How far in advance did Aaron tell you about the big twist in 5/10?
We had been, that’s a good question I don’t even remember. You never really know what it’s going to be, so I didn’t know for sure, what it would it would be or what it would look like, until the week before, because things can always change, but I did know that we were heading towards an arrest. Towards the end of the season, I didn’t know if it was going to be a 5/10, if it was going to be the back of the sixteen, but we knew it was coming and we all felt it was time for it to come. Truthfully I probably felt it was time for it to come a year ago, but it was still a surprise the way they did it and the way it played out.
I was reading up and it doesn’t happen until the literally the last minute, so I kept reading the episode thinking it’s not going to happen. There’s nothing teeing it up to happen, I’m about to walk out of the firm, I’m fine and then of course, in TV land the minute you think you’re getting away with it, they show up and arrest you.
How do you think Mike feels about this, is he a little bit relieved?
At the moment, I don’t think there’s much relief. I think to some degree over time it’s like if you’ve been caught in a lie, there is something to it being exposed, because now at least you’re beginning the process, but it’s like going on a cleanse or something. All the toxins come to the surface. I think these back six are dealing with, it’s been so fascinating to play these back six episodes, because the fact is, these guys broke the law. We are in the wrong, and yet we’re the heroes of the story and so you’ve got hopefully an audience rooting for these two guys that every step of the way we are wrong. We’re trying to get away, we’re completely lying. Even though the audience is on our side, because they’ve seen what it’s been like to be wrong for all these years and we’ve done good and that everybody hopefully likes these characters still, the fact remains is that we’ve still done some terrible stuff and lied to a lot of people and put a lot of people’s lives and jobs at risk. Getting to watch how good people deal with having done a really bad thing makes for, I think, interesting television, there’s lots of always-fun stuff to play on that.
At the end of 5-10, Mike’s relationship with the priest is exposed and he basically tells him, “Tell the truth finish the lie, the stuff that you’re dealing with the thing.” Does that affect his judgment going into this case where being put into custody?
I think that episode in that time and reconnecting with the memory of his parents and reconnecting with the priest, definitely had an affect on him, that’s why what happened, happened. I think some times in our lives things happen when you’re ready for them to happen and at some point Mike was going to have to deal with the ramifications, the consequences of what he’s done. I think even though they’re not directly connected there’s a reason why in that episode it happened.
Because he finally made peace with why he had done things. He finally had a place where he could walk away from it and say, “I don’t need this for the rest of my life. I want to make my life about Rachel I want to make it about my relationship I want to lead an honest life.” Just as he’s about to do it, and I could probably relate to this in my own life, just at that moment that you’re ready to think you’re going to get away with something you’re forced to have to deal with the consequences. Now it’s like just non-stop all the people coming out of the woodwork. The people’s lives that we’ve affected, and we have to deal with it. It’s tough because Mike is not the guy who ever wants to hurt anyone, but his actions have hurt everyone, and will hurt everyone.Did you ever think, maybe for a moment that in the real world maybe Mike had turned himself in? That he didn’t tell anyone, he blew the whistle on himself to give himself relief?
Wait, are you positing that as a thing that actually occurred?
As a possible theory, did you ever consider that as a theory that he did it himself, when you first read that, you were like, “Did Mike turn himself in?”
That’s an interesting idea. I didn’t ever really consider it because Mike’s a good guy, but he’s not crazy. I think he just wanted to be with Rachel. That was it, he just wanted to go start his life and do good things and not have to hide behind this lie. It’s a huge weight, and I think he was so excited to have that lifted off of him. Which makes these back six episodes that much more painful because he can’t just be free.
Even though it’s out, they still have to fight for the lie, just so that he doesn’t want to go to prison, he doesn’t want to go to jail. He’s got to fight this thing even though the whole time, he knows what he did was wrong but you still have to act like you are in the right and try and convince everybody that you are in the right. It’s a very difficult position to be in to defend decisions that you made that were bad. It’s a tough call, but I don’t think he ever would have turned himself in, I don’t think he’s that good. The priest didn’t have that much of an affect.
Does it feel like to you this is also a turning point for the character and for the show as far as the show goes from here, when you go into six?
Yeah, I think it’s the biggest, boldest thing we’ve done on the show. I think it was something that needed to happen. I said probably if it were me we would have done it a while ago, but the show’s not just about me, it turns out (laughs). I think it’s great, I think our show after five years, a lot of you have been coming here a long time, how many scenes can you have play out in the same offices over and over again? It turns out five years is a lot, and we can do it a lot. The show, I feel needed something to come along and kick it in the butt and change the dynamic and force us into …
All the great shows always change. I noticed that. They’re not scared to … Sometimes it’s a character dies, sometimes it’s an office shuts down, sometimes the characters split out, I think I don’t watch The Good Wife, but I know they split off into two separate firms. All the great shows are unafraid to say the thing that makes us great is not just our consistency. The thing that we do the same stuff every week, it’s that you love these characters, and you love the writing and if you put these characters in new places it’s a little bit of an adjustment period, but it’s what keeps you interested. I think you can start to get a little stale after a while. I think we were all, not feeling stale but feeling like we were ready for a big change. This is built into the fabric of the show.
And also it’s not Breaking Bad or something. It’s not where you just want the end of the show to be Mike getting arrested. We want to deal with this before the show’s over. We want to see this get dealt with because it’s really rich material for all these characters to have to deal with, rather than save it for season seven or eight or twelve or whatever we end up doing, we do it now and get to see what the ramifications are.
How will Mike deal with the ramifications that being arrested puts on Rachel and especially her parents?
It’s so funny you bring that up because we’re literally figuring that out right now. We have a scene we’re shooting tomorrow that is basically one of the last scenes of this season and there are nuances in it that completely are involved in that and we could go one way, or we could go another way and we’re all sort of figuring it out and trying to figure out the best way to play it. It’s a constant pressure for him. How do I love this woman? I love this woman, but what do you do when your love for someone can inevitably hurt them. Spiderman or something, you’ve got this power, but you’ve done this thing and it could essentially break them, but is it worth it for the love you have for them, because you know that part is good. I think Mike is constantly struggling with that, because he doesn’t, if this gets out and he does get charged with this then it’s like her whole career could be over and he doesn’t want that for her.
At the same time you love someone and there’s no reason or rationale for that, you have to follow your heart, so there’s this total pull for these people that really care about their careers but also obviously feel deeply for each other.
What was the actual question? I don’t remember (laughs), and how he deals with it, I don’t know. I don’t think he has dealt with it. I think he’s constantly struggling with it and I think the back six episodes you’ll get to a conclusion at the end of that, but I also think that this will probably be the thing that defines their relationship over the course of the whole show. I hope they end up happy, but what that looks like – I don’t know.
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