On Sept. 21, 2011, Revenge debuted on ABC and thrilled soap fans. In a discussion with EP, creator, and writer Mike Kelley, TV Insider looked back on the primetime sudser and its tale of Emily Thorne's (Emily van Camp) vengeance against the family and inner circle of ruthless socialite Victoria Grayson (Madeline Stowe).
Fans tuned in for a new cliffhanger each week. Kelley recalled:
It was a high-wire act for sure. We did 22 episodes the first season and the network wanted more. I had always seen the show as a 60-episode series to keep the integrity of the story. We had six act breaks in each episode and we wanted to come up with a twist to keep people coming back with each one.
The sharp dialogue also stuck in fans' minds. Asked to cite a particularly memorable exchange, Kelley remembered:
At one point, Emily tells Nolan [Gabriel Mann] she’s decided to give up her revenge plan. She goes to tell Daniel [Josh Bowman], only he first says that his mother told him that David [James Tupper] raped Victoria [which he had not]. Emily sees red. Then, Daniel [rhetorically] asks Emily if she still wants to marry into his crazy family? She smiles and says, 'More than ever.'
I wanted to honor the nighttime soap opera that I remembered. A lot of that dialogue is homage to the outsized way of speaking. Emily and Victoria would have these battles of wit and verbiage. I got lucky with both actors. They were so committed to their characters. I want to take credit for the template, but we found it in tone with the actors, the writers, and in the edit bay. If you’re lucky, you find it, and you follow it.