Dawn Prestwich and Nicole Yorkin are co-executive producers as well as writers for The Killing. In this follow-up interview with AMCtv.com, they talk about how they became a writing team and what excites them most about working on the show.
Q: How did you two become a team?
NY: We met at the American Film Institute. We both were there as writing fellows, and then we decided that we would rent an office together and write separately. But then we got bored and said, “You want to try to write something together?”
DP: We were in this office. We might as well like talk to each other. [Laughs]
NY: We spent four years in a room together writing spec scripts, working on features, and finally wrote an hour long that got us our first job. When we started there were even less women in television so it was great to always have another person there as your support system.
DP: Veena always laughs since our office is next to hers and we write out loud. We write every word together and we’ll discuss it and a lot of the stuff is getting acted out and the walls are so thin. I feel so sorry for her but she actually claims to love it. She said, “It’s
very collegial.” [Laughs] Maybe she’s lying. Maybe it makes her feel less solitary to hear us yacking away next door.
Q: What excited you about working on the show?
DP: We get away with doing the least amount of exposition possible. We want the audience to feel like they’ve just stepped into the world and nobody is going to stop and explain it to them. They need to keep up and join the team of Holder and Linden and learn along the way.
NY: Another thing was the fact that our lead character is a working mom and Dawn and I have been working moms our entire career. As has Veena. You don’t get to write a complex character…
DP: …that is really lovable but makes mistakes. I mean, we don’t approve of the way she is raising Jack and we know that she’s failing in some ways and…
NY: …the interesting debate that we had in the room all the time (which I’ve talked to enough people now who watch the show to know they have the same debate) is is Sarah a bad mom or is she just an imperfect mom like most of us? [Laughs] I think there are not many shows that portray a working mom this honestly.
DP: And then Holder was one of the most original characters we’d ever read. To continue to develop him with the rest of the writers has been so fun.
Q: Were there any rules or directives about what to keep from the Danish series, Forbrydelsen, and what to change?
NY: Everybody had seen the Danish series before we started so we knew what was in each episode, which was really a gift because we could see things that worked and maybe a few things that we could do differently or do better…
DP: …or more American.
NY: Like the politics.
DP: And the emotions. Believe it or not, as much as Linden seems to be stoic and kind of inscrutable, compared to her Danish character she is downright histrionic. [Laughs]
Q: Did friends or family try to influence the outcome of the show?
DP: [Laughs] After the pilot, I get this call from my mother in Dallas and she’s like “Dawn, who killed that girl?” [Laughs] I’m not going to tell you that, mom!
NY: My thirteen year old daughter said, “Just tell me mom. You don’t have to tell anybody else and I’ll keep it to myself.”
DP: Yeah right.
NY: I don’t think so.