In light of today’s (shocking?) verdict on The Young and the Restless, EW talked with head writer Maria Arena Bell about the decision to put Victor Newman (Eric Braeden) on trial and what will happen next for ol’ moneybags. And SPOILER ALERT! If you haven’t seen today’s big episode of the CBS sudser, you may not want to read past the jump.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Why did you decide to go down this path with Victor?
MARIA ARENA BELL: Well, it is true that he loves his family, but he’s also been manipulative and I think this really shows how these kids have grown up and how each of them has felt burned in some way by him. Part of what was so interesting was how it all started with the least likely of all the siblings. The one that seems the most harmless is the one that is causing the most harm. That’s what was sort of fun and exciting about the story.
So this all started when Abby wanted to do that reality show, right?
She’s sort of like the mouse that roared. She looks like the innocent youngest child who’s sort of clueless and what she wanted was her financial independence to be taken seriously. She wanted to be seen as an individual and what ended up happening was she started in motion something that became even bigger than she ever imagined. She got caught up in it.
How did Nick join in?
It had a lot to do with setting up Adam and letting Sharon take the fall for the disappearance of Skye. So each of them in their own way have had this rocky and tumultuous relationship with their father over the years. They’ve seen him at his best, and they’ve seen him at his worst. And they’ve loved him throughout all of it. Each of them for their own reasons has been pushed to the limit. I think that’s why they all joined together.
Is this verdict going to clean Victor out?
It’s a pretty major settlement. They’re gonna each be given a settlement in the hundreds of millions of dollars. It’s going to cause a major, major shift in how Victor’s going to operate in the future. It has major ramifications for Newman Enterprises itself and for the man himself, having really felt like he’s gone to war with his children here. And in essence, he feels that they bested him in this moment. It’s going to have enormous consequences down the road for him.
Are we going to see Victor get even angrier?
Well, I think it’s going to be very interesting, his reaction. It’s going to be a very complex human reaction, in that I think he is infuriated by the chain of events and I think he always felt throughout the entire lawsuit, he was right in everything he did. He felt it was groundless, these accusations, that he had mishandled their trust, because it’s a private company, he’s a mogul, he makes decisions, he moves money from here to there in order to acquire a company to make a business deal, and he never thought his own kids would question his decision-making. After all, it’s an empire he built himself. So he is pretty angry. The more emotional side of it is that he really, he does truly love his kids. It’s pretty heart-wrenching even though he shows it in different ways.
Fans are passionate about Victor. Are you ever fearful that they’ll think you’ve gone too far with that character?
I think he is such a compelling character to watch because he isn’t always Mr. Nice Guy. He is somebody who is much more complex. The genesis of this story was that similar cases transpired along these lines in real life with children and descendants whose families had massive private companies. Often times these kids win, but then you wonder about the price they pay in their families. I think the audience will be not infuriated at Victor but see the human drama of this, that he did offer a settlement, he did try to offer an olive branch but they weren’t interested.
So does he need to get even or will his children end up screwing up everything themselves?
What will happen next is more complicated than that. It’s a little bit of both. There will be interesting twists and turns in what he decides to do, and the turns their lives take now that they’ve come into this money [will be interesting]. It definitely is going to be interesting to watch, and I feel like it very much tracks what happens in real life with these major financial dynasties.
Will we see Victor have a meltdown?
Meltdown is never really the word I would use to describe his behavior, you know? I think he’s much more of someone who, against all odds, will hold it together and find a way. But it’s an interesting choice that he makes. By the end of the week there will be a startling decision on his part, because he always has to take action.