GHOSTS Post-Mortem: Rebecca Wisocky Breaks Down Hetty's Heartbreaking Backstory Revelation - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

GHOSTS Post-Mortem: Rebecca Wisocky Breaks Down Hetty’s Heartbreaking Backstory Revelation

April 18, 2024 by  

Ghosts How did Hetty die

“Holes Are Bad” – When Sam and Jay leave the ghosts home alone for the weekend in an attempt to have a romantic getaway, shocking revelations are made about two of Woodstone’s beloved spirits, on the CBS Original series GHOSTS, Thursday, April 18 (8:31-9:01 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network, and streaming on Paramount+ (live and on demand for Paramount+ with SHOWTIME subscribers, or on demand for Paramount+ Essential subscribers the day after the episode airs)*. Pictured (L-R): Rebecca Wisocky as Hetty, Rose McIver as Samantha, and Brandon Scott Jones as Isaac. Photo: Bertrand Calmeau/CBS ©2024 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

[Warning: This post contains spoilers for the Thursday, April 18 episode of GHOSTS.]

[This post contains talk of (fictional) self-harm.]

The spirits on GHOSTS got a much-welcomed surprise on the Thursday, April 18 episode, when they realized Flower (Sheila Carrasco) was still around…but she had been trapped in a well this entire time.

Unfortunately for the ghosts, they had two big problems: Sam (Rose McIver) and Jay (Utkarsh Ambudkar) had left town on a ghost-free vacation (including putting away the iPad and unplugging the Alexa, making it so the ghosts couldn’t contact them), plus there were plans for the well to be filled with cement while they were gone. 

For Flower, she couldn’t climb up…her hands kept going through the wall, giving her no traction. After trying a number of options—including FaceTiming Sam, who couldn’t see them, and Flower trying to run through the dirt—Thor (Devan Chandler Long) volunteered to jump in, to try and guide Flower through the dirt back to the house. But Hetty (Rebecca Wisocky) had one last possibility to help their friend: She revealed she had been hiding a telephone cord under her out…a remnant from taking her own life.

Though Hetty had told everyone for years that she had died due to an accidental overdose, the truth was when her husband’s crimes came to light, she was cornered by the police and made the only decision she felt she had. 

“I was trying to protect my son,” she explained later to Sam and Isaac (Brandon Scott Jones). “Elias had disappeared and I was being held responsible for his crimes. I mean, I did do some of the crimes, but it was mostly him.”

She acknowledged she didn’t feel like she had anywhere to turn, she had no friends, and if she had been convicted, the family would have lost everything.

“But with me gone, my son’s future would be secure,” she said. “Or so I thought. I thought I was giving him the one thing he needed for a successful life. Wealth. But then he grew up to be a murderer. And I now know I didn’t give him the one thing he truly needed, the one thing that none of that money could ever buy: A mother’s love.”

Sam and Isaac tried to comfort her, but Hetty admitted, ”It was a mistake that I deeply regret. I still had so much life yet to live.”

Here, Wisocky talks with Give Me My Remote about learning more about Hetty’s backstory. 

Ghosts Flower well

“Holes Are Bad” – When Sam and Jay leave the ghosts home alone for the weekend in an attempt to have a romantic getaway, shocking revelations are made about two of Woodstone’s beloved spirits, on the CBS Original series GHOSTS, Thursday, April 18 (8:31-9:01 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network, and streaming on Paramount+ (live and on demand for Paramount+ with SHOWTIME subscribers, or on demand for Paramount+ Essential subscribers the day after the episode airs)*. Pictured (L-R): Rebecca Wisocky as Hetty. Photo: CBS ©2024 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Highest quality screengrab available.

When did you find out about this element of Hetty’s backstory and how did it impact your overall performance?
Well, our writers are so skilled and so sensitive and so generous. They have involved us in conversations about a lot of things. And this one they brought to me early and allowed me to participate in discussions about the best way to present this certainly within the world of comedy. But [GHOSTS is] a comedy that has, I think…I’m very proud of the way this is a silly comedy that takes chances and gets into some pretty provocative territory in terms of American history, human emotion, the human condition, relationships, regret, mortality. We’ve tackled some pretty big things. And so this may be amongst the biggest of them, but I feel very proud of the way that they handled it.

My hope is, at the very least, if it reaches some of our fans out there, who are in a dark place or in a despairing place and [it makes them] feel that they’re less alone and that their existence matters, it will be very important. Our show does that really well. We hear all the time that people have been able to open up about topics to their loved ones and their families that they didn’t necessarily know how to breach in the past. So I hope that this episode does that for certain people that may need to have conversations like that.

Was this something they brought you into in season 1? Or was it more recently?
No, no, no, only about a month before we actually filmed it. I had no idea. I was completely blown away. Of course, when you look back, again, the writers are really skilled and they’re playing a long game with the seeds that they planted. Every time they have Hetty do something that seems bonkers to me, I realized, no, I can justify that. This makes complete sense with a woman that I’ve crafted from season 1 [in] the pilot. Like, this woman could have done all those things: could have had a son, could have concealed that her son was not only gay, but was Alberta’s murderer, or could have been hiding the secret underneath that beautiful costume for all these years. Just thinking about the way in which she’s not only corseted, completely, in her body, she also, for 150 years, has had this telephone cord wrapped around her neck—it’s just heartbreaking to me. And if you think she’s ornery sometimes, I wonder why?

How did this recontextualize any of her past history for you?
There’s this throughline—so much of it is rooted in Hetty’s relationships with Rose McIver’s character, with Samantha, we discover in “The Family Business” episode in the second season that Hetty has an almost irrational desire and need for Samantha to be well and to be happy. And she, of course, is very bossy and goes about articulating that in all the wrong ways. But it’s revealed that it’s because she says that she felt that she was not a good mother and that she has had to watch generations of her family, of the Woodstone family, be miserable and make mistakes in this house. Until lo and behold, Samantha falls down a flight of stairs and can see her and interact with her and this is her ancestor. This is part of her lineage. And I think that she feels a great pressure to right the wrongs of the past through Samantha.

What did it mean for you that Hetty revealed this to save Flower?
It’s that sense of aloneness. Loneliness. Hetty was so deeply desperately alone in her life, and I think she has great empathy for imagining that Flower has been trapped for however long in this pit and could be forced to be trapped under cement for all eternity. She would do anything at this moment, after 150 years, [and] this is the one thing. And she loves Flower. And so she knows what she has to do and she’s willing to reveal the secret. 

She’s not interested in talking about it right away. But it was—I liked that they allowed me to make the choice that…it’s moving when Hetty speaks about her emotional state of mind that led to this decision 150 years ago as to how she died, but the thing that moves her the most in the moment is getting Flower back and having Flower stumble into the room and basically say, “Hey, guess what, I’ve got a secret. I robbed a bank once.” And it’s just so sweet. And so Flower. And so perfect that…it felt like the most moving moment to me, at least, of the episode. And I liked that a lot. 

It’s less maudlin than [the fact] you’re listening to someone’s perspective, who is on the other side of having committed suicide 150 years later. I mean, I don’t know when we’ve ever seen that on television. before. That was a whole lot to think about.

What conversations did you have with the writers and your fellow actors about getting the tone right for that scene?
Everyone involved took it very, very seriously. I know the writer spoke with a mental health professional, I’ve spoken with people. It was most important to me that Hetty not exhibit or use the word shame at all. Because I think that’s one of the most dangerous words when it comes to this topic. I think that people are pushed to places, to dark, desperate places, in their lives…I won’t speak for everyone but mostly because they feel alone and that they have shame and can’t communicate how they’re feeling to anyone else. And if they would only find a way to do that, if we can find a way within this episode or in our own relationships, in our own lives, to normalize the full spectrum of human emotions. Not everyone is happy all the time. People, human beings, have dark thoughts. The world is not a light place all every moment of the day. And that’s okay. And just normalizing speaking about emotions. I think if we could do a little bit to help advance that idea that would make all of us involved, very happy. But we took every single word of that scene, in particular, very seriously.

On a lighter note, the series was recently honored at the Library of Congress. What did it mean for you to have that kind of experience?
I know! We were all so shocked and delighted, but also thought, “Do they really do they really want us in the Library of Congress?” [Laughs.] I had never been there. I grew up going to DC on school trips because I grew up in Pennsylvania. I had never been to the Library of Congress and I would urge every school district in the tri-state area and beyond to put the Library of Congress at the top of their list because it’s magnificent. I had no idea. The building itself architecturally is gorgeous, the artworks that it houses are amazing, and the people there and their dedication to outreach and it being this resource and really truly the National Library, essentially, is just so fantastic. It’s amazing. 

And so what they did is historians there curated various different little exhibits of artifacts from our ghosts’ time periods and they walked us through them… it was really, really impressive and really moving actually honestly too. So yeah, I recommend that visit! We had a fabulous time. And now GHOSTS is part of the archives of the Library of Congress. Which I never thought that was on my bucket list. But I’m happy it’s there now.

Anything else you would like to share about the episode?
Well, you know, the thing that’s coming to my mind that I don’t think I’ve spoken about yet, and I think it’s so remarkable: I’ve sung the praises of our production designer Zoë Sakellaropoulo many times, and I’ll do it again. [Laughs.] Because we shot this abbreviated 10-episode season entirely in the winter, in chilly Montreal. So there is actually a location that is Woodstone Mansion, that is an exterior that’s outside of Montreal, but we weren’t ever able to go there this season. So virtually every single scene that you see in season 3 was actually shot on the soundstage, which means that the production designers built the entire facade. They built the barn, they built the entire facade of Woodstone Mansion and where you see us running through the forest in this episode and looking down the well, every bit of that is shot actually inside. Which is a testament to just how wonderful our DP is and the lighting crew and the production designer. So that never ceases to impress me—just how much skill every department on a TV show has to bring to the table. And ours is some of the best.

GHOSTS, Thursdays, 8:30/7:30c, CBS


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