'Awake' creator answers burning questions

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Image Credit: Michael Desmond/NBC

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6. Britten would still have been in jail in the red world when season 2 began. “The discussion was always that that’s where he finds himself when he woke back up in red world. It would be as if all of the dream-like elements had in fact been a dream, and he’d closed his eyes just before the guard knocked on the door and told him he had a visitor [Harper], and we’d treat it as that was the moment he went to sleep. He would know that he’d caught Harper in the other world and that he seemed unable to do anything in red. Ultimately, he would have relied on Vega to help him extricate himself from that situation.”

7. While he was jailed and unable to live with Hannah in red world, he would have grown closer to Tara (Michaela McManus), Rex’s tennis coach, in green world. The role of Tara was envisioned from the start as a potential love interest for Britten, and though producers, especially Isaacs, wanted to go there, it didn’t feel right for season 1. “It always felt too soon and difficult to explain. If it’s about a man overcoming the loss of his wife, he’s only overcoming the loss for 12 hours a day. So most of us deal with that by not needing to get into another relationship. What ultimately was needed to really jump-start the alternate relationship was some sort of fracturing in the Hannah-Britten story. That’s exactly what you see us building to at the end of the season,” Killen says. “Once he’s imprisoned and he’s considered essentially a mad man and there’s not really a clear way out, we would have used that and Dr. Evans to really try to convince him that that was his imagination and there was a psychological reason that he was holding himself there. That would have opened the door enough for us to begin something with Tara. And then by the time the red world resolved itself and he was extricated from prison, without really meaning to, he would have gotten himself in two different relationships. By the time things were repaired with Hannah, he would have already begun a relationship with Tara because he had been leading himself to believe that Hannah wasn’t real and it was something that he needed to get over. By the time that flipped on him, he would have been a man divided. That was something we were really eager to explore in the second season.”

8. Britten is not a psychic detective. Some fans still wondered how Britten was able to connect things between worlds. “Looking at the [crime] scene, he’s sort of like an unconscious Sherlock Holmes. Where Sherlock Holmes would instantly see that there’s a piece of heel in the carpet, which means that Harper is the perpetrator, and everybody would say, ‘How do you know that?’ and he would walk them through it, Britten takes all that in unconsciously and then unwinds it in his dream. He’s basically building a narrative that explains the reality that he’s already seen,” Britten says. “That happened several times throughout the season. The story that you create draws your attention back to something that was in the scene originally. He didn’t psychically understand something that he’d never been exposed to before.” When he wakes up at Vega’s place in the red world hearing the sounds of heels walking, he’d already been to the motel room where Kessel was shot in the green world. “He’s already been to the scene of Kessel’s murder and he’s ostensibly observed that heel on the floor. But obviously when he gets to red world, he’s so mentally focused on survival and escape, that even though his brain keeps calling this detail to his attention, he’s ignoring it because he’s got much bigger problems to deal with.” (This would seem to be another point in favor of the green world being the real one, yes? At least in this hour.)

9. While Killen appreciates fans wanting to save the show, he’d rather they hope for Isaacs to receive an Emmy nomination. “It’d be difficult given the ratings that we had to justify [a pickup by another network],” Killen says. “The incredible support and enthusiasm from fans, if they wanted to use that energy for something, I would say it’s better spent trying to see that Jason is recognized. That’s a better campaign to wage. That’s something that I think they might actually be able to pull off.”

10. Killen, whose critical darling Lone Star was canceled by Fox after two episodes aired in 2010, has not been put off TV. “I’m developing some things to write this fall that can be canceled in future years,” he jokes. Those projects include ideas for both network and cable shows. “The last few years, maybe I was a little more cavalier about what you might be able to pull off on network. I think it’s getting really difficult to continue making that argument on the drama side. It feels like there’s becoming two very distinct camps,” he says. “So I think if I show up on network again, I would bring a more network-specific idea. If I have ideas that feel like they belong on cable, then I think at this point, I probably start to take them to cable.”

Read more:
‘Awake’ finale react: What just happened?
Jason Isaacs talks Britten’s nudity, large notepad, and a satisfying finale
Replay the ‘Awake’ finale live chat with Kyle Killen

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