10:33am PT by Jackie Strause
'Veep' Primer: Where Things Left Off and What to Expect in Season 7
The last time Veep viewers saw Selina Meyer, Julia Louis-Dreyfus' ex-president revealed that she wanted another chance at the Oval Office. Now, almost two years later, the HBO political comedy is picking up only months after it left off as its seventh and final season debuts on Sunday.
The finale of the sixth season broke format to deliver many flashbacks and gave viewers a sense of just how long Selina has desired the power and respect of the presidency. When her daughter Catherine (Sarah Sutherland) was born, Selina was distracted by her ambitions in Congress; during her first day as Veep, she was completely shut out of the White House; and after her fifth-season reelection loss, she indeed spent time in the insane asylum, something that she had referred to as a "trip to the spa" all season long.
Now, fresh off her recognition for freeing Tibet in the penultimate episode, Selina had the backing she needed to throw her name back in the ring. She threw away everything she fought to get as an ex-president and, bringing the season full circle, Selina reunited most of the gang as she headed into the Omaha dinner that she wanted to attend back in the first episode, signifying her run for president again.
The decision came with a major price and the stakes — given what happened the last time she lost — are higher than ever as the comedy heads into its final season. "This is what Selina wants, the presidency. And either she’s going to get it, or it’s going to kill her," showrunner David Mandel told The Hollywood Reporter during a chat about the last seven episodes that will mark Veep's final run on television.
Read on below for a refresher on where Selina and all the characters left off, with comments from the cast to THR on what to expect as Veep readies to say goodbye.
Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus)
Where things left off: After struggling all season to find herself outside of the Oval, Selina did find a man who made her happy in Ambassador Jaffar (Usman Ally); finished her memoir (with the help of ghostwriter Mike McLintock, played by Matt Walsh); and got her presidential library at Yale University. But none of it was enough. In one of the most raw moments from Selina ever seen on Veep, the campaigning politician walks away from a chance at true love, knowing that a relationship with Jaffar could never be if she wants to win over America. She then heads into the Omaha dinner with the entire gang, except a fired McLintock, to begin her campaign.
What to expect: "Selina Meyer in this final season takes ambition to a new level," Louis-Dreyfus says. "The stakes are very high. But it was those high stakes that motivated the whole season."
Gary Walsh (Tony Hale)
Where things left off: The finale revealed in a flashback that Gary moved to be closer to Selina while she was institutionalized so that he could continue to take care of her. The move showed how dedicated the bagman is to always being one heartbeat away from Selina, whether she's in the White House or not.
What to expect: "Selina is comfortable with Gary, which is significant, and she is somewhat made uncomfortable by the fact that she is comfortable with Gary. And I think Gary’s sort of in love with Selina," says Louis-Dreyfus. To which Hale corrects, "Sort of? Fully in love." Despite that intimacy, the pair warn that the codependency in their relationship will be highlighted in "a very, very dysfunctional way."
Jonah Ryan (Timothy Simons)
Where things left off: After seeing success with his Trump-era rhetoric, the deplorable congressman also announces his candidacy for the presidency and readies to go up against his former boss and fellow party member, Selina. Back on Jonah's payroll is his former sexual harassing co-worker, Teddy Sykes (Patton Oswalt).
What to expect: "Anyone that is more powerful than him, he wants to feel on the same plane with or better than," says Simons of Jonah's desire for the presidency. Whether it was against Selina or not, he was going to run for president. "It’s not about her, it’s about people who are more powerful than him and him wanting to be one of them. This season, he's going after everyone."
Amy Brookheimer (Anna Chlumsky)
Where things left off: Once again back in Selina's inner circle, Amy reveals to Dan (Reid Scott) that she is pregnant with his baby, the result of a recent one-night stand.
What to expect: "I’ve always been rooting for her to figure her shit out," says Chlumsky of Amy continuing to compromise herself by working for Selina. The fact that she is carrying Dan's baby sets her "very off" from her career goals, but will also push Amy to examine what she really wants from life.
Dan Egan (Reid Scott), Ben Cafferty (Kevin Dunn) and Kent Davison (Gary Cole)
Where things left off: After Ben and Kent were dumped from Jonah's staff and Dan was fired by CBS This Morning, the trio teamed up to form the consulting firm BKD and were brought back by Selina as she heads back on the campaign trail.
What to expect: "Just like in real life, the older you get, the more like your authentic self you become," hints Scott. "All of our characters angle towards that in this last season. They just really are who they are and the situations have gotten bigger and allowed us to go a little bit broader with the comedy." The political plot of the season is a "commentary on the change of the landscape" of real-life U.S. politics, he says. As for Dan's personal life, the news that Amy is pregnant initiates "a bit of an identity crisis."
Mike McLintock (Matt Walsh)
Where things left off: Fresh off ghostwriting Selina's memoir, Mike is in the room when Selina announces her plan to run to the entire gang. But she quickly tells Mike they need to talk about his role, and as everyone else is seen with Selina in Omaha, the former press secretary and financially struggling father of three is shown teaching at community college instead.
What to expect: Mike will get another gig working for the "enemy" as a BuzzFeed reporter. "He’s always been out of his league from the pilot and now even more so," Walsh says about Mike's new media gig. He teases, however, that a "big" loose end gets tied up with his character in the finale.
Richard Splett (Sam Richardson)
Where things left off: Richard became a sperm donor for Catherine Meyer and Marjorie Palmiotti (Clea DuVall), and though they remain connected through politics, he signs away his rights to their son. Selina uses "Little Richard" as a prop to further her image now that she is readying to run.
What to expect: Richard will find himself "split" between working for both Selina and Jonah's campaigns. "He has this belief in the political system so when he gets thrown into Selina’s orbit, he has a natural admiration of her. Him meeting her in Iowa is the start of him being flung into this world," says Richardson about his character's ambitions. "Richard is the only character Selina is nice to, so it makes sense he sticks around."
Catherine Meyer (Sarah Sutherland) and Marjorie Palmiotti (Clea DuVall)
Where things left off: After controlling her mother's finances, thanks to grandmother MeeMaw putting her in charge of the estate (and Selina being institutionalized), the former first daughter is adamantly against her mother running again. Marjorie continues to help Selina out with her fund as Catherine starts to grow her own family amid the broken home created by her parents, Selina and ex-husband Andrew Meyer (David Pasquesi).
What to expect: Catherine and Marjorie will experience some hiccups along the way, like Catherine suffering from postpartum depression, but they are so solid in their foundation that "they come out the other side of it even more clear in their feelings to each other and their commitment to each other," says DuVall. As for how Catherine will continue to approach her abusive mother-daughter relationship, Sutherland says Catherine has "less patience" for Selina now that she has her own child and "some of the unconditional love really starts to shift."
The final season of Veep premieres Sunday at 10 p.m. ET/PT. Head here for THR's full show coverage.