Warning: This interview about the Season 1 finale of Good Behavior contains spoilers.
Good Behavior’s first season came to a satisfying conclusion in “All The Things,” with Letty (Michelle Dockery) and wanted hit man Javier (Juan Diego Botto) driving off together with Jacob (Nyles Steele). And what about that police siren heard in the distance? “To me, that siren isn’t literally a siren that’s pulling them over. That siren is very much an indicator of what’s to come,” co-creator Chad Hodge says. “It’s just a thematic, ‘Oh, this is a hit man and a thief and her son on the run. Like, good luck with that!'”
While we wait to see whether TNT orders a second season of the drama, Hodge takes us inside the final hour.
Yahoo TV: We’ve watched Letty imagine seeing Javier multiple times when he wasn’t really there, like at the diner in the penultimate episode. When he comes up the steps and into the house at the end of the finale, a part of me was bracing for it not to be real.
Chad Hodge: That was exactly what I wanted you to feel. It’s like, is he really there? We had it in the pilot, when she imagines stealing his wallet but then she didn’t steal his wallet. And then, in the episode where she goes home for her high school reunion, she imagines him several times — coming up behind her at the kitchen sink, and kissing her. Then, as you said, with the milkshake at the end of Episode 9 at the diner. Here, it’s like another one of those “he’s not going to really be there,” and then he is.
Why does he come back? Is it what he ends up telling Jacob in the car?
He came back because he knows he loves her, which is the simple answer. He doesn’t want to let her go. He knows that, in a way, giving him up [to the FBI] if that meant she could get her son back is a very admirable thing. Especially since he’s a hit man. He understands that. He’s as flawed as Letty is in some ways, and he knows that they’re perfect together. He’s never going to find another person as perfect for him as Letty, and he knows that.
Have you planned for a Season 2?
We don’t have an official pickup yet, but we spent time in the writer’s room planning what would happen. Just like we had the whole first season mapped out, we have the whole second season now mapped out, so hopefully we get a pickup and we can continue telling the story.
Season 2 would pick up right away with the siren?
Yeah, it picks up very shortly after that, which is one thing I very intentionally do in the show. You literally start where you end, going from episode to episode. It doesn’t leave very much breathing room in between because I don’t want you to feel like you’ve missed anything. If something happened, we should see it.
We have to talk about the song over the final moments, Lissie’s cover of “Go Your Own Way.” Was that something you had in mind or something a music supervisor brought to you? It was perfect.
Our music supervisor, Gabe Hilfer, is a genius and he’s introduced me to so much music. Music became a much bigger part of the show than I ever thought it would be in the beginning. That song, however, I will take 100% credit for. [Laughs] That was a very, very hard song [to choose] because of what that song needed to be, because of where it starts. It starts when she sees Javier, when he comes up to the door of the house, and it continues all the way through the end of the show. It needed to be something hopeful, but also tense in some way. That was very hard. I must’ve gone through 26, 27, 30 songs on Spotify, sitting in the editing room with my editor, Doc [Crotzer]. Gabe had introduced me to Lissie’s music months and months before. I thought, “I kind of like that song that Lissie sings. … I wonder what else she has.” I went to her page, and her No. 1 song, the one that gets the most plays, was “Go Your Own Way.” I thought, “Is that like the Fleetwood Mac ‘Go Your Own Way'”? I played it and it starts like, “Dun, dun, dun. … ” It’s that bass riff, and I was like, “Oh my God!” I literally jumped up and high-fived my editor. We both were like, “Yes! That’s it!”
We also need to discuss that sex scene. When we spoke earlier this season about Episode 2’s role-playing sex scene in the motel, you said you were excited for people to see the one in Episode 10 because of the way it was shot.
I don’t know if you noticed, but the whole scene is one take. It never cuts. A sex scene is a very delicate thing. It’s usually a very cut-up thing, editing-wise. You’re cutting to all the hottest parts, and it’s very fast and it’s very this and that and breathing. This is literally all in one take, from beginning to end, so you just see all the parts of it. It was very interesting and cool to shoot it that way, and Michelle and Juan were so game for it. It was the director of that episode’s idea, Magnus Martens. He thought, “What if we just did the whole sex scene in one take? The cameraman and everyone moving around the room with them.” It made it feel very intimate, yet also very real.
Related: ‘Good Behavior’ Chad Hodge Breaks Down the Season’s Penultimate Episode
And it’s the reverse of the sex scene Letty has with Sean in the episode before. Sean was putting his hands on her and she was knocking them away. Now she’s putting Javier’s hands on her and he’s pulling them away. I assume that was all in the script?
Yes. It was very, very detailed. The majority of the other writers on the show are women, and I talked with them very extensively about this. I was like, “It’s this role-reversal thing, and I want her to be in charge of the scene but also punishing herself for what she did.” We literally wrote the motions of that scene very, very specifically into the script. … I think this is a very bold character that she’s playing — someone who’s very protected by her shell. That black dress and the black hair and the boots and everything — it’s almost like warrior.
A relationship I wasn’t expecting to love as much as I did was Rob (Joey Kern) and Estelle (Lusia Strus).
Rob and Estelle forever!
I loved the way Rob handled it when Sean showed up at the house looking for Jacob. He took it seriously and was ready to defend his wife and grandson, but he didn’t overreact. He was fair. He was mature when it mattered.
I love Rob so much. He has the biggest heart of any of the characters. He’s probably the most successful person on paper of anyone. He’s the type of person you look at and you think one thing — and of course, he’s the sweetest, nicest guy. He loves Estelle so much. Loves Letty. It was always that he and Estelle were going to end up together.
I have to say, that character was very much inspired by Joey Kern’s take on Rob. We had to cast that role for the fourth episode. You meet him in the reunion episode when she goes home. In the original script of that episode, he had like three lines, maybe. We had to write additional stuff we hadn’t written yet for the actors to audition with. We wrote that whole speech that’s in the eighth episode. We just randomly made it up when he talks about what Javier did at the bar the night before. Joey came in and did that monologue just like that, and we were like, “Oh, this is Rob.” So he really informed that sort of loving spirit and smiling face. He’s a person who’s the opposite of any other character in Good Behavior. He just sees the good in everybody.
Estelle’s conversation with Letty near the end of the finale, when she’s telling her all about Jacob — it’s sweet and heartbreaking at the same time.
I love that speech so much. I wanted it to be a speech that was very detailed, where Estelle is giving her advice on how to be a good mother, but without it being a speech about how to be a good mother because I didn’t want it to be treacly or sappy or weepy. I was talking to the writers and it was, “Let’s have it be just this list of things.” We all just sat around and came up with a list of things that Estelle tells her, but the subtext, of course, is that Estelle’s letting Jacob go and she doesn’t want to. It is so hard for her. She’s been raising him for all these years. She’s giving him to her daughter, who she has so many issues with and guilt over and jealousy of. Lusia, in that scene, is so amazing. It’s like, just give her details and everything else will come through under that.
I also loved that Christian (Terry Kinney) and Letty got their final hurrah together, and then Christian ended up with the FBI agent. Was that something that you had planned all along?
Their chemistry together — Terry and Ann Dowd, who plays Agent Lashever, is just so funny. It was all planned out from the beginning, but Christian coming back into Letty’s life that way. … When we saw how amazing Michelle and Terry were in Episode 5 together, in the casino hotel episode, I knew he was going to come back, but I amped up his involvement in this last episode because I just wanted to see more of that — how he helps her steal the phone from Lashever and the whole thing. I love that Letty broke him out of his shell.
Would we see Christian and Agent Lashever in a second season?
Definitely. Yes, absolutely.
Last question: Looking back at Season 1 now, what are most proud of?
I think what I’m most proud of is the tone of the show, the dark humor and the beauty of it. To go from really dark stuff to laughing about it, back to the dark thing, back to laughing about it, is something that I think we accomplished in Good Behavior, and if we get the chance to do a Season 2, we’ll keep doing that. It came from a combination of the writing and these actors — we all sort of somehow knew what show we were making before we were able to see what we were making. I’m really proud of that, everybody coming together to make this tone work so well. I think it comes from the honesty of it all — allowing it to be real.