The Secret Circle

The Secret Circle's circle is broken.

Tragedy struck Chance Harbor when Charles (Gale Harold) was forced to drown Nick (Louis Hunter) in order to kill the demon that had possessed him. More unnerving than his untimely demise is that Nick was a character who not only survived the L.J. Smith novels the series is based on, but also eventually found romance with Cassie.

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This means two things: No one is safe in the Kevin Williamson and Andrew Miller-executive- produced adaptation of the novels, and it's time for a replacement witch! TVGuide.com caught up with Miller to dissect Nick's death, what it means for the circle, and the introduction of Nick's brother, who may be able to fill the void in the coven.

Why did you guys decide to make such a drastic change from the novels by killling Nick?
Andrew Miller: Because there are only three [books] and because the story of the books is so specific and goes to such a specific place, we were always going to have to make some kind of a departure. We'd already reduced the circle in numbers [Editor's note: The novels feature a coven of 12], which was painful to do. We just felt that to really make the stakes of what these guys are dealing with feel real, to really ground it in an emotional reality, they just couldn't be walking around doing magic like it was no big deal. Unfortunately, there was just no better way to explore this idea of action and consequences than one of their own dying. 

How will Nick's death affect the circle, and especially Melissa (Jessica Parker Kennedy)?
Miller:
He starts off as such a douche with her and you hate him to some degree for treating Melissa the way he does, but she keeps coming back to him and he keeps pushing her away.  Then, over the course of these last four episodes, he just turns such a corner and opens himself up to her and lets her come in. In doing so, we felt that it really empowered Melissa and she's stepped out of Faye's shadow for the first time in probably their whole lives.

Melissa's going to have a very, very, very tough time recovering and coping. That kind of loss is just obviously enormous and we want to treat it as emotionally real as we can. The idea of this week, in an episode called "Wake," is just to show our guys coming to terms with it, or trying to come to terms with this. They'll have completely different experiences, and react in completely different ways: some understandable, some appropriate, some totally inappropriate and seemingly wrong. And then also with the parents, because Charles and Dawn (Natasha Henstridge) are as affected as these kids, and they're going to react in shocking ways too.

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So when Britt Robertson told us Cassie would be getting very close to the Armstrong family, she meant via Nick's brother, Jake (Chris Zylka), who comes to town this week. What kind of relationship does he have with the circle?
Miller:
This guy Jake, when he left town a couple years ago, was a prick that they all hated for different reasons, but no one more so than Faye (Phoebe Tonkin) because he's really the love of her life and he crushed her when he left. She hasn't recovered and I would argue that some of the coldness and armor she has put up around herself is because of this very guy. Him coming back is just not the thing she's ready for right now. He also has a history with Adam (Thomas Dekker) that ties to Adam and his father (Adam Harrington). Cassie is the only one who doesn't know him from before and the only one who can judge him for who he is now because she doesn't have that reference point. She'll see Jake in a totally different way from the others.

She's insanely adorable, so that's a lethal combination for when Jake breezes through town and they live next door from each other. All of those things work together to create at least the start of something between those two, and that's just not good for anyone in the circle because no one really want him around, especially Adam, who's conflicted. This guys breezes into town and creates a jealousy in Adam that he is just not ready to deal with and that causes even more problems. 

Will Jake take Nick's place in the circle?
Miller:
With Nick gone, the circle is broken and it makes them a little more vulnerable. They need to figure out an answer around that and Jake will play a role in that answer. 

Now that the circle is not bound, will we see their magic get out of control?
Miller:
The whole idea of the track that they were on, [even with Faye's objections], just feels so differently when one of their own is lost because of it. They see magic a little bit differently. Their interest in creating a new full circle gets complicated because of that.

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What can you tell us about this evil that is terrorizing the circle?
Miller:
This demon thing is a force of evil that has its roots in [what happened] 16 years ago, so it just further complicates what's already pretty mysterious. [The coven] and Dawn and Charles are playing with fire. The closer they bring these kids to the events of 16 years ago, the worse things are going to get. 

Charles killing Nick seemed to cross a serious line. What will we see for Dawn and Charles' plans moving forward and will anyone figure out they were behind Nick's demise?
Miller:
There will be consequences both physically and emotionally to their actions. We'll learn a lot about Charles, in particular, as he moves through this experience. The idea of killing a boy, as he says, it just should never feel right and it's going to impact him in a pretty heavy way. They'll both be forced to reexamine their plans as they move forward with some of the emotional consequences of what they did. 

Cassie is really coming into her own when it comes to magic. Will she begin to look into why she's so powerful without very much experience? 
Miller:
She's been mother-obsessed because her mother so recently passed away and it's so shaken her world, but she doesn't know very much about her father for reasons she doesn't entirely understand. In the next couple episodes, there will be revelations about who she is and what she's capable of that will cause her to start looking down her father's family tree.

Now that there is so much tragedy around this circle, does anyone ever have thoughts of just leaving the group?
Miller:
I wouldn't want to stick around with these people [laughs]. These are not a good group of kids to hang with. They're kind of tied to each other, which is the bad part. They all come from these broken homes, these fragmented families because of this history, and they come together not by blood in a way but by choice. Because they're linked, they create their own family.

This tragedy, while it will pit them against each other in a way, it brings them closer together because they just realize how much they need each other, how important they are to each other, and, to some degree as we move forward, just how dangerous it can be when they're not together. More than anything, it's one of the themes that we like so much of the show: individually they can be powerful, but together is where the real power lies. That togetherness is just a hard place to be.

The Secret Circle airs Thursdays at 9/8c on The CW.