TCA Panel “The Whispers”: Kids Say the Darndest (and the Freakiest) Things

Wednesday’s TCA panel for ABC’s thriller The Whispers confirms what I’ve suspected all along: Imaginary friends are creepy.

the Whispers
ABC’s “The Whispers” star Lily Rabe as Claire Bennigan, Barry Sloane as Wes Lawrence, Milo Ventimiglia as John Doe, Derek Webster as Jessup Rollins, Kristen Connolly as Lena Lawrence, Kylie Rogers as Minx Lawrence, and Kyle Harrison Breitkopf as Henry Bennigan.

In The Whispers, someone — or something — is manipulating our most innocent and beloved asset — our children — to commit the unthinkable. 

When several D.C.-area children start communicating with an imaginary friend named Drill and the mysterious games he convinces them to play turn dangerous, FBI child specialist Claire Bennigan (Lily Rabe) is called in to investigate.

On the other side of the world, Defense Department operative Wes Lawrence (Barry Sloane) unearths a haunting and otherworldly geological phenomenon that may answer the question: What is happening to the children?

The answer will force everyone to face their greatest fear: Perhaps an enemy is already in their homes and as the clock counts down, a suspenseful race will begin to save the world. Before it’s too late.

The episode that critics viewed (and viewers will see when the show premieres this spring) is quite different from the pilot that was released in May 2014. “We decided to rejigger the pilot and pull back on the reveals,” explains writer and executive producer Soo Hugh. “We wanted to make the question of ‘Who is Drill?’ into a season long storyline.”

The WhispersSince many of the TCA members in attendance have seen both versions of the pilot, writer/executive producer Zack Estrin asked that journalists keep mum on major plot points that were removed. “We don’t want to play coy with the audience; what we’re asking is you allow the fans to discover the storyline.” The to-be-revealed plot points are pretty obvious so I’ll just let you see for yourself. I’m not one to spoil surprises.

Without revealing any plot points that aren’t in the show’s synopsis, when we first meet the show’s central character, FBI child psychiatrist Claire Bennington (Lily Rabe), she’s grieving from the recent loss of her husband and the ending of a painful affair. I asked Rabe if revealing that the grieving widow wasn’t really that loyal of a wife, she said, “I’m not worried about people rooting for me; I’m just interested in telling her story. Life can be messy, we’re not infallible.”

This intricate thriller premieres this spring, and I can’t wait for what The Whispers says next.

 images © ABC/Bob D’Amico