ABC's upcoming kidnapping thriller Ten Days in the Valley was born from a literal nightmare. Creator Tassie Cameron (Rookie Blue) had a recurring dream that mirrors the plot of the series about a screenwriter whose daughter is kidnapped from her home.
"I was working alone late at night in my writer's shed about 10 feet away from my house," Cameron recalled. "I'd finish writing and I'd come [back] and the backdoor would be locked." It's a scene that occurs early on in the pilot episode, and Cameron's on-screen counterpart, Kyra Sedgwick's Jane Sadler, finds out that her daughter has been kidnapped.
Cameron doesn't have recurring nightmares that often, so she paid particular attention to this one. She also decided to "write it out of her system."
"I think my shrink would probably say [the dream was a product of] the pressures and worries about being [a mother] and juggling a career," Cameron said. And that's a theme that reverberates through the show and its cast.
"I definitely think that what we're trying to toy with and talk about on this show is the archetypical guilt that women have from the minute they give birth," Sedgwick said. "And some of it is biological, that I think you somehow think that every minute you don't spend with your child is a reason to loathe yourself. And society is happy to tell you those things as well."
Erika Christensen, who plays Jane's sister Ali, also feels a connection to the show, but on a real, conscious level. She had to leave her newborn daughter to film the series, which echoes the idea of losing a child that's so prominent in Ten Days in the Valley.
"Ultimately I think that the goal to be the best version of yourself as possible for the sake of this little person is a wonderful struggle, and we do all have that," Christensen said. "I very much relate to [that]. Obviously I had to be away from her to shoot this show, and I'm very glad I did because I'm proud of this show."
Ten Days in the Valley is also Sedgwick's return to television after several seasons and Emmy nominations (including a win in 2010) on The Closer. The actress was excited to be on a more serialized show, but was even more interested in playing Jane.
"I was interested in doing a show where I'm not solving a mystery, I am the mystery," Sedgwick explained. "Jane is such a mystery, and hand in hand with the mystery of this character is the mystery of what happens to her daughter and why — the who, the what, the why is very much unraveling the history and mystery of Jane and her relationships with all these people."
As for whether it would take her character from The Closer, Brenda Leigh Johnson, as long to solve this mystery — 10 days, hence the title — Sedgwick still has much respect for her career-defining gig. "Definitely not," she said.
Ten Days in the Valley premieres Sunday, Oct. 1 at 10/9c.