Julie Plec on Jason Dohring's 'Originals' Arc, 'Vampire Diaries' Romance and Juggling Three Shows

"I never stop working and hope I can get it all done," Plec tells THR of having three shows in production at once.
The CW

Julie Plec's very busy schedule has gotten even more jam-packed.

Six months after The Vampire Diaries and The Originals executive producer took her first stab at directing, Plec is now juggling three shows for The CW: TVD (going into season seven),Originals (going into season three) and freshman series Containment (scheduled to bow at midseason).

Plec spoke with THR about balancing three shows, if she might direct again and what's to come on her series.

As you're juggling three shows in production right now, what is your time split on them?

My time split shifts on a week-to-week basis. For the last couple of weeks, I've been focused on launching Containment, because we just started shooting… It's been a great fun putting a new show together, which I haven't had to do in a while. It's been a fun shift in the workflow. But for the most part, I'm trying to equally balance the three. Some weeks The Vampire Diaries will need me more, some weeks The Originals will need me more. Sometimes Containment needs me more. I never stop working and hope I can get it all done.

Will directing be in the cards again this upcoming season?

If something opens up in the spring and all shows are running on schedule and efficiently, then I would try and force myself back in for one more. But that's a lot of "ifs."

If all of those "ifs" work out, would you return to Vampire? Or this time around do you think you'd go for Originals?

I've been getting a lot of pressure to do The Originals. I think it would be a magnificent challenge, and I'd love to do it. Vampire is so easy for me; it's so embedded in my brain that it would be a much simpler task for me to take on. But it depends how much I want to stretch my muscles.

Looking at Containment, the pilot features a time jump to what's coming up in the show's world. Will the first season encompass the amount of time set up in the pilot?

We go beyond that, actually. We hit where we start in the pilot by episode nine this season, and then there's still another four [episodes] to go beyond that. We'll take it a little bit further and see the fallout of that horrific event, and where everybody lands.

Limited/event series are very big in the TV world right now. Do you see Containment being a shorter run show?

I see it running as long as it can sustain itself. I can see it taking on various forms over [the show's length]. I don't think it has to remain contained to that containment. The 100-episode marker is such an enigma these days, because it doesn't really matter any more. I know it matters to a lot of people on the money side. It matters less to the people on the network side. It's whoever is bossiest about the number of episodes they want made. I haven't done in years a limited order show. It is so much fun. It is a dream come true. So I'd be happy to keep doing it on the small side for a while.

If it gets a season two, are you hoping to keep it at 13 episodes per season?

Truth be told, I'd probably do two little eight-episode chapters of 16 [hours per season]. I do think you can handle a 16-episode season very easily if you can break them into two pieces, like they do on The Walking Dead or Breaking Bad. The difference is not waiting a year and a half between eight episodes like cable does, and get them all done in the same year. But who knows? I'm open to anything as long as I have time and the desire to do it. Right now that show is really exciting to me.

Moving to Originals, one of the new faces the show is bringing on is Jason Dohring. What can you share about how his Detective Kinney will fit into the canvas?

You know what's so funny: I love [Veronica Mars executive producers] Rob Thomas and Diane Ruggiero, but I never watched Veronica Mars. I only knew Jason Dohring because [Vampire Diaries executive producer] Kevin [Williamson] loved him so much on [the short-lived CBS drama] Moonlight. And then I realized, he's Logan that everyone talks about from Veronica Mars. I feel like I'm very lucky to have the person that so many people fell in love with in the past decade.

Jason's character is decidedly human. It's a nice breath of fresh air. He plays a detective. There is a crime that happens in the first episode, and he comes in to investigate it. He's working closely with some of our characters. The question is, how much does he know or not know about what's going on in the supernatural world? And what's going to happen to him as a result of digging too deep?

Will he be romantically clicking with anyone?

As of right now, he's very firmly focused on getting the job done. But of course [that's as of] episode four; you just never know.

Who will he be interacting with the most?

He does have quite a lot of interaction with Cami and Vincent. We'll learn he knows Vincent from back in the day. That pulls him and ultimately Cami into assist with the investigation. So we get to see Cami as a fun little CSI.

As the season focuses on the sire lines, how will the Original family be dealing with the ramification of these people from their pasts showing up?

The Original family left last season very distant from each other. I'd say Klaus left last season [having] alienated pretty much everyone he's ever met before. So the minute this season there's a threat, the question is, is the family going to once again put aside their differences to stand together to fight a common enemy? Or did Klaus' actions shatter that bond too much, and will it keep them splintered? One of the first questions we ask early on is where are Elijah and Klaus going to come to with each other? Will they be able to stand together?

Looking to Vampire Diaries, what can you share about the impact the heretics have on Mystic Falls?

I feel, in a small way, they're bringing that family dynamic we had back with The Originals [on Vampire Diaries]. They're not blood related, but they're completely bonded. They fight like cats and dogs, and they fight for each other and against each other all the time. It's fun to watch them do their thing. They have no regard for the rest of the people in the community, and they have no regard for Stefan and Damon, who they consider to be the stepsiblings they don't want to know. For the heretics, I would say, what I like most about them is they're droll and mean and in-fighty and [argumentative] and funny and snotty and sparkly in all those ways we love characters on Vampire Diaries.

And where do the Vampire Diaries romances stand when season seven picks up?

The fundamental romance has hit the biggest roadblock of all-time in the form of a six to seven-decade coma. But there's something beautiful in the poetry of that. Damon's wild spirit and having to keep himself tame to wait for the girl -- which of course that [wild spirit] is the Damon we met in season one – he was waiting for the girl. It's just a matter of what he gets up to as he's waiting for the girl that could get him into trouble. And I mean murderous trouble.

Stefan and Caroline are just trying like hell to see if thy can come together or not. I hope they do, because I like them. They're going to hit some pretty big twists and turns in their relationship -- not through either of them being at any fault, but some things out of their control are going to intervene and throw a curve ball. But I think they're going to try and fight through it. 

The Vampire Diaries and The Originals return on Thursday, Oct. 8 at 8 and 9 p.m., respectively, on The CW. Containment debuts on The CW in 2016.