Carla Kettner Talks Leaving BONES for THE MOB DOCTOR
September 17, 2012 by Marisa Roffman
For BONES fans, Carla Kettner’s name is a familiar one — not only was she with the series since 2007, but she was also responsible many of the show’s most memorable episodes (“The Doctor in the Photo,” “The Goop on the Girl,” “The Hole in the Heart” are just a few of the hours she has to her name). But alas, all good things must come to an end, and Kettner departed the series after last year’s finale.
Luckily for television fans, Kettner hasn’t gone very far — she’s now on the new Fox drama, THE MOB DOCTOR. I sat down with Kettner to talk about her time on BONES, how she would have ended the Pelant arc, moving to THE MOB DOCTOR, and more…
As much as I enjoyed the BONES finale, how was it for you to leave the show on that note? (Brennan ran off with baby Christine after she was falsely implicated by Pelant for a murder.) You’ve been such a huge fan of the Booth and Brennan coupling and they didn’t end things on the best of terms last year…
Carla Kettner: It was actually more traumatic, oddly enough, to leave my bad guy than it was to leave all my beloved good guys. I felt like I know that Booth and Brennan’s moral compass is so clear — I knew what they would do given almost any circumstance. But with Pelant, I felt like I had unleashed this terrifying, incredibly intelligent, villain on the world and now he’s out of my control. It was a little bit of a scary moment. And I think that he’s going to be a gigantic obstacle for our heroes in season 8.
Are you going to feel guilt if he ends up seriously hurting any of our team?
CK: I’m going to kill him if he does anything! [Laughs] I drove past the ALPHAS billboard the other day and I saw [a picture of Ryan Cartwright, who played BONES’] Vincent Nigel-Murray and I still feel incredible guilt for killing him. It wasn’t because we wanted to, but I still felt incredible guilt and regret.
But it led to little baby Christine, so you win some, you lose some.
CK: Christine Angela! They were [recently] rerunning the birth episode, “The Prisoner in the Pipe”…and I was walking through the living room and my daughter was watching and Christine Angela was born and I got all choked up and I had to get a tissue because I was moved all over again by the birth.
Aww. When you were creating the character of Pelant last season, did you have an idea for where you wanted him to go?
CK: Yes, I did. I think we all had a real, clear idea of where we wanted him to go. In my mind, he most likely going to meet his demise in the season opener. In [BONES creator] Hart [Hanson]’s mind, he was going to wreak havoc for the rest of the year. So, I guess he’s going to continue to wreak havoc!
You know, there’s something about Pelant, something about his intellectual energy that really intrigues everybody. He felt more like a worthy adversary than any of our serial killers had in a long time. So, I think that it’s hard to get rid of a guy that brings out the best in Booth and Brennan.
That’s fair. But now you’re on a new show — THE MOB DOCTOR. How hard was it for you to leave BONES to go to this new baby?
CK: It was extremely traumatic leaving BONES. I love all the writers, I love the cast. But it felt like BONES was a mature show and as a writer, I just felt like I needed to explore something different, some new energy.
So I moved on to THE MOB DOCTOR, which has been fantastic. It’s really interesting dealing with a morally gray world, rather than, “We’re going to get those damn bad guys, every Monday night on Fox.”
Now you can heal — or be — the bad guys every Monday night on Fox an hour later.
CK: Now we may be the bad guys!
What has been the biggest challenge for you so far on your new show?
CK: That is a very interesting question. The biggest challenge has been [that] this is a serialized show, way more so than BONES ever was. So the biggest challenge has been giving direction to the characters and understanding where they need to be down the line. The stories have been incredibly easy to come up with — the standalone stories. The character arcs require a lot more heart-searching, emotional kind of work to get to because they’re more…not so much complex as morally ambiguous. So that’s been really challenging in a good way.
Are you excited or nervous about having the filming of the series being done in Chicago? That’s a considerable distance from the LA-based writers’ room…
CK: I don’t love that because I’m a control freak, so it’s scaring the shit out of me! But it’s good because we have Michael Dinner, who is fantastic, who is directing the first episode and remaining with us throughout the series. And we’ve also brought on Ken Olin [to direct]. We feel well taken care of in terms of Chicago, but it’s just scary to not be able to run across the lot and say, “Hey, what’s going on, is there something we can do?”
You and THE MOB DOCTOR creator Josh Berman have had a long-standing working relationship…you were both on BONES, you did an episode of DROP DEAD DIVA, etc.
CK: I’ve known him since he was a baby executive on NBC and he gave me high marks on one of my scripts, which I love him for eternally. We love working together.
Do you have a shorthand at this point? Or because there’s a brand new writers’ room, is it a whole new chemistry?
CK: Josh and I have a total shorthand — we just shoot each other looks. He has eight different looks and I understand each and every single one of them. And I apparently have nine different looks and he understands every one of them. So yeah, we’re all good.
What are you really hoping to explore on THE MOB DOCTOR that you haven’t had the chance to explore on other shows?
CK: What I’m hoping to explore is the damaged family dynamic. I think that the characters that we’re growing have a wonderful, toxic, family dynamic and I’m really excited about that. I’m really excited of the notion of morally gray. After BONES, which was so morally clear, I think it’s such a wonderful challenge and the reality of life so much to deal with what’s not so obvious. And the hard choices, and hopefully that will be exciting for the viewers.
Is there a particular character you’re most excited about writing for so far?
CK: This is incredibly weird and I don’t understand it, but I love writing for William Forsythe’s character Constantine. I’m so in touch with my inner mob boss. My family says they completely get that. I don’t know why, but it’s so natural for me!
Has any character been particularly difficult?
CK: I’ve written doctor characters before, so I get all the doctors. it made me really happy to get into Zach Gilford’s (Dr. Robinson) brain, because I feel so fondly towards him from FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS. And actors like Zeljko [Ivanek (Dr. White)] are amazing. We’re so blessed with an incredible cast. I feel like they all bring so much to the table that I haven’t had trouble with anybody.
Is there anything in particular you are really excited for viewers to see?
CK: I want viewers to spend time with Jordana [Spiro (Grace)] because she’s such an incredible actress. The way she defines a modern woman operating under difficult circumstances is, I think, really going to make people think. So I hope they watch for that.
BONES airs Monday nights at 8 PM, and THE MOB DOCTOR airs at 9 PM on Fox.
THE MOB DOCTOR: Jordana Spiro Teases A Potential Dark Side to Grace
BONES: Tamara Taylor Teases Getting to Be the ‘Lynchpin,’ Plus What She Wants in Cam’s New Boyfriend
THE MOB DOCTOR: Josh Berman Previews His New Fox Series
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