When last we tuned into Marvel’s Agent Carter, Peggy’s plan to get Howard Stark’s bundle of “bad babies” into the right hands took a wrong turn, losing an SSR colleague his life.
With the ABC drama resuming its eight-episode run tonight at 9/8c, TVLine invited showrunners Tara Butters and Michele Fazekas to discuss Agent Carter’s journey to the smaller screen and share intel on the women and men in Peggy’s various worlds.
TVLINE | What was your charge from Marvel in putting this show together? What were you invited to do with Agent Carter (played by Hayley Atwell)?
MICHELE FAZEKAS | When we came on board, the pilot was already written, and we were just finishing up [running] the first season of Resurrection. There weren’t any real specific mandates, and the pilot really laid out what the world was.
TVLINE | But as we’ve seen, the pilot suggested the show was about what it’s not really about, hunting down weekly gadgets.
TARA BUTTERS | That was something that came out of a mini-camp with [exec producers Christopher] Markus and [Stephen] McFeely, Michele and I and Chris Dingess.
FAZEKAS | One of the things I believe came from ABC was they didn’t want an episodic show, they didn’t want it to be Gadget of the Week or Bad Guy of the Week, which is such a nice change from five years ago. I think that because of the influence of cable and DVR and binge-watching, they’re not afraid of continuing storylines.
BUTTERS | Also, her true mission is, “How do I save my friend Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper)? How do I fix this situation that he’s in?” And the nice thing about the bad babies is it gave us a threat for a period of time, but I love how the story progresses from [this episode] on.
FAZEKAS | Initially, ABC was like, “We really want to see how she trying to balance her personal life and her professional life.” And Peggy actually has a triple life, because she has her personal life in the Griffith Hotel, she has her life in the SSR, and she has her secret mission within the SSR. But as it turns out, we were never told, “We need to see more of her at home and with her friends.” We once had an idea for Episode 3, where it’s like, “Oh, she goes out for a girls’ night,” and we threw that out because she’s not going to do that when this big huge thing is happening. It just doesn’t fit, and ABC was fine with that. They let us take the show where the story takes the show.
TVLINE | Coming out of the last episode, where Krzeminski has just died — what is Peggy feeling?
BUTTERS | Guilt. She thought the best thing to do was get Stark’s technology in the hands of the SSR, but it inadvertently put Krzeminski at risk, and she feels to a certain degree responsible. There’s that nice moment when she learns what happened from Sousa (Enver Gjokaj), where he says, “Who would call this in?” And she says, “A concerned citizen…?”
FAZEKAS | The stakes have changed now, they’ve gotten a lot more serious. The episodes that come subsequently really reflect that, where you’re sort of “on the train” toward the end.
BUTTERS | You learn more about Leviathan and who’s behind all of this…
FAZEKAS | You learn what Howard Stark’s other agenda is. You saw the clip they showed [at the TCA press tour]….
TVLINE | I can’t imagine what gets revealed in that scene, because Peggy seems almost on the verge of tears — and she’s one tough cookie.
FAZEKAS | And that’s only a third of the scene!
BUTTERS | We had to cut it [for TCA] because the next part gave away something. I remember seeing the dailies and literally making my husband [Arrow showrunner Marc Guggenheim] look at it.
FAZEKAS | One of our A.D.s said, “We shot the first take of that and we could’ve been done,” both of them were so good. It’s a riveting scene.
TVLINE | Are there plans to actually see Jarvis’ wife Anna? Or will she be only the occasional off-camera voice?
FAZEKAS | There are no plans to see her — but she is a real person. I have seen the Twitter theories and I can confirm that she’s a real person. He loves her, and what I love about the Jarvis/Peggy relationship is Jarvis (James D’Arcy) would never cheat on his wife — he adores her — but he still has such chemistry with Peggy.
BUTTERS | He has an affinity for her. And I love how that character relationship grows throughout the season. It reminds me of the first couple seasons of The X-Files, how because of the chemistry between Mulder and Scully, you really believed they cared about each other but it wasn’t sexual. That was very refreshing.
TVLINE | Between Peggy’s neighbors Angie (Lyndsy Fonseca) and Dottie (Bridget Regan), are you able to confirm that at least one of them is who she presents herself to be?
FAZEKAS | Um, yes. [Pauses to reconsider answer] I will say there’s more to people than you assume there is. That’s what I’ll say. [Laughs]
TVLINE | As we saw in Captain America: Winter Solider, Peggy eventually gets married. Is Season 1 going to start hinting at a possible husband?
BUTTERS | Our hope always was that you would meet [Agents] Sousa and Thompson (Chad Michael Murray), these very different men….
TVLINE | Oh gosh, don’t tell me it might be Thompson. He’s such a heel.
BUTTERS | Here’s the thing: You find out more about him in the next couple episodes. And you might be surprised. You will absolutely learn things about [the agents at the SSR] that I hope puts characters in a different light for the audience.
TVLINE | Do you have any Marvel-caliber, super-vague tease for the season finale?
BUTTERS | “Stay to the very end.”
TVLINE | What will viewers be feeling in its final two minutes?
FAZEKAS | Hopeful. And a little bit of sad. Everybody goes through the wringer! [Laughs] But there’s somewhat of a resolution in Peggy’s personal journey.
TVLINE | Will I walk away thinking, “If the show gets renewed, I know what Season 2 is about”?
FAZEKAS | No, I don’t think you will.
BUTTERS | But there’s a really great moment at the end.
TVLINE | Do you know what Season 2 is about?
BUTTERS | We have ideas! [Laughs] We love writing this character and love being in this world so much, we have a lot of ideas of where we would like to go in Season 2, knock on wood.