"The Word 'Coma' Bugs The Hell Out Of Me"
RT: Yeah, I'll say that Keith, in this middle mystery, is going to feel much more involved. The rape mystery was a Veronica mystery, and Keith didn't have a part in that. Who killed Dean O'Dell is intentionally a Veronica/Keith mystery -- in every episode, you see both of them working on that case.
CB: Speaking of Keith's earlier storylines, I have to ask -- is Kendall supposed to be dead?
RT: She's dead until she's not dead. I mean yes, in my mind, she's dead, but if a writer came in and pitched an amazing reason she might be alive, I'd consider it. The other thing I will say is that the final mystery was going to have a bit more of a tie-back to that initial mystery, but I won't be able to execute that now, with dropping the big mystery and losing an episode. But yeah, in my mind, she's in a shallow grave in the desert. But until you see the body on this show...who knows.
CB: So let's talk about the fact that the last five episodes are going to be stand-alones.
RT: Yes. But I will say this -- we didn't find out about [the episode order being only twenty as opposed to twenty-two] until we had only three episodes left in the Dean O'Dell mystery, and it forced us to do all that storytelling in two. We had to drop some Dean O'Dell beats that I wanted to play. There's this one scene that, certainly, I can explain away, but I try to be good about paying off things that are brought up. Well, I should rephrase that -- I don't pay off red herrings, but I try to pay off the things that actually do lead to the end result. We'll shine a spotlight on a character's situation and raise the possibility that he did it, but if he didn't, I don't go back and tell the rest of his story. We did set up this one thing in the middle mystery that I wasn't able to pay off, because I lost an episode. So I'm a little bummed about that, and I think fans will notice. At the end of the day, I can explain it, but I feel bad about doing a setup with no payoff.
CB: I've heard that, should you come back for a fourth season, you're considering going to the stand-alone episodes permanently.
RT: It really is, for the network and for us, a trial balloon. It's going to be dictated by ratings and response. I mean, I'll write the show either way. We just want to survive and get to make more. So if the fans respond to this...the thing we always have to remember is that the posters on Television Without Pity are not the majority of our audience. They're the great part of our audience -- I mean, they may represent 5% of our audience, but we spend 30% of our time thinking about them. But -- and I'm now just talking about television in general, most people aren't hardcore -- they watch, they flip channels and find what's on, and if it's appealing to them, they stay and watch it. And we see that our numbers are going up, or they chart out better than they have in the past in terms of retention or growth, and if the diehards don't revolt, then I think there would be a chance that we would go to all stand-alones. And when I say all stand-alones, it's not like the Veronica Mars universe begins and ends with each episode. All the interpersonal storylines would continue, there would be bits and pieces of things that carry over from episode to episode, but it wouldn't arc out over either a ten-episode mystery or a twenty-two episode mystery. We would try to say, okay, if you come to Veronica Mars, you get the whole show -- if you're a random viewer, you don't have to have watched the previous six episodes -- you can tune in this week and know what's going on. Like Rockford Files or something, you know?