But why do you like these characters? Specifically, why do you like Adnan, and why do you think that he’s someone that people should definitely want to know more about?
[Pause] I’m deciding how much to tell you now. Rather than get specific, which I’d rather not do at this point, I’ll say I have been sort of pleasantly surprised that so many people I’ve talked to seem really smart and really complicated. I like that in a story. I like being in a position where I need to figure out that complication and what’s really going on. I sort of have that in spades here. I think that’s all I want to say about that.
How does your approach to telling the story take into account that memories are subjective — and in some instances, could be faulty?
Luckily, I have so much documentation for this case — huge stacks of police notes, interview tapes, all of that stuff. That’s incredibly valuable. But some people are being questioned two or three months after she’s disappeared, and you can already see testimonies contradicting each other, contradicting themselves. Even then, their memories have started shifting.
For example, the day that the kids find out that Hae’s body has been found, a bunch of things happened. The school brought in a grief counseling team. Then, just trying to figure out, well, where did that core group of friends all go? What’d you guys do that day? Something happened. It’s a super significant, traumatic memory. They’re just the wildly divergent stories about what exactly happened, which is amazing to me. You need a clean narrative in court. You’re presenting a story to a jury, so you need a coherent story. And, often, the truth is, you’re pretty far from a coherent story with what you actually know.
What’s it like working on a show where, at any second, you could stumble upon something that could shift the entire story?
That just happened to me this week, a couple of days ago, and I’m still catching my breath and not sleeping. It’s incredibly nerve-racking, and, again, this is why I say I have to be so careful all the way through. You may stumble across some piece of information where you’re just left going, “Oh my god. Okay. Okay. We’re fine.” You have no idea how seat-of-our-pants this is right now. So, it’s stressful, but the good part is I can be very responsive to new information.