THE IRRATIONAL Creator Arika Lisanne Mittman on Alec and Marisa's Unconventional Will They/Won't They Relationship - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

THE IRRATIONAL Creator Arika Lisanne Mittman on Alec and Marisa’s Unconventional Will They/Won’t They Relationship

October 16, 2023 by  

The Irrational Alec Marisa

THE IRRATIONAL — “The Barnum Effect” Episode 103 — Pictured: (l-r) Brian King as Jace Richards, Maahra Hill as Marisa, Jesse L. Martin as Alec Mercer — (Photo by: Sergei Bachlakov/NBC)

As THE IRRATIONAL’s Alec (Jesse L. Martin) works to solve cases using his behavioral expertise, there’s a bonus to it all: Being in close quarters with his ex-wife, Marisa (Maahra Hill).

“We’ve seen a lot of will they/won’t they where they have a meet-cute in the pilot…the kind of CASTLE format,” THE IRRATIONAL creator Arika Lisanne Mittman tells Give Me My Remote in the video below. “I wanted to spin it a little bit on a couple who already did; been there, done that, and they’re divorced and they’re both trying to move on—but they can’t quite stay away from each other.”

“It’s sort of a new way into the will they or won’t they,” she continues. “I do want to keep that alive. I think the audience will be rooting for them, but we want to give them some challenges and we want to let them both kind of explore other options before maybe coming back to each other…something was broken, that caused the divorce. Like, if this couple was so great, if everything was perfect, they wouldn’t have gotten divorced in the first place, right? So they have to realize where they went wrong in order to find their way, perhaps, back to each other.”

While work brought the two together, initially—Marisa was working the investigation into the bombing that injured Alec—and now keeps them in each other’s orbit, Mittman notes it also may have played a role in breaking the former couple apart.

“I wanted to see this couple as two people who split up because they’re so passionate about their work,” she explains. “They let their work take the better parts of themselves, and they didn’t nurture that relationship. They didn’t nurture it, and when you don’t nurture things, they die. So they need to realize that it wasn’t necessarily that they weren’t compatible, it’s not necessarily that they weren’t meant to be together—they didn’t nurture that.”

“And I think if they are to get back together in the long run—which I think viewers are gonna root for, and that is totally okay; I want them to, because I want you to invest in this couple…they do have to do a certain amount of character growth,” Mittman continues. “[They need to] see and understand where they went wrong if they are going to make another go of it.”

If and when that time comes, though, it won’t be soon: Marisa just told Alec she’s seeing someone else.

“I think it’s going to force Alec to deal with [their split] in a way that he hasn’t quite,” Mittman previews. “I think Alec has approached this divorce, as he always does, from this very heady, cerebral, ‘Marisa’s going to realize, obviously, this was a terrible mistake. This is just temporary.’ It’s why he’s living in his sister’s guest room—this is just a temporary situation until she comes to her senses and we get back together.”

“I think the reality of her dating someone else kind of makes him realize, ‘Okay, she’s serious about this. And maybe I need to take this a little more seriously, instead of minimizing what went wrong,’” she continues. “Maybe explore for himself what might be my other options now. If he is to come back to that relationship, he will come back to it differently and not the same person he was when she left.”

The Irrational Alec Rose

THE IRRATIONAL — “Zero Sum” Episode 104 — Pictured: (l-r) Karen David as Rose Dinshaw, Jesse L. Martin as Alec Mercer, Maahra Hill as Marisa — (Photo by: Sergei Bachlakov/NBC)

In the meantime, Alec will have his hands full with a kidnapping case on the Monday, October 16 episode, “Zero Sum”—and a corporate fixer, Rose (Karen David), who, he has to temporarily partner up with. 

Mittman previously worked with David in a 2018 episode of TIMELESS, where the actress did  “such a phenomenal job” playing a young version of Agent Christopher.

“I couldn’t help but bring her back on this show,” Mittman says. “For musical theater fans, we now have Jesse Martin and Karen David on our show!”

And while there is a teeny tiny musical moment in the hour—though not between that duo—Mittman also shares she hopes “to one day do a musical episode, but that is not planned yet.” 

“Keep watching the show,” she says. “Make there be more episodes, and one day we’ll get what we want.”

THE IRRATIONAL, Mondays, 10/9c, NBC


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