‘We Didn’t Want to Cop Out’: ‘Ghosts’ Showrunners Break Down Which Spirit Departed the Manor

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[Editor’s note: This story contains spoilers for the Season 3 premiere of “Ghosts.”]

Season 2 of CBS’s beloved sitcom “Ghosts,” whose Season 3 premiered on Thursday, February 15, ended on a major cliffhanger: When Sam (Rose McIver) and Jay (Utkarsh Ambudkar) almost lost their home to a scammer, they recapped the events of the last two years when Rose inherited their country home from her great aunt and her near death experience allowed for her to see and interact with the zany and loveable ghosts who haunt their home. Even for Jay, who can’t see them, the ghosts have become an integral part of their lives, almost like family. And as they wax poetic about the positive changes the ghosts have brought into their lives, they saw a beam of light from the home indicating that one of the ghosts has been sucked off, “Ghosts” speak for going to the afterlife.

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For showrunners Joe Port and Joe Wiseman, who adapted “Ghosts” from the British series of the same name, it was imperative for them to not take the easy way out when deciding which of the ghosts would make it into the afterlife. “We wanted it to be someone impactful. We didn’t want to cop out with this. We promised a cliffhanger and we didn’t want to come back and be like, it was this person, remember them in the background,” Wiseman said to IndieWire in a recent conversation.

So it makes it more impactful when we learn the ghost that has left them is Flower (Sheila Carrasco), the loveable flighty hippie who has a penchant for group sex and was in a relationship with Thor (Devan Chandler Long), a gruff Viking. The ripple effects of losing Flower will greatly impact season 3from Thor dealing with her loss and everyone trying to figure out how and why Flower got sucked off.

It’s a perfect example of what makes “Ghosts” work so well, with its sprawling ensemble there’s no part or character of the show that isn’t integral but also not worthy of emotional investment. Losing Flower feels like a great loss because it is.

That emotional investment first stems from the core relationship between Sam and Jay which shapes the whole show. It’s one of the rare television shows that shows a happy and healthy couple where the conflicts that their relationship faces are primarily rooted in reality. Sam can see ghosts, sure, and Jay is totally accepting of that. “That relationship is hugely important to us, that’s what really makes the show grounded and relatable because the subject matter could veer off into crazy territory. But having this real couple at the center of the show and so brilliantly played by Rose and Utkarsh is our north star,” Port said, noting also that some silly arguments he’s had with his wife have made it into the show.

There are no third parties, no flimsy reasons to separate the two—just a couple trying to upkeep an old home and open a bed and breakfast. “I like that they’re a healthy loving couple and they have their ups and downs, but I don’t think anyone ever questions whether they’re going to be together,” Port said.

“Ghosts”
“Ghosts”

At times their main conflict is the ghosts, which while Jay has always been accepting of Sam’s sudden ability to communicate with them and coming to love the ghosts on his own accord, his inability to see them can cause a certain amount of strife. While the previous two seasons have seen Sam understanding her ability to communicate with ghosts and creating strong bonds with the ones that haunt their home, Season 3 poises for Jay to take on his own stronger role, both on his path to open the restaurant of his dreams and developing his own relationships with the ghosts in the house.

For Port and Wiseman, they didn’t want to write Jay in a typical sitcom way — they wanted him to be as invested in the ghosts as Sam, despite his inability to see them. “A classic sort of conflict on this show is Sam being pulled by the ghosts in one direction and Jay in the other. I think that’ll continue to be the relationship,” Port said. But they are always looking for new ways for Jay to interact with the ghosts because they don’t want to take an easy way out. “We think it’s very sort of TV-ish to have him develop this power that Sam has. I read a lot of comments, ‘When is Jay going to get this power?’  And I’m like, I don’t know anybody that can see ghosts so I don’t know why two people in the same house would develop it. We try to think of interesting ways to have Jay interact with them,” Port said. They tease a new and very interesting way that Jay begins to interact with Sasappis (Román Zaragoza) which promises to have a ripple effect throughout the season.

The loss of Flower and the mystery surrounding it promises to affect everyone and in particular Thor who deeply loved Flower. But at the same time, all the ghosts want to get sucked off, so having one of their immediate own finally doing so brings up all kinds of emotions. “Remember this is the thing that they all desperately want and try to figure out how to happen. There’s a component of sadness, especially for Thor, the person he loves is now no longer there, but there’s also elements of jealousy. And there’s also components of mystery of how did this happen, why did it? You’re also happy for the person, so it’s complicated,” Port said.

As they try to figure out how and why Flower has left them, other storylines will develop like the engagement between Isaac (Brandon Scott Jones) and Nigel (John Hartman) throughout the season with wedding planning, bachelor parties, and ultimately a wedding between the two. But there’s a ton in store for all the ghosts in Season 3. “We’re going to introduce a new ghost in a surprising way that’s going to be a love interest for Alberta (Danielle Pinnock). And Pete (Richie Moriarty) is going to get involved in a very toxic relationship,” Wiseman said.

With such a talented and large ensemble, Port and Wiseman track which ghost maybe hasn’t had a storyline in a bit or what’s something new that can be learned about a ghost — ”Ghosts’” pacing of the information we’ve learned throughout the show from meeting Pete’s wife to learning about Hetty’s love of cocaine is another one of its strongest suits. With a 10-episode season this year, Port and Wiseman needed to be extra deliberate about that balance adding in the major arcs of Issac’s nuptials and Jay’s restaurant. “We have a very big cast, and they are all home run hitters. It really is just an embarrassment of riches. We have so many great places to go and so many pairings to try and to explore because they all have different relationships with each other,” Wiseman said.

“Ghosts” Season 3 airs on CBS Thursdays at 8:30pm ET.

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