Get ready to say goodbye to one of “Nashville’s” own when the ABC southern soap returns on Wednesday (Jan. 15). In the fall finale, both Peggy (Kimberly Williams Paisely) and Will’s (Chris Carmack) lives were left up in the air, and only one will make it to the end of the midseason premiere alive.
Zap2it tried to squeeze all the scoop we could out of “Nashville” showrunner Callie Khouri, but she wouldn’t reveal who the unlucky soul was (though we certainly have our opinions on who it should be). She did, however, spill that whoever does die, the consequences will be felt by all of the characters.
“I can’t tell you who it is. We have been lectured sternly and sworn to secrecy so I cannot tell you,” Khouri tells Zap2it. “I feel really terrible because there have been so many people asking me, like my close friends, they’re like, ‘Which one’s dead?’ and I’m like, ‘Guys, seriously, I really wish I could say.’ But I signed things!”
After a little more prying, Khouri opened up about how if Will is the one to go, that would certainly be a heartbreaking way to die — committing suicide by train because he’s so deeply closeted.
“The thing that has been the most interesting to us about a character like this is Chris has just totally blown me away at the sensitivity that he has shown playing this character. It has been really incredible watching him,” Khouri says. “The writers all felt like we’ve seen the character who is gay and out enough but knows in real life, people aren’t going to be accepting of it.”
She continues, “But to see a guy who is in a world that isn’t accepting of it, and himself is not accepting of it, his own self cannot come to terms with it, and the self-destruction that it causes in him, we felt like that was something that we hadn’t really seen. We really, really wanted to explore that. Chris has been brilliant at it. He’s just been so heartbreaking.”
While Will was contemplating suicide, Peggy’s death would be the result of a hit gone awry — the bullet that hit her was actually meant for her husband Teddy. Should we assume that this was the work of Lamar, getting revenge on who he thought put him in jail (even though it was his daughter Tandy)?
“I wouldn’t wave you off of that theory totally,” Khouri says with a laugh. “It certainly does beg the question of why when Lamar’s in the midst of all these problems which he of course brought on himself, who does he think got him into all these problems? It certainly wouldn’t be totally far-fetched to suspect that he might have had something to do with it. But that doesn’t mean that he did.”
If Peggy does die, that also begs the question: will Teddy ever find out that she wasn’t actually pregnant? Or will she get away with her pork blood fake miscarriage?
“Those kinds of secrets are really hard to keep, no matter how hard you’re trying. One day, it’s likely to come out,” Khouri says with a laugh. “We’re trying to walk a fine line here. Obviously there’s an amount of soap involved that we have to give in to. But this is also a show that is really in most ways more committed to the reality of the music business and the reality of the characters. So when we find ourselves in that territory, we’re still trying to understand why somebody would be doing what they’re doing.”
Khouri thinks that Peggy wasn’t totally crazy; she was just caught in a lie and got desperate.
“It’s not like we were like, ‘Oh let’s have someone who’s crazy and psychotic.’ Let’s see why she felt the need and see how desperate somebody gets. That’s more what we were trying to do than just have her be psychotic,” Khouri says about the pork blood mishap. “Peggy was really in love with Teddy and frightened that at any point, he could decide as he had done earlier in their relationship to not go forward with her. She was just looking for a way that she could fulfill her dream that she had had with him for years.”
She continues, “They dated before he and Rayna ever started going out so she thinks that by all rights, Teddy was really hers first. She got a little screwed up trying to make sure she had a real claim on him and his heart. She’s not a bad person, let me put it that way. She’s misguided. I don’t think she was proud of what she was doing. I don’t think she was sitting around feeling self-satisfied.”
Aside from the melodrama surrounding the mysterious death, Khouri is really excited for what’s coming up in the second half of the season.
“We’ve got some great music coming up and our characters’ relationships with each other are getting deeper and more complicated,” Khouri teases. “Story-wise, I don’t think people will be disappointed at all. But I’m just most excited for what we have coming up musically. The second half of the season is going to be really fun.”
“Nashville” returns Wednesday, Jan. 15 at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.