It may be months away, but we’re already excited to see Pretty Little Liarsforay into film noir with Season 4, Episode 19 (“Shadow Play”). But there is also some trepidation. Is this black-and-white thing just a gimmick that has no basis in PLL logic? Writer/director Joseph Dougherty weighs in.

“I'll tell you a couple of things I believe about #419.  It's not a gimmick, it's a very grounded way to look at the characters,” Joseph tweeted on November 7, apparently in response to concerns about the ep’s new look. “We took the process very seriously, and there is as much moment to moment emotional honesty in #419 as there is in any episode of #PLL.”

That’s reassuring, even though we didn’t necessarily have any concerns about the gimmicky-ness of the ep prior. Though they have never gone black and white before, PLL is constantly throwing in references to classic Hollywood films. This time, it seems to be The Wizard of Oz -- or, as Joseph explained a few months ago, “think Wizard of Oz reversed.” The episode will be mostly in black-and-white, with some color sequences.

Will one or all of our Liars be falling into some kind of 1940s noir film, as has been suggested by Joseph’s tweets about Raymond Chandler and his excitement over filming on the same stage as film noir classic The Maltese Falcon? If someone hits their head a la Dorothy only to dream in noir, it’s got to be Spencer, right?

Are you looking forward to Episode 19 or do you think it seems gimmicky to have a mainly black-and-white episode of PLL? Sound off in the comments below!

Catch the Pretty Little Liars Season 4 winter premiere, Tuesday, January 7, 2014 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC Family.