The premiere episode of Ten Days in the Valley left one suspect at the top of the list.
The new suspense thriller starring Kyra Sedgwick kicked off its rollercoaster first season with the kidnapping of Jane Sadler's (Sedgwick) seven-year old daughter Lake's (Abigail Pniowsky) kidnapping. The disappearance opened up a lot of questions about Jane, her nocturnal activities and her relationship with her ex Pete (Kick Gurry).
With a show like this, the first person you obviously suspect is never the actual villain, but this time we aren't so sure. TV Guide talked to Kick Gurry about the premiere episode, which puts Pete in a pretty glaringly guilty light, and whether fans should follow the clues or be looking deeper at the information they're being given.
Honestly, Pete is my No. 1 suspect right now. Should I lean into that or do you want people to root for him to be innocent?
Kick Gurry: It's funny you say that because there were moments when I would talk to Tassie and Kyra, all the big cheeses on the show, all these fantastic, dynamic women and I kept going, "Don't you think the audience in this episode is really going to feel for Pete?" They would all look at me like, "Are you mad?" It's a funny thing of when you're inside of a character you do sort of fall in love with them a little bit. You don't really judge them positively or negatively. They just are part of you. I didn't get too swept up in the idea of making him likable.
I loved the writing in that pilot. That scene in the driveway where Pete really breaks and shows his vulnerability. The police are standing around and then you see the hard edge once they start fighting. There was an impression of a vulnerable and broken man on screen. I just wanted to stray a little bit away from the cliched version of the guilty exes reformed drug addict and alcoholic and just being one of those angry men who is limited...I didn't want to present that sort of cliched version of a man inside this story. This man's life is unraveling. Whether he's responsible for the disappearance of his kid, or partially responsible, or whether he's completely innocent and has no idea what's happening -- his life is unraveling no matter which way you cut it. I didn't want to focus on making him likable or unlikeable. I just wanted to focus on the reality of making him an emotional human being on the descent into madness
Did you ever ask Tassie [Cameron, creator] who did it ahead of time or did you wait to find out with each script?
Gurry: I asked not to know the bigger parts of the story. I just thought as an actor it would be more interesting to traverse that territory without knowing what the outcome was. By the end of the third table read, I went up to Tassie, who wrote the show and created it, and said, "I'm pretty convinced that 10 people did this." I can mount a pretty strong case that 10 different people did it. It's going to be a really fun one for the audience.
[At the end of the first episode] Jane is convinced it's him. You see this secret revealed at the end with him and Casey where you're like, "Oh! Okay, well he's hiding the reality of what's happening so it's him." When I got cast in the role, I thought, "If they make it that obvious in the first episode, it's definitely not me." But then, that might be the ultimate genius that it's so obvious that it's not obvious and then it becomes obvious at the end. I sort of turned into that character from The Princess Bride where he switches the wine. I thought it would be a fun experience just to go through episode to episode because I became more and more convinced of my own guilt or innocence. That was in an audience sense because I love stories, but in an acting sense, I just felt like I didn't want to try and get too clever for my own good if I knew that it was me.
We found out at the end of Episode 1 that not only is Pete lying about where he was at the time of the kidnapping, but he's having an affair with Jane's assistant. How is that going to complicate things going forward?
Gurry: [Pete and Jane] two have been together for a while. They've known each other a long time. There's a lot of history and a huge amount of chaos between them. This guy is a drug addict, an alcoholic and [a] troubled dad in many ways. He would have failed so many times in Jane's eyes so the thought of this new, young, fresh person who'd doesn't see him as a failure -- [Casey] is unaware of all of his failures and that's a really intoxicating thing for him.
The show in general, what I think is really fascinating for an audience watching it, is every character by exposing the reality of their lives a little bit when something crazy happens like a kid goes missing, is almost exposing their guilt. Not their actual guilt that they did it but it's almost that thing where you're forced to lie about something and you lie even though you didn't do it. You know that if you tell the truth of your life it will make you appear guilty...This kid goes missing and Pete is forced to lie because if he tells the truth of where he was, there will be the appearance of guilt...Certainly Casey's involvement with Pete is casting a very dark shadow over what the hell is going on.
Ten Days in the Valley continues Sundays at 10/9c on ABC.