[10/11/11 - 10:04 PM]
Interview: "Ringer" Co-Creator Eric Charmelo & Executive Producer Pam Veasey
By Jim Halterman (TFC)

[Spoiler Alert: Only read forward if you have watched tonight's episode of "Ringer."]

The biggest question going into tonight's episode of the new CW drama "Ringer" was what exactly would the fallout be since, at the end of last week's episode, Bridget (Sarah Michelle Gellar) told BFF Gemma (Tara Summers) that she's been masquerading as her presumed dead twin sister, Siobhan. But after tonight's episode, "A Whole New Kind of Bitch," viewers get some answers but, like any good drama, many more questions pop up. Will Gemma wind up being friend or foe to Bridget? Can Bridget reign in her own addict tendencies when dealing with the drug use inside her own home? Will Bridget's sponsor Malcolm (Mike Colter) get away from the thugs holding him captive? Will the very-much-alive Siobhan ever return from Paris? And whose blood was splattered on the wall of Henry (Kristoffer Polaha) and Gemma's home in the closing moments of the episode?

To find out as much as possible about not only the happenings in tonight's episode but also where things are heading on the freshman series, the CW hosted a pre-screening of tonight's episode yesterday at their Burbank offices following by a Q&A with Executive Producer Pam Veasey and Co-Creator/Co-Executive Producer Eric Charmelo and our Jim Halterman was there to field some questions.

In terms of that nasty blood on the wall at the end of tonight's episode, is it safe to assume that something tragic has happened to Gemma at the hands of her outraged hubby, Henry, who found out his wife intended him to lose everything, including his children? Charmelo would only say, "There's blood on the wall so you fill in the blanks however you want to." But one thing the producers would tell is to not assume that just because Bridget has told Gemma about her secret, that everyone else will be in-the-know soon. "Just because the secret is out to one person," Charmelo explained, "does not mean it's out to the collective so the drive in the episode is to try to contain the oil spill, if you will."

Even though they could have stretched out revealing Bridget's masquerade longer, the producers did feel the time was right for the secret to come out to at least one person. "We needed to have some drama that she could share with someone and up the stakes for Bridget," Veasey said. "[Bridget] can't live this life, make this choice and everything just goes smooth. People would go, 'Yeah, right!' You have to have some jeopardy for her. What was fun for us to discover is that she herself would bring it out in the open." Charmelo agreed and added, "It was a bold move on Bridget's part. It was partial desperation, partial plea to find an ally in this crazy world."

With everything that's happened to her since the pilot episode, we also saw it take its toll on Bridget tonight when the recovering drug addict was tempted to start using drugs again. The drug addiction, Charmelo said, "is a motif in the show and I think that's the big reason for the connection between Bridget and Juliet (Zoey Deutch) because she sees a lot of herself in this child and she doesn't want to see this girl go down the same road that she went down so it certainly made an interesting dynamic in their relationship and just in regards to the danger, sleeping with the enemy where she's an ex-drug addict who's in a home where a child is currently using. As if her situation wasn't dire enough it really upset the challenge for her."

One thing missing from tonight's episode was Siobhan herself. In previous episodes, viewers have seen snippets of her life in Paris as she's taken a young lover (Justin Bruening) and had to figure out how to survive when her money supply was cut off. Despite being too present tonight, will we see some Siobhan-centric episodes coming up? Not exactly. "Bridget is driving this season [but] you will see more of Siobhan," Veasey promised. "[Siobhan] has always been the one driven by revenge so keep that in mind and Bridget by redemption. Revenge has to rear its beautiful head at some point in grander ways than in others." Look for Siobhan to not stay in Paris too long either. Charmelo teased that Siobhan will "realize that she'll need to move around in order for things to work out the way that she wants them to. Being sedentary is not in the cards for her."

While it may be awhile before Siobhan and Bridget are in the same room, one thing viewers will find out sooner rather than later is the identity of the thus-far unseen person who Siobhan has been talking to on her cell phone. Veasey, who comes to "Ringer" from many years working as an Executive Producer on "CSI: NY," seemed surprised herself that this reveal would come so soon but explained that this is a difference in how stories are told in different genres. "It's much different than a procedural where you start with a crime and you can stop something and plan it. Here, [the story] really does take a sort of fun life [and] as a writer/producer you get to say 'Let's just jump there now!' So when I say sooner than we expected it was just the right time but you thought maybe a little further down the road... these things in the storytelling sort of live and breathe and dictate themselves because you feel like the audience wants to know."

Besides the Bridget/Siobhan thrust of the series, watch for the supporting cast to go through their own dramas. "There's more to the Malcolm story, for sure," said Charmelo about Mike Colter's character, who is being held captive and forced drugs in order to give information about where Bridget is hiding. At this point, Malcolm's captivity seems to be more "due to dramatic license where you want Bridget to be floundering in this world and if you give her a safety net it's not as much fun."

Getting back to that splattered blood that may or not be Gemma's, viewers are definitely going to see a darker side of Henry, who thus far has been merely a love struck man unable to connect with his lover (Siobhan). Asked if this is an overall new direction for Henry's character Charmelo explained, "Henry is a man on the verge. From the beginning, when he's deprived of the one thing that he wants more than anything it will drive him to desperate measures." While we won't know what those desperate measures entail until next week's episode, count on Polaha sticking around for the long haul of the series. "Kris Polaha is not going anywhere... " said Veasey. "But there are layers. Eric and Nicole [Snyder, Co-Creator/Co-Executive Producer], when they pitched the show, always talked about the duplicity of characters... we see what we're leading you to works and then there's another side. That's how the stories evolve. You try to tell the audience to feel one way and then surprise them with another turn."

While there's plenty of drama to come with our regular cast, watch for some guest stars to show up and further populate the world of "Ringer." Amber Benson, who worked alongside Gellar on "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" as lesbian Wicca Tara, will show up in a future episode to shed some light on Bridget's past. "[Benson] is a stripper that was a co-worker of Bridget's when she was stripping at Club Caged in Rocks Springs, Wyoming and she's seen better days. I guess that's all I can say about her character." We'll also see "Veronica Mars" alum Jason Dohring begin appearing in next week's episode as the public school teacher to bratty teen Juliet.

Even though it's early in the new fall season, series like "The Playboy Club" and "Free Agents" have already been cancelled. Have the producers heard anything yet about being picked up beyond the initial 13-episodes? "No," said Veasey. "We're just optimistic and plan ahead and, you know, look to where the story will go but, no, there is no word."

With Gellar's return to series television being a big reason for "Ringer" getting so much attention, are the producers feeling the pressure to deliver? "We were feeding off that energy," Charmelo said, "and I think we wanted to set the bar as high as possible because we didn't want to disappoint people. We knew there was a lot of media focus and scrutiny on the show and we love Sarah and we wanted to do right by her and do right by her fans. We just wanted to deliver and make some really fun, provocative TV for people to escape for an hour."

"Ringer" airs Tuesdays at 9:00/8:00c with encores on Wednesdays at 8:00/7:00c on The CW.

  [october 2011]  


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