The first season of Ratched, Ryan Murphy’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest prequel, may only consist of eight episodes, but it manages to pack in a large number of gruesome deaths, with the sinister Nurse Ratched (Sarah Paulson) playing a large role in the high kill count.
However, series star Cynthia Nixon, who plays Mildred’s love interest Gwendolyn Briggs, has revealed that several more characters who ultimately lived to see another day were meant to get the chop in season one.
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, the actress, who is best known for her portrayal of Miranda Hobbs in Sex and the City, said: “I was actually only hired for a year because they were supposed to kill me at the end.”
“I thought it was going to be this really more tragic love story where I was going to die at the end of season one,” she continued. “Well, that has not happened. They shot me and they gave me cancer but I’m still walking around!”
When asked why Murphy decided to let Gwendolyn live, Nixon said: “I think there were a few of us they were going to kill – I think they were going to kill Judy Davis [who played Nurse Betsy Bucket], too. And I think they were going to kill Finn Wittrock [who plays Edmund Tolleson].
“I think they decided they liked having us around,” she added. “I guess on some level maybe, it’s such a trope of queer characters that when they do find love, then somebody up and dies or is killed. So I think Ryan Murphy is very aware of that trope and wanted to offer people something else.”
The Netflix thriller acts as an origin story for cold-hearted villain Nurse Mildred Ratched, and follows her as she arrives a leading psychiatric hospital which conducts unsettling experiments on its patients.
The star-studded Ratched cast includes Finn Wittrock, Jon Jon Briones, Charlie Carver, Judy Davis, Sharon Stone, Amanda Plummer and Sophie Okonedo.