Writer’s Room: Just Desserts

Series writer Kevin Deiboldt talks fruitcake.

Writing the fruitcake murder was a fun challenge – lighter in tone than most of our other cases, much more absurd. And, just past our halfway point of the season, we hoped it would allow the viewers to take a breath (albeit small) before we charge down the stretch towards the finale. The cap to this fruitcake murder, of course, is the big explanation scene – one of my favorites in the script.

In the original outline, it was much simpler – O’Brien going over his notes at the Precinct, realizing that Devery poisoned himself. Even with Corcoran there to discuss it with him, I had a hard time giving the scene any energy. It read way too expository. So I moved it to the bar, with the hope that letting them relax a bit (one thing we rarely see) would add some life. Better, but still dull. Having O’Brien go over the notes was making our detectives look slow – only figuring out the case after they went back over everything. We needed a third person to explain the case to. Enter Maguire.

Now, we had some verve. Adding Maguire allowed Corky and O’Brien to mess with him – to laugh and smile (two things we never see) as he struggled to follow along. The only thing holding the scene back was the explanation itself – an extensive, static, monologue. I needed to make it more dynamic, more interesting to watch. It occurred to me: we should use the drinks. (The poetic version of this story has me figuring out the sequence in person, some late eve – whiskey, beer, glasses in hand. This may or may not be accurate.) Once the props and pantomime were added, the scene finally clicked.

It was a blast to watch the guys film it. Dylan – who we put through the wringer in this episode, doing a masterful job the entire time – nailed it, which was no mean feat. Tom brought up Byrnes’ dead brother, so I added that in. Kevin struck the right balance of puzzled, amused and annoyed. They made it look a breeze, laughing and drinking as they wrapped up the case. Just as I hoped.

Now, there are GIFs of it on the internet. Tare an’ouns.



Have questions or comments for Kevin? Leave them below! And for more of Kevin’s ‘Copper’ musings, check out his personal blog, Ithaca Mafia, and follow him on Twitter at @Kluv32.