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The Woman In The House… Star Tom Riley Hilariously Recalls His Initial Reaction To The Finale’s Wild Twist

Tom Riley on The Woman in The House...
(Image credit: Netflix)

 Major spoilers for Netflix’s The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window lie ahead.

If you’ve had the chance to catch The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window, then chances are you’re still thinking about it. The quirky whodunit, which isn’t considered a parody, served up laughs and some legitimate twists and turns. The show kept viewers guessing up until the very end, and many were likely taken aback by the wild ending. Plenty of people have taken to social media to weigh in on the identity of the killer, yet one also has to wonder how the cast reacted. Well, now, Tom Riley has recalled his initial reaction to the development, and he did so in hilarious fashion. 

At times, it seemed as though Tom Riley’s Neill would turn out to be the person who killed Lisa Maines (a.k.a. Chastity Linkous). The single dad, however, merely proved to be a red herring for the true killer – his nine-year-old daughter, Emma. The seemingly innocent child murdered Lisa after she refused to buy chocolate from her as part of her school’s fundraiser. It was also revealed that months prior, she killed her pregnant mother because she did not want a sibling. Not only that but, by the finale, she’d offed Neil, too, due to her disdain for her ventriloquism act. 

The sight of the bright-eyed youngster holding a knife and coming to blows with Kristen Bell’s Anna is sure to stay burned in viewers’ eyeballs (just like that awkward sex scene). The plot point also left a serious impression on Tom Riley, who I recently had the chance to speak with. Funny enough, he didn’t find the reveal to be all that horrifying when it was first revealed to him. Not only did he love it, but he appreciated the fact that it was “exquisitely dumb”: 

The reaction I had to learning that… it was so exquisitely dumb, like magnificently stupid and then to really add to just how stupid it is, [Emma’s] motivations are weak [laughs]. ‘I killed my dad because his ventriloquist act was terrible,’ is like the best, most left-field, ridiculous, out there way to conclude the show after [going down] these various rabbit holes. So yeah, my reaction was just joy, like I loved it. We were all falling about during the table reads, especially when we all read it out loud for the first time.

Kristen Bell and Samsara Yett on The Woman in The House...

(Image credit: Netflix)

The Woman in the House star’s comments sum things up perfectly if you ask me. There’s definitely a wackiness to the proceedings, and the show’s creators really don’t shy away from going all in. I mean, how often are going to see Kristen Bell punch a child in the face on a TV show? The kid in question was young performer Samsara Yett, who skillfully acted out Emma’s dark nature and her fake good girl persona. Of course, Yett is a far cry from her character, as her on-screen father further explained: 

In terms of informing him I played it, I mean, Samsara [Yett] is so sweet and wide-eyed and innocent generally in her day-to-day life off set that it was pretty easy to play innocent, that I didn't know the whole time.

So because of his co-star’s true nature, Tom Riley had no problem playing out his role while knowing that his TV child was the true killer from the jump. Together, two actors ultimately made for a believable father and daughter, and watching them together was sweet. As a result, it may have come as a shock to some that Neil would meet his demise at Emma’s hands. I’d be lying, though, if I said I didn’t chuckle like Riley when I heard the young lady’s petty reason for slitting her father's throat.

Ultimately, Anna managed to get the upper hand and kill the elementary schooler, effectively closing the book on the overarching mystery. Still, those who’ve seen the series know that the closing moments of the finale seemingly leave the door open for a potential second season. It remains to be seen whether that’ll actually come to fruition, as the creators told me in a separate interview that they’d have to brainstorm ideas. Should it get the go-ahead, I’d be very curious to see if the creative team could come up with a resolution that’s just as shocking and hilarious as what we’ve seen.

With The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window now streaming (opens in new tab) in its entirety, you’ll want to have a Netflix subscription handy. Be sure to also check out CinemaBlend’s 2022 TV schedule for info on other shows hitting the streaming service this year.

Erik Swann
Erik Swann

Covering superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. I eat more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.