Phil McCarten/Landov
September 08, 2009 12:00 AM

There were plenty of twists and turns on Tuesday’s premiere episode of the CW’s revamped Melrose Place. SPOILER ALERT: And the biggest of all was the shocking death of Laura Leighton’s returning character Sydney Andrews, whose lifeless body was discovered floating in the famed apartment complex’s pool.

But is Sydney, who was already killed off on the original Melrose Place — back in 1997, she was hit by a car on her wedding day — really dead this time? “As far as I know,” Leighton tells PEOPLE.

The actress, who filmed her latest TV death in the spring, had to keep her lips sealed all summer about Sydney’s fate. “It’s been difficult, but it was an important secret to keep,” says Leighton, 41. “It’s a lot easier now that the cat is completely out of the bag.”

Fear not, Sydney fans: Leighton says that while Sydney might be dead, she’s still going to appear on the show throughout the season in flashbacks. “I thought it was a interesting way to tell the story and fill in the blanks,” she says. “It’s moving forward while moving backwards, so we’ll see where it takes us.”

And she and Thomas Calabro, who returned as Michael Mancini, won’t be the only former Melrose castmates to make an appearance on the new show. “Their concept is to add other characters from the old Melrose and dot them in here and there where the stories make sense,” she says. “They want to spread them out and show how each of the old characters’ lives entwine with the new characters. “

Before her sudden demise, Leighton managed to enjoy a small cougar moment when the script called for Sydney to pounce on her younger male costar Shaun Sipos (who plays David Breck, the estranged son of Thomas Calabro’s Michael Mancini). “Of course they’re going to have to pair Sydney up with a younger guy. You know, I don’t write it!” she says, laughing. “I think the nature of Sydney’s character is using sex. It’s all part of her plan.”

Leighton is married to Desperate Housewives’ Doug Savant, who played Matt Fielding on the original Melrose Place. So how does has Savant feel about his wife kissing younger men? “I don’t think he would have any room to say, ‘Hey, hey, hey!’ He’s on a show that has enough of that!” says Leighton. “I think he understands the nature of the beast and it’s all silly at the end of the day. But it’s not a bad way to spend the day at work.”

For more from Leighton about what’s in store for Sydney, check out the new issue of PEOPLE.

Phil McCarten/Landov

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