Warning: This interview about the “From Terrible Me” episode of Good Behavior contains spoilers.
As Good Behavior co-creator Chad Hodge told us in our preview of this week’s episode, his very first idea when plotting Season 1 after the pilot was to have ex-con Letty (Michelle Dockery) and hit man Javier (Juan Diego Botto) trapped in a car together with two dead bodies in the trunk and have everything go wrong — like not being able to find a charging station for their stolen Tesla. “I wanted the episode — almost like a bottle episode of this road trip — to be basically a beginning, middle, and end of a marriage,” he said.
While Javier did finally agree to let Letty go, and the next episode will find her returning home, this is not the end of their unexpected love story. Here, Hodge chats about this week’s hour and what’s to come.
Yahoo TV: One of the moments I loved in this episode was Javier wanting her to take his glasses when he set her free. How important is it to show those moments where he is someone who genuinely cares about her, who knows her fully and still likes her?
Chad Hodge: That’s really what this show is about — these two people who have spent most of their lives alone and not being able to be honest with people about who they really are. They immediately, upon meeting each other in the first episode, know the very “worst things” about each other, which only enables them to then find the good in each other.
Good Behavior is, at its core, a really screwed-up love story about these two people who could somehow be each other’s redemption. To me, love and caring and all of that is shown in details like the glasses that you’re talking about — little things like that, rather than in professions of love, literally. He cares and he notices things, and so does she. But she has a harder time expressing it.
Having watched up through Episode 6 on the press site, one thing I’ve noticed is that every time Letty meets someone during one of her scams, she uses a fake name. But in the pilot, when she meets Javier, she tells him her name is Letty. Does that symbolize that part of her that actually wanted to get to know this guy for real?
Exactly. It’s intentional. She lies to everybody, but in a moment with this guy, she tells the truth. It’s almost like she slipped up by telling him the truth, but it’s signaling that this is a person she’s eventually going to tell the truth to. She does nothing but lie to him for the rest of that night in the pilot. At the bar and then in the restaurant, when she’s telling him about the book she’s writing about the guy who looks like Ryan Gosling, it’s all just a bunch of BS.
At the end of this episode, it seems like Letty is trying to let go of Javier.
The very, very last moment of Episode 3, she’s walking away from him, saying she’s going to go home. Cut to she’s sitting in a diner, you think she’s there alone, and then of course he’s sitting there across from her. They cannot get away from each other. There is something that is bonding these two people. They don’t know how to say it, but they’re just going through the motions of falling in love.
As much as Letty wants to get away from this person — he’s a hit man, he kidnapped her, he forced her to be his accomplice — she has found someone who might understand her for the first time in her life. It’s very hard for her, it’s very conflicting, because she’s most comfortable being alone, like a lot of us. Letting someone into your life, and letting someone be with you all the time, is a very hard thing to do. He’s sort of forcing himself on her, but in this bizarrely loving way. When he says to her at the end of the pilot, “You work for me now,” to me what he’s really saying is, “I think I love you.”
Of course he doesn’t need her to work for him. He’s done just fine on his own as a hit man. He’s impressed with her skill; he’s enamored that she was able to try to stop him. But as a hit man he’s probably not had an easy time of relationships and women. You can’t go out on a date and say, “This is what I do for a living.” He doesn’t know how to keep her around except to kidnap her. So it’s this crazy love story.
Episode 4 is Letty’s 15-year high school reunion. What can you tease about that hour?
At the end of the third episode, that’s really the end of the first act of Good Behavior, you could say. The whole reason for the next episode is now finally seeing, Where does Letty come from? Who is her family? What is her background? How did she get to be Letty Raines? How did she end up like this? Who is her mother? Who is her son? Who are the people that she grew up with? We see all that and learn a lot more about where she came from.
Episode 5 is one that features her parole officer, Christian (Terry Kinney), in a major way.
That’s one of my favorites.
What do you love about that relationship between Christian and Letty? What might we learn about him?
What I love about the Christian-Letty relationship is that he’s her parole officer, and therefore there’s always the pressure on her of showing up for her appointments and being accountable to someone. Yet he’s lenient with her in a way that parole officers usually aren’t, and shouldn’t be, because he understands her. He has dealt with addiction as well. He has sympathy for her. He’s also enamored with her. He says to her, quite literally, “Why are you here in my parole office? You are young, you are smart, you’re beautiful. You are not like any of the other people, the parolees, that I deal with.”
He’s sort of, I think, jealous of her that she is able to have this really fun, exciting life, and do whatever the hell she wants, and he’s sitting behind a desk in a crappy office. There’s something that really amazes him about Letty. The two of them have a lot more in common than you and me might think at first. The opposite of what usually happens with a parole officer and a parolee is exactly what happens in our show in that she brings him over to her side of things.
The one line Letty won’t cross is killing someone. That becomes a recurring theme.
Letty is trying to be good, or trying to find the best version of herself, what good means for her. I think we all draw lines in the sand about certain things. Whether we’re being honest with ourselves or not, we say, “I’ll do that, but I would never do that.” Murder is a pretty intense thing, so it makes sense that she does not want to kill people. She’s, ironically and amusingly, decided in her head that stealing jewelry or iPads or clothes from a store is a victimless crime. She’s like, “Well, I’m not really hurting anybody, literally.” Which is obviously ridiculous, but that’s what I love about her.
Good Behavior airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on TNT.