TIMELESS Writer Arika Lisanne Mittman on the 'Love Letter' Finale - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

TIMELESS Writer Arika Lisanne Mittman on the ‘Love Letter’ Finale

December 19, 2018 by  

TIMELESS Writer Arika Lisanne Mittman

TIMELESS — “The Miracle of Christmas Part II” Episode 212 — Pictured: (l-r) Abigail Spencer as Lucy Preston, Malcolm Barrett as Rufus Carlin, Claudia Doumit as Jiya — (Photo by: Chris Haston/NBC)

When TIMELESS star Claudia Doumit first read the two-part finale, she enthused it felt like a fan wrote the installments. Writer Arika Lisanne Mittman, who penned the second hour (Lauren Greer wrote “The Miracle of Christmas Part I”), agreed with that sentiment as a self-professed fan of the series herself. But there was also an important goal for the final episodes.

“It is a love letter to fans, in a lot of ways,” Mittman says. “They brought us back. They got us this movie. We really wanted to reward all of the fans.”

So what’s in store? Mittman teases the character-focused two-part finale, getting to play in a Christmas landscape, what this experience has meant to her, and more…

This is a holiday episode airing in an appropriate time slot. Did you know immediately you’d be airing there before you set out to write these episodes, or did it happen to naturally work out?
We were told early on. When they first told us, yes, we’re picking you up, we’re giving you a movie, they told us it’s airing at Christmas time. So we knew going into it that that’s what we were looking for.

This was a smaller writers’ room than most television shows have. What was the process like breaking the episodes, both individually and together?
We actually approached it the same way we approached our other episodes! We didn’t have as many people, but we were used to working in smaller rooms—we often broke two stories at once. So we’d be breaking one in one room, one in another, and then someone was off writing a script or on set. We actually quite frequently ended up in rooms with two or three writers in it, so it wasn’t different from our regular process once we got in.

What was the priorities you had in shaping the storytelling in the limited amount of screen time you had?
Our priority was character. We made a whole list of loose ends—what’s still out there, what do we have to sew up? And we sewed up as many as we could, or at least answered questions. And there were plot-y types of things. But our priority was character and character arcs; wrapping up those stories. The relationships: we left Lucy and Wyatt, and Lucy and Flynn’s relationship dangling out there. We felt like we needed to tell those stories. And, of course, continue what we had been doing, which was tell a good history stories about underrepresented minorities in history, people who have never heard of. Our priorities were to do things people love, and in terms of the cliffhangers, answer the big questions. And Rufus, Future!Lucy and Future!Wyatt, those are the things we deal with.

What can you preview about the couple drama?
I would never want to spoil anything, but there is something for everyone. All of our fans, if they’re a fan of either of those couples, tune in. They’ll be happy with the end.

When Jessica cheated death, she certainly came back different from the version Wyatt knew. What state will we find Rufus in?
There’s not much I want to give away at this point!

Is there anything you can tease about his relationship with Jiya?
I think that the Riya fans will be happy.

What will the future versions of Wyatt and Lucy bring to the table?
It was fun to have the fantasy of being able to talk to your future self. And talk to your past self! We’ve all wanted, at some point or another, told our past self something. For me, what was fun was the interaction of the [dual] selves.

Goran Višnjić has been jugging the filming of this with another project. How does Flynn play into the finale?
He will play a very critical role. He has been shooting in Portugal…but rest assured, there is a lot of Flynn.

How far will Emma go to take out the Time Team?
As you know from the finale, she took out the other members of Rittenhouse. Emma, to some extent, is operating with her own agenda now. It’s anybody’s guess what she will do. She’s upping the stakes.

When it came to picking what times the team would travel to, what was your main prioriy?
Thematics and character. We always, particularly starting in season 2, decided to be more sparing about the spectacle and make it more about the characters and theme. Our signature brand of telling stories about minorities in history, the unsung heroes of history. People you’ve heard of, but you didn’t know much about them, or people you’ve never heard of but played important roles in history. The priority for us was keeping that alive.

What did you most enjoy about getting to embrace the Christmas spirit?
It was fun! We had never done a holiday episode before. Initially, we were a little bit nervous about it. We were nervous, I’ll tell you, because of the direct pick-up—it wasn’t Christmas when we ended [the season 2 finale]! But ultimately, we were really happy we did, because the Christmas element helped us find our stories in a lot of ways. It worked much better into it than we initially thought it would. And it’s intrinsically linked to the finale.

One should never count out TIMELESS, but if this is the end, what does having your fingerprint on the finale mean to you?
This is the most important, in my opinion, show I’ve been a part of. The most special show I’ve been a part of. It’s been a unique experience. It’s challenged all of us to make our storytelling matter; tell stories that are important, tell stories that are important and resonant and do something for the world. It’s rare you get to do that on television.

I’ve never felt like I worked on a show that made this much of a difference in people’s lives. I wasn’t on Twitter before this. And then we all got on Twitter so we could live tweet with the fans. And how many people who have been like, ‘You’ve made my child fall in love with history.’ Or, ‘You’ve made me fall in love with history.’ Teachers have said, ‘We use your show as part of our lessons.’ That means a lot to me. I have young kids; this is the first show I’ve written that my daughter can watch with me. And my daughter, who is eight, is interested in history. And that’s because of TIMELESS. It means everything to me, personally.

TIMELESS, Series Finale, Thursday, December 20, 8/7c, NBC


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