THE FOLLOWING Boss on the Series Finale : Give Me My Remote

THE FOLLOWING Series Finale Post-Mortem: Brett Mahoney on Ryan’s Sacrifice, and What Would Have Been Season 4

May 18, 2015 by  

CR: Giovanni Rufino/FOX

CR: Giovanni Rufino/FOX

[Warning: this post contains spoilers for THE FOLLOWING’s series finale.]

THE FOLLOWING ended its three season run with death, betrayal…and one heck of a set up for the (not happening) fourth season.

Ryan and Theo’s faceoff took them to a bridge (where Theo had Ryan’s pregnant ex-girlfriend, Gwen), and Ryan shot Theo in the head. Theo appeared dead — until he popped back up, and the two men fell into the water, seemingly to their deaths.

With his “death” widely reported, Ryan used it as a cover to sneak into the hospital where Lisa (who was revealed to be a double-agent, working with the mysterious rich serial killer group that was set up at the end of season 3) was recovering. Ryan had her tell him everything she knew about the group…before he killed her.

Yep — though Ryan said goodbye to Joe in episode 13, hoping to let go of his darkness, his “death” gave him way to make the world safer for the people he cared about: he could take out the people who had stayed in the shadows. Ryan briefly walked by Mike’s hospital room (where Mike was recovering from his stabbing), as Max and Gwen were visiting and mourning the loss of Ryan — but then he left to pursue his new path.

I spoke with THE FOLLOWING co-showrunner Brett Mahoney about where the show would have gone in season 4, how they might have ended the show had they known it wouldn’t continue on, and more…

Did you have to edit anything out of the finale, with the knowledge that there won’t be a season 4?
Brett Mahoney: No, we did not change any story point at all.

Traditionally, the show has done multiple endings. Was there anything that ended up being shot as an alternate ending to what aired?
BM: Nope, this was the only ending we had in terms of launching Ryan into this dark vigilante path for what would have been the next season, and the heartbreak of the idea that he would have to separate from his loved ones — Gwen, Mike, Max, and his baby — in order to save them. And it also tied into the idea that what Joe Carroll said was in some ways true: when I die, you die. And in some ways, that came to pass.

With Ryan’s “death” where did you see him going next season?
BM: The idea for season 4 would have been, yes, he’s on this vigilante path to take down this group which threatened his loved ones, which threatened his child. But as he went down this vigilante path, to what cost? I think the irony of what makes him be able to take down this group which threatened his family [would be the outcome of] who would he be at the end of his journey? What of his humanity would he have lost? Would he be able to be in his child’s life once he became that man that traveled down that dark path?

Would the rest of the cast have been a part of season 4? Or would Ryan have been so isolated that Kevin Bacon (Ryan) would be the only cast member returning?
BM: I think Ryan would have been killing these seemingly upstanding citizens of the community who are rich and wealthy, and have no stigma, not trail, not hint that they’re these killers that are part of this larger conspiracy; but Ryan would be tracking them down. And Max and Mike, from the FBI’s side, would be investigating these murders, and be on the track of what they would think is a season  killer, and that would have been Ryan. They would have been on a collision course.

In your mind, would Max and Mike have realized Ryan was alive before that collision?
BM: I think possibly one of them could have been hanging on to the idea that he’s alive, and that could have been a source of conflict. But they would have had no idea the killings were done by Ryan. But as they continued to investigate, they might have gotten a hint. An idea was Ryan would have to reveal himself…he would have come to point where he outed himself to prevent them from [coming after him].

Max and Mike were in a good place by the end of the season. Where did you see them going next season?
BM: We definitely saw that relationship continuing to grow. Could there have been a wedding in the future? Maybe.

The other issue was we were playing with the issue of jumping time — maybe they’ve already been married. But we definitely planned on continuing that relationship. Before, of course, we ripped them apart.

Looking towards the bigger mythology, what did you have nailed down about who this mysterious group was?
BM: That was up in the air. They would have been rich, wealthy, fun, delicious characters, who used their power and influence to kill, and use other people as play things and toys. And Ryan would have come on-board and discovered them, and taken them down.

At what point did the writers decide Diane Neal’s Lisa would be a double-agent, and what was her reaction to the reveal?
BM: It’s funny, that came out of the room pretty soon after we created the character. It’s really trademark FOLLOWING [move] where we reveal [a character] is a member of the killing group. But because it was done so often in season 1, season 2, we didn’t feel we could get away with it.  And then we had the character of Lisa Campbell, and it was like, “What if? Maybe we can do it here?”

I will tell you, Diane was kind of resistant to the idea. She was a little shocked.

It was certainly an important role — her death gave Ryan his first vigilante kill.
BM: Absolutely. We’ve seen him kill before, but this wasn’t in the heat of the moment; he was calculated, he had thought it out, and he was judge, jury, and executioner.

Elsewhere, Theo’s death felt very SCREAM/Kevin Williamson-esque. What went into figuring out the perfect way for him to die?
BM: We wanted to have some sort of location. There were different ideas, and this was what we were able to come up with in terms of the bridge. And then in terms of the SCREAM-esque, the horror movie, there was this idea that it was this horror movie moment, where he rises from the dead, he attacks, and then they go over together.

Was there any thought about potentially keeping Theo alive?
BM: Yeah, absolutely. And we definitely had an option for him for the first episode of the next season. I’m sure we would have thought more about it in success.

So on that note, when did you know, really, that the show wouldn’t be returning? And is there any chance for it to continue on somewhere else?
BM: We didn’t really know anything for sure until shortly before everyone else did. We had our hopes up right until the very end.

In terms of it going somewhere else, there are no plans I know of, and I talked with [THE FOLLOWING creator] Kevin Williamson [on Friday morning]. There are no plans we know of to take it anywhere else.

How are you feeling now, having to say goodbye to the show?
BM: It’s sad. I think we had stuff for another season, and it would have been nice to play out the Ryan Hardy journey. But at the same time, I think we did some great stuff this season and the past seasons. It would have been fun to continue it.

If you had known the series was ending this season, what would you have wanted to do?
BM: Interesting. I haven’t really thought about how we would have done it differently if we knew it had been the end. I think if we had seriously known it would be the end — and this might be something that was hotly debated — I would have liked to have left Ryan in more of a whole place. I thought about this a few days ago, because I was looking at the scene we were discussing earlier, with Ryan and Joe, where Ryan says he wants to be a better person, and he’s saying goodbye to Joe. That kind of feels like — if we knew that this was going to be the final season, some scene like that where he’s saying goodbye to Joe, and he’s going to be a whole person and in that happier place — that could have been the end of the show.

Is there anything you wish you had done on THE FOLLOWING that you didn’t have time to do?
BM: We did so much. I’d have to think about that. I can’t think of anything I was burning to do. Ryan saying goodbye to Joe is a significant ending of the show’s arc. I think that was major. And I think anything we were doing beyond that setting up a season 4.


THE FOLLOWING Boss on the Series Finale: ‘All Bets Are Off’
THE FOLLOWING: James Purefoy on Joe’s Fate and Ryan’s Breakdown
THE FOLLOWING Post-Mortem: Kevin Williamson on the ‘Sad’ but ‘Necessary’ Loss
THE FOLLOWING: Brett Mahoney on Ryan’s Spiral, Theo’s Rage, Mark’s ‘OMG’-Worthy Return, and More

Follow @GiveMeMyRemote and @marisaroffman on Twitter for the latest TV news. Connect with other TV fans on GIVE ME MY REMOTE’s official Facebook page.

And be the first to see our exclusive videos by subscribing to our YouTube channel at

Filed under #1 featured, The Following

Comments Off on THE FOLLOWING Series Finale Post-Mortem: Brett Mahoney on Ryan’s Sacrifice, and What Would Have Been Season 4


Comments are closed.