The secret is out, and the circle is broken. On tonight’s shocking episode of “The Secret Circle,” we said goodbye to Nick Armstrong, the oft-shirtless ne’er-do-well boy next door. The twist was particularly startling given the fact that Nick is a fan favorite character from the L.J. Smith novels from which the series is adapted… not to mention the fact that actor Louis Hunter has appeared in all of the show’s promotional materials up to this point.
Unfortunately for Nick fans, this isn’t one of those deaths that’s easily remedied by a potion or a clap-if-you-believe-in-witches spell. Zap2it spoke exclusively with Hunter last week and he confirmed that after shooting the episode, “Slither,” he packed his bags.
Zap2it: How permanent is Nick’s death? Were you on set again after filming this episode?
Hunter: No, I pretty much left Vancouver straight away after filming this episode. I had some work stuff to do in L.A., and I took a little time to see some friends.
Zap2it: Was it tough to keep Nick’s death a secret from the fans?
Hunter: Not really! We haven’t hinted at a death at all, so nobody’s really asked me about it. We really wanted to keep it a surprise. I haven’t talked much about the show with my friends. No one really knows.
Zap2it: What about when you found out? Did Andrew Miller or Kevin Williamson just call you and say, ‘Listen…’
Hunter: Actually, no. I knew from the start, from the get-go, that Nick would be written off. I didn’t know exactly which episode, but I did know that it was part of the master plan that at some point in the first season, someone was going to go, and that someone would be me. So that wasn’t a shock, getting that script.
Zap2it: They went to a lot of effort to make it seem like you’d be sticking around. You appeared on all the billboards and bus advertisements with the rest of the cast.
Hunter: If anything, that was the weird part of it. Being part of the core cast, of the six main characters, and having the knowledge that I’m going to be killed off within the first season — that was interesting. It was a strange feeling. As I was getting to know everyone and get comfortable in the role, having it in my mind that I wouldn’t be carrying on with the show or into the next season was kind of a weird concept to deal with.
Zap2it: As far as final episodes go, this was a pretty spectacular one. You got to play the demon and you had an intense drowning scene.
Hunter: It was a very challenging episode. Within the five episodes I did, we got to do a lot with the character. He started off a little bit arrogant and distant, and he didn’t want to let anyone into his rule. We got to showcase a strong arc in that by the end of it, he was willing to give himself over to the Grim Reaper to save his love interest. All he was thinking about was saving the girl who he’d fallen in love with. I think it’s a nice way of saying goodbye to Nick. It was a very courageous act to go out on.
Zap2it: How was it to film the actual drowning? It was a great showcase for you and for Gale Harold.
Hunter: It was really fun to film, actually! It was a rush. I mean, half an hour later when I was dry again, I thought, ‘Man, that was fun,’ but during the scene, I guess you could say it was a little bit nerve-wracking. It was a mix between acting and real fear. I talked to Gale beforehand and I said, ‘Listen, don’t hold back. Really go for it.’ You don’t have to act that much when you’re being shoved underwater. I actually felt like I was running out of air, so that was all real. I hope it looks real.
Zap2it: After such an exhilarating experience, from the acting to the press attention and the fans, was it tough to say goodbye?
Hunter: Of course it was. Mostly because I became really close to both the cast and the crew. We became like a family, and I also just began to get used to the lifestyle of filming a TV show. Waking up at a certain time, doing certain things during the day, seeing certain people every morning. It was a little strange to break out of. I don’t want to complain about leaving, though, because I had such a fun time on set and I’m really grateful for getting to do those five episodes.
Zap2it: I know that there aren’t any plans to bring Nick back in the near future, but with shows that deal with the supernatural, there’s always potential that a character could come back as a ghost, or in a flashback. Would you be interested in returning as a guest star? Is that something that’s been discussed?
Hunter: Absolutely, I’d be interested. I think that the show being what it is, it could be really organic, and I really loved working with every single person that I worked with up in Vancouver, so if I got the chance to be on the show again, I wouldn’t hesitate at all. Whether or not I think he is going to come back, I guess I think there’s a chance, especially if the show ends up going for two, three, four seasons, then yeah, maybe within the next couple of years they’d have the opportunity. I’ll definitely keep watching the show, regardless. Everyone does such a great job, I’m looking forward to seeing how everything continues to develop just as much as anyone is. My friends and I already do Thursday night “Secret Circle” nights.
Zap2it: Nick was definitely a fan favorite in the book series, so I’m sure that the fan reaction to tonight’s episode is going to be very strong.
Hunter: They’re really turning the book on its head. In a way, I think it’s going to keep people even more interested to see what else is going to be different, because there’s such an avalanche of change coming to the story after this episode. Hopefully people will tune in to find out what’s next. I don’t know, maybe if the fans really hate the fact that Nick is gone and they complain really loudly, I’ll be back sooner than later! You never know with this show.
Next week, we’ll meet Nick’s brother, Jake (Chris Zylka). Jake returns to Chance Harbor after an extended absence to attend his brother’s wake. We can expect to see the hot older guy stick around for quite a while — and, of course, we can look forward to seeing him in more than one romantic entanglement right off the bat.
The question, then, is how Cassie, Adam, Melissa, Faye, and Diana will fare now that the circle is incomplete again. At this point, Zylka has been brought in as a recurring guest star, not a series regular, and we haven’t heard any news as to whether he’s got his little bro’s magic touch, but we can’t help but think that a family member would make an ideal replacement within the coven.