WARNING: This post contains spoilers from Sunday’s episode of Power.
When Power‘s Lela Loren took the stage for the first time at Madison Square Garden with some of her costars at the show’s season 6 premiere, the audience booed for her character, Assistant U.S. Attorney Angela Valdes. But when Loren reappeared with the cast after the first episode, the audience cheered louder for her than anyone else.
Season 5 ended with Angela’s fate up in the air, after she took a bullet for her drug-dealing lover, James “Ghost” St. Patrick (played by Omari Hardwick). On Sunday, season 6 picked up with Angela being rushed to the hospital, and not too long after, the reveal that she couldn’t be saved.
While Loren filmed the scene last September, she knew her character’s fate since February 2018, she tells PEOPLE — meaning she had to keep an 18-month secret.
“It’s been such a long goodbye that I was just so excited to have other people watch it and not have to hold the secret,” Loren says. “Giving all these interviews before the episode just felt very, very, very duplicitous!”
Looking back, Loren saw hints of her character’s death. Power‘s showrunner Courtney A. Kemp always called the series a “crime drama” and “love tragedy,” Loren notes.
“I used to study ancient Greek theater. ‘Love tragedy’ means only one thing: It’s not going to end well,” Loren jokes. She adds of her character’s fate, “There’s a preservation of her courage and her heart and her love in her death. That’s what I really loved about it.”
And what does Loren have to say of Hardwick?
“I’m not as loose of an actor as I would like to be, he’s much looser than I am in that sense, so getting to have that kind of partner helps move the needle for myself,” Loren says. “He’ll push the boundary and maybe try something that wasn’t discussed, and some really wonderful moments come out of that.”
Moving forward, she’ll cherish one particular scene with Hardwick: their moment under the whale at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.
“I had only had about five days to move to New York from Los Angeles, and getting to be the female lead of a show was so overwhelming. And then on top of it, getting to shoot in the museum!” Loren remembers. “Getting to explore this character that is falling in love, in some ways for the first time over again — it was a dream.”
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Leaving the show behind after more than five seasons, though, Loren feels satisfied. Even amid possible Power spinoffs from producer 50 Cent, she insists she wouldn’t appear in one, but promises that viewers will see her elsewhere soon.
“I don’t see how that’s possible, because for a show that goes back in time, it would be another actress playing Angela at a younger point in time,” Loren explains. “So I’m good, I’m happy with what I’ve done with her. I’m ready to explore other characters.”
Power airs Sundays (8 p.m. ET) on Starz.