'Desperate Housewives' exclusive: EP Bob Daily on building a mystery for Angie, Susan and Lynette
Recently, Zap2it spoke to "Desperate Housewives" executive producer Bob Daily about where the ABC series currently finds itself and what's to come.
Rest assured that eye-catching guest star bookings like "Project Runway's" Heidi Klum, former "Top Model" judge Paulina Porizkova, "Dexter" alum Julie Benz and "Torchwood's" John Barrowman really do have purpose beyond snagging headlines.
In this installment, Daily talks about the process of building each season's big mysteries and how they'll affect Angie Bolen, Susan Mayer and Lynette Scavo's lives on The Lane.
It seems viewers and TV critics have been saying that the show is struggling right now with storylines. Do you think the show is in a creative lull right now?
You know the middle of the season is always a tricky time. We're working on episode 17 right now and we're launching a few new storylines around 16, 17, 18 that I think people are going to like. We're bringing a few more characters onto the lane. So, I think stories have had their ebbs and flows, sometimes you need to wrap things up and launch the next storyline for people. I think we're starting to do that and people will be seeing in the March episodes, in particular, people are going to start seeing a lot more action.
"Desperate Housewives" fans are used to twists and turns, but do the writers ever worry they've gone too far or even "jumped the shark"?
Absolutely. We obviously never want to do that, but I think the show is best when it is pushing. Have we ever run the risk of pushing too far? I'm sure we have, but I also think that pushing is what people expect from this show.
Can you give us an example?
We've gotten a lot of mileage out of stories that I was shocked we did. We did an arc about Lynette and a child molester that I had my doubts about and it just turned out to be fascinating, I thought. I think we're always pushing and if that means we go a little too far, better that than not pushing far enough.
Where do we stand with the current mysteries?
We have two mysteries going on right now, which is a little different for us. We have the Bolen Family that has moved in, Drea de Matteo and Jeffrey Nordling, and something they seem to be running from. We also have the mystery of the person who has strangled a couple young women in Fairview. Those two mysteries may or may not be linked to each other. As we're heading into the second half of the season, we're looking to resolving and giving more clues in both of those storylines.
We haven't really heard about the strangler for a few episodes.
You will again, soon. We're kind of letting it die down a bit, hoping that people will almost forget about it and then suddenly bring it back, hopefully in a shocking way.
Right now, the show makes it seem the Bolen father has something to do with the stranglings.
Yes, we've sort of given some hints in that direction. That's something people will have to keep watching to find out, unfortunately.
As if the Bolens need any more problems.
Exactly. Their trip to Fairview hasn't been as quiet as they hoped it would be.
What makes for a good season mystery?
Ideally it's something you can peel back layers of, because we have 23 episodes every year. You want it to be something where a little drop of information that makes the mystery more interesting and that keeps people hooked. It has to have some layers and some twists that people don't see coming, because we have to get 23 episodes out of it.
In the last few episodes, Susan has been sort of a victim of her own "Susan-ness" in the school controversy with Gabrielle and now getting caught up in Robin's post-stripper life. Is Susan getting a more developed storyline?
Yes, she is. I'm hesitating to talk about it, because only yesterday started getting in to it and I would tell you more if I knew more, but right now I think we have an interesting idea for her coming up, but I hate to say anything about it now, because we really haven't thought it through enough. We've been talking to Teri [Hatcher] about this and I think we have something good for her. We are definitely looking into giving Teri something great and fun to play.
Lynette and Tom seem to have wrapped up their latest marital conflict. Will she have other challenges coming her way?
We're working on a Lynette storyline we're casting now. One of her boys, Preston, went off to Europe at the beginning of the season backpacking across Europe and he will be returning in March with a surprise for the family in terms of a woman who will sort of complicate Lynette's life. It's a relationship she's not crazy about and she'll try to undermine and sabotage it. Basically, Preston will be showing up with a Foreigner who may have suspicious motives. [Lynette's kids] have put her through the ringer.
Has your team started thinking about next season's mystery?
The mystery we usually plan in the hiatus between seasons. In terms of our four or five main characters, we always tend to look ahead to the season finale, so we can have some sort of big bombshell in the season finale that hopefully leads us into next season's arc for all the characters. So, we're definitely talking about that. In terms of the mystery, we usually don't start the mystery until the first episode of the next season and we'll probably start talking about that in April, May. We're already thinking of next season for all the women, because that season finale is a good platform for that.
Which mystery do you most look forward to unfolding?
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Photo credit: Top, Craig SJodin / ABC; Bottom, Ron Tom / ABC