'The Lying Game': Alexandra Chando Teases Dramatic Return and Sutton's Whereabouts

The Lying Game: TV Still - 1/2/11 - H
ABC Family

Where is Sutton Mercer?

That's the question on everyone's minds when ABC Familys rookie drama The Lying Game, based on the books by Pretty Little Liars author Sara Shepard, returns for the second half of its season on Monday evening.

After an explosive fight between Sutton, twin sister Emma (pretending to be Sutton) and Ethan on the twins' 17th birthday party had viewers clamoring for a resolution, star Alexandra Chando -- playing both Sutton and Emma -- revealed to The Hollywood Reporter that things won't be getting any easier, especially with Buffy the Vampire Slayer alum Charisma Carpenter joining the mix and the threat of Emma's true identity coming out.

[Warning: Some spoilers ahead.]

"We pick up right where we left off [in the winter premiere]," Chando tells THR, "and we meet Rebecca Sewell, Char's aunt, played by Charisma Carpenter," who has some strange ties to Alec (Adrian Pasdar) and Sutton's father Ted (Andy Buckley), leading all the way back to high school. It's also in the return episode, "O Twin, Where Art Thou?," that clues are offered to who Rebecca may actually be and what her motives are with Sutton's friend Char (Kristen Prout) and her sister Phyllis (Sydney Barrosse).

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But it remains unclear what Sutton's fate ultimately is, at least for the time being. "Thayer, Ethan and Emma, they still don't know if Sutton is alive or dead. They have no idea where she is," the former soap star says. "She still hasn't shown up [to the birthday party]. The wheels are spinning in their heads and they're jumping to the worst conclusion because they haven't heard from her."

With Ethan and Emma fully committed to each other, Chando admits that it won't be long before they hit some major speed bumps. The first cracks begin to show near the end of the first episode back. "As soon as a couple gets happy, they shake it up a little bit. They get a little shaken up," Chando says, adding that in the first episodes viewers will "see them develop as a couple."

Executive producer Charles Pratt Jr., a veteran of All My Children and General Hospital, "has a way of making the audience believe they know what's going on, that they're on it, and then he'll pull the rug from under people," the actress, who herself was a regular on CBS' As the World Turns, observed.

And like its lead-in Pretty Little Liars, don't expect the shocks to go away any time soon, now that Lying Game is settling in.

"There are more secrets revealed and some questions are answered, but the questions that are answered bring about more questions," Chando coyly says. "It's a never-ending chain."

Here are five additional things to look out for in the winter premiere:

1. Unexpected gift: Something appears at the Mercer house that could keep Emma on her toes.

2. Unwelcomed arrival: Rebecca and Phyllis drudge up the past and it's not pretty (one calls the other a "bitch"), causing one of the sisters to make a hasty decision that forces Alec to step in.

3. The whole truth: Someone in Sutton's inner circle isn't 100 percent convinced about Ethan and that affects his relationship with Emma.

4. The missing car: The Mercers notice that their "extra car" is missing and call in the police. The most surprising thing may be who discovers the car in the lake first.

5. Laurel's bracelet too good to be true?: When Sutton's younger sister Laurel is given the piece of vintage jewelry by boyfriend Justin, belonging to his mother, an unexpected detail is uncovered when she misplaces it.

The Lying Game returns Monday, Jan. 2 at 9 p.m. on ABC Family.