What are the chances you'll be driving home one night and accidentally run over the very man who recently helped wreck your marriage? No, I'm not teasing an upcoming episode of Dateline NBC. I'm referring to The Bold and The Beautiful's latest deadly plot twist that finds Liam Spencer (Scott Clifton) the unwilling participant in a cover-up orchestrated by his dad, Dollar Bill Spencer (Don Diamont), following the hit-and-run that killed skeevy lab tech Vinny (Joe LoCicero). Whew! That was a mouthful.
I recently caught up with Clifton to get the tea on Liam's latest predicament. Will his alter ego's guilt over accidentally killing the man who switched paternity results for Steffy's (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood) unborn baby - thus widening the gulf between Liam and Hope (Annika Noelle) - cause him to come clean? Not if the Daytime Emmy winner's TV daddy has anything to say about it!
Daytime Confidential: Up until now, Liam's only real "crime" has been being fickle in matters of the heart. How will he reconcile having accidentally killed a man?
Scott Clifton: Well, we at least have an idea of how Liam might react to something like this, because although it’s the first time he's killed someone, it’s not the first time he thought he had. When Liam believed he shot his father Bill (and Bill’s life lay in the balance), Liam went to a really, really dark place—effectively locking himself in a hotel room alone for months. So we can reasonably expect Liam to be a guilt-blinded cesspool of a person; the question is what other variables will be at play? He may not get to simply isolate himself from the world this time.
DC: Accident or not, Liam is responsible for the death of the man who switched the paternity results for Steffy's baby. The Spencer men have to see how guilty this makes Liam look.
SC: Bill is a realist and a pragmatist. Even if Liam doesn’t see it, Bill knows that the optics of this are beyond damning, and if you know Bill, his loyalty to his family trumps everything else in his life. But I can’t say anymore!
DC: Liam and Hope just shared a promising kiss. She's found her way to forgive Liam's indiscretions with Steffy before, but the Hope For The Future ambassador generally wants assurances of honesty and fidelity from her man. Will Liam be able to look Hope in the eyes and lie about what happened to Vinny?
SC: Incredible timing, isn’t it? The moment Hope finds herself on a path to forgiveness, Liam has a new secret he has to keep from her. What could go wrong?
DC: Vinny's best friend Thomas (Matthew Atkinson) is no fan of Liam. It's also clear Thomas still wants Hope for himself. Will Vinny's death and the aftermath exacerbate the rivalry between the Spencer and Forrester scions?
SC: I can’t spoil anything, but I actually think you’re going to see some surprising, maybe even ironic, new dynamics between Thomas and Liam in the midst of all this.
DC: The shocking deaths of characters like Aly (Ashlyn Pearce) and Darla (Schae Harrison) sent ripple effects through the B&B canvas for quite some time. Will Vinny's demise do the same, or will the story wrap up neatly in a few weeks?
SC: If I only knew! Personally, I’d like to see the ripple effects. But with Bill all over this like ugly on a gorilla, it may “go away” with nothing to show but a giant scar on Liam’s psyche.
DC: After playing the central piece in a seemingly never-ending love triangle for a decade or so, it has to be refreshing to sink your teeth into a juicy true crime arc.
SC: Oh yes. It’s always a treat to break away from the romantic triangle formula, especially when we’ve had a good long run at it. But c’mon, this is Brad Bell we’re talking about. He always finds a way to make even stories like this—stories about death, crime and secrets—ultimately about love. Love is the foundation of everything we do here.
DC: Does this kind of story require use of different acting muscles than the romantic stuff?
SC: I actually don’t think so, because both are borne of a kind of existential desperation. Even when it’s not life or death, it’s life or death, if you catch my drift.
DC: Despite Liam constantly breaking both Hope and Steffy's hearts, he manages to remain a character fans genuinely want to root for. What's your secret?
SC: Is that true? I’m not so sure, but maybe there’s a selection bias at play here, since I’m naturally going to hear from the most vociferous of our fans. I’m half-joking, of course. Our viewers are always very clear about distinguishing between actor and character, and they’ve been extremely kind and warm to me. But I don’t think my job is to get you to “root for” Liam; it’s to get you invested in his fate, one way or another. But my secret? Heck, I don’t know. I just try to find the right balance of interesting and authentic.
DC: What do you as an actor hope to see from Liam in terms of growth following what happens to Vinny?
SC: I have this fantasy that Joe will come back and Vinny will become part of Liam’s conscience for who knows how long. Nobody else can see him in the room, but Liam can. I think we could have a lot of fun with that. As far as growth, I think Liam needs to decide just how valuable self-flagellation is. Sometimes hating yourself isn’t enough; you need to create restitution.
The Bold and The Beautiful airs Mon-Fri. on CBS. Check your local listings.