Little did Naomi know that when she cried wolf, alleging that Mr. Cannon sexually harassed her, the lie would come back to haunt her in the worst way. At the end of 90210's last season, she found herself trapped in a classroom by the faculty advisor she accused — and what transpired that night will send her into a downward spiral.
When the show returns for Season 3 (Monday, 8/7c on The CW), Naomi will be boasting to friends on the phone that she's winding down her summer in the fabulous French Riviera. Instead, she's been hiding out at a motel of the same name.
AnnaLynne McCord, who plays Naomi and is a Goodwill Ambassador for anti-sexual exploitation group The Blind Project, tells TVGuide.com that her character's reaction is pretty muted one, at first. "A lot of time, people keep this kind of thing inside for years. They can't tell anyone," the actress says. "We're going to show a range of what can go wrong when you do that. There will be times Naomi can appear to be a bit crazy because she's trying to cover up what happened to her."
Series executive producer Rebecca Sinclair says, "Naomi feels deeply disempowered by the rape, and tragically — and mistakenly — feels like she's to blame."
Naomi will overcompensate for her secret by being "too on," says Jessica Stroup, who plays Silver. "She's going through some dark stuff, and Naomi's way of dealing with it is trying to be who she thinks everyone sees her as: the sexy, confident girl. She's hooking up with all the guys, even the ones who are taken. She's just really pushing it and Silver, being her best friend, eventually picks up that it's an act."
But when Naomi shares that she's been abused, Silver doesn't buy it — Naomi, after all, has just been caught in a lie about harassment. McCord says filming their confrontation was rough. "I broke down during this scene where Silver is nailing Naomi because she thinks she's lying again. Their friendship is hurt because of it, and it really caused me such anxiety. I had to walk off set because I was hysterically bawling."
Sinclair says she and the writers were interested in how lies can take on a life of their own. "We were inspired by The Children's Hour and The Crucible. I'm fascinated with that kind of trouble that's particular to teenage girls, where words are the weapon, where gossip can become dangerous."
The situation won't resolve itself in just a couple of episodes, and Naomi will find that keeping silent only makes things worse. She may even resort to Adrianna's (Jessica Lowndes) old habits.
"When a teenage girl who prides herself on being sexy, on dressing and acting in a way that's sexually provacative, is forced to be sexual with someone against her will, it's deeply confusing," Sinclair says. "Naomi, like every single teenage girl alive today, gets a lot of mixed messages about whether it's okay or not to be sexual... I think that deep down she wonders if she's being punished for something."
Viewers should know that is not the case. "We absolutely, 100 percent did not want to do that," Sinclair says. "We did want to explore the reality that Naomi herself would worry that she somehow deserved what happened to her."
And rest assured, Sinclair says, "justice will be served."