In a wild one-two punch, CBS's The Young and the Restless has revealed that Fake Cassie, the scam artist played by Camryn Grimes, is in evil cahoots with Ian Ward, the creepy self-help guru played by Ray Wise. There's more! Fake Cassie, it turns out, is also Mariah, the much-discussed but never-seen ex-paramour of Tyler Michaelson (Redaric Williams). TV Guide Magazine spoke with executive producer Jill Farren Phelps to get the backstage dish on the two hot reveals and to find out where Mariah and Ian go from here. Is anyone safe?
TV Guide Magazine: Let's start with the nefarious Ian. Was it always the plan to connect him with Fake Cassie/Mariah?
Phelps: Not at all. Ray Wise was only supposed to be with us for a short story arc — 10 days — but we quickly realized what a gold mine he is. In order to keep him, it became necessary to connect Ian with someone else on the show, beyond Nikki and Dylan. Ray has been a wonderful fresh face in Genoa City. The second he hit the screen it was, "Jackpot!" We knew this immediately, of course, but his episodes hadn't aired yet. By the time we knew the audience was crazy about Ray, too, we'd already completed our original agreement with him.
TV Guide Magazine: Is that why the writers put his character in jail?
Phelps: Yes. That was supposed to be Ian's swan song, but then we got word that Ray really wanted to stay. He's very happy here with us. So then we had to get him out of jail. Now we have a long-term plan in place. That's not to say he won't be in and out of Genoa City — Ray is a very busy actor — but we have great story coming up for him. June is going to be huge and very crazy. We'll keep Ian in town, initially, with the Mariah connection and the history of their relationship, but there's a much bigger picture to be revealed.
TV Guide Magazine: What's with the inference that Mariah strayed from "The Path"? Was she one of Ian's disciples?
Phelps: Possibly. Possibly a very important one.
TV Guide Magazine: Is she his child?
Phelps: Well...perhaps in some form. [Laughs] Is that vague enough for ya?
TV Guide Magazine: I'll take it! So what's Ian really want in Genoa City? Does he still have a thing for Nikki? Will he continue to screw with the Newmans even though everyone is on to him?
Phelps: That's his goal, though it's more than just screwing with them for the hell of it. He intends to infiltrate that whole rich-family connection. He likes the sudden power he has being Dylan's father and the instant relationship it gives him with the Newmans. He's an opportunist and he sees opportunity. Of course, if Nikki would take him, he'd be happy to be back in her life.
TV Guide Magazine: He's got balls going up against Victor like this!
Phelps: Oh, Victor will have his day in court with Ian. [Laughs] Let's see how I can rephrase that so it sounds like something you want to watch...
TV Guide Magazine: Hey, as long as Victor and Ian aren't exchanging recipes, we're good!
Phelps: They're not exchanging recipes! I promise! There's a great dynamic between Ian and Victor in that Ian is so smarmy Victor doesn't scare him — and that will make Victor even scarier. Ray and Eric are so terrific together. We just shot a scene with them where Victor is sitting at his desk and, as he so often does, he refuses to look at the other people in the scene. Ian had his face almost all the way down on the desk trying to make eye contact with Victor. It's a fabulous pissing contest and so delicious to watch.
TV Guide Magazine: It must be tough finding anyone who can go up against badass Braeden. Even in those scenes where Victor and Jack butt heads — no pun intended — it's never a real contest.
Phelps: That's why it's so interesting to have a foil who doesn't come from the "We must respect Victor" school. Ian is very playful and obnoxious with Victor, which gets under Victor's skin, which also makes Ian a highly respected adversary in Victor's eyes. It's more than a cat-and-mouse game. It's like a new love has come into Victor's life!
TV Guide Magazine: Let's talk about your other big reveal. At what point did you decide Fake Cassie would also turn out to be Mariah?
Phelps: Very early on. As soon as Tyler even mentioned there was a Mariah, the writers knew it would be Fake Cassie. She is going to be a huge threat to the Abby-Tyler relationship, which we know really needed some help. Mariah will also continue to have enormous involvement in the Sharon-Nick story and, obviously, her relationship with Ian is going to be big when it's finally discovered by other people. She's a wild girl, not a good girl like Cassie, and that will impact the whole Newman family.
TV Guide Magazine: So we shouldn't read too much into Mariah feeling sorry that she scammed Sharon?
Phelps: Nope. Any headway Mariah made there as a human being will vanish once her connection to Ian is out in the open. Neither will be redeemed anytime soon. It's so nice to have characters in Genoa City who are just plain bad.
TV Guide Magazine: What's Mariah's problem exactly?
Phelps: She's a have-not. That's a very powerful, driving force for her. Whereas Cassie had everything, Mariah had nothing, and the more she sees of the Newmans' life, the more she resents getting so little. Sure, we've seen that Mariah has a heart — she knows how much her Cassie face means to Sharon and is touched by that — but that's not the real her. There are no limits to what this woman will do to get what she doesn't have. Mariah is one very loose cannon.