[WARNING: The following story contains spoilers about Sunday's episode of Quantico. Read at your own risk.]
Are you ready?
Liam (Josh Hopkins)!
Yup, Mr. Agent of the Century is the traitor. Liam just forced Drew to record himself as The Voice, and held him and Simon (Tate Ellington) in a bomb-triggered room that explodes when Ryan (Jake McLaughlin) breaks in, seemingly killing only Drew. (At least he might be reunited with Alicia. Too soon?) Miranda (Aunjanue Ellis) figures out it was Liam and goes to his house solo, where Liam, nuke in hand, shoots her and says he's doing this to "make things right."
Liam being the terrorist is a far better and sensible choice than Drew ever was. They're both failures with chips on their shoulders, but Liam has interacted with everyone (unlike Drew who's only been attached to Alex's (Priyanka Chopra) hip). Plus, he knows most if not all of the class' dirty little secrets as their teacher, has the high-level clearance and access to pull off these inside jobs, and has been on the show since the beginning.
Now the question is why. We caught up with creator Josh Safran to get the scoop.
So it's actually Liam? No more twists?
Josh Safran: Yup, it's Liam. No more twists. That's it. Well, I take it back. [Laughs] Sorry! There isn't a twist, but there is more to the story. That's how I would phrase it.
Is he working by himself? Is he working for someone else?
Safran: I can't answer that, unfortunately. In one week, you'll have all the answers. ... The "how" and "why" will be next week and that's very much the entire plot of the entire episode. In fact, the opening five minutes should not be missed.
What was the reaction when the cast found out?
Safran: I think Josh always kind of had an inkling. They were kind of guessing throughout the year. Most of the guesses were Simon and Shelby (Johanna Braddy). Even Johanna thought it was her and Tate thought it was him. Somewhere around midseason, they thought it was Ryan. And then they started thinking it was Aunjanue. They never quite came around to Liam. I was surprised. If you go back and you look, there were a lot of indications, even in the way that he gives the information to the classes about how the FBI can get to you and what it can do to you. So it's always been there if you look at it. And also trying to get Alex thrown out and the grudge against her father - it's all been there. So it's weird they didn't see it.
But Josh is great. He's such a pro. He totally got it. He's such a great guy. And he really relished it once he knew. He knew around Episode 19. ... I told him.
That's funny because Liam would be one of the top suspects. He'd have bitterness from all the times he's screwed up, people have always covered up for him, Miranda and Alex rejected him, Ryan turned down his D.C. job. And he knows the details about everyone.
Safran: Right. It does, when you think about it, make the most sense and fits together. I know some people might think, "You said it was a member of the class." They'll think this is a cop-out, but again, this was the way it was always done in the pitch two years ago [to ABC]. And the tip said that it was a member of the class so that everyone would look at Alex. The whole point was to frame Alex. The tip was never the truth because it was Liam making a lie and calling in the tip. I could never give interviews and be like, "No, you have to step back from the tip and look at it more widely." [Laughs] The whole point of the tip was to frame Alex.
A lot of people didn't like Drew being The Voice last week, since we didn't meet him until March and that felt like a cop-out. But we never saw Drew actually talking to Alex as The Voice.
Safran: Exactly. And it's not Drew. The poor guy! Another pawn. I really thought Lenny and Tate played that scene beautifully, the urgency of it. They did a great job.
Is Drew dead?
Safran: It's funny. Even though it looks very likely that he is, that was the one death where I made sure we were outside of it, not inside of it, because I do think there is a version where he could've gotten away. But he is done for this season. You're not going to see him next week.
So you don't know yourself if he's dead or not.
Safran: Correct. The assumption is that he's dead, but there's not another twist coming with him. That was it. He was used by Liam to look like the bad guy and was just a pawn like everyone else.
Liam gives a speech in the past timeline about how you can't let things turn into a personal crusade, which he now has. What snapped for him? Did he go to D.C.?
Safran: That's exactly what next week's episode is all about. Next week is the Liam episode in every way.
With his daughter too?
Safran: I can't say, but you're a really good viewer! I will say that her name is in the credits in the episode.
I know she was supposed to be in an episode in the fall because ABC released photos with Alex and her, but she was never in the episode, so obviously you cut that.
Safran: Yes, you are correct. We cut it and saved it for now. ... Honestly, it was one of those rare moments, which is really odd, [where] while we were shooting, we actually realized it was better for us to save that. So we just cut it, but we made a deal with the actress so that she knew that she would be coming back. ... It's something different. And had that scene aired, it would have rendered this not possible. Basically, we just came up with a better idea. It was that simple. It was like, "Oh, sh--! We can't do that now!"
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Like you said, in the first half of the season, Liam was hell-bent on framing Alex. Why did he decide last week to pivot to Ryan, like, "Oh, hey, it was between you, Alex, and Ryan, and I decided we can just upload these files on his computer"?
Safran: You will have that answer next week! ... Ask me again next week if it's not fully clear. It's one of those things where it's in a couple sentences explained, but I feel like sometimes those explanations aren't enough and I wish we had more time. But it's hard in a scene to have an actor have 100 lines.
Everyone else thinks it's Miranda right now. When will they realize it's Liam?
Safran: I can't answer that because they might not! Poor Miranda. A lot of blood will be shed in the next episode.
How many deaths will there be?
Safran: There will be two more. Sorry, I should say there will be two more of people we know, but there might be thousands of others. Because that bomb is missing! I'm not going to say, but you know on this show our bombs go off historically.
You guys are just destroying New York City. Three bombs in half a year.
Safran: [Laughs] I know! We've really changed the geography of New York. Next week, I hope people find it as satisfying as we do. I feel like in this episode, personally, a lot of the threads came together in a really beautiful way. Cameron Litvack, the writer and co-EP, did a lovely job. It's all emotional and all about the price you pay doing this work. Shelby has to learn about it. Liam talks about it. Alex has to see it. Next week is [about] the price of protecting.
I was glad to see Simon again. Liam had Will (Jay Armstrong Johnson) build the nuke and Drew record himself. He kind of made Simon get into the car as an afterthought and kept Simon longer than he kept Will. What did he do to him?
Safran: This is one of those instances where I'm not sure it's totally clear. [Simon] made the remote detonator and he says to [Alex] that it's not on the bomb, and that's how he knows the bomb is inactive. Both he and Will made the bomb together. Maybe he could've said it more clearly. [Laughs] But that is all Simon did for him. Nothing else, I promise.
I love the way Tate plays the scene because you still kind of feel like he's in on it even though you've said before that he's definitively not.
Safran: [Laughs] That's just because Tate is such a wonderful actor! You don't have to doubt him. Simon is not involved.
Iris (Li Jun Li) is absent in the future, but she finally got her security clearance in the past. Will we know what happened to her?
Safran: Initially we were going to show where everybody was in the future, but in speaking to our consultant, she said, "People graduate and you know that they're working but you don't know where. They move around. You kind of bump into each other again." So we made a decision with Brandon (Jacob Artist) and Iris that they graduate and you know they're out there as agents, but you don't know where they ended up. That isn't to say we won't see them ever again, but for this season, we haven't seen them since graduation.
Does that mean we can cross them off the list too if in fact Liam has whole crew?
Safran: Yes. I think that's OK to say. Iris and Brandon were never part of the plan.
Who is Henry Czerny playing in the finale?
Safran: I can't say except to say you'll find out in the last five minutes. He is our launch into Season 2. ... I would say the majority is Season 1 and the last 30 seconds are the launch into Season 2.
Is the Season 2 mystery tied into Season 1 at all?
Safran: It is tied in, but not in a way that you'll know until the season premiere. It looks like just a natural evolution of storytelling, but then you'll realize how it's connected in the premiere of Season 2.
Shelby said two weeks ago in the future that her parents have since died. Is she telling the truth?
Safran: I cannot say yet. But I can say that should Shelby survive, her and all of their personal stories are more "to be continued" and less "to be wrapped up." Next week is more about the plots and some emotional connections.
You know I ask this every time, but did you get Josh to sing Ryan's song for Alex?
Safran: Oh, my God! I totally didn't. I meant to! You mean Jake, right?
Well, you said Jake didn't want to, so you were going to get Josh.
Safran: He didn't, but my big plan is to get Jake to sing it at some point for a DVD extra or something. I'm going to do it. It's not going away, I promise.
Jake is obviously the ideal choice, but someone needs to sing it.
Safran: Maybe I'll get Priyanka to sing it. Keep asking. It'll happen!
Quantico airs Sundays at 10/9c on ABC.