February 27, 2012 9:00am PT by Philiana Ng
'The Lying Game' Boss on Sutton's Game-Changing Lie, Series' Biggest Risk and Love Triangles (Q&A)
[Warning: Some spoilers ahead.]
It was the lie heard around the world -- or rather, on The Lying Game.
The nailbiter at the end of the most recent episode of the ABC Family teen soap, centered on two twin sisters (Sutton and Emma) living the other's life, was a shock to the system for viewers and executive producer Charles Pratt Jr. was well aware. "We try to make them all big," he told The Hollywood Reporter of last week's surprise.
Imagine this: Sutton Mercer (rich), pretending to be Emma Becker (not-so-rich), visits her twin's true love Ethan in jail and instead of remedying all ill will, opened up a can of worms, declaring that things between Emma and another boy (Thayer, one of Sutton's friend's brother) had well, gone all the way. "She dropped a bomb lie, a lying bomb," Pratt Jr. said. (All of this taking place after Sutton and Ethan spent time on a reservation after Ethan was alleged to have killed a classmate.)
On a show known for its twists and turns -- borrowing from the DNA of lead-in Pretty Little Liars -- this particular development promises to have big ramifications for all involved.
"When Sutton came back from the reservation [with Ethan], we had lots of thoughts: 'Do they really make love? Do they not make love and we don't tell the audience?,' " Pratt Jr. explains. "So our thought was somehow she was going to really pull one on Emma that would have disastrous results that would take us right through to the end of the season."
Pratt Jr., who has had years and years of experience in the daytime soap world, talked to THR about just what the ramifications are for Sutton and Emma, what's coming up in the final two episodes and the riskiest thing he's had to do on The Lying Game.
The Hollywood Reporter: With Sutton's lie at the forefront, what does that mean for the rest of the season?
Charles Pratt Jr.: I can tell you this, there's going to be a wedding [in the finale], which will affect everybody, the fact that it comes about so quickly, the urgency to do it and the reasons behind it. The colliding trains of trying to figure out who killed Derek, what does it have anything to do with the twins and the car going into the lake, who is Rebecca and who's trying to keep that secret. Plus, we're going to have the entire Mercer house face its biggest challenge ever; there's a huge explosion between Ted and Kristin, when some huge secrets in the past come to light. There might be an arrest that will boggle peoples' minds or confirm things for others. At the very end of the [finale], we're going to make a reveal and a twist that is truly a Lying Game changer.
THR: Sutton and Emma have switched back and forth several times during the season and connections have formed for the two of them with certain people we'd never have expected. How will those relationships take shape?
Pratt Jr.: In the final episode, it's one of the last things we're dealing with. Thayer started out in love with Sutton and then she broke his heart, and then he -- like Ethan -- meets Emma and realizes this is the Sutton he always wish he'd had. He has, in a Hardy Boy way, been circling Emma and for her, if Thayer is interested, she isn't quite aware of it yet but she does see a sensitive side to him that she's never seen in Ethan. Ultimately the question for her, and this is next season, could Thayer be the safe boyfriend when you can't have the guy you really love? A lot of people are really starting to root for Thayer; they like him. He's sort of our Mr. Spock when it comes to the mystery.
THR: What can we expect from the mysterious Alec?
Pratt Jr.: Alec's world was turned upside down in the last episode. A lot of things come his way and I think we'll start questioning whether he is as bad a guy as we thought all along.
THR: And Rebecca will certainly play a role?
Pratt Jr.: She'll definitely play into that, as well as Ted and Kristin.
THR: Speaking of Ted, Rebecca and Alec. There still isn't much that has been uncovered about their history ..
Pratt Jr.: In the last episodes, you're going to see the huge impact those secrets are going to have. Ted is always the beta and Alec's the alpha, and when a beta dog gets screwed, he's going to blame the alpha dog. Alec might reveal a couple of things that we didn't know moving forward, but only as they pertain to what's going on in the present.
THR: How much time passes before the truth about Sutton and Emma switching roles is revealed to everyone?
Pratt Jr.: It isn't going to be in the next two episodes, I can tell you that. I honestly have no idea. As long as there's story to play with one in hiding and one in the open, we're going to continue to play it. We know some of our reasons for keeping one in hiding is starting to dwindle. When you see the final scene in episode 1x20, I think everyone will go, "Ahh, that's where they're going." There will be a day at some point when Emma and Sutton will both be out in the open. At that point, I htink some of the fun and games will be gone but there will be new fun and games.
THR: Was there a moment that you didn't think would work onscreen?
Pratt Jr.: We were worried about Sutton having the bump on her head and then being taken for Emma and then them having to switch places again. We weren't sure how that was going to go, but it afforded us opportunities in the love triangle (Sutton-Emma-Ethan) that we could milk and her relationship with her family. We were thrilled by how well it worked and how well it was received.
THR: The show hasn't been officially renewed for season 2 but have you sketched out a plan?
Pratt Jr.: If by sketched out you mean that we have a definite direction and we kind of know where it's going, yeah, we do. But we don't have our official pickup yet so I can't work too far ahead.
THR: At the end of the day, is it possible for Sutton and Emma to have happy endings?
Pratt Jr.: Oh definitely. If there was a goal it would be a happy ending, or maybe on Sutton's part, which we've played with, a realization that maybe she's done some horrendous things to people and lied way too much in her life. In a soap, that's what you do, you try to make them hateful and horrible, then make them try to change and ultimately do. Then they get screwed over so they fall right back into it; bitches you love to hate.
The Lying Game airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on ABC Family.