'The Killing's' Rosie Larsen Killer on Keeping TV's Biggest Secret (Q&A)
After two seasons of questions, the AMC drama finally answered the biggest one of all Sunday night, and the actor whose character committed the crime opens up to THR after the big reveal.
[Warning: Major spoilers throughout.]
It was two seasons in the making, but finally, Rosie Larsen's killer was revealed on the season finale of The Killing.
The reveal happened at the very end of the flashback-filled episode when the real culprit -- Rosie's aunt Terry Marek, played by Jamie Anne Allman -- tearfully confessed to committing the grisly crime (putting the car with her niece still alive in drive and having it go into the lake) that kicked off the AMC drama in Aprll 2011.
For much of the series, homicide detectives Sarah Linden (Mireille Enos) and Stephen Holder (Joel Kinnaman) were relegated to a game of cat and mouse, with focus paid on a slew of suspects including Darren Richmond's campaign advisor/lover Gwen (Kristin Lehman), Rosie's parents and Richmond's campaign manager Jamie (Eric Ladin), who was shot dead by Holder near the beginning of the episode.
Allman, who counts The Shield and The Notebook as some of her screen credits, spoke to The Hollywood Reporter an hour after the big reveal about when she found out, how she ultimately feels about it and shooting her big confession in Rosie's bedroom.
The Hollywood Reporter: When did you find out that Terry was Rosie Larsen's killer?
Jamie Anne Allman: Veena [Sud] had called me a couple hours before I was going in to read for the table read for episode 13, the last episode, that I was the killer. When she gave me the news, I was upset, I started crying. I actually thought that while I was contemplating, "What if I'm the killer?," that I'd be excited but I started crying and started feeling bad for Terry. "Oh man, this is a really tragic situation." Yea, I found out right before the table read for the last episode.
THR: So you didn't have a day to ruminate on it and prepare?
Allman: I'm sure everybody on the cast was wondering if they were the killer or not at some point. But there was a scene that I alluded to some things that I had questioned whether or not I was the killer or not. It was the scene where [the Larsen boys] were playing with the trunk. I come down from the apartment and I see them in the garage locked in the trunk and I got really upset at Tommy. I remember [the writers] really wanting me to really shake Tommy and be very upset about this. I thought, why would I be that mad at him? It could've been, this is Terry not wanting the boys to mess around because it was how Rosie died or this is a flashback for her because she was involved.
THR: Veena said during our drama showrunner roundtable that when she had the conversation with the actor about Rosie Larsen's killer, it was "intense," "very surprising" and the actor was "shocked." Do you agree with her assessment of the conversation?
Allman: Intense. Shocked. Surprised. And I was crying because it was the worst betrayal ever because she got Rosie involved. All the things that she had done to get her to that place and the fact that she kissed Stan [Larsen], it's a tragic reveal is what I feel [it was].
THR: What was it like filming the final confession when Terry was in Rosie's bedroom? Production must have been on lockdown during that episode.
Allman: I had heard rumors that we were going to black out all of the scripts, not hand out the scripts until the day before, the day of. We were going to go and get a small crew and shoot the finale only. I heard a lot of rumors. The people that were involved were called "X" or "XX" and so they labeled the trailers that way. Well, if you see me going into "X" trailer, it's kind of obvious. They tried to keep it under wraps the best they could. They realized that no one wanted anything to leak so they just had to ultimately trust. Everyone knew who the killer once we were shooting the last episode.
THR: How long did you have to keep this secret from friends, family?
Allman: I got home from shooting about two months ago. It was hard [to keep the secret] because I was also doing interviews about the episodes I was in, like kissing Stan and the kids in the trunk. Once it came out that I was the killer, yea it got difficult. I thought I would just blab [it] out. Even now, me being able to talk about it is weird because I haven't been able to talk about it for so long. It's not a dream if people are seeing it on TV, though is it? [Laughs]
THR: The writers have indicated that they knew the identity of the killer since Day 1. Had you known then what you found out filming the finale, is there a specific moment or scene that you wish you could go back and redo?
Allman: Not really, no. I haven't tracked back and watched every episode with the knowledge that I have now that I'm the killer but I want to go back and watch everything and see. I feel like the way they wrote Terry they gave her plenty to rely on, they gave her a lot of guilt and a lot of heartbreak and those were the things she carried very heavily. Because of that, I think it all tracks.
THR: Before you found out, who was at the top of the list of suspects for you?
Allman: I thought Kristin Lehman's character Gwen Eaton definitely had some guilt and I felt like she always had something that she was hiding. I definitely have always felt Jamie Wright was also [a potential suspect]. He was just so ambitious; he would do anything to get where he needs to be.
THR: Can you share any anecdotes about you or other cast members attempting to find out from the writers?
Allman: I didn't talk to the writers until episode 12, while we were shooting. I said to them, "I'm not the killer, I know that. It's totally leading to Jamie Wright, that's great! I just want to tell you it's so great working with you guys!" They were like, "Jamie, we can't tell you." I said, "I don't need to know anything. Honestly, I'm just really grateful for you guys." [Laughs]
THR: Were there different versions of the ending shot?
Allman: I had heard that they were going to do that but there were no alternate endings whatsoever. It was what was shot and that was it.
THR: Is there a line that Terry says that should've been a red flag for viewers who might not have suspected her?
Allman: As far as Terry giving some kind of clue with something that she said, I honestly don't know if there was one. I was also very aware [of what was going on] when I was shooting the scene with Brent Sexton, who plays Stan Larsen; I was telling him, "What if they never catch the guy?" and that he needed to let go and forgive and be able to move on. While I was having that scene, I thought, "If I am the killer and I'm telling him, 'what if they never catch the guy,' that's really intense." The writers told me, by the way, you did an amazing take; I was crying and I was very emotional and heartbreak but it really alluded to the fact that I was the killer so they couldn't put that take in there. It was almost too obvious.
THR: Can you recall your experience filming the scene where we saw Terry put the car into drive and see it go into the lake?
Allman: It was very late and very cold and that was the first time I had ever worked with Eric Ladin. Terry did not know Jamie. His act of beating Rosie and putting her in the trunk was his own separate act. Terry in the moment, realized that [Jamie and Michael Ames] weren't going to make a decision, so she went and made a decision [for them]. It was two separate acts from two separate people out in the middle of nowhere.
THR: The confession in Rosie's bedroom must have been hard to film. What was that experience like?
Allman: I was supposed to shoot it, either it was the last day or it was the second to last day. I remember I had to come into work for another scene in the beginning of the week and I was told around 8 p.m. that they were shooting the finale scene for me tomorrow. They were like, "Yea, plans changed and things happened. It's getting moved up tomorrow. We have to do it tomorrow." I was like, "No, I'm not in the headspace right now!" I just started preparing right after I got off work, all night long; that scene was a night shoot. I worked with [director] Patty Jenkins and she totally brings freedom onto the set and we just played like two kids on the same team. We did the scene over and over and over. I was excited to see the scene because I didn't know how it would be because we did so many different things. I did the scene full-out about 20 times or more. For [my character] it was out of blue. I have this one scene and if it's not there, then this is all not going to be good. [Laughs] I was nervous.
THR: At the end of the day, would the Larsens ever forgive Terry?
Allman: If there was another episode of that storyline continuing, I would feel Mitch (Michelle Forbes) would definitely forgive Terry. I feel like Mitch was there for her even in that moment. Maybe not Stan, but I think Mitch could. Yea, he wanted to kill her.
THR: Are you ultimately happy that Terry is the killer?
Allman: I don't know if I would say happy but I would say fulfilled. I feel like there is justice and a lot of people got to know someone who made a lot of bad choices. And have a little more understanding as to why she made those choices. On my last day of working, I was so sick of looking in the mirror and curling my hair and seeing Terry every time. I cut bangs on my last day of work and just killed Terry right away. [Laughs] I just had to start anew.