You’ve seen the billboards of the woman wearing the long black dress that’s covered with thorns. You’ve seen the promos. You know “Revenge” (premiering Wednesday, Sept. 21 at 10/9c on ABC) is a show about a woman’s quest for, well, revenge. The smart, sexy soap is inspired by the classic novel The Count of Monte Cristo. As in the book, the protagonist comes to a new town, armed with a fiendishly clever plan to settle some old scores. This time, the town is the Hamptons, and the targets are the rich and powerful. However, it’s about a lot more than a quest for vengeance. Each character has secrets and an agenda. This primer will help you get to know all of the players.
Watch An Extended First-Look At “Revenge”:
The Avenger: Emily Thorne (Emily VanCamp) seems like the Hamptons new It Girl. She’s won the heart of the town’s most eligible bachelor, Daniel Grayson. All the right people have befriended her. However, her entire identity is a carefully constructed facade. “It’s very calculated. She’s so smart and she’s had so many years to plan this that there are various ways of infiltrating their lives and taking them down,” says VanCamp. Emily’s thirst for revenge comes from her rough childhood. According to VanCamp, “She ran away from foster care and was basically a street kid and I think she really got into a lot of trouble. She was a troubled teenager.” Even her romance is an act. “Her motivation is to get close to [Grayson matriarch] Victoria.” Though, VanCamp hints, “That could change.”
The Socialites: The Grayson family seems to have it all: money, status, looks. Yet, the image they project is every bit as false as Emily’s. Matriarch Victoria (Madeline Stowe) and patriarch Conrad (Henry Czerny) have numerous skeletons in their closet. Their children are chafing at the burden of living up to the Grayson name. “Charlotte loves being a part of that life. How could you not? But it has its downfalls as well,” says Christa B. Allen, who plays their 17-year-old daughter Charlotte. “Everyone has their own way of coping. For Charlotte it might be hanging out with the boys at the docks… She’s schlepped around to all of these glamorous parties and soirees. This is her chance to just be a child and to just grow up on her own.” Allen hints that Charlotte will play an important role in Emily’s scheme. “She’s a part of the Grayson family, which is the pinnacle of revenge for Emily. You’ll come to find out that there’s quite an interesting relationship between Emily and Charlotte.”
The Townies: The Porters represent are part of the Hamptons working class. In the winter, when the socialites return to Manhattan, they are still eking out a living working on boats and running a bar. Older brother Jack (Nick Weschler) has a surprising connection to Emily. Younger brother Declan (Connor Porter) has fallen hard for Charlotte Grayson. “He’s spending the summers working in his Dad’s bar. He loves his family, but it’s not the life for him. He doesn’t want to be his brother. He doesn’t want to be his father… The first time he and Charlotte meet, she walks into the bar, he sees her and sees something he likes.”
The Tech Billionaire: Nolan Ross (Gabriel Mann) is the show’s wild card, a new money tech billionaire who is a thorn in everyone’s side. He is also the only person who knows the truth about Emily. Says Mann, “I’m a tech wunderkind of the Bill Gates/Steve Jobs [variety] gone twisted, sad and bad. He’s just what happens if nobody likes you and you can’t connect, everything you say just misses the mark and you’re socially inept and yet this dynamic of having all this power. That does something weird to a person, I think.” As for his relationship with Emily, “So far, we’re the only two blondes. Our characters think very much alike and I almost want to say it feels a little like a sibling situation. She definitely brings the cool that I’m not able to, but our intentions are similar. We both have a relationship with her father. We get angry. We fight. She chokes me. We yell threats at each other, and yet at the same time we tolerate each other and I love what she’s doing.”
“Revenge” premieres Wednesday, Sept. 21 at 10/9c on ABC.