‘Outlander’ Stars Talk About That Spanking Scene: ‘We Tried to Give it the Respect it Deserved’

TCA 2015: Actors say “punishment” ultimately strengthened Clare and Jamie’s relationship


“Outlander” stars Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan closed out Friday’s “Outlander” panel at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour by commenting on their Starz show’s most-controversial scene to date: That whole spanking thing.

“We all knew a lot of people would be very interested in how we would tackle it,” Balfe said of the moment from Diana Gabaldon‘s book. “First and foremost, we have to remember that you have to look at it in the mind-frame of 1743. It’s very hard as a modern person to see this is OK under any circumstances. But in 1743, this was a very justified form of punishment that a husband would [dole] out.”

“But we wanted to not take it lightly,” she continued. “We wanted to approach it very respectfully. We talked a lot about it, we met a few times, we choreographed it quite well. When it came to the day, we tried to give it the respect it deserved.”

On the pay-TV series’ first season, Jamie punishes Claire for disobeying his direct order for her to stay put as he heads to battle. When she is caught, he hands out the traditional punishment to his more modern wife.

“For Claire she finds it very hard to sort of wrap her mind around this man that she’s fallen in love with, what he’s about to do.” she added. “What I loved about it was that we took time afterwards, that … in the context of their marriage, they had to figure out a way to get past this.”

“Ultimately, Jamie, whether or not he believes it’s the right thing to do, he just knows he has to do it too teach her a lesson — that’s the way he’s been brought up,” Heughan added to the conversation.

“They both learn a lesson about their relationship when he comes to her and promises he’ll never do it again,” he concluded. “To go through that whole experience — it strengthens their relationship.”