February 02, 2024


Quantum Leap | Interview - Alex Berger (writer/EP "Off the Cuff")

Quantum Leap | Interview - Alex Berger (writer/EP "Off the Cuff")
Fate's Wide Wheel: A Quantum Leap Podcast
Quantum Leap | Interview - Alex Berger (writer/EP "Off the Cuff")

Feb 02 2024 | 01:10:26


Show Notes

In this interview, Alex Berger discusses the process of transitioning from season one to season two of Quantum Leap after a strike, the fan reaction and influence on the show, the development of the episode 'Off the Cuff' and its tone, the exploration of love and relationships between characters, and the emotional stakes and choices faced by the characters. The interview also touches on the role of Josh Dean and the dynamics between the characters, as well as the reveal at the end of the episode and its impact on the story. In this part of the conversation, Alex Berger discusses the upcoming episode, the growth and changes in the show since season 1, the planning process for season 2, and the impact of the time jump. They also talk about the Off the Cuff scenes and the decision to have Addison articulate her feelings directly. The conversation covers influences and unique dialogue, as well as the role of a producer and the on-set experience. Alex Berger shares insights into creating a trap and showcasing character traits, introducing Jeffrey as Hannah's son, and the possibilities for future storylines. The chapter concludes with a discussion on inspiration in the creative process. In this final part of the conversation, the hosts express their gratitude and excitement for future episodes of the show. They encourage listeners to check out the review of the episode on various platforms and mention that there are still five more episodes to come.

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00:00 Introduction and Season 2 Start

02:06 Break and Reflection

03:15 Fan Reaction and Influences

04:40 Off the Cuff and Tone

06:58 Character Development and Relationships

10:19 Hannah's Story and Love

14:40 Balancing Action and Character Moments

17:27 Ben and Hannah's Reunion

21:47 Exploring Love and Relationships

24:54 Josh's Role and Character Dynamics

28:58 Love and Multiple Connections

32:12 Reveal and Emotional Stakes

34:40 Ben's Dilemma and Leap

35:31 Preview of Next Episode

36:42 Growth and Changes in the Show

37:35 Reflection on Season 1 and Planning for Season 2

38:31 Time Jump and New Opportunities

39:25 Engagement with Season 2

41:28 Off the Cuff Scenes

42:25 Articulating Emotions through Dialogue

44:21 Hannah's Perspective and Time Jump

46:13 Subtle Moments and Character Dynamics

48:02 Influences and Unique Dialogue

53:03 Producer Duties and On-Set Experience

55:05 Creating a Trap and Showcasing Character Traits

58:32 Introduction of Jeffrey and Future Possibilities

01:03:48 Easter Eggs and Including Friends

01:05:07 Telling a Unique Story and Providing Entertainment

01:07:28 Inspiration in the Creative Process

01:09:14 Closing Remarks

View Full Transcript

Episode Transcript

[00:00:02] Speaker A: Welcome, fellow travelers, to another interview in the series of season two interviews here at Fates Wide Wheel. Of course, I'm your host, Sam, and I am joined this week by the writer of off the cuff and producer for Quantum Leap, and that is none other than Alex Berger. Alex, thank you so much for being here. [00:00:17] Speaker B: Thank you so much, Sam. Obviously a huge fan of the podcast and really enjoyed our first chat last year. Can't wait to talk about this one. Yeah. [00:00:25] Speaker A: Thank you so much. I really appreciate that. It's exciting, the placement for this episode, because it's the first episode back after the lengthy break, but even more so, it's the first episode back after the strike. Obviously, those first eight were filmed prior to that. So I would love to hear a little bit about just that kind of process we've talked a lot about with other writers. And I'd love to get your insight on this, too, going directly from season one to season two, I mean, literally still being in kind of like post production on season one while starting season two. Even so, can you talk a little bit about just the frame of mind everyone was in coming back after the strike and getting started on this? I know obviously there was some story stuff set up, but it had to feel different coming back after a long break. [00:01:15] Speaker B: Yeah, that's a great question. So when we came back for season two, we sort of anticipated the possibility of a strike. And so when Martin and Dean built the production schedule, they always built it so that we could for sure have eight episodes in the bank, so that depending on how long the strike went, we would be able to air those. And then, story wise, build to a hiatus. Production wise, build to a hiatus writers who would build to a hiatus even if there hadn't been a strike. But if there were a strike, it was kind of a natural pause point. We had actually completely broken the season. We had fully broken twelve out of 13, and then 13 was sort of halfway through when the strike happened, and then everybody was penciled down and sort of obviously doing our duty to support the strike. And then when we came back, it was actually sort of a blessing in disguise, being able to kind of look back at the final five episodes with a little bit more of a 30,000 foot view when you're in a production, especially the way we did it, with no gap between season one and two, it's just you're building a train track in front of the train. And to be able to have that pause and look back and say, what choices did we make in these final five that we really want to rethink. We all had now the benefit of watching the first eight cuts and seeing what parts of the show were working and what parts of the show maybe needed a little bit of clarification. And so it was a nice kind of pause. And then I had started writing 209 before the strike. I was able to quickly finish it and sort of get that off and going because we were pretty quickly into production on that, but we were able to sort of. I think the second look on that second half of the season was really helpful for us. [00:02:49] Speaker A: Yeah, I can imagine. Especially, I'm curious how much of the sort of the fan reaction and anything that you might have been hearing from viewing numbers, et cetera, if that influenced anything. Not necessarily like story changes, but might have just influenced even the excitement, because I feel like the first part of season two did generate a lot of excitement among fans, and I know that the ratings were a bit up as well. So I'm just curious if any of that kind of influenced the vibe coming back. [00:03:17] Speaker B: Yeah, it's interesting. NBC had done some studies on the show primarily based on season one, and I think maybe the first couple of episodes of season two, and sort of studying focus grouping, what the audience was liking and what they were responding less to. And in a lot of ways, it was a validation of the types of things that we were leaning into with the show. It was, they love the leaps, they love the characters, they love the ongoing stories that feel like they're emotional and propulsive. So I think we were sort of spot on on that, but it did help us lean into the tone of the show that people were responding to. I know, especially with 209, I think people were really responding to the fun action adventure elements of the show. It was already the story we had planned. We had always wanted to do this sort of midnight run homage, which we could talk a little bit more about later, kind of fun action adventure thing. But it was kind of a good validation of, okay, those are the types of stories we should be doing and looking forward to ten through 13. Let's make sure we're leaning into the higher stakes, propulsive adventures that kind of can go on. [00:04:15] Speaker A: Yeah, that's a perfect opportunity to jump into off the cuff a little bit, because one of the things that I really enjoyed about the episode was that tone was the sense of humor, while also not sacrificing any of that tension and sort of the propulsive nature of just being on the run and the chase aspects. We get a literal car chase in the episode, which is fantastic. Can you talk a little bit about in breaking the episode and talking about kind of setting things up. And you mentioned Midnight run. I also kind of couldn't help because it's a tv show. Think of other television shows where you might get a similar vibe at times, like something even like Rockford files or fall guy or something like that. So I'm curious as to what was the genesis of this episode in this story. [00:05:02] Speaker B: Well, I mean, this is the sweet spot for me. I love sort of a fun, high stakes action adventure with really deep emotional undercurrents and a real character study, because I think that when you put characters in high stakes jeopardy, their true colors come out, and it gives you an opportunity to really show through action, identify character. And when we were talking about 209, I think Martin might have thrown around, let's maybe do something where Ben and somebody are handcuffed together. When Ben comes to handcuffs to somebody, where does that go? And we started brainstorming and thinking that could be kind of a midnight run adventure. And then we sort of built this Kevin character out of that, and then sort of where the episode goes organically from there kind of developed as we were thinking about the story. But I think for me, whether it's the high stakes of we've just been chased with bad guys, just chased us off the bus and we jumped off the bus, and now here we are, a little beat up, having an emotional conversation about selfishness versus selflessness, or whether we are about to be attacked by the bad guys and have to rush to create this sort of, like, mouth trap, home alone sort of trap for the bad guys. But at the same time, this putting the pressure on us of who are we at our core? Is Kevin a fundamentally selfish person, or does he actually care about people? Is Hannah and Ben's relationship going to survive the cauldron of these stakes? I mean, that's, to me, the most fun thing to do, which is why I love quantum leap, because you get to do a lot of all of the above. [00:06:32] Speaker A: Yeah, well, I think that one of the things, too, that's interesting about Kevin's character, know there's obviously this duplicitous know is his criminal. And I love that it's set up very early in the episode. Know, he's trying to kind of bribe Ben, and Ben is saying no. And part of what Kevin says is that he's innocent, he didn't do it. And then immediately he mentions the fact that he's got all these diamonds and all this stuff, and he's like, you told me, you didn't do it. He's like, I'm a criminal. I lie, and I love that, even down to the story about being valedictorian. And once we meet Josh and get a little more information behind that and behind their two upbringings, it really is wonderful, because all of the stuff that I'm talking about is basically in, like, the first 20 minutes, and we learn so much about Kevin and just his nature, obviously, from what we're seeing, but then also from what we get from other characters, which I love in theater, for instance, one of my favorite things is to always track when other characters are being spoken about when they're not on stage. And obviously, the same is true in film and television. But I could speak a little bit more to theater with that because you learn so many little details, not necessarily about the character specifically, but certainly about other people's perceptions of the character. Can you talk a little bit about when you're writing things like that to help inform the character? How do you make the choices of doing that? Is it just kind of getting into the mindset of the character you're writing, speaking about them and their perception? Is it more. I want to say this about the character, so I'm going to use this character as the vessel. What's that process like? [00:08:03] Speaker B: That's a great question. I mean, I think there's two things. So, number one is I always want to put a character on the show that's going to be fun, and that is a fun adventure for the audience to go on. That's one of the pieces of special sauce of quantum leap, is that we get to dive deeply into somebody's psyche every week, and it doesn't just have to feel like, okay, we're solving the crime mystery of the week, but it's really about the puzzle. [00:08:22] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:08:22] Speaker B: So that was part of it was, I love the sort of character who will lie and cheat and steal to get anything they want, but at the same time has something underneath a core hurt. But the main thing for me, especially when writing sort of procedural television that's character driven, is how can we use that character of the week to drive our character story? Because it's one thing to just do, oh, here's a fun character who comes and then leaves, and we don't really think about, you know, what lesson does Ben need to learn this week? Where does Ben's character need to go? And it's always tricky because this is a character who's not tethered to a home base, right. They're not tethered to relationships that are sort of physical, but they are tethered to sort of these relationships sort of through time and space. And so we felt like at this point, after the first eight, Ben needed to maybe think a little bit more about whether he should take care of himself and whether there should be some selfishness to this journey because he has spent so much time being selfless and that there's not necessarily anything wrong with looking out for yourself while you were also being selfless. And so that was why Kevin was such a useful agent of change for Ben. So obviously we have Kevin's journey, but at the same time, at the end of the episode, Ben says to Kevin, maybe you have something here with this whole take care of yourself thing because it helps him move a little bit more towards, okay, maybe I do need to think about where I'm going with this if I'm going to be a leaper forever, because he obviously doesn't know about the codes. If they bring him home, he's starting to get used to the idea that he is a nomad, as we talked about in 208. What does that mean for him? How is he going to live that life forever? [00:09:56] Speaker A: Yeah, I love that, too, because it is an excellent contrast to some of the stuff that we learn in 208 because there's this acceptance on Ben's part, obviously, that he's a nomad. But then when it looks like kind of halfway through the episode, that he might be stuck there, there's almost a second of like, okay, this might be my life now. And of course that changes in a flash. But now to see him in a situation where how does he serve himself along these journeys, serving everyone else? And I think that one of the ways that's illustrated so wonderfully in the episode, too, is, of course, the inclusion of Hannah and the way that Hannah is included. Now, when I had the pleasure of speaking to Dean and drew during secret history, I just kind of threw out there. I was know, could we see Hannah settle down at some point? [00:10:45] Speaker B: Because. [00:10:49] Speaker A: I think for me, from my perspective, one of the reasons why I asked that question is because I loved what was happening with the journey and know Ben would obviously be gone from her life for a couple of years and then pop back in. But there comes a point when I would hope that she would still be living her life. And by no know, it certainly kind of seemed like that. Like she was still doing things, she was engaging, but she wasn't necessarily seeing anyone that we knew of or anything like that. So when we see her in this episode. And now she's married and she has a kid. Can you talk about some of the discussions and the decisions to go forward with that as an element of not only her story but with this episode specifically? [00:11:27] Speaker B: Yeah, I mean, that was always baked into when we decided to do this story. When we decided that Ben would fall in love over the course of time with somebody we knew, we had an amazing opportunity to tell a love story. You don't get to see. I mean, everybody has know an epic love triangle and you've even seen love triangles that take place over many, many years of both of the characters'lives, but we have the unique opportunity to tell a story where one character is living this love story over a couple of days and one character is living this love story over the course of a lifetime. So what can know do for mean? First of all, there's the interesting thing, which is tricky to explore with the way we do the show. But whenever Ben shows up, Hannah is looking at a different person, right? Like one week she's looking at an ex military professor, and then the next week that she's looking at a CIA officer, and this week she's looking at this grizzly bounty hunter. But obviously the soul inside is the same. So what does that say about the physical versus the spiritual aspects of love, which was always really interesting to us. And then the other aspect, obviously, as you alluded to, is Hannah's going to go on and live her life. I mean, that was always really important to us. This is a remarkable, intelligent, fully realized person. And Ben obviously helps her with her journey between meeting her in 203 and helping guide her in 206 towards success at Princeton. But at the same time, we did not want her just waiting around for Ben. And we wanted her to live a full life and then test the idea of can love exist outside the bounds of time and space? And also, can you be in love with two people at the same time? I mean, that scene in Hannah's office where Ben is saying, you're married, I can't do this. I think in Ben's mind he's like, okay, maybe this is the end of our relationship, but in Hannah's mind, she's always baked into the way she was going to live her life. That, yes, I might get married and yes, I might have a kid, but I will live these days that I have with Ben as sort of my special Ben days as my special sort of thing that exists outside of my monogamous relationship with Josh. And she very much loves Josh. She loves her kids. Ben showing up does not feel like it's going to rip her away from that family, but she feels like she can have this sort of magical moment with him, which she knows is only going to last a little bit of time. And so that was always one of the great opportunities we had. And then obviously, we have this amazing chemistry between Ray and Eliza that really sells that and does a lot of work to sort of illustrate the uniqueness of that. [00:13:40] Speaker A: Mean, I think throughout the season, anytime we see Hannah, it feels know business picks up a bit. And I think that the fascinating thing about in this episode is that, of course, we still have this thing looming over us, that people are coming after Kevin, and by way of Kevin, of course, everyone else. And these. These wonderful kind of character moments and progression of Ben and Hannah's story still fit so well within the context of that. How do you manage that? Because it feels like, in a way, you could almost have two separate episodes, right. But it all still fits together really well. So I'm just curious, from your perspective, how do you make that work? [00:14:21] Speaker B: Yeah, it's a great question because that was the biggest challenge of this one, is we didn't want it to feel like two episodes matched into one. We wanted there to feel like there was a unique, singular, emotional journey going on for Ben and that there was a reason why he went on this adventure without Hannah for a little while. And then Hannah showed up. And so part of that was know, especially if you're watching these episodes directly in a row without having had that time gap, you will have just seen the heartbreak of Ben having to leave her in 208 in Egypt and the sort of epic adventure of that. So in his head, it's been moments since that. So he is still reeling from getting pulled away from her. So it's not like he is resetting and just normal Ben, who is going on his normal adventure, he's very much thinking about Hannah in the first half of the episode, which is why he asks his, you know, can you look up Hannah Carson? And he sees, oh, wait, I'm in. I'm near Princeton, New Jersey. There's got to be a reason for that. He's smart enough to figure out that the accelerator is sending him on these adventures. So he's thinking, okay, if I'm in New Jersey, maybe this is another Hannah episode. And then when he can't get a hold of her and he can't get the number and they're being chased, and then Kevin brings him to this house, he's thinking, okay, maybe this is not one of those adventures, and then all of a sudden, Hannah shows up. So he's already been primed very much to be in that space. And then, obviously, I think a big part of this episode, know, what does it mean to have a family? What does it mean to be at home? What does it mean to sort of be in sort of a monogamous relationship versus the sort of more a view of love? And so I think that has always been on Ben's mind throughout these last couple of episodes. So to put him in this house with this woman at this time is sort of the perfect opportunity to examine that. And then, yeah, a lot of it is just tonal. Like, you want to make sure that it doesn't feel like the first half was a 1980s 18 episode and the second half was melodrama. You want it to feel like the sense of humor and the emotion exists. In the first half, we have a lot of nice emotional moments, and Addison comes in and we have some of those nice emotional moments, and then we have the same level of emotion but also humor in the second half of the episode too. [00:16:21] Speaker A: Yeah, absolutely. I think that one of the things that's really nice about once we get to their house is that, yeah, it doesn't lose that sense of humor. And I don't think it doesn't lose the momentum either, which is so funny, because I can imagine that there was a danger, especially know you have characters, one character is getting fixed up, then they're sitting down to dinner. But in my opinion, it doesn't lose the momentum. And a lot of that from the outside looking in has to do with the fact that Ben and Hannah are in the same room. She doesn't know that it's him yet. There's still all of this wonderful stuff at play and how conscious were you of that and making those choices so that things didn't slow down too much in that kind of know, second half or at. [00:17:06] Speaker B: You know, I think, first of all, when we got to the house, even if Hannah hadn't been a part of the episode, there's always a danger that, oh, my gosh, we've been running and jumping and falling out of buses and car chases the whole episode, and now all of a sudden, we're in domestic drama. So we very much were conscious of not wanting it to feel like it was slowing down. So we have this nice scene between Josh and Ben while Ben's getting fixed up, and it's sort of, okay, I'm getting a little bit more of a window into who Kev is, as you suggested, you get a lot of insight into people when you have two characters talking about a third, and then Hannah shows up. So we immediately are back with sort of leaning into, okay, where is this going? And then to me, I could have written that dinner scene to be ten minutes. Like, I love the idea of Ben being sort of torn between, I love this woman, and, yes, she's holding hands with this man that she loves, and do I say anything? But obviously, we want to keep the pace up, and so we have the reveal come pretty quickly, and I hope the audience is still sort of invested in, okay, where has Hannah been for the last nine years? How does Ben feel about the fact that she's married? And then all of a know the stakes quickly ramp back up when we realize that the bad guys are. That's, to me, the hard part and the fun part of writing these kinds of shows is amping the stakes up when you need to amp them up and amping the tension and the speed of the episode up and then stopping down and doing a little bit of character without feeling like it's slow. [00:18:25] Speaker A: Yeah. So you mentioned the nine years, and I want to point that out for a moment, because I know that there was definitely some rumblings within the fan community about the fact that the previous three Hannah leaps, there was always six years in between them. And so now to go from having that gap to all of a sudden now it's nine years. Was there any. There's multiple questions here, but I'll just ask this one first. Was there any conscious thought given to the amount of time spent between leaps, like, in those first three Hannah leaps, and then it's extended and longer in this. Or was that just kind of like it happened that way? [00:19:00] Speaker B: We wanted enough time to pass where Hannah had lived a chunk of her life. I mean, I think if Ben leaped into 1946 and then leapt into 1947, you don't get to see what is the point of this episode, which is a woman going through an entire life's arc while Ben is day to day seeing her. So the idea know she was in a small town in New Mexico, and then all of a know is graduate assistant at Princeton and know this really successful researcher and academic, and then now the chair of the department of, like, you have to have these big time jumps. And also to the point we were talking about earlier, we want Hannah to have an emotional transformation each time that we see her. So you need some time to pass for us to go from this know, sort of Casablanca adventure in Egypt to, I'm in a domestic world with a husband and a kid, and I have a fully realized professional life as the chair of the department of Princeton. You need a lot of time to pass for that to be the case. But it wasn't. It has to be six years each time. I think a lot of it actually was driven by what year did we want the leap to be. And then I think to the extent that it was six years a couple of times was just a happy coincidence. But we needed 203 to be when it was because of the nature of Project Blue book, and then we needed 206 to be when it was because of the nature of when Einstein shows up and dies at Princeton, et etc. [00:20:26] Speaker A: Well, one of the things that I love is. [00:20:28] Speaker B: Yeah. [00:20:28] Speaker A: Is being able to see this passage of time and see the growth of the character. And it's one of the things having the good fortune of. Spoken to Eliza twice now. One of the things that we talked about both times, know, what is Hannah's journey like outside of the leaps? And obviously, there wasn't much she could say at risk of spoilers or any of that sort of thing. But I love the fact that the character is, yes, definitely getting the chance to live her life, and I think that it adds to the richness of the character and the agency of the character as well. She's not just sitting around waiting for Ben to come back, which is great. You spoke briefly about the nature of love and Hannah's perspective on that and the conversation that she has with Ben. Do you think that? First of all, I think it's lovely. Personally, I thought when Dean mentioned on the. That love being infinite and just his perspective, I loved that. And then seeing it brought in so explicitly in this way, as Hannah explains her ability to love Ben and still love Josh and have this family with. [00:21:28] Speaker B: Josh. [00:21:31] Speaker A: I would love to hear a little bit more perspective about that and some deeper thoughts, perhaps, about Hannah's thoughts on love, what that means for her relationship with Ben going forward, and also how you think maybe the public or the casual viewer even of the show might react to that, because it isn't something that's necessarily generally accepted, like polyamory in general, is something that has a hard time finding general acceptance, for instance, not that this is necessarily what that is specifically, but it's certainly related, I think. [00:22:01] Speaker B: Yeah, there are two really good questions. Let me start with the first one, which is the sort of derivation of the conversations about love. I mean, I've talked a little bit about it. I know Dean's talked a little bit about it. But the other piece that I can add to it, know. Hannah has this line, every parent knows when you have a child, your heart expands. I mean, that came out of a conversation. It was actually in a later draft of the script that Dean and I had this conversation. Dean and I, our kids are actually friends. We knew each other from before the show because our sons are friends. And we both talk a lot about parenting and the challenges of parenting outside of work and the challenges of having multiple kids who have different agendas and needs. And we have talked a lot about this idea that it feels like there should be a finite amount of love as a parent, but you do find the capacity to expand your heart as your family expands. And so we were sort of talking about Hannah and realizing that, oh, as somebody with a kid, she might have a different perspective on love because of that. And so that kind of informed that a lot. And I think we wanted her status as both a brilliant academic and this sort of amazing adventurer and also a mother to inform all of that. And, yeah, it is a challenge, especially to a broadcast network audience, to accept the idea that you can be in. [00:23:19] Speaker A: Love with people at the same time. [00:23:20] Speaker B: And I'm not actually sure where my head and heart lie on that question, but I do think it is a wildly valid area to explore, is can you be in love with two people at the same time? And we talked about sort of actually explicitly calling out the idea of monogamy being an outdated concept. And I think at one point, we had Hannah saying something like, for a man from the future, you sure do have an outdated view of love, but we didn't want it to be tied up in sort of, like, things that people are going to have a larger point of view on coming into the show. [00:23:58] Speaker A: Sure. [00:23:58] Speaker B: To us, there's something so specific about this idea that she's going to spend just a couple of days with this person over the course of a lifetime. It's not a direct situation where she's in love with two people and having two families or a polyamorous relationship in her house. It's something more specific to quantum leap that could only exist on quantum Leap, which know, I fully love my husband. He's my partner. He's my rock. And yet Ben is her soulmate in a very different way. And I think that's a really rich area to explore and goes to some interesting places from here, which I can't get into, but I'm sure you'll. Right. [00:24:30] Speaker A: Well, that brings me to a question which I'm sure you won't be able to directly answer. That's fine. But one question that I did have when watching the episode, and upon my first viewing, it was an answer that I felt like I was sure I knew the answer to. But upon my rewatch, I started to kind of wonder, well, there's nothing that says that that couldn't be the case. And I'm just curious if this is something that Hannah has already talked to. Has Hannah has know this time traveler with the nature of their relationship and their romance and stuff. So it's certainly a question I have about that. [00:25:05] Speaker B: It is a question I'm going to politely pass on answer, but you will get an answer to that. I'll answer a totally different question that you didn't ask, but for sure I wanted to mention, which is the idea of being in love with two people at the same time. And it was very tricky for us to work this into the episode because of the nature of the way it plays. But Ben also has two people in his life that he is in love with, and Addison has two people in her life that she is in love with. And so for Addison to be able to witness these conversations, for Ben to be able to think about the idea, know, can you be in love with two people at the same time? We really felt like was an important piece of the puzzle to add in because Ben and Addison's adventure is obviously not finished. Right. And we can't really talk necessarily about where it's going, but at the same time, we want the audience to be sort of torn about how they feel about that. And we want the audience to feel torn about how Addison feels about the fact that she is in love with Tom and yet still potentially can't get over Ben. And so I think those conversations also are playing in subtext and looks and performance. But I think at the same time, it was really exciting for us to be able to kind of explore that in this context. And I hope I successfully dodged your question about Josh without giving. [00:26:22] Speaker A: Totally, totally did. And I'm glad that you did bring that up because it was something that was on my mind as well. The nature of Ben's feelings towards Addison. Addison's feelings towards Ben, of course, and Tom as feel. There are these very genuine connections that all of these people share and love. It doesn't feel like it should be something that you could only feel once. [00:26:49] Speaker B: Right. [00:26:49] Speaker A: You know, the way that it's. It's just that one thing and certainly their circumstances, I think in this wonderful sort of Sci-Fi world that we have allow us to explore some of these questions in a way that feels, I don't want to say less threatening, because that might sound. But in a way, that's the way I can articulate it best. That might feel a little bit less threatening than if you're coming on this issue, like, head on. Right. And certainly the way that we have seen love explored and people who are with someone and then fall in love with someone else on network television, to be sure in the past, is basically that hearts are getting broken and whatnot. So I do really enjoy the dialogue that's being created around it within the show itself. With this episode specifically, and obviously for our characters, the emotional stakes are pretty high. [00:27:42] Speaker B: I think there is something you're mentioning that it's coming from this sort of like 5ft above the ground sort of science fiction role, but I think it's also a super relatable idea, not just in the sense that people have been in relationships and know, fallen out of love and fallen in love with somebody else, but it's deliberate that we made Tom a widow. Right. Tom is somebody who loved his wife. She died, he still loves her, and yet he's in love with another person. It does not deny his love for his wife. It's not a finite thing where you only have one love chip that you can give. And so we wanted to put whether it's Hannah with her child, Tom with his late Ben, Madison, Addison and Tom, Hannah and Josh, and know there's a lot of different variations on a theme in this episode that I feel like are pretty universally relatable to an audience. [00:28:31] Speaker A: I would hope. I agree with you, and I will even go one step further and add magic and Beth into the mix as well, because I think for a lot of fans, especially fans of the classic series, seeing Beth move on, I know there were some people that had a bit of difficulty with that. Totally understandable. But it goes to your point as well that it does not change Beth's love for al or their love story or the way that love story was told in the classic series whatsoever. And it does not negate her feelings for magic either. It's the idea that, yes, the capacity is there to love more than once, because how awful and terrible and sad would it be if you can only love one person and then, yes, they do die or something separates you or whatever, and now you're never allowed to love anybody again. I mean, that's just awful. And I would not want to live in that world. I want to go back to Josh real quick, because I had heard the Quantum Leap podcast, had the opportunity to interview Josh Dean, and apparently he had said that the role was written with him in mind. Is that so? [00:29:36] Speaker B: I wrote on Blind Spot with Martin for five years, which is how I came into this universe. And Josh was a recurring on Blind Spot, playing a character called Boston Arlos Crab, which was very different than this character. It's no accident that the character in the story is named Josh, and we cast Josh. It's because we had him in mind. In fact, Joe Menendez, our director, who I know also spoke, I believe, with the QLP, had worked with him on kung fu. And when he read the script, he had Josh in mind to play Kevin, which I thought was kind of interesting. And I think he could have done a great. I think, you know, Josh Dean, the actor, who is a wonderful person and sort of know one of the biggest hearted, generous, funny, friendly people to have on a set or in your life, brings this emotional depth to him when he shows up. I mean, I get chills every time I watch the cut or when I was on the set, when he just shows up at the door and sees his brother and his face says so much. And that was really important to us because not only do you need to understand that Kevin doesn't like his brother and vice versa, but it was really important to us that the person that Hannah married be a remarkable person, that Hannah didn't settle, that Hannah is know, in a slummy relationship and therefore just waiting around for Ben that she married somebody pretty know. He's a medical doctor. He's an extraordinary father. He know a really kind and empathetic person. He just has this damaged relationship with his brother, and that's a lot to show in a very brief amount of screen time. And so we were blessed to be able to have Josh Dean play the role because he can play all of that in a very brief amount of time. [00:31:22] Speaker A: Yeah. One of the things, and I kind of mentioned this earlier, that I was really struck by in my second watch, was the conversation that he has with Ben while he's kind know, patching Ben up after they first arrived to the house, because it really does shine through, especially the nature of his relationship with his brother. As frustrated and annoyed as he clearly is with his brother, it is undeniable that there is still this affection, that there is still this connection between the two of them. And again, upon my second watchman, I was really picking up on more of that. It moved me to be more invested with both of them. Quite frankly, even though Kevin's not in the scene at think. Yeah, I think ultimately it pays off, and he does a wonderful job. And, of course, I want to know if we'll see him again, and I have a feeling we will, but I don't imagine you can answer that. [00:32:16] Speaker B: Question. [00:32:18] Speaker A: Well, one of the things that I will mention, I'll just kind of jump to the end right now. I want to talk to you about more things. But since we are talking about Josh, of course, the reveal that comes at the very end of the episode, as Addison is doing the wrap up for Ben and letting him know how everything's going to go. She mentions that Josh will die suddenly of an aortic embolism in a few years time. And Ben, of course, turns around to try to mourn Hannah about this because there's a surgery that can be fixed, and then he leaps. I think it's a very affecting moment. I'm really interested to see how people are going to react to it, quite frankly. Can you talk about the decision making process that went not only to deciding to reveal it at that moment, which is perfect, obviously, but the decision to actually have that be the case? [00:33:17] Speaker B: Yeah. One of the things that's really sort of rich about this show is he's a time traveler who is given a specific mission by the accelerator. But yet, if you're showing up in a time and space, if you're in 1943, why not just take a quick flight over to Germany and kill Hitler? Or if you're showing up in 1982, why not take a detour over to your mom and give her a stock tip or two on the other side of the ledger? But Ben and the quantum Leap project are so committed to this idea that we are sent to a time and place to help who we're supposed to help, and we're not supposed to go off script. And so we actually wanted to have a longer conversation between Addison and Ben about, do I warn Hannah? Because that wasn't really why I was sent here. I was sent here to protect Kevin, to make sure that he was able to not get killed by these bad guys and then move on and repair this relationship with his Brother. I wasn't here to stop Josh from Nyam. What are the butterfly effects that could happen? If know, go tell him. And then it changes history in a way that I wasn't supposed to know. The accelerator sends us to a time and place and gives us a mission for a reason, which is that we don't want to alter history too much. We would have loved to have had that conversation, but it was sort of awkward to have all of that play and then have it leap. It felt like a little bit too. You know, I think Ben wasn't entertaining, that just he loves Hannah and he does not want to see her in pain. And the other piece of that that's interesting is he loves Hannah, and yet he wants to go warn her to save the life of the person that's standing in between him and Hannah. And that's the person that Ben is. He just cares so much about people that he wants to do the right thing regardless of how it would affect him. So all of that was playing underneath the sort of 15 2nd conversation that happens between Ben and Addison. But it's very much deliberate that we put that there. And who knows where that story is going? I'm not a liberty to say, but, yeah, we wanted it to be kind of a tricky choice for Ben. And then now, obviously, he's traveling through time and space again. Like, where will he end up? When will he end up? Will he end up crossing paths with them again? All open questions that we want the audience to be wondering about. [00:35:34] Speaker A: Yeah, well, I think I can say this because it was actually out there, so I'm not spoiling anything, but I do know that the next episode takes place in 1953, which I think is fascinating to me because I feel like it takes Ben to a time where he can't warn Hannah, in my opinion. And I'm really looking forward to seeing how that plays out. But anyway, all I can say is. [00:35:59] Speaker B: I'm very excited about that exact question. [00:36:02] Speaker A: Yeah, excellent. [00:36:03] Speaker B: We came up with was one of my favorite things that we've done this season, and it's certainly not. The question is out there, let me. [00:36:12] Speaker A: Just put it that way. [00:36:14] Speaker B: It's not a closing thing for that episode. [00:36:17] Speaker A: So I want to ask you a couple of questions just about kind of your involvement with the show in general. I want to talk a little bit more about off the cuff. But before we do that, when we spoke last season, you had come into the show after things had already started up and were there, obviously, for the back end of season one, being now here for the full season, the beginning of season two, and being here as long as you have. How do you think the show has changed and grown since you came aboard? [00:36:50] Speaker B: Yeah, without my involvement at all being a factor, I think we have, just as a group, kind of figured out how to do this show. As is the case with any show, if you watch any show, they kind of figure it out deeper in now it's sort of like I came in after a lot of the heavy lifting had been done, because most of the time it's those first sort of ten to twelve episodes where you're trying to figure out exactly what is the show, what can we do on the show? And you don't have the time to really think ten episodes ahead because you're so desperate to kind of keep the trains on time. And every show I've been on, that was season one was like that. I just happened to come in after a lot of that stuff had gotten settled out. And so by the time I came on, which was sort of halfway through season one, we had a pretty good plan for where we wanted to go in terms of the leap Rex story and where we wanted it to take Ben and Addison and the 118 into 201 of it all was all kind of figured out as we were getting there. So we had a lot more solid footing as we came into season two. The deficit we had was we didn't have the typical amount of time you have between seasons, as I think you alluded to. We went right from writing season one to season two, so we didn't have a ton of time, but we did make sure to take a couple of weeks. Maybe it was just two to sort of ask ourselves, okay, where did we end season one emotionally? Where do we want to go season two emotionally? What do we want the end of the season to be? We didn't even know our episode number order. We thought it could be either eight or 13 or 18. So we sort of had to be modular about that and then really sort of think about what aspects of season one do we want to keep using? What aspects of season one maybe weren't working as well. Who do we want to bring in as new characters? Because we obviously wanted to bring in some new blood. We had the time jump pretty early on. That was a part of the story that Martin and Dean knew they wanted to do pretty early. And so that gives you a lot of opportunities to think about what's happened to these people over the course of these, was, I think, watching the show evolve, it's really. And it was a largely similar team between seasons one and two. And so we kind of had a rhythm and a collective language and sort of knew what worked and what didn't. And then the other fun thing about season two is maybe you tried something in season one and it didn't work. But let's try it again in season two, something that ended up on the cutting room floor like a leap that we thought about, that we couldn't make work or a character when we would do without. Couldn't make work. And now that we know how to do the show a little better, now that we sort of have a little bit more foresight about where we're going, we can use some of those pieces that we were all really excited about we didn't get to do. And I hope the audience is. I mean, I've appreciated all the kind words about this season. I hope the audience is feeling that sort of, like, rhythm we're getting into, in a way. [00:39:28] Speaker A: Yeah. Again, I can only really offer my perspective, but I certainly think so. And I felt just even more engaged with the season as a whole and the characters. The time jump has just worked out so beautifully. I heard about it very early as a result of some shenanigans, but I think it's remarkable the way that it's been pulled off and the depth that it's added, especially to the characters. What were your initial reactions when you heard that was the direction that you were going? [00:39:59] Speaker B: I loved it because I think it's so hard to tell a new story. I always think of seasons as chapters, as books in a series, right. The episodes are chapters and the seasons are books, but it's all one series. And so the challenge that any novelist might face when they start to write book two is how do you tell a different story while at the same time feeling continuity from book one? And the same is true with seasons of television, seasons two in particular, a whole different podcast could be had on the phenomenon of season twos, which I think are generally weaker than the first seasons if you look at the course of the history of television. And so that's the challenge you face, know, how do we do something different but still it's the same show and yet stir the pot in a. So, you know, I believe it was Martin who had the idea of this three year time jump, and immediately all of us, I think Dean's talked on your podcast about how immediately all of us thought, oh, there's so many possibilities. What were all these folks up to? Did anybody give up on Ben? And what did that look? You know, obviously, I think it's been alluded to that we had more scenes that we wanted to show that happened in the time gap, and we just didn't have the time to do them about, you know, when did Addison finally decide she was going to move on? The dialogue alludes to. She hit rock bottom and tried to jump into the accelerator to save him. And almost the suicide mission. We were going to show some of that. We just didn't have the chance to do it. But there's just so much you can do to sort of reorient the chess pieces on the board but use the same pieces to tell an equally compelling story. [00:41:31] Speaker A: Yeah, you bring up Addison and the time that she may have waited and that sort of thing, and that'll bring us right back off the cuff because one of the scenes that I love, I mean, I always love these scenes. I just think it's a wonderful opportunity to kind of, like, you get to take a breath within the leap story while then engaging on this really wonderful personal character level with the characters. And specifically the scenes that we've seen this season between Addison and magic have just been these really lovely moments for her to kind of, like, check in and let us know where she's at and for magic to offer some sage advice. And I've really enjoyed those scenes a lot this season, quite frankly, and this one's no exception because it puts us in Addison's head in this lovely way where she gets to just say what I think a lot of us have been thinking and feeling as viewers as the season has progressed. And I would love to just hear a little bit about that scene and about the decision to have Addison just articulate it so directly that this is what this feels like. [00:42:28] Speaker B: Yeah. That scene was really emblematic of what's great about this show when we made the decision that Addison was going to find the ring in 208 and then she was going to think Tom was about to propose, but he has this DARPA file. Obviously, Addison's head is spinning. And you would love to have the scene with Dr. Melpie where she gets to talk about where her head is, but that's just not the show we're in. We're not in a show that stops and know at length about each emotional moment because the trains are always moving so fast. And there's this scene early on in the episode where they're talking about, do we tell Ben? Can we bring him home? Ian is talking about whether they think this is a valid lead or just a flash in the pan. And I wanted to be able to have Addison articulate how much of a hurricane her head is, but she can't say those things out loud. But we have the fortune of having Caitlin as an actress who can pull that off with the way that she's standing and the way that she's orienting herself towards the scene, even just the blocking of putting her on the end of the row know missing when somebody asks her a question. And having that asked twice. I think you're getting a lot of that, but yet you want her to be able to articulate it. And Ian actually has this funny exchange where they say, to know, how would you feel if you thought you're about to be proposed to you by your boyfriend, but instead, your other ex fiance might be able to come home. And it's sort of articulating the absurdity of the moment. But then you want to hear it from Addison. You want to hear where her head is, and you don't want to just hear her say, I love Ben and I love Tom, and I don't know what to do. I think you want to see the tumult that she feels about this sort of predicament that the universe has put her in. And then I had lots of conversations with Caitlin in prep because she wanted to make sure that the character felt the right level of frustration at the universe for putting her in this position. And we talked about that performance, and that was actually not originally how I thought the scene was going to be played, but I thought it was so much better the way that she played it. Just the sort of anger at the situation, and yet the yearning that she feels to have something feel settled and walk on solid ground. I thought her performance in that scene was really remarkable. [00:44:46] Speaker A: I agree. And one of the things about what you were just saying that I love, too, is it really takes us away from any kind of melodrama, because it's not about Tom and it's not about Ben. It's about Addison. [00:44:54] Speaker B: It's about. [00:44:55] Speaker A: This is how I feel, damn it. Like, I'm mad because, like you said, why is the universe messing with me? And it works. [00:45:02] Speaker B: Yeah. And we'll get into this in a little bit as a show, but she was supposed to be the leaper for 21 episodes. A lot of her decisions have been shortcutted by somebody jumping in front of her in line and making a decision for her, whether it was Ben or now this dark. Okay, fine. I know where I am. I'm going to marry Tom. And then the universe throws this other curveball at her. So she has very much just wanted to feel like she could be settled in the place that she is, and there's just curveball after curveball after curveball thrown at her, and this character really just wants to wrestle some agency back. And again, I can't really articulate exactly where we're going, but I will say that that is something that is going to very much come into play over the last four episodes is just her making some decisions for herself. [00:45:47] Speaker A: That's excellent. That's excellent. And I want to go back real quick just to articulate this, because I agree with you. That moment when she is kind of zoned out, when they're kind of all meeting around Ian's terminal and they're looking at the DARPA stuff, there's something about the way that the look on Caitlin's face that it really is like one of my favorite times I've ever seen a character zoned out. You know what? It's just because it just felt so genuine, so real, so honest. It was wonderfully played, and it's one of those moments that I love, because she's not venting to magic, she's not having this moment. Instead, it's something really subtle. And I thought that it was wonderful. I also loved Jed's response. Oh, no, go ahead. I want to hear that. Go ahead. [00:46:28] Speaker B: I was going to say, I've done a lot of shows where there's sort of an action adventure taking place out in the world, and then you have your characters on your standing know, typing to try to figure out the plot, and those scenes can know a little tough because there's only so many different ways you can play. We're all looking at the computer and Ian makes a snarky comment, and then we have a conclusion and we all clap at the end and say, go. Then obviously, we have to do those scenes on the show, but I always want them to be about something else. I want them to be some other character dynamic that's happening in the scene. So it's not just an information dump. The plot that is happening in that scene is we are going over whether or not this is a value able lead and whether we're going to tell Ben. But emotionally, that scene is so much know, we've had so many false starts. Are we going to be able to finally get over the hump on this? And then Addison, obviously, playing what we just talked, it was. That's the luxury you have when you have such a talented cast. Know, Caitlin's playing an entirely different scene than what the dialogue is, but it still plays because we're able to sort of see that on her and the way the scene is directed. Joe did an incredible job sort of making sure that that was coming through as we're also getting a lot of the information. [00:47:37] Speaker A: And I think that one of the things that I love about a lot of these scenes, quite frankly, is that there are other shows out there that are fine and wonderful and people like them, but when they have a scene similar to this, I almost feel like the dialogue is interchangeable from episode to episode. Like it doesn't really matter. And I feel like this scene, obviously, it couldn't exist in another episode, and it benefits so much from what has come before, and it benefits so much of being able to look at what might be next. Obviously, with the DARPA projects and stuff, we do get left hanging, though, with Jen's line. I want to know what Jen was going to say. I want to know what parallel is she drawing between her own personal life. [00:48:14] Speaker B: Yeah, sure. That's potentially to come at some mean. That's the hardest part about writing this show for me, or one of the hardest parts is that we have to, because of the nature of the show, we're so much with Ben and the leap, and we have these phenomenal actors and characters who are going through their own journeys, and there just isn't really the time to delve as much as we want into think, you know, Nanrissa actually added a little bit to that line, I think, both in terms of the dialogue and the way she was performing it, that wasn't in the original script. That was so lived. Like, that's the nice thing about working with talented folks is that they can add so much in so little. [00:48:51] Speaker A: Well, any opportunity for more. Jen, I'm always excited for. So I'm curious, too, again, kind of stepping back just a moment from off the cuff, specifically to some of your duties in general arounding the show when you're not specifically writing an episode. I had heard that you were doing some producing duties on the finale, for instance. I've heard, obviously, that you're a big presence in the writers room, et cetera. Everyone says you're wonderful. That I've spoken with. I've heard you described as a true mensch. So I'm just kind of curious, what are some of the other things that you're doing on the larger level with day to day stuff when you're not necessarily writing a specific episode? [00:49:28] Speaker B: So when I was brought into the show, one of the problems that they were having before was because everybody was so busy, there wasn't always the same people in the writers room. So what ended up happening is you'd be working on a story, and then someone would leave set and someone would go to set, and all of a sudden, you'd have a whole new set of voices and who hadn't been in the room for the first part of the conversation. And so this is actually what I did on blind spot as well, is I was sort of intended to be the person who was always in the room, who always had the vision of the show in terms of story and where the characters were going in mind. And I wasn't going to go on set a lot in season one. And so drew, speaking of Mensches, the mensch that he was, ended up producing my season one episode because we were deep into starting season two as we were on set for that. And if I had gone on set to produce that episode, we would have had the exact same problem we had season one, which is the lack of sort of one clarity of where the show was going. We had the luxury this time of when 209 was being produced. We were done with the writers room. And I love being on set, especially on this show, which was an absolute joy. I mean, we have a wonderfully talented crew. I had an amazing director, and then obviously this cast is so delightful, and the guest cast was wonderful, too. So it was really fun to be able to be on set and not have to feel like I was missing what was going on in the writers room, which is sort of the place I truly love and I truly feel at home. And then all, as producers doing sort of a little bit of everything, we're all weighing in on casting. We're all weighing in on know. Martin and Dean are obviously sort of the final vision of all of those things and really are sort of the dual quarterbacks of the team. But it's a collective. The wonderful thing about television is it's a collective process. So anytime a script comes out, an outline, a cut, we all get to read them and look at them and sort of weigh in. [00:51:15] Speaker A: Yeah, that's very cool. I love the collaborative process in general, but hearing about the nature of this show and the way that it's produced and what everyone says, it does feel like it stands out in a lot of ways. Most of the people that I've spoken to have talked about how it does feel like a special environment compared to other things that they might have worked on before. Do you get that feeling, too, that it really is kind of maybe set apart from some of the other stuff? [00:51:42] Speaker B: Yeah, I think overall, it's a very kind group. It's a very generous group. I mean, obviously the talent is extraordinary. Our cast, our writers, our crew, everybody from top of the departments on down are very talented, but there's a warmth and a kindness and a sort of generosity to it. I've been on sets that aren't as much like know to some degree, I like to credit ray with that, which is that when your number one on the call sheet is sort of a mention and a big hearted person, it trickles down and vice versa is also true. That's not the know. And then also Martin and Dean, who are just know, the most extraordinarily generous people, both creatively and personally. And know. I've worked with Martin for a long time. I've known Dean for a long time. And just to watch them lead this group of folks, it really does work its way down from know. There's the expression of fish stinks from the head. I'm not exactly sure what the opposite of that is, but that's what's going on. The fish smells glorious from the head. So I think we just have a really special group, and I hope we get to keep going with it because it would be a shame to only get two years of this. I'm very hopeful that we'll get more, so I'm not super worried about it. [00:53:07] Speaker A: Yeah, that's awesome. I love to hear that. Obviously, I have to ask because I'm very curious. I know you can't say anything, uh, and I don't know anything specific, which I'm grateful for, quite honestly. But what was it like being on set for the. [00:53:26] Speaker B: That came about know Drew had a baby and so wasn't sure. He wrote an unbelievable finale script. I mean, it's truly fantastic. And that he wasn't sure if he was going to be able to be on was. So I sort of volunteered and Dean volunteered to kind of COVID the days that Drew couldn't be there. And then it turned out that Drew was able to be there for lot of it. He was able to be there for a lot of it. So a lot of times there were three of us or more on set sort of weighing in, and it was Drew's baby. And so I sort know mostly was just there to sort of cheer on, maybe catch a note here or there. But I've been on set lots and lots and lots of times where I am the sort of main producer on set. You feel stressed about, like, does this wardrobe tell the story that we want to tell? And is this performance going to be exactly right? And it was nice to kind of know Drew, sort of run with that, and just kind of be able to weigh in as I weighed in and watch the show be made. And then it was directed by our producing director, Chris Grismr, who is, in addition to being a phenomenal director, has been with the show since the beginning. So you know that when he's making a choice, he knows, okay, when we do this, this is what it's supposed to look like. And when a character is going to this room, this is the direction they go. Or when, tonally, when Ben is leaping, here's what that looks like. Or all of those different types of choices. You feel in very good hands when you have directing. [00:54:42] Speaker A: Nice. Well, obviously, I don't want to give off the cuff any short shrift. And I'm just curious. You mentioned kind of midnight run earlier. Were there any other influences you had? And in an episode where I feel like there's so much sparkling dialogue, especially between Kevin and Ben, is there ever the temptation, or how do you resist the temptation to basically just parrot or ape something that might be an inspiration or something that's come before that sits in a similar genre? [00:55:09] Speaker B: Yeah, I mean, look, I love any of those sort of buddy cop road movies. Whether it's the night run, planes, trains, and automobiles is a favorite of mine. Any sort of mismatched duo on the road with adventure is always going to bring me joy. And then I'll get back to your question about tone in a second. But home alone, oddly, was an influence because we knew that we wanted them in the house. We knew we wanted the bad guys to come to the house, and we knew we wanted them to set a trap. And so, obviously, very different movie tonally, but sort of the fun of that was always there for us in terms of aping. You start with, okay, this is maybe the couple of movies in the genre that we want to look at, and how can we do that differently? The great thing is, let's just take midnight run as an example. Midnight run is De Niro, who know the grumpiest, grump, grizzled cop you could come up with. And then Grodin, who is neurotic and annoying and actually has kind of a big heart. And by nature, Ben can't do that. Ben cannot be the grizzled, annoyed person. That's just not who he is. So how do you take the world's most annoying criminal and make him different than Charles Grodin in Midnight run, which I think we did, but with the same mission, which is I've got to escape. Every time I'm handcuffed to this guy, I'm thinking, how do I get unhandcuffed? How do you put Ben's unique sort of superpower, which is his empathy, front and center, when he's sitting next to the most annoying guy in the world. And what was great for us is know there's the scene outside the gas station where Addison says, this guy's a scumbag. And Ben says, this can't be the mission. Like, I'm always sent to help a good person achieve something in their life. And that's what Ben is doing the entire first half of the episode, is he's trying to figure out what is the good in this person that I am supposed to bring out. It's very hard to find, especially when I see him shoplifting teddy bears at a bus station. But I am the world's most empathetic person. I'm going to find the sort of soft core inside of the hard shell. And he does. He finds that he has this fractured relationship with his brother. He finds that he cares about his sister in law and his nephew, and he gets them to do the selfless thing in the end. So I think that is going to be so different than what we've seen in the sort of cliche of whether it's planesurance, automobiles or midnight run or any of these movies, you're already inverting it on its head. Then it's just like you have two actors who are always going to bring something different than table. We also have David Rogers, who played Kevin, was also on Mugspot as well. He brought such a fun energy to that character, but a real emotional depth to it, which already is going to make it feel. He was. [00:57:48] Speaker A: He was wonderful and he just handled that dialogue superbly. And I really enjoyed him. And one of the things that I enjoyed in general is I felt like it was just such a strong guest cast. And, I mean, obviously, like David and Josh get the most to do out of our guest stars that aren't Ben, Hannah, Addison, et cetera. But the other thing that I wanted to talk about, of course, was the home alone bit that you had mentioned. I love the fact that we get this opportunity to see Ben and Hannah using their scientific ingenuity to come up with a plan to stop this, talk a little bit about the idea to do that, to not have it know, fisticuffs or mean, obviously, Ben's shoulders injured. Yeah, I did. I loved the plan and I love seeing them hatch the plan. I loved Jeffrey being there, which I want to ask you about, Jeffrey, real quick before we go as well. But, yeah, the decision to hatch that plot and have them in a trap. [00:58:41] Speaker B: Yeah, well, I mean, you've got two characters whose brilliance lies in their knowledge of science and physics and so to say, oh, we're just going to stand right outside the door and punch them in the face when they come. Wouldn't be true to the character. Ben's past this, right? So that's the other thing. He wouldn't want to hurt somebody unless he had to. So we put them in this basement with all of this gak in there on purpose because we wanted to sort of see how will these two brilliant minds meld. And again, I talked very early on in our conversation about how I love writing action adventure, but I always think that the action adventure piece needs to speak to who the characters are, and the characters need to be moved by or move the story in a way that feels like it's about. So, you know, Ben and Hannah are linked, sort know, through time and space by this love story, and by their sort know, sort of quantum entanglement, as it were. But how do we then show that, right? How do we see their mind meld? And it's know, they're brainstorming down to the basement, and they're having a conversation where they're finishing each other's sentences. And it's deliberate that Kevin has no idea what they're talking about because they are speaking to each other through a mindbelt. And then they both come up with the rock sold idea at the same time. So it's sort of, let's tell the love story through action. Let's tell the love story through watching them piece together this track. And then it wouldn't be a good action sequence without a little bit of a fight at the end. But again, that fight, and I hope this comes through, it was really well put together by our stunt team and our director and our cinematographer, Anna, which was, how do we tell the story of these two people who are tangled in time and love each other in a fight sequence? Right? So you see them in this two on one sequence against this really capable fighter, and they're not fighters. Ben and Hannah are not fighters by nature, but because they know, sort of thinking with one mind, they're able to double team on her and get one over on her. And again you have Kevin saying, are you sure you two don't know each other from before? Because there is magic to the way they come together. So all of that is by way of saying, like, when we started, we said, okay, we're going to set a trap home alone style. And then we tried to brainstorm about how you do that. And it's, okay, it should be based in science. So we're going to use this idea that electricity conducts through the water, and then we want to make sure we're telling the love story. So we're going to see them doing it together as a team and use Kevin as the eyes into that to tell that story in a most effective way possible. [01:01:07] Speaker A: Yeah, well, it worked wonderfully, and I'm glad you brought up the fight, too, because I had almost forgotten about that. But I also thought it was a wonderful kind of tip of the cap, in some ways, to secret history, because I love the fact that at the end of secret history, they're working together in a similar way. And now seeing that again, in this respect, but in a different manner, was wonderful. So the one big thing that I haven't really asked you about and haven't talked too much about, and part of that is because I feel like I immediately would want to fall into spoiler territory. And I know that that's not going to happen, is, of course, Jeffrey. And the fact that Hannah has a son and that there's now someone else in play, quite frankly, who could have an impact on future events, especially considering their age. I know that one of the things that's been going around in the fandom since Hannah appeared is this notion that she's somehow going to be involved in present day events. And one of the things I've tried to remind people is like, yeah, she'd be, like, 100 years old, though. So probably not. But now, quite frankly, we have someone who wouldn't be 100 years old. Now, I know you can't say anything, and I don't expect you to, but with that in mind, can you talk a little bit about the decision? Know, it's one thing to have Hannah get married. It's another thing to have Hannah have a child and be a parent. You talk about the decision to create Jeffrey and to have this other character now kind of in the mix, and what that does for the possibilities for the future. [01:02:28] Speaker B: Yeah. You are correct that I'm going to artfully or not so artfully, dodge any questions about where that character is going. I can say that sort of emotionally, it was important to us, as we talked about before, for Hannah to have this fully realized life. And that was honestly where we started, was what would it look like for her to have moved on? How do you articulate that? Besides, just like she has some different makeup on her face and a different hairstyle, is you need her to have this very different looking and feeling life. And then what would the child of this extraordinary person be like? They wouldn't just be wanting to play Atari. They would be an extraordinary kid. And so we have him knowing what the myard reaction is. We have him having saved cereal box tops for two years to get his Red Rider BB gun. In our little Christmas story, we have him building a hydroelectric turbine with his mother, which it's no accident that we were talking about fusion in 206. And here we are with another sort of energy experiment. A little nod of the capture that. So it was largely about emotion and sort of telling the story of Hannah's moving on, and then showing that the child of Hannah would be as extraordinary as she is. And beyond that, I plead the fifth. Maybe I'll come back on the podcast after 213 and we can discuss. [01:03:47] Speaker A: Yes, I would love that. So, last couple of questions, and then I'll let you get out of here. I really appreciate you sharing your time with me. Is one firmly tongue in cheek, but I'm just curious, when did you have a high school named after? You. [01:04:02] Speaker B: Have high school name after. Usually you have to do something terminary and die to do. Mean, honestly, a lot of this know the fun of putting your friends names in the show. I did not intend to put my name in the show. Like I said, I think we talked about this before we got online, but the art department had the idea that Josh went to Alexander Berger High School, which is a little, tiny, little Easter eggplanted in the. But no, it's always fun to be able to shout out to your friends. Kevin Zat is a shout out to a friend of mine who is an enormous QL fan. And, like, live text me every time the show is on. And there's little Easter eggs here and there. Hannah Nally being one, and to friends and family all around the world. That's one of the nice things when you're a writer, is you get to include your friends in, you know, occasionally your enemies, if you want to put a good. Yeah, that was just a fun little wink. But I cannot take credit for the Alexander Berg high School. That was our wonderful art department. [01:04:56] Speaker A: Yeah, they are incredible. There is no doubt about that. I mean, the work that they do on the show is magnificent, especially considering the creating a new world every week. Huge task. What do you hope people take away from this episode? [01:05:12] Speaker B: I think it's largely a question of how do you exist in this unique world that Ben is put into? This is a show that gets to tell a story that no other show gets to tell, which is about a man who is a nomad in the universe, traveling through time and space, helping people and living this entirely selfless existence. He started to do it for selfless reasons, to save the woman that he loved. And now he's potentially stuck out in the world. And how does he exist like that? Can he be in love with somebody who's going to have her own life? Does he have to be entirely selfless? Or can he make decisions that are about himself? What does he do when it comes time to help the people that he loves, even if it's outside of the bounds of the leap? So those are all sort of the emotional questions. And then, honestly, I write television that I hope people will just enjoy and have fun with. And so I hope you sit back and watch this one and have a good ride while still falling in love with our characters and feeling delighted by the situations they go in. [01:06:13] Speaker A: Well, you got to write a car chase that has, in my opinion, some sparkling dialogue along with it ending in a fantastic. [01:06:22] Speaker B: Mean. When I knew I was writing the midseason premiere, Merton told me, write it big. I'll write it to be know, significantly more expensive than I know we can afford. And then I'll cut stuff when we get there, assuming that we would either cut the car chase or jumping out of the bus or the fight at the end. And yet, because we have this incredible production team and a director who was really experienced and actors who were game for anything and producers who were really smart, we were able to fit it all in. We didn't cut a single piece of action out of the episode. So that was a delight. [01:06:58] Speaker A: That's awesome. Yeah, it feels like a big episode, and it is a very fun episode. And in addition to. Of course, it's funny because I was thinking to myself as I was rewatching it, Hannah doesn't come in, like I said, until about halfway through the episode. And I wondered for a moment, I just, in my head, I wanted to picture an episode where Hannah never comes in. And I was, I mean, the episode would still have, like, it would still have story to tell and places to go, which I think is really wonderful and speaks to the quality and the way that I was enjoying the episode anyway. But then, of course, when you inject her into it now, it's just sort of know, business just picked up, which is great. Last question for you. And this is just kind of a general one that I've started asking people. Eliza was the first person that I asked this to, but what inspires you. [01:07:43] Speaker B: Creatively or just in, you know, for me, as a actually, you know, love the process of as this episode as an example there's something really magical to me about having a conversation with Martin on the phone where he says, what if Ben comes to handcuff to someone all the way to. We have a team of 200 extraordinary artisans pouring their heart and soul into making that. It starts as a sentence and it ends up as this massive production that ultimately boils down to 42 minutes of entertainment for somebody as they're sitting there at home trying to unwind at the end of the day. But was a real labor of love for everybody. From the craft services team to the wardrobe department, to the art department, hair and makeup, everybody is really pouring their soul into making something really beautiful and perfect. And every line of dialogue is thought through by an actor in a really deep and profound way. And every camera shot is thought through by our cinematography team in our camera department. Every sound decision is really poured over within an inch of a frame, all from something that started as a kernel of a thought and built with the writer's room, built as a script, built through the editorial process with a studio and a network. And so that, to me, is really inspirational, is just watching that process happen. That's why I love television. [01:09:19] Speaker A: Absolutely. I think that's a wonderful mean. It's the reason why, you know, performing arts in general, because I feel the same way about live theater. We just opened a show on Saturday night, and it's that same feeling, and I love that. Thank you so much. Alex, thank you so much for coming on the show and for sharing and being here. It really is always a pleasure. I had so much fun talking to you last time, and I'm glad that we got to do it again. [01:09:45] Speaker B: Thanks for your passion for the show and for putting so much thought into it. It's always been such a joy listening to you and now talking to you, and hopefully we have many more to come. [01:09:55] Speaker A: I hope so, too. I hope so, too. All right, well, we're going to get out of here. Thank you much, fellow travelers, and stay tuned. There will certainly be more coming up, if you haven't already. You can check out my review of the episode on the YouTube channel or audio only version, podcast and Apple Podcasts wherever you get your podcast. But we'll be back next week, of course, talking more quantum leap, and there's a lot yet to come as we get into these final five episodes.

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