Posted on Friday, March 25th, 2011 by David Chen
Ever since I started working on the /Filmcast, there have been two people I’ve always wanted to get onto the show that I haven’t been able to. Today, I cross one of those two names off my list (As for the other one, hopefully one day I can still get Heather Havrilesky to notice me…).
Shawn Ryan is one of the most exciting people working in the entertainment industry today. With an ear for crackling dialogue and a penchant for labyrinthine, satisfying plots, Ryan re-invigorates any genre he touches. He created the hit FX show The Shield, and was the showrunner on Lie To Me, Terriers, and The Unit. His newest show, The Chicago Code, airs on Fox on Monday nights and it’s one of my favorite new shows of 2011. In addition to watching it on TV, you can also see The Chicago Code on Hulu, Amazon, or iTunes. It’s well-worth your time to catch up now!
After the jump, read a full transcript (edited for clarity) of my 40-minute conversation with Shawn Ryan. It’s rare, in-depth look into what it’s like to create and manage a big-budget broadcast TV show and I’d urge you to give it a look. You can also download the audio from the interview through the /Filmcast.
Download or Play Now in your Browser:
Subscribe to the /Filmcast:
Shawn Ryan, thanks so much for joining us today on the Slashfilmcast.
I’m thrilled to be talking to you. I know it’s been a long time coming. I’m glad we’re finally here.
The honor is all mine, sir. Well, I have a lot of stuff I want to discuss today, but let’s begin with The Chicago Code. I listened to your interview on KCRW’s The Business and in it you spoke about the differences between creating a cop show for cable versus creating a cop show for broadcast television. We’re now seven episodes into the show and you recorded that interview before the show even aired, I believe. So I just thought I’d check in to see how it was going. What do you feel have been your biggest challenges so far with The Chicago Code versus a show like, say, The Shield?
Well, there are two different aspects. One is just making the show, and then second is getting people to watch the show, and I’ve been lucky in a lot of the shows I’ve done, going back to The Shield and even including The Unit and Terriers and The Chicago Code. All those shows, I was able to do a lot of work and make a lot of episodes before it aired. So as a result, I was able to kind of separate my focus.
In terms of making the show, I’m very, very happy, very pleased with what our team was able to do, and I really like the episodes. In terms of getting people to watch, I would say it’s a very difficult environment these days to launch a new show, to kind of cut through the clutter of everything and get people to watch. So we’re in that world right now, where our ratings are kind of in the middle. They’re not great, but they’re not horrendous, but we’d certainly like them to be better.
And that’s what I’m focusing on now, just is there a way to increase viewership at a mass level for my broadcast partner, which is Fox, and find a way to educate people that maybe the show is slightly different from other things they’ve seen in the past, that there is something original about it, and that it’s worth their time to watch.
Yeah, let’s talk about that. The Chicago Code was originally titled Ride Along, but I read that as you were writing the show and creating it, you wanted it to be a little bit more expansive than was originally intended, hence the name change. Can you talk a little bit about how the scope of the show changed and what your intentions originally were?
Peter Berg, the writer and director, and I had sat down and we had talked about the idea of trying to do something together. And ultimately, his schedule got too busy and we were unable to do something, but sitting down to talk with him started making me think about what I might want to do.
When I first started out, I just kind of had the idea of seeing the city of Chicago through the various windshields of different kinds of police officers’ cars, and what kind of stories could I tell that way. And as I started to come up with the characters and started to come up with the plot, and once we made the pilot and started thinking about what future episodes would be, I realized that the show had really kind of morphed into a bigger sort of macro look at a city and into the citizens of that city and into an examination of how politics intersected with police work and intersected with our characters. And as a result, I didn’t quite feel that Ride Along was an apt name any longer for the show.
And networks are always interested in tinkering with that and doing testing and asking themselves whether we’ve got the right title for a show. What I realized was a lot of people understood what Ride Along meant in terms of riding along with police, but a lot of people were unsure of what it was, and so I had a title that was confusing to some people and didn’t feel like it applied any longer to my show to myself, so that’s what caused the search for a new name.
Something I’ve noticed from watching The Shield and listening to the commentary tracks and watching all the special features on the DVDs is that you tend to be pretty upfront with your own feelings on your work, and self-critical occasionally when you feel like something you intended hasn’t gone off exactly as hoped. Is there anything in the first half of the season — or episodes you’ve already produced that haven’t aired yet — that you feel you’ve just totally nailed, or conversely, do you feel like there’s something you wish you could’ve done better looking back now that they’ve been produced?
Yeah. I feel like our production team got into a real good groove on the show starting with the episode that just aired this past Monday. And I feel we’ve got a really, really good run of episodes right up until the conclusion. We did have some struggles, I thought, just from a managerial standpoint, on the first few episodes that we made after the pilot, just in terms of assembling our crew.
What we’re asking the production team to do is very, very ambitious. We have eight days to shoot these shows, like most network shows do, but our pattern budget is for us to film six days out in the world and two days on our sets, which is pretty much the complete opposite of most shows, which will film the majority of their work on sets.
And to ask a crew to do this, and also to achieve a really kind of filmic, cinematic, rich look the way that we’ve asked our team to do, which is very different than The Shield. It was very easy on The Shield to stick two cameras on the shoulders of our camera operators and just kind of go out into the world and not worry about the lighting and film that show in seven days. That was actually an easier task, I think, than to try to film The Chicago Code in eight days where we’re going for a much more cinematic look.
As a result, I think it took us a few episodes, for me to figure out how to educate our crew on what to do and for the crew to figure out how to make this show. And as a result, when I watch the first few episodes after the pilot, and it’s kind of a little tricky because we actually…this is kind of hard to explain, but as we were sort of midway through the season and sort of saw what we were doing, I asked the network to let me write two episodes that would go earlier in the run and would air third and fourth, but we actually shot those ninth and tenth.
So the third and fourth episodes that aired were actually produced later in the run, when we were on a very good production roll. Although they were always intended to go in that air order, if that makes sense. But there were three episodes where I just felt, you know, things like, we have a driving scene with Jarek eating some lemon meringue pie. And we filmed on a very hot day and the pie just kept melting, and we didn’t have backup pies and we didn’t have a cooler where we could keep fresh pies, and it cost us over an hour of filming time. And so we were losing time to various logistical things, that as a result was giving the director and the actors less time to do what they do well.
And so I see some cracks in the seams of those first few episodes when I’m honest. Some of them I’d also say that in the writing of it, I think we were still figuring out what the show was. How stand-alone do we want these episodes to be? How serialized do we want them to be? What exactly is Delroy Lindo’s role in the show? Are our cops investigating other stuff besides what Delroy has his fingers in? And so those were questions that I think we were able to sort out for ourselves to my satisfaction, but it took us a few episodes to do that.
How would you characterize the answers to some of those questions? Like, for example, when I originally heard about the show I assumed it might be something along the lines of a thirteen-episode arc where these cops take down Delroy Lindo. But it seems like that hasn’t been the case, that there are, in fact, other cases that are incidental to the kind of overarching plot.
Yeah. I would call it a combination, that there is a thirteen episode arc involving Delroy Lindo’s character. I don’t want to say how it concludes this first season, but there is a story that I think is going to feel satisfying on that level. And then also, I wanted there to be at least one case or one thing in each episode that began and ended in that episode, and could serve as the structure for a stand-alone episode.
The networks really scare you when you sit down and talk with them about how people actually watch television, in the sense that they will tell you that even people who describe themselves as very big fans of your show on average will only watch one out of every four episodes of your show.
So to get ten million people watching every week, what you really need to do is develop forty million fans, and then you assume that about a quarter of them are going to show up each week. And as a result, when you think about a show like The Shield that, especially in its later seasons, was kind of almost impossible to watch without having watched everything that preceded it.
As a showrunner, you spend a lot of time thinking about…okay, here’s episode five, here’s episode six. We’re hoping that word of mouth is going to get around and that people are going to like this show and they’re going to tell their friends “hey, check this out,” but if episode six is something that depends on an encyclopedic knowledge of the first five episodes, if somebody tunes in, they’re going to be lost and they’re going to be uninterested.
So it’s really a fine line that you try to walk where you want consistent viewing to pay off and you want the characters to feel rich and consistent, and yet you do need to kind of approach each episode in the back of your mind thinking “well, there’s going to be a large chunk of people that have never seen the show before that this show needs to make sense for.”
And so, one thing that I’ve tried hard to do, and viewers will decide whether I’ve done it successfully or not, is each week we really try to craft a show that has a crime story that is interesting and intriguing and comes to some sort of conclusion and yet also propels an ongoing serialized plot forward.
There was an episode that aired a couple weeks ago that dealt with high-end hookers that is very much a stand-alone episode that we wrote earlier in the year, and I think what we realized was–‘cause my idea then was “well, let’s go back and forth, we’ll have some stand-alone, we’ll have some serialized things”–and what I realized from that episode was that I didn’t think the show worked quite as well without some aspect of the ongoing serialized story happening.
And so that’s something that, after that episode, we kind of never did that again. We always made sure there was some aspect of the ongoing story that we were dealing with.
I also imagine–and this is just me thinking out loud, and please don’t respond to this because obviously you shouldn’t–
But I also imagine that on a logistical/business standpoint, with the Delroy Lindo character, you have to probably take some things into account, too. Like, for example, Delroy Lindo’s probably one of the more recognizable actors in the cast. He’s also a complete badass, just in general, as an actor and as a character, so if by the end of the first season they lock him away, it might be more difficult to incorporate him into future seasons, and that might not fit in with your plan. This is just me speculating and thinking out loud. Again, feel free to not give away anything about the ending of the first season.
Yeah, I don’t want to give anything away, and you also want a show that’s going to kind of pay off at times as well, so that absolutely is a consideration. Where are we going with Alderman Gibbons? How quickly do we want to get there? It’s something that we spent a lot of time thinking about.
One thing I will say is that after we’d made four or five episodes, it became very clear that Delroy was a major asset to the show and that it would behoove us to kind of increase his workload.
[Laughs] Okay, fair enough.
The episode I just talked about, with the high-end hookers, didn’t have Delroy, and this is sort of inside baseball for a lot of people, but when you’re making a pilot, you sort of strike different deals with actors. Some you get the actors for all episodes, some you get for seven out of thirteen. In Delroy’s case, we had a deal with him to do ten of the first thirteen episodes, and it kind of became clear that he was more crucial than that.
And so we made two episodes without him. One where I felt he was really missed, that episode, and there’s an upcoming episode without him that I think we’re actually pretty successful doing without him. I think we’ve got some really great storylines, that you don’t miss him. But I did kind of lobby, and was successful in getting an extra episode out of him, so he ends up being in eleven of the thirteen. And he’s a real crucial, great part of the show, and that’s something that we discovered along the way.
Both The Shield and The Chicago Code, two cop shows that you created, have pilot episodes that end with a shocking death. And I’m wondering, do you feel like it’s necessary, given that there are so many cop shows out there in the world, to do something drastic like that to capture people’s attention, or was it just a coincidence? Did that occur to you when you were writing the pilot for The Chicago Code?
It did not really occur to me as I was writing it, because I was just kind of writing the story that made sense. In The Shield, that death comes in the final scene, and really the final moments, of that pilot episode.
I would say in The Chicago Code, that moment comes at the end of act three in a four-act story, and that the things that it propels in the story in act four were what were really important to me. You know, it kind of mobilizing Jarek to go on this quest, let’s call it, with Theresa. Whereas up to that point, he was kind of resistant. It really kind of raised the stakes for both of them in a way.
The Shield, the death…I’m being a little vague, because there are still people in this DVD age that haven’t watched the show and maybe can be sucked into watching it, so I don’t want to give away too much, but the death sort of really twisted what your thoughts were on some of the main characters.
So in this case, yes, on a factual basis, there was kind of a “shocking death” at the end of both, and yet I think they feel very different. At least they did to me. And so I wasn’t truly aware of that comparison until people started making it when the show premiered, and I was like, “Oh, yeah, I see that a little bit.”
You know, if there’s one thing that I always hate, I really try very hard not to repeat myself and not to repeat others, try to be as fresh and original as possible. And so, hearing people mention that, I was like “Oh, yeah, I guess…” [Laughs] I guess that’s a tool that, in some ways, I may have used before.
What I love about watching shows that you are showrunner on or that you’ve created is that I get the sense that you also have watched a lot of television in your time, that you know what makes for good television, and that you kind of are very aware of clichés in the genres that you’re working in.
And especially with so many cop shows over the past couple of decades, there has been plenty of time to see shows that trade on these clichés. Do you feel like you consciously try to avoid such clichés, and if so, what are some things that you specifically try to avoid for a show like The Chicago Code?
Yeah, I would just say that I was one of these kids that grew up in the Midwest. I’m not one of these kids that grew up near a bunch of art theaters that were playing Scorsese movies. I grew up with movie theaters that were only kind of playing the blockbusters. And as a result, TV was kind of a more important medium to me as a kid than film was. And I did watch far too much TV as a child. [Laughs]
And it’s a habit that has continued into my middle age. I really love the genre, I really love watching shows. I was one of those kids that, when I was watching things, I would really try to figure out where the story was going, who would be the bad guy, what were the important clues to figure out. And I got pretty good at that.
And then as I approached a career in writing and tried to make my way into Hollywood and tried to get work and everything, I really started watching shows with a more critical eye, and really tried to understand why certain shows worked and why other shows didn’t. And yeah, I became very aware of the various tropes that shows would use, both successfully and unsuccessfully.
And I can’t tell you how many stories I’ve rejected in the writers’ room, both on The Shield and on The Chicago Code, because I’ve seen something kind of similar in another show.
Can you give us examples of that? Like, what are storylines that you feel have been done to death that you want to stay away from?
Sometimes it’s not that you want to stay away completely from the storyline, but you want to find a different way to do them. You know, we did a couple of serial killer storylines on The Shield. And the serial killer genre is very well-worn. I’m sort of struggling at the moment to think of super specifics because The Shield has kind of become one big blob memory in my brain over the years.
I would say one thing is that we have a Jarek/Caleb relationship at the center of our show, and the kind of bickering cop partners is a trope in police shows and movies. And there’d be a lot of specific writing in early drafts of episodes by some of the writers that took the bickering between these two guys kind of too far and too comedically, in my opinion. And so my adjustments for the writers were to kind of make it real.
Yes, at the heart we have a White Sox fan and a Cub fan kind of forced to share a car, and one guy really looks up to Jarek, but Jarek kind of prefers to work alone and yet he’s stuck with this partner. There are lot of scenes and a lot of lines and a lot of interactions between them that I think could have fallen into a very familiar sort of Lethal Weapon-kind of thing that we didn’t want them to fall into. Not that Lethal Weapon was bad. Lethal Weapon was great. It just got there first, you know, twenty-some years ago.
And so there are a lot of specific scenes of how they interacted that we wanted to make specific to Jarek and Caleb, and make it feel grounded and real, and hopefully get some humor out of there. But I’m always very conscious that I’d rather give up a laugh and make it feel real. I never want to push it so far that yes, we get something funny, but in a way that kind of damages the characters and the believability of the show.
With The Shield and Terriers and The Chicago Code, they all feel like they have a very good sense of the space that they’re operating in. People who have lived in San Diego immediately know from watching Terriers that it’s set there. Obviously you grew up in Chicago. Can you describe your methodology when you’re trying to create the look of a show, creating that sense of place? Anything you try to avoid? Anything you specifically try to make sure is included?
Well, I’m a believer that not enough TV shows really embrace their location. And listen, maybe some of my shows would have had more success if I did operate in a more generic manner. As a person who grew up in Rockford, Illinois, I think that I’m very much formed by that experience there, and I think about the way people are there, and I think about what it was like to be a kid there.
I’ve lived most of my adult life in Los Angeles and that’s a very specific experience, and I’m surrounded by very different, specific people here in Los Angeles than I was in Illinois. And so when I do a TV show, I really think long and hard about what the location is, where we’re going to film it.
I try to immerse myself, at least for a little while, in that location and try to understand it. What makes this place specific? What makes it different? What makes it unique? And how can we take advantage of that on the show? On The Chicago Code, it was a little easier because I spent so much of my childhood traveling into Chicago and getting to know the city and knowing those kinds of people that it was kind of already engrained.
With Terriers, Ted Griffin, who created the show, he and I, when we started looking around at where we were going to film this, really came pretty quickly upon the Ocean Beach area of San Diego, and really threw ourselves into it during the pilot process and really tried to understand what made it different and unique and then how could we imprint that on our characters? And I think it adds something really special to the show.
The Shield is another example. When we were prepping The Shield, Clarke Johnson, who directed the pilot, he and I spent a lot of time talking about the feel of the show and where did we want to film this. And the one thing I said to him was, to me–and we’re going back to 2001 now, so ten years ago. In fact, we were prepping the pilot almost exactly ten years ago to this day.
But what I said to him was, “every time I see Los Angeles filmed, I see the same four areas. I see downtown, I see Hollywood, I see Beverly Hills, and I see the beach.” I said, “what I want this show to be is, I want to see those areas that you have to drive through to get between those areas. You know, the sort of sketchy part of town that you have to drive through to get from downtown to Beverly Hills. That’s where I think this show takes place.”
And what Clark came up with was the idea, what we came up with additionally was, okay, great, let’s never be in those areas that we always see, except let’s see those areas off in the distance, kind of like they’re Oz. And so, if you can really embrace a location and a city, to me, it just A. makes it more real, and then B. instills a groundedness in your characters that is kind of pretty great.
As a Shield fan/nerd, I’m curious. It’s been a few years since that show’s been off the air, and I wonder if there’s anything in your mind that, when you look back at that show and what you accomplished, is there anything you feel still lingers that you wish you could have done X in or with that show? Does that inform your thinking on The Chicago Code at all? Talk about how you reflect on that show today.
I’m very pleased with the overall of the show. I also think, as I see more and more series come to a conclusion and I see various series finales, I feel like I’m very proud of how we ended the show. You know, I would put up our consistency against anyone. There are certainly episodes that I like less than other episodes, but to me there’s only one episode of the entire run of The Shield that I’m not pleased with. Other than that, I think every other episode was at least pretty good.
Are you going to tell us what that episode is?
I always used to joke, the episode to me is the very apt titled “Throwaway” from season one. [Laughs] I think it was the eighth episode that aired. And it was just a case of one of the dangers you can fall into in a new show, that you’re making a bunch of episodes before you edit them and put them together and kind of really figure out what the show is. And so, there’s really a path of discovery early on in the first season of a show.
And in that case, I think it was one of our weakest, if not our weakest script, just story-wise. That episode has a great hook in the teaser, and then story-wise it doesn’t expand on it at all. It doesn’t get better. And then we also had a director who came in who did not have the benefit of seeing a lot of episodes put together and, in retrospect, I don’t think I did a good enough job explaining to her what I thought the show was.
And as a result, I think she made a different kind of show. She did an episode that just felt different than our show. And then I did a lot of work editorially to kind of bring it back and make it feel like our show, but with the script problems that it had, I’m just not pleased with it.
Gotcha. Now that’s the one episode I’m going to go back and watch, just to see it.
[Laughs] That to me is the one. Having said that, there are some macro things that I don’t think we completely nailed. I think the Glenn Close season could have been stronger from a writing and story perspective, but she was so freaking good in that role and when we started that season, we didn’t know exactly where we were going with her and that character.
I didn’t know if it was something that we were going to need to wrap up in thirteen episodes or whether she was someone who would carry on beyond. She turned out only to be able to do the one season for us because she had a daughter back in New York who was about to graduate high school and she needed to get back to her, and so the ending got a little rushed there.
So there were some macro things, but then I look at season five, which I call the Forest Whitaker season, that’s the season he showed up. And I look at the last seven or eight episodes of the entire series, I look at some of the money train run, I look at the first four episodes of season three, that’s a great run for us. A lot of the first season. I think on the whole, we did very, very well.
And frankly, I just think we outworked people. I really, I don’t know that there would be another show on TV where everyone worked as hard as we all worked on The Shield.
I think everything you say is true. I mean, in particular I really enjoyed the last three or four episodes of the entire series, where all of the various Strike Team members’ plotlines are resolved. I think I agree with you that, typically with a lot of shows, after you get to season six or seven, the quality starts to decline dramatically and it starts feeling like you’re in an abusive relationship with it. You go, you watch, you don’t even know why you’re doing it anymore, and that never happened with The Shield, even though you guys went seven seasons, right?
Yeah. I’d like to think that never happened, but listen, it’s also a benefit when you’re only making thirteen episodes on a cable schedule. It is more difficult, having spent a year on Angel, which is a show that I really admire, making twenty-two episodes is really tough. So Angel ran five or six seasons and made over one hundred episodes.
You know, we only made eighty-eight episodes of The Shield, so I think it’s easier to maintain that quality, and we got to make them over seven years.
So if you think about it that way, it’s like, okay, we essentially only have to make twelve or thirteen really good episodes a year. And the network was really great in terms of, one of the things that I’d always ask for was as much writing prep time before shooting began, and the network and the studio would allow us and would spend more money, so that I’d have an extra month with my writers before shooting began.
It was not unusual for us to have three to four months of writing time before the season would even start. And if you think about what an advantage that is, it allows you to go down some blind alleys and realize “oh, you know what, I don’t think this is going to work for us, and maybe we should throw out this storyline and come up with something different.”
We came up with a lot of bad ideas for The Shield, believe me. A lot of bad ideas. I just think that, one, we had the luxury of time, to be able to abandon them, and two, I was a real hardass in not accepting any of them.
Even some of my own bad ideas. I tend to be very self-critical, as you said, and I think that’s one of the benefits, is that just because I come up with an idea doesn’t make it gold. And we worked really hard. For those eighty-eight episodes of TV, we probably came up with two hundred and fifty episodes’ worth of stories, but we only chose the best ones.
I understand The Chicago Code is a different show than The Shield and it looks different, feels different, the plotline’s fairly different. Are there any plotlines from back then that you weren’t able to do back then that you’re going to try to do on The Chicago Code, or anything like that? Has anything carried over from those days?
No, I don’t think so. I’m not one of these people that kind of writes down sort of plot points on pieces of paper and puts them away and then pulls them out when I need something. My stories, and this is something I really learned working for Joss Whedon for a year, was that my stories tend to be very character-driven. So I don’t just think “okay, what’s a good cop story to tell?”
The way my brain thinks is, okay, what would be a good episode for Jarek and Caleb to investigate that will reveal something about them as partners? What’s a good case that will put Jarek and Theresa at odds in an interesting way and maybe reveal something about how they used to work as partners? And because those characters are different than the characters on The Shield, the stories turn out a little bit different, I would say.
So no, I don’t have a bunch of unused stuff from The Shield that I’ve pulled out for this. We’re just trying to be original and true to these characters.
Are there any shows that are currently airing or have recently aired that you look to for inspiration these days?
The shows that I tend to like to watch the most are the shows that I’m jealous of, that I look at and say, “I wish I had done that, but I probably couldn’t have done that.” [Laughs] You know, Mad Men is one of those. I think I could’ve done Friday Night Lights, but they beat me to it and they did such a great job of it. Yeah, I’m jealous of that. I tend to watch a lot of comedies. You know, Parks and Recreation and Archer. Even some reality stuff. Tosh.0. I look at Tosh.0 and I kind of marvel at how funny that is and what Daniel Tosh does on that show and who he is and what’s a character and what’s real with him, it’s kind of funny.
The funny thing is, I tend nowadays not to watch as many cop shows as I used to. And one reason is that it’s almost impossible for me to watch without thinking during an episode what I think they should have done differently.
So I still watch some, and I’m looking forward to The Killing, this new one that’s getting ready to come out on AMC. I’m intrigued by that, and will check that out, but I tend to watch, you know, Battlestar Galactica’s another one, a show that I kind of discovered on DVD and ended up devouring all the episodes in a short period of time. That was a show that I probably could never have come up with, and yet in many ways it has a lot of similarities to The Shield, I think.
My opinion is that, in some ways, The Shield helped pave the way for many of the shows you named. I mean, correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t The Shield one of the first shows to prove that basic cable dramas could be profitable?
Yes. And a show like Battlestar Galactica, we did get asked by SyFy how we’d produce that show, just from a business standpoint. That’s right, we made The Shield for an extraordinarily low amount of money the first two years. We made The Shield for about 1.3 million dollars an episode, and the fact that it was good was the shocking thing. Because other people were making shows for low amounts of money. They just weren’t perceived as being very good.
And so, yes, this did change the game a little bit. You know, Michael won an Emmy that first year for the show, the show won the Golden Globe. And we’re sitting at the Golden Globes around shows like The Sopranos that was literally spending four and five times the amount of money we were to make their episodes, and yet we were able to compete with them.
And that did give a lot of different basic cable networks, like SyFy with Battlestar Galactica, like AMC, did give them the idea that quality programming on a basic cable budget could be successful and profitable for them, so yes, The Shield did break a lot of ground in that way, more on a business model level.
Creatively, you really do have to go back to The Sopranos for being the wellspring for The Shield and a lot of other stuff. But The Shield was the first to kind of show you could do it on a basic cable budget model.
That’s kind of why I look up to you; because I feel like a lot of the cable television that we currently enjoy spawned as a result, indirectly or directly, from The Shield.
Thank you, I appreciate that, but the thing I always say is that was ready to happen. We were the show that kind of launched it, but if I had never written The Shield, a different show would have come along and done it, I think. So we’re fortunate that we came along at the right time.
Well, you’re a really modest guy, Shawn Ryan, and I do greatly appreciate your time today and being so generous with it. I know you’re a busy guy. Thanks so much for joining us today on the Slashfilmcast.
Thank you, Dave. It was a real pleasure.