Jed Seidel's second writing foray into the Terriers universe came with last week's "Missing Persons". He was kind enough to grant us another interview, discussing the episode that dealt with the relationship between Hank and his sister Steph and the mystery surrounding an amnesiac kid.
Pasha: “Missing Persons” played the reality of having a family member with mental illness very well, in my opinion. How did you research this before writing the episode?
Jed Seidel: There were a few books floating around the writers room, but at this point Steph was a well established character and we played off of that. Karina is such a wonderful actress and her chemistry with (real life brother) Donal is so great, we all really relished writing those scenes.
Pasha: What was the reasoning behind writing Steph out after only a handful of appearances?
Jed Seidel: She was always considered a guest character. We wanted to play the reality of her illness, it seemed inevitable she was going to be more than Hank could handle.
Pasha: Why do you think, of all the things she could have hallucinated, Steph imagined a child playing across the street?
Jed Seidel: I think being with Hank made her regress to a simpler time, her childhood. Actually, in the teaser, they both regressed back to their childhood selves, it just went a lot farther for Steph. I always liked the idea that the schizophrenia didn't really surface until she was an adult, so she had already lived a life of relative normalcy.
Pasha: This episode marked the first time Hank and Britt argued. How much of what Britt said about Hank do you think he meant?
Jed Seidel: To me, they're like a married couple and there's always going to be petty resentments. That fight scene is something Ted Griffin added at the last minute and Donal and Michael really tore into it. But the underlying emotion for Britt was definitely his confusion and anger over Katie's distant behavior.
Pasha: How did the story of the dissociative kid develop in the writers’ room?
Jed Seidel: I heard a story on the news about a grad student who had gone overseas and taken this anti-malarial drug and lost his memory. I've always wanted to do an amnesia story and I liked that there was some factual truth to it. I pitched it to Tim Minear one morning; he has a great internal barometer for what makes a good story and he really liked it so I figured i was on to something.
Pasha: Compared to the last episode you wrote where all the characters were getting on, “Missing Persons” showed Britt and Katie and Britt and Hank to be at odds with each other. How did this alter the writing experience compared to your first Terriers episode?
Jed Seidel: We knew a lot more about the characters at this point, which made the scenes a little richer. And we were shooting episodes at this point, so the writing schedule was rapidly compressing and there was a lot less time to write!