The Thing About Pam's Gideon Adlon Talks Mariah's Regrets And 'Secret Relationship' With Viewers

The Thing About Pam Gideon Adlon as Mariah
(Image credit: NBC)

The Thing About Pam is hurtling towards its finale, with Russ finally exonerated and Pam’s stories starting to fall apart. There are still two episodes left, however, and Russ being freed from prison is far from the end of the story. At this point, plenty of people still believe that he killed his wife, and Pam hasn’t been charged with anything. Gideon Adlon, who plays Mariah as one of the relatively few people who seems to still have faith in Russ, opened up about her character’s regrets as well as the “secret relationship” she has with viewers. 

Every episode of The Thing About Pam begins with a card reminding viewers that even though the series is “based on a true story,” characters, dates, and events have been changed “for dramatic purposes,” so even viewers who know the real-life case from back to front can’t say exactly what is going to happen. During Russ’ trial on the show, Mariah was pressured into testifying against him, and her testimony was part of what resulted in the conviction. When I spoke with Gideon Adlon ahead of the next episode, she shared how her character is feeling after Russ’ exoneration:

Happy, relieved. Definitely confused because I don't think she's allowed to show that emotion of being happy when the rest of the family is still so against him. But I think what's so beautiful is that Mariah has this sort of secret relationship with almost the audience, with you all watching the show, where you all know that she felt a certain way about testifying in the first place. And you can see how much she misses him and how much she loves him and how she regrets that. And how Russ just seems to have no room for forgiveness. But I actually haven't thought about that. You know, how the viewers really see that and it's such a private thing for her because she's not really allowed to express those feelings freely with anyone else in their life.

Viewers know at this point that the show’s version of Mariah feels guilty about testifying against Russ and suspects that Pam (with Renée Zellweger still sporting the prosthetic bodysuit) is truly the one who killed Betsy, but she has kept her concerns mostly to herself rather than share them with the people around her who still believe that Russ is a guilty man. Her sister Lily, played by Olivia Luccardi, seems to wholeheartedly believe that he killed their mom, as just one example. 

Whether or not Russ – played by Glenn Fleshler, who previously previewed that some Pam twists will “send everybody spiraling” – forgives Mariah on the show remains to be seen, but the sisters have been pretty solid sources of support for each other while trying to get their money from Pam. They haven’t had a whole lot of success, and haven’t had the funds that they deserved, but have at least had each other. Gideon Adlon described her character’s relationship with Olivia Luccardi’s Lily at this point ahead of Episode 5: 

I think that Mariah and Lily have always just really loved each other. And, you know, obviously, within tragedy, there can be misunderstandings and feelings muddled, but what Olivia [Luccardi] and I really portrayed is just the truth that they're sisters. They love each other and they support each other.

Hopefully the sisters will be able to keep supporting each other in the final two episodes of the limited series. Pam’s stories are falling apart – as portrayed very well by the increasingly absurd “Pam Vision” stories –  but she’s certainly not beaten yet. Based on what Gideon Adlon had to say about the show’s version of Mariah, there’s still plenty to look forward to with her character and the rest. 

The next new episode of The Thing About Pam airs on Tuesday, April 5 at 10 p.m. ET on NBC, following a new episode of This Is Us’ emotional final season. Following the Pam finale, New Amsterdam will return to the 2022 TV schedule with new episodes of Season 4

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).