The Walking Dead’s Sunday, March 20, episode was like a knife through the heart. Or, in Denise Cloyd’s case, an arrow through the eye. Alexandria’s resident doctor, played by Emmy-winner Merritt Wever, 36, became the latest casualty on the AMC zombie drama.
Quick recap: During a medical supply run with Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Rosita (Christian Serratos), Denise caught an arrow — from Daryl’s crossbow! — that had been stolen by his nemesis Dwight (Austin Amelio). Nurse Jackie alum Wever tells Us Weekly exclusively about the grisly scene … and why she probably won’t watch The Walking Dead anymore.
Us Weekly: When did you find out Denise was going to die?
Merritt Wever: I knew that she was only going to be here for over the course of one season. I assumed it was going to be death, because that’s how people tend to get out of The Walking Dead: not in one piece. I always knew that was coming up, and then I think [exec producer] Scott [Gimple] called me and told me how a week or two before I got the script.
Us: When was this?
MW: We started shooting in May of last year, so it was a while ago. I finished shooting in October. But the show kept going.
Us: What was your reaction when you heard how Denise was going to die?
MW: It was interesting. I wondered how they were going to do it. It was fine — I knew it was coming. I think in the books she is bitten, so in the back of my mind, I was like, “I think that’s how it’s going to happen.” And then, no.
Us: Would you have rather had Denise succumb to a zombie bite?
MW: Oh, no. I was cool with this. Whatever they wanted to do was fine by me.
Us: Can you talk about the mechanics of taping that scene?
MW: They fit me for a piece that went over my eye. I remember having to keep one eye closed, and that kind of threw off my equilibrium a little bit. Walking, I had to be kinda careful. They just fit me for a piece, and it looked amazing. They had something that stuck out the back of my head, like one of those things you see people wear on Halloween. It looked so good, though, that I actually snuck a picture. I don’t know if I’m supposed to say that. I have no social media, so there’s no danger of drunken nondisclosure agreement mistakes!
Us: Were there any mishaps?
MW: No, I know it’s so boring. I remember thinking, “Oh, that’s it? They got it?” I think they’re just so good at what they do, by now it ain’t no thing.
Us: What will you miss most?
MW: The feel of the set. It was a very friendly set. It’s a really nice group of people. The crew, from the top on down, the actors. And I think that they’ve gotten used to the world that they live on the show, where people come, people go. And it must be tough to function that way. It’s nice that, in spite of that, they are very invested and welcome to new people.
Us: Were you a fan of The Walking Dead before you joined the cast?
MW: I had never seen it, and then I started watching it, so that I knew what I was going to go do.
Us: Will you keep watching now that you’re no longer on?
MW: It’s really – it’s too bad, but whenever I’ve worked on a show, I can’t watch it anymore.
Us: Why is that?
MW: I don’t know! I used to love Law & Order, and then being a young actor in New York, you do Law & Order and then all of a sudden, I had seen the way the sausage was made, and I couldn’t watch it anymore. At a certain point in time, Law & Order was always on, too. But yeah, I haven’t even watched any of this season. So I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to go back.
Us: What’s next for you professionally?
MW: Nothing — a little time off!
The Walking Dead airs on AMC on Sundays at 9 p.m. ET.
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