‘Guilt’ Co-Creator Reveals Why Freeform’s New Crime Drama Is Not About the Amanda Knox Case

“The show was inspired more by the idea that these sort of cases, like Amanda Knox or JonBenet Ramsay or Casey Anthony, they take on a life of their own,” Nichole Millard tells TheWrap

Freeform’s new summer drama “Guilt” follows a young American girl who finds herself in hot water with European law enforcement when her roommate turns up dead. The case becomes an international sensation in the media and every one of her past actions comes under scrutiny.

Sound familiar? When the network announced the series last year, many were quick to compare it to the Amanda Knox case that dominated cable news for years. News outlets ran headlines calling it the “Amanda Knox series.” But co-creator Nichole Millard says there’s far more to “Guilt” than that.

Millard and her writing partner, Kathryn Price, were inspired not just by the infamous 2007 murder case following the death of British exchange student Meredith Kercher, but by all the criminal trials that are endlessly sensationalized in the media, including those surrounding JonBenet Ramsay and Casey Anthony.

“The media takes such a role in public perception of whether this person is innocent or guilty,” Millard said. “That was our inspiration.”

“Guilt” stars Daisy Head (as Grace Atwood, who is accused of killing her roommate), Emily Tremaine (as Natalie, her prosecuting-attorney sister from Boston)Billy Zane, Cristian Solimeno, Naomi Ryan and Kevin Ryan. 

Read more of TheWrap’s interview with Millard below:

TheWrap: Your show has drawn a lot of comparisons to the Amanda Knox case, and the premise has a lot of similarities. How do you respond to that reaction? Do you think that’s fair?
Millard: I get that. The show was inspired more by the idea that these sort of cases, like Amanda Knox or JonBenet Ramsay or Casey Anthony, they take on a life of their own. The media takes such a role in public perception of whether this person is innocent or guilty. That was our inspiration. And beyond that, setting it in London was just an opportunity for us to open up a number of worlds … We have a character that we’ll meet in Episode 2 who’s a young reporter. She’s very aggressive and she sees the Grace Atwood case as a way to make a name for herself. She’ll sort of be our entry into that world.

Do you have a timeline for when the mystery will be resolved? Do you already know who killed Molly?
Absolutely. Kathryn and I wanted to give the audience resolution by the end of the first 10 episodes. That was a promise we made to ourselves and to our audience. By Episode 10, you will know who killed Molly Ryan — and why.

How did you come to cast Daisy? What was it about her that made her right for the role of Grace?
We saw hundreds of girls for this role. Of course we had in mind that we would cast an American, but here comes Daisy Head, who is of course British, but when we got her audition, she just immediately drew us in. She’s enigmatic, and she’s someone that you root for, but at the same time could be a sociopath. And that is, as it turns out, a really rare quality to find … she really blew us away and we’re thrilled to have her as our lead.

“Guilt” premieres Monday, June 13 at 9/8c on Freeform.

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