Howard Gordon Breaks Down Premiere Episode – Deadline

Spoiler alert: This post contains spoilers for the first episode of The Fox accused

Michael Chiklis plays a concerned father caught in a moral dilemma over how to handle his increasingly troubled son in the first episode of Fox’s new anthology series. accusedwhich premiered on Sunday.

Titled “The Scott Story,” the episode follows Chuckles Scott Miller as he enters a courtroom for a preliminary hearing about a crime the audience is not yet aware of. As the episode unfolds, through flashbacks as well as present-day moments in the courtroom, we learn that Scott has begun to worry that his son is committing an unthinkable crime. After discovering his son’s notebook full of violent thoughts, he begins to wonder if he should kill his son to stop these thoughts from acting out. In the end, he couldn’t go through with it. After falling in love with his son, Scott believes he might be able to get help if his parents pay him to travel with a friend.

Only, he doesn’t use the money to travel. He uses the money to buy guns, bullets and other weapons to carry out a mass shooting at his school, killing several students and killing himself. Only then do we learn that the charges against Scott include access to murder to provide money for his son after concerns about his violent behavior.

“Trauma is great for drama, in a way, and as a storyteller, you’re processing it fictionally. So you’re taking this real truth and processing it as close to real events as possible. I think writers “The opportunity to dramatize some of the questions that we’re all asking ourselves at this particular time in 2023. These are stories that really probably just need to be told for different reasons,” said Today showrunner Howard Gordon.

It’s a heavy episode to kick off the anthology, which is expected to put 15 different people on trial during the first season. Gordon spoke with Deadline about why he chose this story to open the series, what he learned about crafting delicate narratives. 24 and homelandand whether he will ever return to his other franchises.

Last date: Why do you think this was the right story to start the series with?

Howard Gordon: I chose this story among the first collection of stories and to be honest, I was afraid to write it. I had a really hard time breaking it down and preparing it and I think that was it [Fox President of Entertainment] Michael Thorne liked it. I did a whole alternate story, which was Danny’s story, which is later in the season, but he said I couldn’t get Scott’s story out of my head. So please stay with him?’ We are very happy with the way it came out with Michael Costa [directing] And Michael Chiklis and Jill Hennessy and the whole cast, but it’s a tough one — the biggest gut punch. But we have to think: will it be something? Is this the way we lead, or should it be something we come up with once we have more accessible, easy to see events. Ultimately it stuck with us. We said let’s not program fear. Let’s go with the one that was always final, which shows the places we are interested in going on the show. It’s funny, because everyone is afraid of it on the one hand and forced on the other.

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Last date: School shootings have been shown on television for a long time and, unfortunately, this is still a very relevant story to tell. Why focus so much on someone on the edge of the situation and not say a student is involved?

Gordon: So the reason I even came up with the story to begin with was because I’m a father. Then I saw this story in the newspaper about a Japanese diplomat, he was in parliament, and he was arrested for murdering his adult child who lived at home and he was afraid of being stabbed. Do a series of attacks. It brought up a real question, my own recognition of how helpless I sometimes felt as a father and then presented to this situation. What would you do if you knew? As you said, one school shooting at a time would be a generational nightmare that we process as a culture and as a society. It is now impossible to generalize. We are both in shock, traumatized and bewildered by its frequency. One of the questions people always ask is, ‘Well, surely the parents should have known. How could they not know? And that’s the idea. All dramatic things begin with a question and a curiosity and that’s what bothers me. Then the whole idea of ​​parentage is legally complicated. I think the breaking line is the line at the end, when Jill Hennessy says ‘I wish you had done that.’ This was a line that really threw me off the fence in the beginning. It was always in the script. But I screened it for the crew, and 20 people came up to me and said, ‘Wow, I like it, but what happened to the last line?’ So it’s just a challenging line. I think it elevates the episode and gets to the point of it all, like what would any of us do? In hindsight, it’s one thing to imagine, how do you predict something you’re not sure is going to happen? Especially when it comes to your own child. [Scott] is a neurosurgeon. It might be a little on the nose, but the metaphor is clear that we never know what’s going on in other people’s brains, and here’s a guy who cuts people’s brains open and pulls out tumors and helps. A man who has spent his life fixing people and now has to make a choice that is at least a bad decision.

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Last date: I’m glad you brought up that last line. It’s a bit of a gut punch, especially coming from a mother, who doesn’t want to see what’s in front of her at all.

Gordon: exactly She is clearly in denial from the start. Then when she realizes that it is true, her husband’s concern has real teeth, it is interesting inside the marriage that he protects her by insisting openly on her plan. [to kill their son]. He’s going to hand it to her, which I think might be lost on people, but it was a huge moment for me, in retrospect. He thought he was a keeper but of course, he couldn’t bring himself to do it. Then he actually learns from her that he wishes he had done it. We don’t know if she will go and reject him like their other son or if she will beat him. In fact, he picks up where we left off. So just a moment of grace and acceptance. Even in the void of a life spent dealing with the devastation of this event, there is a moment of grace between these two people. When he says, “I wish you would,” he is clearly saying it in terms of his acceptance and acknowledgment that he was thinking of doing it.

Last date: How did you create the narrative structure for the show? How do you know when is the right time to reveal certain pieces of information?

Gordon: This is similar to the central question of the show. When you put it together, how do you give enough to get people hooked before the first commercial break and force them to keep watching and guessing? It’s really trial and error. We dialed it back, we dialed it back, and then finally it’s really a little bit of a hand. It involves the audience and tells them the part of the story that we sometimes intentionally miss or delay so that they think they know what they’re seeing, because we’re trying to do it in such a way. Change that feels surprising, but inevitable and organic to what came before.

Last date: This is obviously not the first time you have handled a sensitive and timely topic in your shows. 24 It premiered right after 9/11 and was a very relevant show for the time. What brings you back to this story?

Gordon: Trauma is great for drama, in a way, and as a storyteller, you process it fictionally. So you take this real truth and process it close to real events. I think the writers get a chance to dramatize some of the questions we’re all asking ourselves at this particular time in 2023. These are stories that are actually probably only told for different reasons. I think they’re universal, and they’re very human, but at the same time, certain themes, whether it’s race or gender or even social media, play a big role in all three stories. Everything is happening and changing so quickly that it was an opportunity to take a story of this magnitude and work through, hopefully in a fun and collaborative way, some of the things that bother us all.

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Last date: Do you ever worry about whether it’s the right moment or the right way to tell a particular story?

Gordon: Oh, my God, of course I’m worried. I would say, trying to second guess or panic is not a good way to go. both 24 and homeland Both express it. I mean, after 9/11, they were even talking about the outbreak before it happened. We had to revise it a bit, but I think in the end people wanted to process it. I can’t speak for all people but hopefully people will want to experience these hours again, because at the end of each one they will feel something different about being alive today. I think that’s what plays are meant to do – you think and you feel.

Last date: talking about 24, Both you and Kiefer Sutherland have spoken to the press about how open you are to others. Have you two talked about it together? How likely is Jack Bauer to return?

Gordon: We sometimes mention it unknowingly. This is a conversation. No one is putting a fork in it and saying it’s over, but I think we know it has to be the right story. We don’t want to do it just for the sake of it, or just to bring people back. The trick is that this show was of a certain time. The real question is how does it show today and does that character come back? I don’t think we can 24 or homeland today Again, if you imagine that these stories are the same, then screw it from the beginning, but it really meant that it was a story of that time. such as accused. If you imagine one of these stories was on the air 20 years ago, some of them might not have happened. with 24 I think, you know, it’s a matter of when and how and who and if we can come up with a story that’s worth telling to bring Jack back.


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