Whodunnit? ‘Ten Days in the Valley’ Star Erika Christensen Talks Potential Suspects

Erika Christensen
Bob D'Amico/ABC
"We have met the big villain" already, teases Erika Christensen, who plays Ali in ABC's twisty new mystery Ten Days in the Valley

ABC’s Ten Days in the Valley is one of those mysteries where everyone has a secret, everyone has a motive and anyone can be guilty.

Who kidnapped Lake (Abigail Pniowsky) the young daughter of TV cop show executive producer Jane Sadler (Kyra Sedgwick), while she was busy in the backyard studio rewriting a script, drinking wine and snorting coke? Among the suspects: Jane’s junkie ex-husband Pete (Kick Gurry), drug dealers, dirty cops that she had exposed in a documentary, even her co-workers.

Actress Erika Christensen—who plays Ali, Jane’s younger, caring (we think!) sister—gives us some hints about the remaining days in this twisted valley.

Will the mystery of who took Lake last the entire 10 episodes?
Erika Christensen:
No, it will not. The question of who took Lake resolves a lot faster than one might anticipate, and it sends us off on a whole new aspect of the mystery. Let’s take episodes three and four. In episode four, new evidence comes to light laying suspicion on Jane’s co-workers. And that leads to a very surprising turn of events.

Once we learn who took her, do we still have to find Lake?
Yeah. We’ll find out what happened, but then we’ll learn that this story goes way deeper, which we’ll need the rest of the season to unravel.

The net seems to be pretty deep already: Jane’s ex-husband, her co-workers, drug dealers, dirty cops. Does the well of suspects keep expanding?
Absolutely. There are already theories popping up on Twitter. Mostly people got it wrong, which we hope for. And the people who have gotten it right still have no idea why they’ve gotten it right.

Who’s most popular on social media as the culprit?
The most popular is Pete, Lake’s father. Second to that is Ali’s husband, Tom (Josh Randall). Maybe he’s just too innocent there in the shadows. That seems to draw suspicion onto him and to me, because we’re so  humble.

Did Ali do it?
[Laughs] She gets rocked by a secret which wasn’t one she was keeping. It becomes so fundamentally a part of her life, but it’s news to her as well. But  if one were cynical, one could find a motive for anyone on the show.

Jane’s working closely with the lead detective on her daughter’s case, John Bird (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje). He doesn’t take crap from her; will he wind up being good for her, make her face her life’s decisions?
In order to come to terms with the situation, she needs Bird to both help her play by the rules and be more responsible. But she’s balancing him out by making him not cling so tightly to the rules when she says, “I don’t care what anyone says or wants, I’ll do whatever’s necessary to find my child.”

Maybe the hunky cop should stay away. Jane seems to have hurt everybody in her life.
Absolutely. And saying you’re sorry doesn’t cut it. Her journey is recognizing her hand in this. At one end of the spectrum, you’ve got paranoia and innate mom guilt. At the other end of the spectrum, she lives the life that’s good for her, and she’s not thinking about anyone else. She swings back and forth from one end of the spectrum to the other. She needs to end up in the middle. She’s not being paranoid for no reason, but she also did have a hand in creating this horrible situation.

How does No. 2 suspect Tom [Josh Randall] feel about his wife expending so much energy on Jane?
He has less tolerance for it. He has a thorough understanding in who they’re dealing with in Jane, that he has to keep their focus on their own relationship, which will be threatened.

Did the cast know who was behind the kidnapping from the start?
The only person who knew who did it from the start was the person who did it. [Laughs] Kyra knew as a producer of the show, but as cast members, only the most guilty knew they were in the guilty club.Table reads were fantastic; there was a lot of gasping.

Have we seen the big villain in the first two episodes?
We have met the big villain. That’s all I’ll say.

Who does the guilt-meter point to in this Sunday’s episode?
There are major reasons to believe that it’s someone who is working with Jane at the TV studio.

Could the show return, maybe with Jane and Bird—if he survives—as a crime-solving team?
It could. Once you get the final puzzle piece, you start to see that this puzzle is part of a larger puzzle so at the end of this season, you realize , “Ah! This could go further.”

Check out our exclusive video preview of an unraveling Jane Sadler in this Sunday’s third episode of Ten Days in the Valley.

Ten Days in the Valley, Sundays, 10/9c, ABC