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For the past nine years, Emily VanCamp has been sort of TV's girl next door. First on "Everwood," then on "Brothers & Sisters," she played characters America fell in love with.

Which makes her casting as the lead in the new ABC drama "Revenge" (Wednesday, 9 p.m., Ch. 4) that much more effective. She still looks like that girl you instantly like, but she's there to ruin the lives of the rich and powerful people who ruined her life.

"I think the show, frankly, works because she's our girl next door," said executive producer Mike Kelley. "You are so familiar with her that it really allows the audience an entrée. You are rooting for her even though she's doing something that's kind of diabolical."

"It's been really fun," VanCamp said. "She's quite justified in what she's doing. I mean, these people stole everything from her. They are horrible people. They do really bad things. And I think, on some level, everybody can connect with the theme of revenge, whether they act on it or not."

Without giving too much away - it's all revealed in the first episode - Emily Thorne's (VanCamp) father was framed for a crime he didn't commit. Which did indeed ruin her life.

Years later, suddenly finding herself fabulously wealthy, Emily spent years plotting her revenge.

She's back in the Hamptons, determined to take down the Victoria Grayson (Madeline Stowe) and her family.

There's more than a touch of "The Count of Monte Cristo" in "Revenge," cleverly mixed with prime-time soap suds.

"We wanted it to be a drama," said executive producer Wyck Godfrey. "We wanted it to be soapy. I grew up in the era of a 'Dynasty' and 'Dallas,' and those are the shows we wanted to make."

Mission accomplished. Wednesday's premiere gives every indication that "Revenge" is going to be great fun.