‘Accused’ Showrunner Says Season 1 Finale Was ‘Initially Rejected’ by Fox

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When Fox Entertainment president Michael Thorn heard what “Accused” showrunner Howard Gordon wanted to do for what would become the Season 1 finale, he initially rejected it.

“I said, ‘Well, then you only get 14 episodes,'” Gordon told TheWrap.

But after Thorn saw “Billy’s Story” — an emotional saga starring Keith Carradine about a rockstar father’s complicated relationship with his drug-addicted son — the exec changed his tune and apologized. “That’s what’s great about having partners at whatever platform. You have to have people who you trust, who you can be honest with and and push up against — capitulate when you need to, but also say, ‘Hey, I know there’s a good story here. Please let me do it.'”

It’s not difficult to understand why there was hesitation on Fox’s end. Though “Billy’s Story” starts as a somewhat predictable drama about an aging rockstar (Carradine) dealing with his son’s (Gamble) addiction, it ends on a morally gray twist that begs viewers to ask: What is truly the best action you can take for someone you love?

With its finale airing Tuesday, “Accused” is an episodic series that follows a new story and new cast of characters with each hour, opening on a trial as the audience slowly learns how and why these people came to be in the courtroom. Gordon admitted that the original plan for his trial-of-the-week drama wasn’t to end with this episode. Because of the nature of the series, the order of episodes depended on which were completed first and what Fox thought would be best more than anything else. But now that he’s on the other side, Gordon says there’s a sense of “symmetry” between the Season 1 finale and its pilot.

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With “Scotty’s Story,” the series opened on a father (Michael Chiklis) who is forced to make a difficult decision when he suspects his son is planning an act of mass violence. Now weeks later, the series is closing with another conflicted father thanks to “Billy’s Story,” which was directed by Julie Herbert from a script by Bronwyn Garrity.

“As a father of adult children, they were two very important stories to me because it’s what I have wrestled with in other ways,” Gordon said. “I had a friend whose child had a story that was not dissimilar to this, and so I was very happy to be able to reflect it. I think a lot of people either have experienced something like this, directly or once removed.”

With “Accused” already renewed for Season 2, Gordon has more stories to come. Looking ahead, the executive producer and showrunner thinks that new episodes could focus on trials set in the past or future.

“Unfortunately, there’s a lot of stories,” Gordon said. “We are in a revolutionary moment now, some of which is wonderful, and some of which is dangerous and scary. This show is great to refract both of those things.”

Above all else, Gordon is proud to be part of this “incredibly rewarding” show. “People forget there’s actually people on the other side of the Zoom, on the other side of the text or the tweet or the aisle,” he said. “Whether we’re in Congress or in the picket line or wherever we are, there’s never been a more important time for stories that remind us we’re all incredibly vulnerable to things like bad luck, to desire, to greed, to confusion.”

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