney Ford]. Instead of just crumbling, he becomes stronger and committed to taking control of the situation.

What about Nolan and Louise? We see them conspiring but didn't get a lot more about what this new partnership means.

Aren't they great? There's something really nice about it. As the show started, Emily really took Nolan under her wing and taught him to do the things he's done. Exclusive of the fact that they are so much fun to watch, she is a damaged bird whom he now gets to watch out for, and that dynamic deepens. Louise's brother comes to town, and her hallucinations continue. We have a great episode coming up with a huge great twist.

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