Ghosts Star Richie Moriarty On Tonight's Emotional Episode

Tonight's episode of Ghosts, titled "Pete's Wife," centers on (as you might expect) Richie Moriarty's Pete, the scoutmaster who is not only bound to Samantha and Jay's haunted manor, but also to spend eternity with an arrow through his neck, because he died after one of his scouts accidentally let an arrow fly while he was standing down-range. In the episode, Pete is feeling melancholy on the anniversary of his death, and Samantha offers to help him by inviting his widow out to the house to honor his memory. If you've seen the BBC version of the series, you'll know how this episode plays out (although, as with everything, the US version has several key changes).

That would put you a little ahead of Moriarty, though. The actor admits that he's seen the pilot -- and the cold open that shows how his character died from a later episode -- but has largely avoided the British Ghosts to make sure he isn't trying to mimic Jim Howick, the actor who plays Pat, Pete's BBC corollary.

"The whole show feels like a real gift, but this episode specifically for me felt like there was a lot of weight to it, in the best way," Moriarty told ComicBook. "There was a lot riding on it for my character, and for the arc of my character in this season." 

That was a key element of the episode, which puts Pete through the emotional wringer. So far, most of the characters have been caricatures. With a large cast and a lot of broad comedy, they had to do some worldbuilding before they could really dig into what makes the characters tick, and Moriarty told us he was thrilled that his character got started so soon.

"I felt very grateful to be doing it as early in the season," Moriarty said. "I was able to show these different sides of this guy, so that I could have more fun, and feel like the audience knew, 'Hey, I'm not just this chipper, eternally optimistic guy. There's, there's more to this guy. There's more to Pete.'"

The emotional weight of the episode is something new for the show, and it's something that Moriarty was very conscious of during production. Not only did the ghosts see a different side of Pete, but his co-stars got a different look at Richie by extension. He told ComicBook that creating an emotional connection to a character in a broad comedy can be challenging, but he thinks the show's writing can support it.

"The writing, I feel, is at least 75% of that," Moriarty said. "And then obviously like the acting and directing are a big piece of it, too. That balance is really hard to find, I think, and so often you see stuff on TV that is trying to pull off an emotional moment...and can't do it. I feel like we really got that right in this episode. It feels like a special episode because of that. We've got a limited amount of time, you know? We have 20 minutes, and so much of it is hammering the comedy, hammering the comedy. When you can both build to an emotional moment like that, and hopefully make it pay off, it feels great. As an actor, but just as like a viewer too. I hope that you're like, 'Oh man, they were really able to pull off this thing that isn't a part of every episode,' you know? I think honestly, a lot more of that is coming after this episode as well. There's a lot of moments like that, that the writers have really crafted incredibly well, and have been able to earn a lot of great emotional moments in the midst of a lot of comedy."

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In Ghosts, Samantha, a cheerful freelance journalist, and Jay, an up-and-coming chef from the city, throw both caution and money to the wind when they decide to convert a huge run-down country estate they inherited into a bed and breakfast -- only to find it's inhabited by the many spirits of deceased residents. The departed souls are a close-knit, eclectic group that includes a saucy Prohibition-era lounge singer, a pompous 1700's Militiaman, a '60s hippie fond of hallucinogens and an overly upbeat '80s scout troop leader. If the spirits were anxious about the commotion a renovation and B&B will create in their home, it's nothing compared to when they realize Samantha is the first live person who can see and hear them. 

Ghosts airs on Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CBS, and is available on Paramount+.