THE FOLLOWING Post-Mortem: Kevin Williamson on Joe Carroll's Death : Give Me My Remote

THE FOLLOWING Post-Mortem: Kevin Williamson on the ‘Sad’ but ‘Necessary’ Loss

April 27, 2015 by  


[Warning: this post contains major, major, major spoilers for THE FOLLOWING’s “Evermore” episode. Please do not read this interview until you’ve seen the hour.]

THE FOLLOWING may have had its share of villains over the first three seasons, but none has made quite the impact of Joe Carroll — both with viewers or on Ryan Hardy. But with a character that big, his time was, sadly, limited: in Monday night’s hour, “Evermore,” Joe’s execution actually happened.

That Joe survived this long in itself was a bit of a surprise. THE FOLLOWING “killed” Joe in its first season finale, and an unaired (but filmed) alternate ending of season 2 had Joe being killed in “Forgive.” (Joe’s portrayer, James Purefoy, said at the time he didn’t even know whether Joe would be back for season 3.)

Before the season started, co-showrunner Alexi Hawley acknowledged “this season is a very crucial season — what is life after Joe Carroll? He plays a big part of this season, but at the same time, this season is about moving past him. It’s about introducing new villains. It’s about moving the center of the show a little bit to Ryan Hardy.”

And though the show needed to embrace life post-Joe Carroll, there’s an element of bittersweetness to the end of this particular storyline.

310FLW310_Evermore_0844_f_hires1“Writing [for] James Purefoy and Joe Carroll has been one of my life’s greatest joys,” THE FOLLOWING creator Kevin Williamson shared. “The reason we didn’t do [Joe’s death] at the end of season 2 is because none of us could part with him; we just didn’t want to say goodbye to him. It’s hard. It’s very emotional. I think James loved the role, I loved James in the role, I loved writing James in the role. I think all of the writers did. It’s very sad, but it’s necessary for them to open the door to the future: future storylines, future life, future everything for Ryan Hardy. Ultimately, it’s sad…I called up James, and it was a very, very sad conversation. We’re saying goodbye to an old friend.”

Though Joe was absent from much of the earlier part of the third season — as Ryan tried to keep his vow to not see him again — recent episodes have seen the two longtime associates share scenes (and appear in each other’s dreams). And Joe’s death will have an impact on Ryan moving forward.

“It’s a love story. It’s Ryan and Joe,” Williamson acknowledged. “They’re the opposites of each other and they make each other whole. It’s interesting to watch how Ryan deals with it, because we know what Ryan means to Joe, but I don’t necessarily think we know what Joe means to Ryan. We think we know. We think he’s this bad guy he’s trying to catch. But it’s so much more than that.”

“There’s a true, honest relationship there between these two men,” he continued. “It’s sick and twisted, but it’s there. And [as] Joe leaves, it’s going to be interesting to see the fallout on Ryan, and how it emotionally [impacts] him, for better or worse. Ultimately, for the better. But it has an impact on Ryan Hardy, and it’s interesting to see how this diabolical twisted psychopath did [change] Ryan Hardy in a really emotional way. It’s been his life for the past 15 years…it’s complicated to say the least.”

What did you think of Joe’s death on THE FOLLOWING?

THE FOLLOWING airs Mondays at 9 PM on Fox.


THE FOLLOWING: ‘Evermore’ Photos
THE FOLLOWING: ‘Kill the Messenger’ Photos
THE FOLLOWING: Brett Mahoney on Ryan’s Spiral, Theo’s Rage, Mark’s ‘OMG’-Worthy Return, and More

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Filed under #1 featured, The Following


17 Responses to “THE FOLLOWING Post-Mortem: Kevin Williamson on the ‘Sad’ but ‘Necessary’ Loss”

  1. Lea Huskey on April 28th, 2015 6:40 pm

    I think this was an extremely bad move. You can bring all the characters you want into this show, none of them will have the impact that Joe Carroll did.

  2. Penemuel on April 28th, 2015 7:07 pm

    Nope, never happened. (And if it did, can we please have Ryan go all the way darkside? I’m loving that the writers have the guts to go as far as they did – even the Hannibal writers pulled back at the last moment – but let’s take that last little step :D)

  3. Keel on April 28th, 2015 7:12 pm

    It was a very bad move and from what I have read on the social media, I am not the only one that feels that way. I understand that you can’t have 10 seasons of Ryan chasing after Joe but there was at least a couple more seasons left for that to be done. I for one will be done watching The Following after this season and the only reason I am finishing with this season is hopefully I will get to see Joe through Ryan’s thoughts. I seriously do not believe that The Following will make it to much longer without James Purefoy, the others are already boring me.

  4. Veronica Smith on April 28th, 2015 7:20 pm

    Joe Carroll will always be with Ryan Hardy – Mentally!

  5. Martha on April 28th, 2015 8:46 pm

    No Joe, no following.

  6. Grace Forcier on April 28th, 2015 9:59 pm

    You are suppose to be professional writers I am sure you could of thought some more episodes for Joe to play! He was the best villain, and I couldn’t wait to see Joe. Come on you can bring him back, I could even write a story line bringing him back to the show. WE WANT JOE!!!!!!!

  7. randy on April 28th, 2015 11:33 pm

    yep. this show is DONE..this guy Theo is boring as hell…no interest at all.

  8. Shirley on April 28th, 2015 11:36 pm

    Totally agree, I love Kevin Bacon, he’s a fine actor, but James was the show in my opinion, I am afraid I will done after this season also.

  9. michelle on April 29th, 2015 9:11 am

    No Joe…no following. …i love Joe Carroll….he makes the show. …don’t kill Joe….I’m so disappointed!

  10. Carla on April 29th, 2015 11:00 am

    I agree with everyone else. Joe and Ryan were the reason I watched this show. Kevin Bacon is awesome but they are a twosome that shouldn’t be split up. I am also done watching the show.

  11. BradleyFLA on April 29th, 2015 2:22 pm

    We watched the show for the layers that James brought to Joe Carroll…he was the unique fascination in a field littered with tons of throwaway characters like Ryan Hardy. In TV, always know exactly what and who keeps bringing them back (don’t look to see Norman Reedus’ Daryl Dixon or Andrew Lincoln’s Rick Grimes killed off any time soon on The Walking Dead). Sometimes when you are too close, you can’t see straight. This has happened here, and it’s going to cost them their show because now it’s just another cop show. Maybe they can limp into a season 4 renewal, but I think that would be an expensive gamble for FOX at this point (speaking as a former FOX Entertainment exec, by the way).

  12. Lee on April 29th, 2015 4:15 pm

    I’m bored with Theo. NEVER bored when Joe was in the storyline. Bad move. Must find a way to bring him back…or the show is over. I am a huge Kevin Bacon/Ryan Hardy fan, but there is no other villain like Joe. He made this more than a catch me if you can FBI show.

  13. Lucille on April 30th, 2015 10:45 am

    I couldn’t believe they killed Joe off the show. To me, he was the show!! I mean, come on, they could have thought of other scenes with Joe & Hardy. I think they made a big mistake. I’m not even interested in watching it anymore. TEAM JOE!!

  14. jen on April 30th, 2015 9:09 pm

    What a disappointment! The show should of moved into the direction of Joe and Ryan becoming allies somehow if you couldn’t keep Ryan chasing Joe for 10 seasons! There was so much more you could have done with Joe and Ryan. Sorry, they are the main characters and your viewers have a connection with both of them. I love Kevin Bacon but the name of the show should no longer be ‘the following’….without Joe! Probably won’t watch after this season!

  15. Nicola on May 1st, 2015 5:30 pm

    No Joe Carrol, no following!

    If he isn’t brought back some way then I will NOT Watch this amazing TV show again! You will lose viewing and the show will be axed and then, what a bad decision you made by killing off the MAIN character of the ‘the following’!

    Disappointed doesn’t even cover it! Gutted and not happy at all…

  16. Bri on May 2nd, 2015 12:06 am

    Agree with most above. I’m not one to give up on a show, especially one I rank as one of my favorites, but now I’m not so sure. I really grew to love Joe and was becoming bored until he was finally featured this season. Half the fun as a viewer was realizing you were rooting for such a twisted character – that was really starting to become a bigger deal. I’m holding out hope for one of the orderlies in Joe’s final scene – he seemed to disappear rather mysteriously. Was it a serum that only faked his death?? Devoted Followers can dream!

  17. JC on May 4th, 2015 7:02 pm

    How is the show going to go on without Joe? It’s title “The Following” says it all – it’s the following of Joe Carroll!