Annie Wersching would have preferred that her character Lily Salvatore didn't die on "The Vampire Diaries," but she understands the positive ramifications it had for her TV son Damon, who was able to face some of his mommy issues in the wake of her death. Plus, this isn't the first time she's had her character sacrificed for the greater good of the show.
"I die so other people can have cool things to do," Wersching joked in an exclusive interview with Headlines & Global News. "My '24' death obviously sent Jack Bauer into a huge downward spiral," she said, referring to her character Renee Walker dying on the Fox thriller.
Wersching returned to "The Vampire Diaries" last night following her death two episodes ago. Although she sacrificed herself to keep alive her Heretics family and her sons, Damon (Ian Somerhalder) had no sympathy for his mother's actions. Even on her deathbed, he told her, "You made your bed. Have a nice nap."
Trapped inside the Phoenix stone, Lily continued to haunt Damon while he flashed back to a traumatic experience that occurred during his time as a Confederate soldier.
"He keeps seeing his mother in different places and in order to get out of the hell that you're trapped in, you have to face the traumas in your life and your issues, which for Damon has a lot to do with his mama issues," she said.
Wersching appreciated playing the role of the Salvatore matriarch and giving fans "a nice puzzle piece" into Stefan (Paul Wesley) and Damon's backstory, especially exploring the latter's issues with abandonment and why he's the snarky, sarcastic Damon that everybody loves. She also hopes her death allows the brothers to grow and change even more in the future.
"I think [Lily's death] was a huge way for the Damon character to change and have an arc," the 38-year-old actress said. "Her death is really going to make the boys grow and deal with some of their issues and hopefully make for new stories to tell going forward. Even though she's gone, she's still going to be there in their life."
Memories of Wersching's notable role on "24" still live on in the numerous YouTube videos dedicated to the short-lived relationship between Renee and Jack Bauer, played by Kiefer Sutherland. She will occasionally watch the fan-made videos sent to her on Twitter, and she admires the time and effort put into their creation.
"First of all, I always love the song no matter what it is. ... I wish I knew how [fans] do this. They're always really sweet," Wersching said.
One video she distinctly remembered imagined the "what if" scenario of a Jack-and-Renee romance if her disgraced FBI agent hadn't been killed. Wersching and Sutherland almost played that out when she guest starred on his next series, "Touch."
"That so strange," she said about working with him again outside of "24." "To be looking in each other's eyes and not seeing the same people. In '24,' you spend so much time with your faces really close, eye contact with such intensity. I was like, 'Wait, I'm looking at your face again, but your name is Martin.'"
At the same time Wersching learned about her impending death on "24," she also found out she was pregnant with her first child. Now raising two young boys, she has tried to take roles that keep her closer to home in L.A. and working a few days at a time. Only "The Vampire Diaries" has pulled her away from the West Coast, filming in Atlanta for a few months.
"When they were tiny babies, a guest star role was nice to do because I could literally go do something and remember what [the work] was all about, but only work for three days," she said and acknowledged the luxury of her flexible schedule compared to many other working moms.
Wersching will next be seen in an episode of "Code Black" on CBS. She also will return for Amazon's "Bosch" season two as Julia Brasher. Conflicting schedules with "Vampire Diaries" limited the time she could appear on the Titus Welliver-starrer, but it was more than she could imagine for her character that was supposed to die in season one.
"In the book she dies, but they changed it, which was awesome. But the scenes they have her in now, [the writers] are creating on their own and not pulling from the book," she explained.
The second season of "Bosch" premieres on Friday, March 11 on Amazon.