Whether it's the son Betty Applewhite locked in the basement or Angie Bolen's explosive real past, mystery has always played an important role on Desperate Housewives.
As the latest question mark on the ABC prime-time soap, Paul Young's new wife, Beth, has been equally hard to decipher — even for the actress playing her.
"I was on a date last night and the guy asked me to describe my character, and it was really difficult with this one," Emily Bergl tells TVGuidecom. "It's kind of like when someone asks you to describe yourself."
Since first appearing in the Season 7 premiere, Paul's new blushing bride has become the target of almost as many inquiries as her two-faced husband. She refused to sleep with him after she admitted she only married him in hopes that he would remain behind bars. Then, she began to show her true feelings for Paul (Mark Moses) by pulling a gun on attacker Susan.
"Beth definitely starts to develop real feelings for him," Bergl says. "We're going to begin to discover that are some things about her past that would lead those feelings to be very complicated for her."
One complication is surely her original connection to Paul's past. In the final moments of last week's episode, fans got their first glimpse of the real Beth when she was shown visiting her mother — Paul's longtime nemesis, Felicia Tillman.
After learning about Paul's devious plan against the women of Wisteria Lane last week, Beth will go along with it, for now, Bergl says. However, she warns that Beth's background makes her someone not to be underestimated.
"It's funny because some people think, 'Oh she's so manipulative and she's this little b----.' I don't feel that way about her at all," she says. "People will empathize because she grew up in a household that was certainly emotionally abusive, so she's had to learn some coping skills. ... At heart, Beth is a very genuine person who has been forced to do dishonest things to survive.
"When the Desperate Housewives fans learn what Beth is all about, they will understand completely why she is the way she is."
Although Bergl has said it's been hard keeping certain storylines secret, she also says the mystery of the role has been freeing as an actor. The ambiguity surrounding the character has also helped, considering the changes Beth has undergone since her audition.
"She was actually a lot weirder originally. She traveled with this huge collection of dolls and she actually slept with her dolls," Bergl says. "Then they decided they wanted an actual, genuine relationship to develop between her and Paul. They said they had to tone her down a bit."
At this point, Bergl says she's ready for whatever twist the writers throw her way.
"Its Desperate Housewives — one of us could go down in a plane, [get] run over by a car or get shot next week," she says. "And that's what makes it exciting."
Desperate Housewives airs Sundays at 9/8c on ABC.