FBI: Rick Eid on Prioritizing a 'Grounded and Real' Franchise - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

FBI: Rick Eid on Prioritizing a ‘Grounded and Real’ Franchise

April 25, 2022 by  

FBI franchise connection

“Grief” – As the team searches for an abducted college co-ed, Jubal becomes intent on obtaining lifesaving leads from the father of the abductor’s previous victim. Also, Jubal continues to grapple with the aftermath of Rina’s condition, leading to a tense encounter with her mother, on the CBS Original series FBI, Tuesday, Jan. 11 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network, and available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+*.
Pictured ( L-R) John Boyd as Special Agent Stuart Scola, Katherine Renee Turner as Special Agent Tiffany Wallace, Missy Peregrym as Special Agent Maggie Bell, and Zeeko Zaki as Special Agent Omar Adom ‘OA’ Zidan
Photo: David M. Russell/CBS ©2021 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

As FBI’s fourth season starts to wind down, the drama is in an enviable position: In addition to its own success, it’s now a genuine franchise, with spinoffs FBI: MOST WANTED and newbie FBI: INTERNATIONAL rounding out the Tuesday night block on CBS.

“To me, personally, making the show feel—and the shows feel—grounded and real is incredibly important,” FBI showrunner Rick Eid notes. “I probably say that three times a week to the [FBI] writers: ‘Make it feel real’—it’s kind of my mantra.”

On paper, the shows are less traditionally connected than the other Dick Wolf franchises (with interpersonal relationships linking the ONE CHICAGO and LAW & ORDER worlds), leading to them mostly sticking to their own storytelling. But they’re also very cognizant about the responsibility of the overall universe, especially when something major happens.

“There’s so much work to be done on each show that we all kind of mind our own business and do our own thing,” Eid notes of collaborating with INTERNATIONAL showrunner Derek Haas and MOST WANTED boss David Hudgins. “But when there are elements crossing over—or something significant happens, like Jess’ death—we talk about how to recognize it or acknowledge it in the show in an organic way so it creates that one universe feeling.”

The showrunner acknowledges that they’re trying to be equally natural with how FBI incorporates interpersonal relationships into the mix. (Previously, Jubal’s relationship with Rina ended in tragedy; now, Scola will be working with his one night stand, Nina.)

“I think any show can handle great relationships and great romantic relationships,” Eid says. “It’s just how you do it. And how you do it in a way that doesn’t really impact the integrity of the show.”

Eid—who also runs LAW & ORDER, and previously led CHICAGO P.D. and LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT—also acknowledges “it also depends on the chemistry between the two actors” if they opt to move forward with relationships.

“A lot of times, writers can have—in their mind—this relationship we’re gonna start between these two characters,” he notes. “And then you write it, you’re all excited about it, and then you see it [on-screen], and it’s, ‘Hm, that didn’t really work, did it?’ So you change your mind about that relationship. It really is one of those things that you can try to explore and begin to write toward it [to] see if it’s interesting. If it is, and you continue to explore it, on a show like FBI, you need to explore it within the confines of the case and the confines of the show.”

“It’s a tricky dance: how do you build those relationship moments and issues into the plot, as opposed to, ‘We interrupt this episode to do three scenes about your romantic relationship,'” he continues. “So it’s that fine line. But I’m always excited to try to do that and to try to find those characters that might have a relationship. It’s something we’re always talking about and open to.”

Another thing Eid is open to? A new crossover between the Wolf franchises. (FBI and CHICAGO P.D. briefly crossed over when CPD’s Tracy Spiridakos guest starred on FBI in 2020.) And while FBI—and former L&O—star Jeremy Sisto previously shared he heard there might be plans for a crossover between FBI and SVU, he also acknowledged he wanted to have a L&O and FBI crossover.

In reply to Sisto’s pitch, “my already muddled head is about to explode trying to figure out how to make that work,” Eid says with a laugh. (In addition to Sisto, FBI’s Alana De La Garza also starred on LAW & ORDER.) But of the overall possibility, “I always say nothing is impossible in the Dick Wolf universe. It would not be impossible to be to do an inter-network crossover. But I’m not aware of specific plans to do that. But it’d be really cool.”

For now, Eid is just relishing in getting to do a full fourth season. “We’ve been able to write the show a little bigger,” he says. “During [the height of] COVID, there were all kinds of constraints on what you could do on city streets, how many extras and background actors you could have. So, as a result, the scope of the production was constrained. But this season…it’s almost been back to normal, I’d say. And we have such a great production team in New York who did such an amazing job that they make it look like a movie every week.”

FBI, Tuesdays, 8/7c, CBS


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