Genoa City's 20-somethings could use an assist from morally ambiguous attorney Annalise Keating of ABC's hit primetime soap How To Get Away With Murder. A mystery assailant bludgeoned Austin Travers (Matthew Atkinson), the ex-message board stalker-turned-husband of heiress Summer Newman (Hunter King), this past Valentine's Day on The Young and the Restless.
Austin died at a party hosted by Abby Newman (Melissa Ordway), Summer's vapid aunt, at the Abbott family cabin. Also in attendance (and drugged out of their gourds) were Summer's BFF Fen (Max Ehrich), her big brother Noah (Robert Adamson), Noah's cop galpal Courtney (Kelli Goss), Fen's Uncle Kevin (Greg Rikaart) and Mariah (Camryn Grimes), the not-so-evil twin of Noah and Summer's late sister Cassie.
Mariah and Kevin, the two among the group with the longest rap sheets, quickly hatched a plot to make Austin's death look like an accident. I recently caught up with Grimes to find out just what the heck her character was thinking.
Daytime Confidential: Mariah and her frenemies had quite the interesting Valentine's Day. They went from playing a parlor game to trying to cover up a murder! Why did Mariah and Kevin suggest making Austin's death look like an accident?
Camryn Grimes: I think when confronted with an unexplainable situation where emotions are running high, Kevin and Mariah will revert back to what they know. They both have a checkered past but good hearts. It only makes sense that they'd use that to help someone in a dire situation.
DC: Mariah only knows Kevin as her quirky pal with potential benefits. How is she dealing with finding out about his violent past, on the heels of a grisly new murder?
CG: Mariah is surprised but only because she's used to being the screw up. Once the initial shock passes, it ends up making Kevin even more relatable and endearing to her.
DC: I can buy most everyone in that room signing off on the cover-up, but why on Soap Earth is Courtney, a cop, going along with it?
CG: Courtney is feeling pressure from everyone else to go along with this plan and in a high stress scenario it's easy to make decisions that go against your better judgment.
DC: Mariah and Austin shared a kiss and some chemistry. How will she navigate the dysfunction of the Newman family without her fellow outsider?
CG: Mariah has had people in her life treat her poorly, or be absent altogether, but never has she had someone close to her die. For anyone, that's a difficult road to navigate but especially for somebody "feeling challenged" like Mariah. She'll always land on her feet, but losing Austin's friendship will be hard on her.
DC: Some fans were hoping for a full-on Mariah/Austin/Summer triangle. Are you sad to see Matthew Atkinson go?
CG: I was shocked but I have no doubt that we'll see him on screen again soon!
DC: The Platosphere arc, with Kevin secretly writing the fan fic Mariah loved so much, seemed like the set-up for a mistaken identities rom-com. Now we're deep into "Scream If You Know How To Get Away With The Murder We Committed Last Valentine's Day" territory. What did you think when you first learned of the story twist?
CG: I got excited almost immediately because that meant working with the Abbot Cabin crew [King, Rikaart, Ordway, Ehrich, Adamson, Goss, Lachlan Buchanan (Kyle), Atkinson] for a while and I absolutely love them. They're so easy to work with, always know their stuff and they are just a really fun group. I can't say enough nice things about those guys.
DC: There have been complaints the "young and restless" crowd on Y&R had little to do, except sit around a bar snarking at one another. Is it safe to say, post-Valentine's Day, this won't be an issue for awhile?
CG: Austin's death will have an impact for a while to come and things might unfold in an unexpected way. Will we be busy? Yes!
DC: Mariah has been both judgmental and at times supportive of Sharon's (Sharon Case) various personal melodramas. Will the fallout from Austin's death cause her to have more empathy for her trouble-prone mother?
CG: Hopefully this will give her more perspective! Mariah is smart and independent, but she has a lot of growing up to do. She needs to find her place in the world and reaching out to those around her—including her new family—will only help that process. I don't think Sharon and Mariah will ever stay mad at each other for too long.
DC: While the 20-somethings are dealing with a murder, The Underground collapsed! What is Mariah supposed to do for work?
CG: I guess we'll both find out sooner or later!
DC: Mariah has no use for Abby or Summer. Now the three very different women are bonded forever by a Valentine's Day murder. Will we ever see Mariah fully accepted by the next generation of Newman ladies?
CG: Mariah, Abby and Summer aren't exactly friends, so I think any sort of camaraderie you see between them at this point is just based on survival skills. If they get caught covering this up they'll all go down.