'Pretty Little Liars' Victim Speaks: "I Don’t Think Anyone Knows His True Motives"

Pretty Little Liars 704 Still - Huw Collins, Sasha Pieterse

[Warning: This story contains spoilers from Pretty Little Liars season seven, episode three, “The Talented Mr. Rollins.”]

Pretty Little Liars’ first death of season seven may have been the least heartbreaking of the series, but that doesn’t mean it won’t make an impact on Rosewood and its inhabitants.

When the Liars ran down Dr. Elliott Rollins (Huw Collins) with their car as they raced to find Alison DiLaurentis (Sasha Pieterse), they may have saved her, but Collins warns that there is much more “darkness and evil” to fear after his character's death.

No, that doesn’t mean that Rollins will return from the grave — though on a show like PLL, you can never rule that out — but as the Liars fight to cover up his death, more intel will trickle in about Elliott’s history with Mary Drake (Andrea Parker) and his “complex” relationship with Charlotte DiLaurentis (Vanessa Ray).

Below, Collins tells The Hollywood Reporter about how he’s “disappointed he was killed so early in the season” and what viewers can expect regarding Elliott’s “true motives” for going after Alison.

When did you find out it was Rollins in the grave?

He deserved what came to him. I knew not that long before we actually shot episode three, but I did have an inkling that it was coming, just reading into the subtext. Once Rollins became a dark character, you know that’s obviously on the table very quickly. As opposed to Liam and Jordan being broken up with, you know the only way they’re going to get rid of you really is killing you. I had a sense that it was coming at some point, and [showrunner] Marlene King gave me a call before we did the table read for episode three. But everyone knows it’s Rosewood, it’s Pretty Little Liars, so who knows what the real truth is?

What was your reaction when you found out he was dead? 

I’m someone who gets pretty attached to characters. I’ve really enjoyed playing Rollins — I think he’s a very complex character and the ambiguity of his motives are really interesting to play with. There was an element of me that was disappointed that he was killed so early in the season because there were some things I would have liked to explore while he was still alive. But I also know coming into a show so late you can’t get too affected by your own agenda for your character, because he’s serving the story and the story has been going on a lot longer than Elliott has been around. … I’m very thankful to Marlene and the show for trusting me with the big moments like the mask reveal at the end of season six and this really cool, gory death. I’m certainly not upset about it.

Were there any particular moments you would have liked to explore with Elliott, like with Ali, the Liars and Mary? What was on your wish list?

There is a very interesting dynamic with Mary Drake. Given we see them together at the end of season six and we’ve only had one scene with them in season seven so far, I’d love to know how they got together and why they got together. … I also want to see the other side of the extreme of Elliott. He’s only an extreme character on the dark side because he’s an extreme character on the light side. So I would like to see the balance of what affected him so deeply to act so extremely toward Alison in his determination to get what he wants. Who knows — we may get to explore that. 

Charlie Craig said we would learn more about Mary and Elliott’s history. Do you know anything about their relationship? Does it just stem from their mutual love of Charlotte?

Having spoken at length with Marlene about it, I do know quite a bit about the backstory. Given that we still have time and space to explore that I don’t want to talk too much about it, because I think we will get to find out about it one way or another. What I would say is Elliott’s backstory is pretty complex and using things you already know about him on the show — like the episode title, “The Talented Mr. Rollins,” which is obviously an homage to The Talented Mr. Ripley — you can gain some information and insight about Rollins’ true motives or lack of motives from that parallel.

Will Charlotte and Rollins’ love story — how they met, what their relationship was like — be delved into? How would you describe their relationship?

There’s a good chance we will see at least something of Charlotte and Elliott and their past. How much, I don’t know. 

It’s clear his motives for hurting Alison have to do with Charlotte as he and Mary discussed at the end of season six — that they did it for her and he loved her.

Yes. You could assume that, but assuming too much about Elliott’s motives would be a mistake. The joy of playing Elliott for me is finding his true motives; I don’t think anyone knows his true motives. As of right now, you could assume that because of what you’ve heard and the things you’ve seen, that the motivations up until this point are because of Charlotte and because he was devastated by her death, so he needed to gain a measure of revenge for that. However, I would say it’s more complex than that and hopefully we will see that explored and made explicit later in the show.

We don’t have confirmation of A.D.’s identity, but how much can you hint to his relation with A.D.? Was he the most dangerous person in Rosewood before his death?

At the time of his death, Elliott was probably the most dangerous element involved because he was so unhinged. But there is a darker undercurrent, a more comprehensive undercurrent of darkness and evil that has existed prior to Rollins’ arrival and will exist after his departure. I think that’s the most dangerous thing for the Liars going forward.

Is there someone who will avenge his death now that he’s been killed?

I certainly hope so! (Laughs.) I mean, it would be very sad if he dies and no one wants to avenge his death. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. Hopefully somehow he’ll muster up the courage to avenge his own death. 

Pretty Little Liars airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on Freeform.