From Netflix, the streamer behind Virgin River and Candy Magnolias, comes Companion Monitor, a brand new modern comedic drama sequence that mixes the romance of Virgin River, the friendship of Candy Magnolias with the company intrigue of HBO’s Succession.
Primarily based on Helen Wan’s e-book, Companion Monitor follows Ingrid Yun (Arden Cho), an idealistic younger M&A lawyer, daughter of Korean immigrants, who struggles along with her ethical compass as she fights to climb the companion monitor at white male-dominated high New York Metropolis legislation agency Parsons Valentine. The primary season finds Ingrid in a love triangle with Nick, a good-looking, wealthy, good man, and Jeff Murphy, a brand new switch from the London workplace, with whom she as soon as shared a one-night stand and clearly nonetheless has attraction to. She tries to do the wise factor and commits to Nick by accepting his proposal, however the pull of Murphy, no matter his checkered previous, proves too sturdy, and, throughout a marathon Thanksgiving case prep session within the workplace, the inevitable occurs, leaving Nick devastated as he exhibits up unannounced to drop off a cake for his fiancée. Ingrid and Murphy have a number of blissful weeks till he commits the final word betrayal, as revealed within the last seconds of the finale, which got here as a shock to those that had not learn the e-book. (Extra on that later)
Profession-wise, Ingrid is pressured to extend and greater ethical compromises as she battles to land one of many new companion spots, a aim she shares along with her greatest buddies — at work and off –Tyler and Rachel. That features her manipulating the charismatic and idealistic Z whose household’s Min Enterprises is an acquisition goal of Parsons Valentine consumer Solar Corp. Issues come to a head when, at an organization retreat, Ingrid’s high rival for an M&A companion spot, an entitled man from a wealthy household, performs an appallingly racist standup routine not directly concentrating on Tyler. After an HR investigation, Dan solely will get a slap on the wrist, and Tyler quits the agency. Ingrid, who is shipped to supply Tyler hush cash, can also be utilized by her bosses to tout the agency’s D&I efforts at an awards gala. In the long run, it comes right down to Ingrid and Murphy for the final M&A companion spot and, regardless of being thought of a lock, she doesn’t get it. Ingrid quits however stays shut with Murphy. She then units out to proper the unsuitable she did by serving to the Minutes take management of Solar Corp, and Z turns into the merged firm’s CEO, with Ingrid as its Parsons Valentine liaison. All ends effectively till Ingrid’s outdated boss Marty Adler tells her that it was Murphy who sabotaged her ascend to companion by reporting her arrest and temporary jail keep. (A misunderstanding after Ingrid’s sister Lina steals earnings from Nick’s place and pawns them utilizing Ingrid’s id.) The finale ends with shellshocked Ingrid watching Murphy who glances casually at her from throughout the room.
As Deadline reported earlier this week, Netflix executives are excessive on Companion Monitor, and the sequence is trying good for a Season 2 renewal. Sequence developer/government producer Lee and her writers are already engaged on concepts for a possible second season. In an interview with Deadline, Lee spoke about Murphy’s betrayal and its aftermath, what made him do it, will we see Nick once more and is there an Ingrid-Z romance within the playing cards. She additionally mentioned what Ingrid’s subsequent profession aim could be and the season’s range storyline and addressed the way forward for Ingrid’s friendship with Tyler and Rachel, Tyler’s breakup and revealed Lina’s full identify.
DEADLINE: What can you inform us about the place issues stand with a possible second season?
LEE: We don’t have an official pickup but. I believe everybody’s feeling very enthusiastic about it. We simply began early chatting about season two however yeah, we’re very, very hopeful that we are going to get to proceed to inform the story.
DEADLINE: Let’s discuss in regards to the finale cliffhanger. Is the connection between Ingrid and Murphy over after this off-the-charts betrayal?
LEE: Sure, all of us had been like, that is off the charts betrayal, so how can one probably come again from one thing like that? We regularly get notes from our pretty community execs who inform us to make the characters extra likable, and I all the time say that our job as writers is to not make a personality extra likable, our job is to make a personality extra comprehensible. As a result of should you perceive the place an individual is coming from, you then perceive why they make the alternatives they make. And they won’t all the time be the best selections however not less than we create that stage of empathy and compassion for the character, which I believe is rather more actual to life. So I believe what we are going to be taught in Season 2 is a bit bit extra, why would an individual like Murphy try this? What in his historical past has made him like that?
DEADLINE: What about Nick, is he out of the image utterly or is there an opportunity to see him again after what occurred between Ingrid and Murphy?
LEE: He’s such a great man. And I believe a part of the story is, Ingrid, you all the time need to begin your characters not in a spot the place they’re totally conscious and rationalized folks. She doesn’t select the nice man. We actually love Nick, we love [actor] Rob Heaps. I believe we positively need to proceed to search out methods to maintain the characters that we love round.
DEADLINE: We’ve got a saying in Bulgarian that interprets as “when two are combating, the third individual wins.” Whereas Nick and Murphy had been vying for Ingrid’s affection, Z, one other good-looking bachelor, spent the season largely as a footnote to the story. He’s now entrance and heart. May one thing occur between Ingrid and Z romantically?
LEE: We had been clearly very conscious of the place we need to finish Season one. We love the character of Z, he represents, if Murphy’s pure opportunistic, pragmatic cynicism in a method, Z is idealism. And I personally really feel like that’s deep down the wrestle of each creative piece, the wrestle between cynicism and idealism and romanticism. So I’d like to see Ingrid transfer, in a method she’s attempting to determine which one she is and what makes her who she is. I believe seeing her possibly embrace idealism, however from a much less naive perspective, can be fascinating. After which I all the time say finally, I don’t assume girls should be outlined by their romantic relationship, so I all the time say I really feel just like the theme of the story is actual energy comes from being true to your self. So finally, I want to say that Ingrid chooses not Group Murphy or Group Nick or Group Z, she chooses herself. That’s her final journey.
DEADLINE: Let’s speak about that. Quite a lot of the choices Ingrid made stemmed from her willpower to get that coveted companion spot, which she didn’t get. What’s her journey now, does she begin from scratch, does she set a brand new aim? The present is known as Companion Monitor. Is she nonetheless on that monitor or does she now have a unique perspective on what’s vital for her to be fulfilled in her profession?
LEE: Marty Adler on the finish of Season one could be very upset along with her. So I’d say in Season two, we’ll see — we simply began chatting about it — however I’d say we’ll see a number of the fallout; he’s not a person who can take that frivolously.
DEADLINE: However when it comes to her profession, what does that seem like now? She continues to be working along with her outdated firm however will not be in that company rat race of going by means of the steps to turn out to be a companion. Her outdated profession plan collapsed, and she or he in all probability has a brand new perspective on what she needs to do to achieve success.
LEE: You’re asking all the good, deep, thematic questions, it’s actually what we’re speaking about proper now. With out making a gift of an excessive amount of, I believe what we’re circling proper is precisely what you’re saying, which is that, for me, I like to consider, what are the themes like. The theme for Season one was very a lot discovering that actual energy comes from being true to your self by means of Faustian bargains, I see a sequence of Faustian bargains that a whole lot of the characters undergo. The theme for Season two that I personally discover actually fascinating is precisely what you’re saying — that could be a query that a whole lot of us begin to face as a result of it’s actually about id too — which is, Who am I now? Who am I with this? Who am I with out that? We’ve got an concept to maneuver Ingrid to a spot the place she has to begin to query that.
DEADLINE: Within the e-book, after Ingrid will get handed over, she leaves the agency for good to start out her personal agency. Will you comply with that blueprint on the present?
LEE: I believe the thought of Yun & Associates is possibly one thing that we may discover in future seasons if Netflix needs to provide us many many many seasons.
DEADLINE: What about Rachel and Tyler? The three of them with Ingrid had been inseparable. Their friendship went by means of some bumps, and the finale discovered them scattered, not working collectively anymore, with all, particularly Tyler and Ingrid, going by means of massive seismic change in each their skilled and private lives. Will they be capable of stay shut and what’s subsequent for Tyler?
LEE: These are actually precisely the questions we’re enjoying with proper now. And completely, the Rachel-Tyler-Ingrid trio. We all the time felt just like the friendship is magic moments as a result of after they’re collectively, it’s so enjoyable, it’s what all of us need our friendships to be like. So that’s positively the trio that we need to maintain and give attention to. Tyler has now turn out to be the chief counsel for Valdo’s new vogue collective. He could also be on the opposite aspect of the desk in a whole lot of Parsons Valentine conditions. Rachel hasn’t left the agency, so how she’s going to juggle all of that’s one thing that we’ll positively help. However positively need to maintain the trio collectively as a result of they’re actually magic collectively on display screen.
DEADLINE: Let’s discuss in regards to the range and inclusion storyline that centered on Tyler. How did it happened?
LEE: This subject is, for me, a very powerful and really the episodes within the season I’m most pleased with. We wish it to be a enjoyable, romantic comedic present however for me, episodes 5 and 6, that are the retreat and the fallout of the retreat, the inner HR investigation, is what makes me enthusiastic about making tv.
Within the e-book, truly, there’s a racist incident that occurs. However Helen wrote the e-book in 2013, so nearly 10 years in the past. The incident, I don’t bear in mind precisely, I believe it was some white guys doing blackface or they’re doing gangster; the racism is rather more overt whereas 10 years later, you wouldn’t see that. However what was actually fascinating was, we need to present that racism nonetheless exists however in a unique kind as a result of it’s laborious to go extra delicate, but it surely’s nonetheless there. And the way would a sensible individual nonetheless do a efficiency like that however in 2023, and that’s the place Dan Fallon’s comedy routine happened.
It took the writers have a very long time to land on the dialogue of white fragility. And it was a part of the storyline that all of us felt such a accountability to get it proper and to be as nuanced about it as doable. As a result of there’s a whole lot of lip service to range, fairness, inclusion at a whole lot of these company locations however what’s the actuality? I used to work at an organization like that too, and the fact is like, sure, the freshman 12 months, the junior folks, you have got like 50% girls, 50% males or you recognize, you’d have range, however as you go up the facility construction, the variety of girls companions falls off. And so, how do you actually speak about actual change? We wished to scratch at that a bit bit. After which additionally, the HR investigation that follows form of will get to the guts of the matter, which Marty Adler was like, the underside line is that Dan Fallon is sweet for the underside line. That’s all they care about.
I’m very pleased with the HR investigation montage in episode six, I’m glad that we had been allowed to let it play in full as a result of it’s fairly a piece, the place Karen from HR is interviewing everyone. That could be my favourite sequence.
DEADLINE: There have been two very emotional scenes within the fallout of the incident, one in all Ingrid’s heartbreaking conversations with Tyler when she affords him a bribe on behalf of their bosses, and one when she is consoled by her mother within the restroom on the bogus awards present and feels dejected and disillusioned. Inform me about writing these scenes.
LEE: These two scenes that you just level out are literally… After we construction out, how we begin is, we begin with emotional journey, what’s the emotional journey of the primary character and the way do you weave her up and down by means of it proper. That’s truly how how I like to interrupt story, that’s the backbone. You truly hit the 2 scenes in episodes six and 7. As a result of in six is when, after the HR investigation, she has to go provide her greatest buddy hush cash. That scene, each time I see it and, Arden and Bradley [Gibson] who play Ingrid and Tyler do such an incredible job. She’s like, slowly regularly issues will change after we get to the highest, he’s like, however I can’t measure progress in inches; they do it significantly better than I do.
However she’s actually promoting out her greatest buddy, it’s horrible. That is the underside of her Faustian cut price. After which the following day, within the subsequent episode, she has to go be the present pony. It couldn’t get a lot worse. She is aware of precisely what this firm is, and now she has to smile for the cameras and fake like every little thing’s okay. You hit the precise two scenes the place she has to get to a degree the place she’s like, Oh my God, who am I? What have I turn out to be? Clearly the Faustian theme, she has offered her soul, actually offered her soul.
DEADLINE: After which Thanksgiving comes round when Ingrid cheats on Nick with Murphy and get caught. Discuss that scene and Ingrid getting redemption, finally.
LEE: It’s such a tragic Thanksgiving. Episode eight. We wished to convey poor Ingrid all the way in which right down to the place she’s achieved the horrible factor to her greatest buddy, she’s been showponied round because the poster little one of range at Parsons Valentine, which she is aware of is a complete lie. And he or she’s now cheated on her boyfriend with the man she shouldn’t have. So she’s gone all the way in which down.
Episode 9 could be very very similar to, she thinks she’s going to get all of the issues she offered her soul for, all that glitters is now gold, she thinks she’s going get the gold now. After which when she doesn’t is when the true reckoning happens. And episode 10 is about her redemption.
DEADLINE: The character of Ingrid’s youthful sister, Lina, was not developed, just about all we learn about her is that she’s a thief, one way or the other can not work a dishwasher, and she or he’s fairly good at Christmas adorning. Will we get to be taught extra about her and her story in Season 2 and possibly see her lastly succeed at one thing as a result of she doesn’t appear to have the ability to catch a break?
LEE: The way in which you described her character is ideal. We truly named her Lina earlier than the position was forged with an actress whose identify is also Lena [Ahn], spelled otherwise. The character Lina didn’t exist within the books however I’ve two sisters, and I’m very interested by sister dynamics. What would her dad and mom identify the youthful sister? in the event that they named Ingrid after Ingrid Bergman, possibly they named the youthful one Marlena after Marlene Dietrich. And so Lina is her nickname. That was by no means within the present however that’s we got here up with it within the writers room.
DEADLINE: Going again to Tyler, why did he break up together with his boyfriend? They’d been collectively for eight years, a powerful relationship like that ought to be capable of stand up to a one-time slip, and Anthony appeared able to forgive him. It appeared a bit abrupt and harsh for Tyler to surrender on them.
LEE: I truly do want we had a bit bit extra time. It’s so humorous, every little thing that you just’re asking, extra with Lina, extra with Tyler, I want we had extra time in episode six to truly get into it as a result of we, as a room, speak about all of it, and whether or not it has an opportunity to make it onto the display screen, it’s all the time a matter of actual property. However yeah, what we had supposed is that Tyler is de facto struggling together with his id, who’s he, as a result of he all the time thought that he was going to be a Parsons Valentine companion, he all the time thought he was going to marry Anthony, they had been going be this homosexual Black energy couple. After which immediately he’s pressured to deal with, Is that this actually what I would like? Is who I’m and what do I would like? So Anthony is a part of that.
DEADLINE: One last query in regards to the physics-themed opening you utilize in every episode, which is a bit surprising for a authorized present however folks like me — I’ve a Grasp’s Diploma in Theoretical Physics– respect. How did it come about?
LEE: You even have a level, I’m simply an armchair, studying Roger Penrose and Brian Greene. I actually hearken to Brian Greene going to mattress, The Cloth of the Cosmos, I really like that stuff, too. The entire thing is, Ingrid’s a little bit of a nerd, and so this is part of what makes her totally different and distinctive and fascinating. So I’d like to let that physics freak fly excessive.
DEADLINE: Now we all know the place that behavior Ingrid has to hearken to these deep-dive authorized podcasts going to mattress comes from.
LEE: There may be a whole lot of me in Ingrid, sure.