‘Ghosts’ Star Rebecca Wisocky Explains Hetty’s Death Reveal

“Ghosts” hit another landmark on Thursday night, as this week’s episode of the hit CBS comedy revealed the truth behind Flower’s disappearance — while also, on a much more profound level, explored the truth behind Hetty’s death in 1895.

In the episode, “Holes are Bad,” when Sam (Rose McIver) and Jay (Utkarsh Ambudkar) go away for the weekend, the ghosts are left alone — and discover that Flower (Sheila Carrasco) hadn’t been “sucked away” to the afterlife as they thought. Instead, she’s been stuck at the bottom of a well, and had no way of getting out of it.

While they’re gone, Sam and Jay had hired a contractor to fill the well with concrete — which would have left Flower stuck in there for eternity. But with no way to contact Sam and Jay (their efforts to FaceTime the livings fails), the ghosts struggled to find another way to save her.

That’s when Hetty (Rebecca Wisocky) comes to the rescue, unwrapping the telephone cord that — unbeknownst to everyone — has been wrapped around her neck, but hidden under her garment, since her death.

Hetty reveals that she committed suicide using the cord, after she got in trouble breaking child labor laws and faced legal issues. (Her husband Elias, as viewers know, had already disappeared — and turns out was trapped in a ghost-proof vault.) Previously, we also know that Hetty’s son was responsible for the death of Alberta (Danielle Pinnock), and now we know that the troubled character was also affected by how his mother died.

We also discover the other ghosts who were already in the house — Thorfinn (Devan Chandler Long), Sasappis (Román Zaragoza) and Isaac (Brandon Scott Jones) — were trapped in a hole through 1895 and didn’t witness Hetty’s death, which is why they didn’t know about the specifics until now. (The show ended with a public service announcement card at the end for the Suicide hotline — 988.

“This is something that our show does really well, balancing that zany screwball comedy with much more sophisticated jabs at the human condition,” Wisocky says. “When they approached me with this idea it completely took me by surprise. It had never crossed my mind. But I feel like all the seeds were there. We wanted to make sure that it could still be our show, but that it dealt with something so incredibly important and sensitive, accurately, respectfully, in a way that could open up conversation.

“It’s truly my sincere hope that this episode in particular can reach someone that may be despairing and let them know that they’re not alone and that their existence matters,” she adds. “That’s so much of the theme of our show, frankly. To be able to have the perspective of someone who is now 150 years on the other side of her own mortality and can reflect on that choice and make the decision to reveal it in order to save her friend from being lost and abandoned to loneliness forever — it’s just incredibly moving and very full circle.”

Wisocky says she was taken by the loneliness that Hetty must have experienced in the first year after her death, when Thorfinn, Sasappis and Isaac weren’t around. Sure, the cholera victim ghosts in the basement were there, but she definitely wouldn’t have associated with them.

“I think loneliness is an interesting theme for her,” she says. “When she died, after living a life of profound sadness and loneliness, she was alone for the first year of her afterlife. I look forward to that story at some point in our show, of that full year of isolation. And also left watching generations of her family making mistakes and being miserable in this house that she built. I think she she feels like she bears responsibility for that, for making this choice when she was 25 years old to abandon love for money.”

Wisocky also noted that as a character choice, she has always fiddled with Hetty’s neckpiece — which makes this revelation fit together.

“I think the audience probably assumed that she died of an overdose, as she’s so incredibly fond of cocaine,” Wisocky says. “I was happy that they didn’t make that choice, so we get to preserve the horrible evil delight of her being a drug fiend.”

As for the sacrifice to reveal her secret in order to save Flower, it’s a sign that Hetty has truly evolved as a character since “Ghosts” began. After years of trying to figure out what it takes to be “sucked off,” Hetty is more interested in sticking around. “The show is built around this concept that eventually hopefully, all of them wants to desperately move on and be sucked off, yet none of them really seem to be at all ready to do so,” she says. “Hetty has turned to the heavens many episodes and said, ‘Oh, come on, really not now?’ But this time she didn’t, because she’s really there and she’s really present. She’s really had an actual cathartic human exchange with her friends.”


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