THE IRRATIONAL: Arika Lisanne Mittman on How the Writers Incorporated an Extra Episode into Season 1 - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

THE IRRATIONAL: Arika Lisanne Mittman on How the Writers Incorporated an Extra Episode into Season 1

February 19, 2024 by  


THE IRRATIONAL — “Reciprocity” Episode 111 — Pictured: (l-r) Jesse L. Martin as Alec Mercer, Maahra Hill as Marisa — (Photo by: Sergei Bachlakov/NBC)

As THE IRRATIONAL wraps up its first season on Monday, February 19, the NBC drama has had an unconventional freshman year.

The Jesse L. Martin-led series was one of the few to air original episodes in Fall 2023, having banked seven episodes before the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes shut down production for months. The show aired its series premiere the day after the WGA strike ended—but they still had to wait for the actors’ strike to end in order to finish production. Then, a little over a week after the SAG-AFTRA strike concluded, it was announced that NBC had actually added an additional installment to season 1, bringing the episode count to 11. (The good news? The show also got an early season 2 renewal.)

But adding an extra episode to a show with a planned mythology/arc came with its own complications.

“It’s funny we were given [an order for] three more scripts, actually,” THE IRRATIONAL creator Arika Lisanne Mittman tells Give Me My Remote. “We were given three more scripts and we weren’t sure for a while [how many episodes NBC would order from those], because it was pending the actors’ strike…we didn’t know when we were going to be able to start up production again, which meant we didn’t know exactly when we were going to able to be able to air these episodes. And so we were in a little bit of limbo for a while.”

To figure out those potential extra episodes—while not compromising the planned story—the writers then had to plot out where they could possibly fit in the show’s timeline. “The way we did it was we knew what the last two episodes [of season 1] would be, because the last two episodes were the ones that really touch on this serialized story, and wrapping up the church bombing mystery,” Mittman says. “So we basically had designed three more episodes that could go in between episodes 8 and what was originally our 9 and 10.”

The Irrational season 1

THE IRRATIONAL — “Cheating Life” Episode 109 — Pictured: (l-r) Travina Springer as Kylie, Jesse L. Martin as Alec Mercer, Paloma Nozicka as Morgan — (Photo by: Sergei Bachlakov/NBC)

When NBC eventually ordered the one extra episode, that became what aired as episode 9…and there was a silver lining for those already-prepped scripts, too. “The other two [ordered] scripts, we’ve put into our season 2 stories,” Mittman says. “So we were a little bit ahead on season 2, which is nice.”

As for the season finale, as Mittman told GMMR earlier in the season, viewers will get answers about the church bombing that wounded Alec and brought him together with his now ex-wife Marisa (Maahra Hill).

“I see it as a season-long question; I don’t like to artificially drag things out,” she said at the time. “For storytelling, I like to give the viewer some satisfaction at the end of the season that at least some questions, if not all questions, will be answered…There will be a satisfying resolve to that mystery by the end of the season.”

THE IRRATIONAL, Mondays, 10/9c, NBC


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