Today we mourn the loss of Harper’s Island, a murder mystery that captured our minds and our hearts. Though we only had thirteen weeks with it, I feel as though we really had a special thing going. While Harper’s Island’s spirit will linger on with the DVD, we just got some closure by speaking with Elaine Cassidy, “The Good Girl,” and one of the few survivors...
The show was very focused around Abby. Did you know from the beginning that you would be around for the full run?
I had a strong feeling because of the setup of the show. I was guaranteed a certain amount of episodes, but after that it was week-to-week.
Did you ever suspect that you might be the killer?
For the first couple of days, I thought there was a good chance Abby could be the killer. I could not have gone through the whole show not knowing if I was the killer – if I were the killer, it would change the way I played the character. Finally, on day two or three, I begged [executive producer] Jon Turtletaub to tell me. He took me aside, and started building it up really big. I got anxious, thinking, “Oh my goodness, Abby really is the killer!” He finally told me no, Abby was not the killer. If Abby had been the killer, I would have had to play her differently. She would have been a different character.
Did he tell you who the killer was?
No. I didn’t find out until I got the script for episode twelve. We started shooting right after Christmas break, so I didn’t know Henry was the killer until the first week of January.
Along the way, did you have any theories as to who the killer was?
Around day three or four of shooting, I woke up in the middle of the night, thinking that John Wakefield had to be the killer – that the sheriff hadn’t killed him years ago. But then when Wakefield was revealed as the killer, I knew there had to be another killer. You knew there had to be more twists.
Did the mood on set change as the show grew more intense and more cast members left?
I don’t think so. When people leave a group the dynamics naturally change. But there were so many characters to begin with that there were not many scenes with the entire cast, so it wasn’t very noticeable. It was most noticeable when shooting episode 13 – the last episode – because then it was just Abby and Henry. But there was lots of fun to be had every day. We had a great cast and crew, which made for a harmonious atmosphere, despite the difficult conditions. The subject matter was tough, and it was freezing cold. They had to melt the ice regularly so we could shoot.
Do you have a favorite death?
I really liked Danny’s death. It got under my skin. I also liked Cal and Chloe’s death, and the sheriff’s
Did you feel cheated for not having a big, dramatic death scene?
No. Fake blood is sticky and uncomfortable – it’s made from sugar. Once I had to be covered in it in another project. It got all over, in my ear, made it hard to move… I considered it a bonus to stay as clean as I did.
What's coming up for you?
I did a quirky little web series called Dr. Hoo for Virgin One in the UK. I think it will get distribution in the States. But other than that, I am working on motherhood – but I’m eager to get back to work. I look like a beached whale, and no one wants to hire a beached whale.
Were you pregnant during the filming of Harper’s Island?
I was, towards the end. I couldn’t tell anyone because then they would know how long I was on the show! Luckily, I didn’t have any morning sickness, but I was really tired in that first trimester. I was fortunate that the schedule worked out so I was able to get enough sleep.