"The Word 'Coma' Bugs The Hell Out Of Me"
CB: I remember you mentioned that last time we talked, especially how much PIs can get done on the computer.
RT: Right, it would shorten everything up, and it's so much more fun to watch Veronica pretend to be someone, or to have the fun way of drawing information out of a suspect, so it's sort of a constant battle to come up with fun ideas. There's the straight line on the case, and then there's the twisty, turny one that's more fun on screen. I mean, there are times -- we make these decisions all the time -- everyone saw an example of it in "Spit And Eggs" -- the smart thing for Veronica to do is to call the police and pull the fire alarm, but it's going to be a boring show. So we at least paid lip service to her trying to get everyone out of the dorm by calling the police, but at the end of the day, you've got to have Veronica in the thick of it. Now I'll say this about the ending of the Dean O'Dell mystery: whereas all our big mysteries so far have been detective, detective, detective, detective, THRILLER in the finale, this one's going to be more of a true parlor-game mystery. We start shooting the finale tomorrow, and it's not going to be Veronica being chased around with a knife. But I've gotten off-track here; generally, we turn in what we call a "one-pager" to the network, which is the description of the episode that fits on one page, and we give a blurb about the A, B, and C stories for the studio and the network to sign off on. But we're generally working farther than that; the good thing is that we have pretty terrific relationships with both those entities, so while they may have some questions and want us to steer in a certain direction, I don't think we've ever had an episode to which they've said "no." What's interesting -- and by the way, I think we have a terrific studio -- the one that they had a really big problem with, that they just didn't see could be entertaining, was 3-10, the next one up, but I really adore it -- I think 3-10 and 3-11 are great, and I'm glad we're coming back strong. So as I said, usually it takes us a week to break an episode, and the A story is about three and a half days of that, the B story is half a day, and the C story -- which is usually how we're moving the big mystery forward -- is another day of discussions in the room. Then whoever the writer who's assigned to write that episode is, unless we're running behind, has two weeks to write it. Some of the writers write here at the office, some of them write at home -- it doesn't really make a difference to me where they work. Assuming we're on time, they turn in a draft, and I take a couple of days to give them notes on it, and then they generally have two or three days to turn around the second draft on the script. Generally, I then do a polish; sometimes Diane [Ruggiero] will do the polish, but more frequently I will. Even when Diane polishes it, it usually takes a trip through my laptop, but when Diane polishes, there's really very little left for me to do.