'House of Lies' Finale Postmortem: Show Boss Previews What's Next

Showrunner Matthew Carnahan tells THR he'd like to explore the Trayvon Martin case, challenge Marty's place in the class system and further explore the pod's dynamic in the second season of the Showtime dramedy.
"House of Lies"

[Warning: This story contains spoilers from Sunday's House of Lies season finale, "The Mayan Apocalypse."]

With Marty (Don Cheadle) and everyone at Galweather backed into a corner with MetroCapital's merger, it was one of their own who stepped up and saved the company from being gobbled up into oblivion.

An intoxicated Jeannie (Kristen Bell) took a bullet for the pod, confessing to her affair with The Rainmaker (Griffin Dunne) and closing the book on the planned merger. But while Marty's job was safe, it came at a price as his son, Roscoe (Donis Leonard Jr.) opted to move in with his mother -- and Marty's rival -- Monica (Dawn Olivieri).

The Hollywood Reporter caught up with showrunner Matthew Carnahan to discuss what Jeannie's confession means for her, whether Marty is capable of evolving and what real-life headline stories he'd like to use for Season 2.

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The Hollywood Reporter: Does Jeannie realize how similar she is to Marty?
Matthew Carnahan:
Whether she will remember that she realized how similar they are the next morning because of how drunk she is, I don't know. She has a moment of stark realization that they are two sides of the same coin. Jeannie is the character that comforts herself by describing herself as a moral person. But by the end of the finale she can't do that anymore; she's gone too far to comfort herself in that way anymore.

Now that Jeannie has put herself out there and revealed her affair to save the company -- and the pod -- where could we see her go now that she doesn't have her moral high ground to stand on?
It's a really interesting moment for this character. By the end of the first season we've really stripped her of her safety net, her artifice, her familiar comforting tropes that she recites to us all. We're left with a person who is not in a relationship, does not have a job, has dropped an atom bomb on her career and is going to wake up the next morning and have to actually look the actual person in the mirror, which I'm really looking forward to.

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Now that the merger is dead, are you looking at doing another season-long arc?
Yes. I think it might be a personal story for Marty that really carries the season more than a workplace story.

Marty's job is safe but he lost his family with Roscoe departing for Monica's and Jeremiah headed home. Can Marty evolve?
I think he can evolve a little bit. I want to see him challenged romantically by somebody who's an absolute peer, someone who is as smart, as powerful or more so than he is. I want to see him have to confront the affect of his actions with his relationship, with his kid and with his career. I also want to see him in a situation where he's paired with somebody who he can't turn away from who is clearly in the lower rung of the 99 percent while he is clinging to this kind of bourgeois comfort of his 1 percent self. I really want to see him challenged for who he has become in the class system as well.

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Have you started breaking stories for Season 2? Have you determined when and where it will pick up?
I have a couple of overall ideas for Season 2 that I'm excited about. I haven't figured out if we're going to pick right up right away or if we're going to let the audience surmise that a certain amount of time has gone by and fill them in as we go.

Looking back on Season 1, what lessons stand out from you experience that you're going to be incorporating into Season 2?
I love this ensemble and I like them all individually. But there's an exponential factor that they light each other up when they're together. I'm really excited about putting them together. It sounds simplistic but putting them together in more situations that taps all of them as a group.

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With the Occupy movement giving a boost to the series at its launch, do you have plans to incorporate any other real headline stories in Season 2?
Well, there's a few headlines that I'm interested in exploring. One is the blowback from the Occupy movement. One is the fact that for the first time in a while I think race has been brought to the fore with the Trayvon Martin case in a way that is heartrending. I feel like there's an opportunity for a dialogue on race, and I really want to explore that in the second season in a way that's maybe a little uncomfortable and hopefully fruitful.

What did you most enjoy from the House of Lies season finale? Hit the comments with your thoughts.

Email: Lesley.Goldberg@thr.com; Twitter: @Snoodit