Martha "Mattie" Howard was born into an affluent Irish Catholic family in Wellesley, Massachusetts. Few details about her childhood, however, are known as she remains a very private individual.
Mattie first met Melissa several months prior to the start of the series while the latter was in a relationship with Alexander Weir. The two became close friends and eventually classmates. Together they began to co-author a thesis on James Lynwood Prescott which attracted the attention of their professor, Robin Quick. Despite misgivings and a general dislike for their professor, Melissa became Robin's research assistant. It is unknown how closely Mattie was involved with Melissa's research, if at all. Robin Quick indicated that he was unfamiliar with Mattie (SA: Vade Retro).
to be expanded
Robin's statement to Chase Quinn that he was unfamiliar with Mattie is clearly an attempt to mislead the detective, as the two are quite familiar.
to be expanded
Prior to her death, Melissa gave Mattie a copy of a diary. The reason for this is still unclear. During the course of her investigation, Mattie was forced to turn the diary over to Detective Quinn. Although Mattie complied, several pages were torn from it (SA: Sien Souhitent). Under further questioning from Roland regarding the pages, and ultimately Mattie's relationship with Melissa, she claimed not to know anything, even expressing confusion over the missing pages (SA: Hinc Illae Lacrimae).
Mattie is by far one of the more enigmatic figures in the series as many of her motivations and depth of her knowledge are often kept hidden. Outwardly she appears to be a quiet and compassionate individual, deeply concerned with those around her, specifically Melissa. At the same time, she has displayed a willingness to manipulate the truth to serve her own ends. At the bar she alternatively shows genuine empathy for Alexander, while at the same time trying to bend his intentions to her own.
She is a strong and often fearless character, a trait which gets her into situations often beyond her control.
Behind the ScenesEdit
- Danielle Leeber, who portrays Mattie, was the Casting Director for the Pilot Episode of the series, and as such read opposite many of the main cast. After watching her cold reading of the character, she was offered the role by the Director.
- Her fight with Robin Quick was originally written to take place in a parking garrage, but last minute difficulties with the location forced the scene to be filmed on a street corner in Cambridge. The scene was shot over the course of six hours in sub-zero weather during one of the coldest winters in New England.