Erin Carter is the action woman of the moment. Swedish actress Evin Ahmad takes the reigns in Netflix’s Who Is Erin Carter? series, which has quickly become a top show around the world since its Aug. 25 release.
Erin finds herself straddling her current life with her family with the past she thought she left behind. Erin goes to dangerous lengths to protect her daughter, Harper, and she’s not afraid to get blood on her hands. Through the 7 episodes, Erin’s past is peeled back like an onion, and viewers learn that she’s not actually Harper’s biological mother.
HollywoodLife spoke EXCLUSIVELY with Evin about all the major moments of season 1, including Emilio’s death, Lena’s return, and Armstrong’s reappearance in the final moments. Evin explained her view of Erin and Lena’s deep bond and how Lena’s death will impact Erin moving forward. Plus, what does she know about a possible season 2? Read our full Q&A below.
The show is number one in over 90 countries right now. How are you feeling about the impact the show’s had in such a short amount of time?
Evin Ahmad: That is insane. First of all, I would have never guessed that this show would be number one in 90 countries. I was just happy that it was number one in my own country, Sweden. I remember coming home a few days ago. I was like, “Wow, it’s number one in Sweden.” My agent called me, my American agent, and he’s like, “Dude, you’re number one in America.” I’m like, “What?” He’s like, “You’re number one here. Your show is number one here in America.” From there on, it’s been a crazy ride. I would have never guessed, but I’m so happy. I’m so grateful. I couldn’t have wished for a better outcome than this. This is basically my entrance into the international industry and my first English role. I’m so happy.
Your fight scenes in the show were brutal. What kind of training did you have to do for the show?
Evin Ahmad: Well, you have to keep in mind that I just had three weeks to prepare for this. I was in shock because, when I did the audition, I just had the first script, and they didn’t tell me anything about the character. They didn’t tell me anything about the show. I had no clue who this woman was, so I’m reading the script and I’m like, well, okay, this housewife-teacher woman just killed someone. When I got the role, I started to understand. They asked me when I auditioned how I was with stunts and stuff. I had auditioned for a big American movie actually, and I had to do sword fighting. That was my first time meeting choreography at that level. I’ve done it here in Sweden, but it’s mostly like a slap or a box or something like that. This was just another level when it came to stunts. Luckily, I’ve trained in kickboxing before. I’ve done some kung fu. I’m not afraid of the physical aspects of the job. Also, because I was dancing before and everything’s basically choreography, it worked out.
But I truly wish I could have built some more muscles because I think I’m so tiny in the show. I’m like, I don’t know if that’s 100% believable. But what can I do? I didn’t have time, to be honest. You know what makes me irritated? I read some of the comments on YouTube and they were like, “How are we going to believe this woman is slamming all these men?” Actually, I’m pretty strong. I have the mindset of a warrior. I could kill some people if I wanted.
There were plenty of twists in the first season, but Emilio’s death was just so sad. Given everything that’s been going on in Erin’s life, do you think she’s fully processed Emilio’s death at the end of the season?
Evin Ahmad: I don’t think so. No, because there was no time to tell that story. I think definitely she feels a lot of guilt. She and Emilio are kind of the same type of people. They’re both addicted to not following the rules, right? I see them as the same type of character but different. Of course, when he dies, she had been telling him, “Emilio, don’t do that. Know your boundaries. You don’t have to do that.” Something about him just had to keep going almost like someone who is addicted to something. He just wants that last sort of kick. It was absolutely emotional when he died, but Erin needs to keep it up together because people might come after her family.
Erin’s great at compartmentalizing. How do you think she’s managing all the trauma she’s faced? Do you think she’s eventually going to break?
Evin Ahmad: I think she has an avoidant personality. She’s an avoidant person. She doesn’t deal with the things that are happening now. As you see in the flashback episode, she was left by her own mom and dad when she was a little girl. She’s been alone all her life. There’s not really that much time for her to process, but I think she’s feeling it inside of her. She just needs to put all those things together and try to manage because losing Harper and Jordi would be a much bigger tragedy to her. She just needs to keep it in herself and keep going.
Harper’s biological mother, Lena, reenters Erin’s life toward the end of the season. Unfortunately, Lena dies in the finale. Do you think Erin really thought about what would have happened with Harper if she and Lena had both survived? Could they have coexisted?
Evin Ahmad: That’s a difficult question. Me and Denise [Gough] talked about it. For me, as we were shooting, it was like, actually, there’s a really interesting story here with Erin and Lena that could have even been a love story. Imagine if they would have had this family, and they could have been like a mom-and-mom-daughter situation. It’s difficult. What do you do? Imagine if this was real life. You have your daughter, and then the mother shows up. I think that’s a very complex situation, and I don’t think Lena would have given her daughter up. I don’t think it’s easy to just give up your flesh and blood. That would have been difficult but who knows? Maybe in another world, because I actually saw them as a family — Lena, Erin, and Harper. They could have been in love and run away together, but that’s not the story.
Do you think that there were romantic feelings between them [Erin and Lena]?
Evin Ahmad: We talked about it, me and Denise. I mean, I saw it a little bit. It could have definitely gone in that direction if we would have had more time to explore it. I’m definitely not a stranger to it. I think so, yeah, in some amounts.
Harper is aware of her biological mother at this point. By the end of the season, do you think Lena’s death and everything that happened will change how Erin raises Harper in any way moving forward?
Evin Ahmad: That’s a very good question. I think for sure she needs to quit all the lies. I think she understands that she can’t keep lying. But it’s interesting because that’s actually what she does until the end. She doesn’t tell them Armstrong is there. But I definitely think that they [Erin and Harper] bonded. That was also something I told our screenwriter. I was like, “Okay, if Harper is writing a letter to her mom, what about how about if Erin also writes a letter to her mom?” Because that’s something that they can bond over, that their mothers weren’t there for them. But I think for sure Erin will stop lying and be quite much more honest and a lot more open with her daughter and her husband.
Jordi has to be one of the most supportive husbands on television. He learned a lot about Erin over the course of the season. Given what he knows, can they make it work? By the final moments of the finale, they seem to be on good terms.
Evin Ahmad: Yes, shockingly they are. I think it’s evident that she’s not lying to be a bad person. She’s lying because she thinks that’s the right thing to do at that time. She doesn’t realize that those things can actually hurt other people, but she’s also trying to protect her family… I don’t know because Jordi seems like a really nice, innocent guy. It’s like what she says when she goes to the 12-step program when she meets this woman and she says, “If I tell him who I am, will he just think I’m a really bad person?” But it’s also interesting, I have to say, with Jordi’s character because if you think about it, usually female actors play that type of role. It’s a very typical, female housewife role. If you look at James Bond, the Bond chicks are just there. James goes and does everything he does and then he comes by for a kiss and then he’s off again. In this show, Erin is the action man, and Jordi is kind of just the wife.
Jordi is very much the antithesis of all the men in Erin’s background. What do you think she sees in Jordi that is appealing to her?
Evin Ahmad: I think when we were shooting, I was thinking Emilio is more of Erin’s kind of flavor, like toxic men. With Jordi, to see the connection between Harper and Jordi… it’s not about them [Erin and Jordi] not having love, but I think as a woman and a mother especially, I think you can make choices. I’m not saying she was with Jordi because of Harper, but I think the connection between Jordi and Harper is something that she feels in her heart. I think that’s very attractive for her when it comes to Jordi, and also that he’s a nurse, he’s reassuring, he’s something completely different from all the people that she’s met before in her life where it’s rather tough and toxic people. I think life with Jordi comes with this beautiful house, beautiful kitchen, beautiful food, beautiful dresses, and a beautiful life, which is good for her. Imagine if Harper would have been with Lena. She would have had a completely different life.
Have there been discussions about season 2? Armstrong’s reappearance at the end of the season definitely leaves things open for that.
Evin Ahmad: No, I agree. But no one’s told me anything, so I don’t know actually. I have no idea. If you go to Netflix, it says limited series, but I don’t know. Let’s see. I’m curious as well.
Is there anything you would definitely want to touch on with Erin in a second season that maybe you didn’t get time to do in the first?
Evin Ahmad: I think a lot of things. I want to dive deeper into this character. Who is she when she’s alone? I feel like we’re getting the answer of who is Erin Carter but not really. I don’t feel like we’re getting a 100% answer of who this woman is. What is she like? What does she want from life? What does she want? What are her needs? What are her wants? I would definitely want to dive deeper into character.