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Quick Take With Cady McClain

What were your thoughts when you learned they were revisiting Jennifer’s pill addiction? “I was excited. It’s always wonderful when production chooses to give you a storyline of any kind. Something like this was so great because it was a wonderful way to address a mother’s grief. This particular character has been carrying a lot of weight on her shoulders. She’s been trying to hold up the family. It would make perfect sense that she would turn to something to help her when she’s not really letting herself lean on anybody else.”

Jennifer’s been the family’s rock since Abigail’s death. Were you glad to play what she’s been feeling underneath it all? “Yes. I think it was important. At some point, the audience would probably have been like, ‘Hey. What about her? This was her daughter. What about her pain? Where’s that?’ It was really smart for the production and writing team to address it in this particular way. I was very happy about that.”

Have there been any challenges regarding this story? “It’s all been very emotionally challenging to do. I’ve known people in my life who have lived this, and it’s awful. As an actor, I’m really grateful for the opportunity to try to create some reality around it. People have had children murdered … It really happens. I’ve known that as well through people I have known in my life, and their grief is horrible. It’s huge. So trying to find a way to create something that’s a reality in the heightened reality of soap opera was a challenge. It feels beautiful to me to be able to play the part for someone that I know who’s suffered and help them, when they see it, to know that they are seen. That’s really it.”

Fans praised your performance over Abigail’s dead body in the morgue. How do you prepare for something of that magnitude? “It’s like a very subtle dance internally. The minute I read it I’m sort of terrified because I know if it’s done halfway, it’s not going to do justice to the material, to the situation, to the storyline, to the people it’s actually happened to. And that’s my job, to do justice to it all. It was nerve-racking and scary. The first time we did a take, all the words completely flew out of my head. I couldn’t remember a single line. Albert Alarr [co-executive producer/director] came out and said, ‘Just trust it. Just trust the material. You’ve got it.’ For various reasons, I know a fair amount about grief. All I had to do is trust that I know that and trust that I have the empathy and level of compassion internally to be able to contact it and then let it roll. But the greater purpose is always the reward to have touched people and made them feel the depth of the loss of Abigail. I’m grateful that on the day, I was able to deliver.”

With Jennifer now turning to pills again, you’ve gotten to work with Suzanne Rogers (Maggie). What’s that been like? “It’s been a pleasure. I adore her. She’s just the loveliest human being. I don’t know anybody who would say any different. It’s a joy to act with her. She’s a wonderful actress. Very present. Very in the moment.”