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'Hart of Dixie' Boss Previews 'Heated' Season 2 Finale (Q&A)

Executive producer Leila Gerstein talks to THR about wrapping up the sophomore run of The CW series and season three plans.

Hart of Dixie Leila Gerstein - H 2013
The CW; Getty Images

On the heels of a third-season renewal and a surprising reveal at the end of last week's episode, Zoe Hart (Rachel Bilson) and company will be faced with some big decisions in the Hart of Dixie season finale.

Tuesday's hour, "On the Road Again," will bring Zoe on a trip back to New York City, a welcome respite from her continued romantic misfortunes. Following Zoe's decision to go back to Wade (Wilson Bethel), season two will end with several loose ends left untied.

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"It's the kind of cliffhanger where we're going to come back and see everyone a few months later in season three," showrunner/executive producer Leila Gerstein tells The Hollywood Reporter.

Gerstein previews the finale, in which Gloriana performs; what she hopes to explore in season three; and the evolution of the George Tucker character.

The Hollywood Reporter: How do you think the second season has been going?

Leila Gerstein: I think we really found our groove in season two. The show is a romantic comedy. Season two really highlighted that. We let Zoe get a little crazy which Rachel [Bilson] handled beautifully. I think we found a way to make George Tucker (Scott Porter) funny, which has been super successful, and I’m most proud of the fact that we redeemed Lemon Vreeland (Jaime King). I think the audience is really relating to her this season. She’s really struggling to find herself now that she’s left at the altar and we really succeeded in making people fall in love with her.

THR: You touched on George’s evolution this season, and a lot of that had to do with Tansy (Mircea Monroe). How much of a surprise was that?

Gerstein: It wasn’t in the plan to keep them together for as long as they were together, but when we saw how cute they were we kept it going. She brought out this levity in George that was really fantastic. He’s a great straight man – when you surround him with nutty people, he reacts perfectly. This season has brought him into one predicament after another. Scott’s hilarious; he’s a great comic actor.

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THR: Zoe and George had a heated moment a few weeks ago when she professed her love only to be completely shot down. How significant was that encounter for both characters?

Gerstein: After the way we left last year, I thought it was important to circle around to George Tucker, because he’s still lingering out there. What are Zoe’s feelings about George now that Wade is no longer in the picture? I think that George is the guy, who on paper, seems perfect for Zoe and it would only be rational for her once she realized she made a huge mistake that she would circle back around and say, “Wait a minute!” I’m really proud of the moment because it’s exactly what he should have said, it’s exactly right. He put her through the ringer, so for her to say “I love you, George” and for him to say “Are you out of your f---ing mind?!” which is basically what he said, it’s true. Right now, I think she may be out of her mind.

THR: This was all fueled by Wade cheating on Zoe?

Gerstein: Brick (Tim Matheson) really explained it to her when he was her therapist in episode 19 that George may be the man in your dreams but that doesn’t mean he’s the man of your dreams. She’s lost. She’s 30-years-old, she has to move on, she has to get out of this love triangle and move forward.

THR: What can you reveal about the season finale?

Gerstein: We’re going to finally deal with the fallout from Wade cheating on Zoe. They’re going to have a fairly big story. There’s a road trip involved, but not between Wade and Zoe. The triangle is coming to an explosive head. The finale is very big, leaving everyone in a different place than we expected or we thought by season’s end.

THR: Zoe takes a trip to New York City. Will this drum up some of her past desires of maybe relocating again?

Gerstein: She’s going for a wedding for the weekend.

THR: Where are the core characters left by the end of the season?

Gerstein: At the end of the season, Lemon will finally get her first triumph in terms of finding her career and making things work for herself. [Wade and Lemon] will find each other unexpected friends. They’re there for each other. We really like their dynamic co-owning the Rammer Jammer.

THR: How successful are they in expanding the Rammer Jammer?

Gerstein: Hopefully by next season, we’ll be able to expand.

THR: Will Lavon (Cress Williams) and Lemon be revisited?

Gerstein: They will have a revelation in the finale that we come back around for.

THR: How about George and Zoe?

Gerstein: I cannot say – and I cannot say if Wade and Zoe are done for good either. (At the end of last week's episode, Zoe was seen going back to Wade.)

THR: What does the future hold for Lavon and Annabeth (Kaitlyn Black)?

Gerstein: Lavon and Annabeth will remain happy.

THR: What's a nugget for the finale that you can share?

Gerstein: We have fairly heated moments in our triangle.

THR: What are you hoping to explore in season three?

Gerstein: I'm only really just starting to think about season three right now. There are things that I feel like aren't done and we'll still come around to. It's a long series, whatever team you're on you'll probably have a chance to see something that will make you happy by the end of the series.

Hart of Dixie wraps up season two at 8 p.m. Tuesday on The CW.

E-mail: Philiana.Ng@thr.com
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