7:30pm PT by Emma Dibdin
'Black Monday' Creator on That Unexpected Finale Death and Hopes for Season 2
[This story contains spoilers from the season one finale of Showtime's Black Monday.]
Although Showtime’s Wall Street comedy Black Monday has been building to a real-life event — the worst single-day stock market crash in history on Oct. 19, 1987 — the show’s true stakes lie in the question of which fictional character falls to their death outside the stock exchange on that day. Sunday's season one finale resolved both that mystery and the long-simmering triangle of loyalties between reckless power trader Mo (Don Cheadle), his colleague and unresolved love interest Dawn (Regina Hall) and his protégé Blair (Andrew Rannells), who has turned vicious following the discovery that Mo has been playing him from day one.
The tables are turned on Mo in every conceivable way by the end of the season: he’s fired by Dawn and Blair, who reveal that they’ve been conspiring against him for weeks, and has to contend with the the return of his supposedly dead, definitively evil father figure Rod "The Jammer" Jaminsky (Bruce Dern). In a final blowout that typifies the show’s dark flavor of absurdist comedy, Jammer pulls a gun on Mo, Blair and Dawn just as Keith (Paul Scheer) is contemplating suicide from a balcony, sparking a struggle that ends with Mo sending Jammer falling to his death.
“There’s something very classic ‘80s and Star Wars-esque about the idea that this father figure is the person Mo has to defeat in order to get to the next step of his life,” co-creator David Caspe tells The Hollywood Reporter of that climactic moment. With the SEC closing in, Mo shares a long-overdue kiss with Dawn before fleeing the city in Blair’s Honda (a beat that brings the pair full circle from their conversation at the end of the pilot). Meanwhile, Blair takes his place at the Jammer Group alongside Dawn, who already seems to be second-guessing her decision.
Below, Caspe breaks down the resolution to the death mystery, Mo and Blair’s mirror opposite arcs through the season, and his and Jordan Cahan’s plans for a potential second season.
Rannells has mentioned that the identity of the person who died changed during production. What was the change?
When we wrote the pilot, we had some ideas of different people that it could be, but we didn’t know for sure at that point who we wanted it to be. Inevitably as you break out a season, things change. There were a few people we thought it could be as we went through the season — I feel bad saying who it would have been at different times, because I don't want that to feel like a judgement on a character or an actor, it was all story-based. But slowly it started to evolve into Jammer making the most sense as the person who dies. He’s Mo’s father figure, and there’s something very classic '80s and Star Wars-esque about the idea that this father figure is the person Mo has to defeat in order to get to the next step of his life. He has to finally shed this really detrimental father figure who’s taught him nothing but horrible lessons.
Jammer dying is also the least tragic option, whereas it being Mo, Blair or Keith is a much bleaker ending. Was that on your mind too?