'The Secret Circle': Nick is dead, so now what? Plus scoop on Chris Zylka's new role

tsc-nick-jake.jpgWith last week's shocking episode, "The Secret Circle" showrunner Andrew Miller took a major risk in writing off Louis Hunter's character, Nick, a fan-favorite character from the book series that spawned the show.

We've already given you Hunter's side of the story, so today we spoke with Miller about his very difficult decision to oust a character with a built-in fan following. Don't worry, "Secret Circle" fans -- his death wasn't about sheer shock value. Your boy did not die in vain.

Miller admits that the fans' online reaction after Thursday's episode did surprise him, especially because fans hadn't been particularly vocal about Nick before his death. "I have been surprised. You know, what I see of the fan experience is really limited to what people tweet to me, so I feel like I've been kind of getting one angle on everything, and then this Nick death has brought out so much emotion and support and anger," he tells us. "It's a difficult experience to describe, because it's been both overwhelming and really flattering, because I didn't realize how much people cared about the show or the character."

He stresses that killing the character was part of the writers' early plans for the series. "What would've been a tragedy would be if people were like, 'Eh, yeah, he was my least favorite guy in the circle.' That would've been a senseless death. Instead, we took this guy who just had a really sexy chest in a window and was kind of a jerk, and we turned him into a wonderful character," he says. "Louis did an amazing job. I hate that people feel bad and let down by it, but it's inspiring to know that we're really touching people, and in that sense, I'm proud. I know that sounds strange."

Hey, if you kill off a character and don't get angry tweets... there's a bigger problem!

Nick's death marks a definite change in tone for the series. FIrst of all, the circle is significantly less powerful without him in it. "The five are weaker than they were with six, and that's going to cause immediate problems with them," Miller says. "They're going to need to find a way to get more power, whether that's a bound circle of five or finding someone else to replace him. And so, in strolls this super hot six-foot-four guy with an even better chest than his brother."

That's your cue, Chris Zylka.

The much buzzed-about new character in Chance Harbor is Zyka's Jake Armstrong, Nick's older brother who many are guessing will be the man to replace Nick in the now-broken circle.

"The window across from Cassie's house is going to be new and improved!" Miller jokes. He's speaking mostly about Jake's impressive physique (this is The CW, of course) -- because personality-wise, the circle clashes with Jake right off the bat.

"He's the last guy they want to be part of that, because everyone hates him," he says. "He grew up with them and left a few years ago, and just kind of left an emotional bomb before he tore out of town. They don't want him to be part of the circle in any way, so he may be the key to empowering them, or he may be the very thing that destroys them."

Jake and our fallen Nick do share some striking similarities, as would be expected, given the fact that they're brothers. However, if Nick was a "bad boy" in quotation marks, Jake is kind of just a bad boy.

"They grew up without parents, and they were kind of shuffled around. They ended up living with their aunt, who didn't really care about them very much, and I think what we'll discover is that Nick wore a leather jacket and had an attitude, but at the end of the day he was still part of the group. He may have been a little bit reluctant, but he was still connected to them. Jake isn't that guy. He's not connected to anybody, and we'll find out that since he was older when their parents died, it hit him harder, and it transformed him in a very, very dark way. That's what led to his problems."

Let's just say that Jake didn't ditch Chance Harbor to join the Peace Corps. "When we find out what Jake's been up to for the last two years, we'll realize that he's on a very dark path," Miller teases. "There's a threat there."

A threat -- and a certain allure. You can expect Jake to inspire very strong feelings (ahem... lust) in more than one Chance Harbor girl. And really... can you blame them?


Photo/Video credit: The CW
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