×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Bloodline’ Creator Todd Kessler Discusses Netflix Series’ Early Finale, What He’s Got Planned Next

With Todd Kessler’s intense family drama “Bloodline” finishing its three-season run on Netflix in May — “We never had it in mind that there would be a happy ending or complete resolution,” he says — the executive producer is plotting his next move: a comedy.

The series finale of “Bloodline” came a bit earlier than you expected when Netflix canceled the show. Were you able to write the ending you wanted?

We wanted to bring the audience on a ride with each character, getting to know how complicated the roles are within this family. And we never had it in mind that there would be a happy ending or complete resolution. The desire was to have the audience have a relationship with these characters. And tell a story where we take them on a journey into this tragedy of this family. So the ending we had conceived when we first started the show was tonally right where we ended at the end of season three.

You’ve got a habit of casting actors against type. What’s the appeal for you?

The first step into that was casting Ted Danson in “Damages.” He had done dramatic work but not in a long time.  It’s very exciting to work with actors and give them an opportunity to do things they haven’t done before. Playing against type is very inspiring not only to write for them but it feels like we’re seeing a side that has been underutilized. The actors themselves have very much appreciated it and been willing to take on the challenge. As evidenced by Ted and Kyle (Chandler) and Beau (Bridges), it’s been a huge amount of fun to work this way and I would definitely look forward to doing it again.

You also like ambiguous endings.

I like endings that are more haunting than conclusive — endings that continue a conversation, as opposed to “Oh, that’s what that all meant.” Or it’s all wrapped up and it doesn’t stick with me. So personally an unresolved ending that makes sense and is satisfying is the kind of storytelling that I like.

Would you work with Netflix again?

It’s frustrating that that happened, but at the same time they know their market and what works for them. We wouldn’t want to be at a place where they’re doing something that they’re not fully behind. If they were behind us on an idea and supported what we wanted to do, we would absolutely work with them again.

What does it take for a show to break out these days?

I have no idea, truly no idea (laughs). The only thing that I believe in is creating things from a place from passion and inspiration and trying to do things that are personal. Trying to target what will be a hit is kind of like guessing what’s going to be the next “Friends” or the next “Seinfeld.” Time after time, series that have become massive hits did not start out that way. And very few have been engineered by design. As evidenced for Netflix with shows like “Stranger Things” and “13 Reasons Why.” I don’t think they had any expectations that those shows would take off as they did.

What’s next for you?

The real feeling is to work on a comedy but also to explore the movie world in terms of being able to have a script that has a beginning and an end. That’s something that holds a great appeal at this point.

Things you didn’t know about Todd Kessler

AGE: 45 COLLEGE: Harvard WRITERS’ ROOM HE’D WANT TO BE IN: “Hill Street Blues” ON HIS NIGHTSTAND: “Lolita” MUST-HAVE APP: Waze GO-TO PODCASTS: “How I Built This”; “TED Radio Hour” GUILTY-PLEASURE TV SHOW: The Voice” 

More TV

  • WGA Agents Contract Tug of War

    Showrunners, Screenwriters Back WGA in Agency Battle, Sides to Meet Again Tuesday

    More than 750 showrunners and screenwriters have backed the WGA’s battle against talent agencies taking packaging fees and other changes to the rules governing the business relationship between agents and writers. The letter of support issued Saturday is significant because of the immense clout showrunners and prominent screenwriters possess in Hollywood. Several showrunners had recently [...]

  • Series Mania: De Mensen, Reel One

    Series Mania: First Details on Co-Pro Pitching Project 'Capturing Big Mouth' (EXCLUSIVE)

    LILLE, France — Belgian production company De Mensen, which has just been acquired by France’s Newen, has teamed with Reel One Entertainment on a new cross-continental thriller series, “Capturing Big Mouth. The series will be pitched Monday at this year’s Series Mania Forum Co-pro Pitching section. It chronicles the unlikely rise and eventual fall of [...]

  • Daily Show Viacom

    Viacom, DirecTV Make Progress in Contract Talks, No Blackout After Deadline Passes

    UPDATED: Viacom and DirecTV executives went down to the wire Friday on a combative contract renewal negotiation with high stakes for both sides. The companies stayed in talks past the midnight Eastern contract expiration and the channels stayed up on AT&T’s platforms. Sources indicated early Saturday that the threat of a blackout had been averted. [...]

  • ABBY'S -- "Pilot" Episode 101 --

    TV Review: 'Abby's' Starring Natalie Morales

    “Abby’s,” NBC’s new comedy about a cranky bartender (Natalie Morales) and her inner circle of regulars, is aware of the inevitable “Cheers” comparisons. Created by “New Girl” writer Josh Malmuth and executive produced by uber-producer (and unabashed “Cheers” superfan) Mike Schur, “Abby’s” therefore makes a few key choices in order to differentiate itself as its [...]

  • Ryan Murphy Walk of Fame

    TV News Roundup: Netflix Sets Premiere Date for Ryan Murphy's 'The Politician'

    In today’s roundup, Netflix announces the premiere date for Ryan Murphy’s “The Politician” series, and Kristin Cavallari will host “Paradise Hotel” on Fox.  DATES Reality star Kristin Cavallari will host Fox’s reboot of “Paradise Hotel,” an unscripted dating show in which a group of singles will check into a tropical resort and compete to check [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content