Secrets and Lies Season 2
Courtesy of ABC

When ABC’s murder-mystery anthology “Secrets and Lies” returns, the drama will feature an all-new storyline and new characters.

Other than Juliette Lewis’ Detective Cornell, the series is packing an all-new cast, which was re-affirmed Saturday at the Television Critics Association press tour, following the aftermath of Season 1, which left viewers wondering if Ryan Phillippe’s character could possibly return.

“Oh, he’s dead,” creator Barbie Kligman firmly said at the Pasadena, Calif. event, telling the room of journalists that the plan never called for bringing back major players from the original cast.

“It would take your eye off the prize,” Kligman explained, referring to the new murder case — in which a woman falls to her death from the top of building, and the case is credited as a homicide. “It was really by design from the get go. One of the things that makes this show is great is that every season is a new character and new story. When you’re taking a 10-episode model and new characters every time, you can pretty much do anything you want for them. Ryan [Phillippe] only signed on for one season and we always knew it would end up like that.”

Unlike other anthology series — such as Ryan Murphy’s “American Horror Story” on FX, which brings back the same actors to play new parts — exec producer Aaron Kaplan said, “It was never a conversation of bringing back the same cast to play different characters. That was never part of the discussion.”

However, with Det. Cornell (Lewis) being the sole returning character, minor roles associated to her will be back. Those characters include Cornell’s ex-husband and daughter, plus actor French Stewart in the crime lab.

For Lewis, the actress says being the only returning character remains interesting and challenging because of the case that changes season-to-season.

“Even though she’s a really subtle character, to have her get frustrated, or the different levels to display, are exciting for me as the writing unravels itself,” Lewis said, teasing that the new victim (Jordana Brewster) and suspect (Michael Ealy) hail from a wealthy background set in corporate America, which keeps Cornell on her toes. “How she has to handle them and go about her investigation is different because these people are not uneducated — they have resources and money, they can lawyer up. She really has to watch herself and be the best detective she can be. I think all the power dynamics are all really interesting and exciting.”

Lewis is also privy to the 10-episode model, which gives enough life to play out a singular crime, but then wraps up, ready for a new case each season.

“I just love interrogations. I love the art, for lack of a better phrase, of solving a single crime,” Lewis said. “Usually in those procedural shows, when it’s one crime in an hour, I think you lose all the great layers…and all the mystery of solving a crime.”

“Secrets and Lies” does not have a Season 2 premiere date yet.

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