The Following EP: Here's How Season 4 Might've Played Out

The Following Season 4

For a second, let’s imagine that The Following wasn’t cancelled, and that 2016 would see the return of Ryan Hardy and his vendetta against a mysterious organization of super-rich serial killers (or whatever Campbell was hinting at in Monday’s series finale).

What would that plot have looked like? TVLine asked executive producer/co-showrunner Alexi Hawley to give us a sneak peek at a Following that never was.

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“Most known serial killers are poor or middle-class. Why is that?” Hawley says, adding that the notion fascinated the show’s writing staff. “This idea that the über-rich, except for possibly [alleged murderer and Jinx subject] Robert Durst, don’t get caught as serial killers. That can’t possibly genetically be that they don’t get that gene, that they don’t have those proclivities.”

Though the sketched-out ideas for Season 4 weren’t directly tied to true-crime explorations like NPR’s Serial or HBO’s Durst documentary, Hawley says the show’s writing staff “talked about it a little bit.”

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The Jinx “ultimately was such a more satisfying and gripping thing, partly because of the end,” Hawley says, citing the last few moments of the project, in which Durst says some things that can be interpreted as a confession of murder. On the other hand, Serial, a podcast that told the story of the murder trial of Hae Min Lee, “was an intellectual exercise, because “you were never going to get enough information to know [what happened],” Hawley says.

Following fans may feel more Serial‘d than Jinx‘d by the series’ conclusion, which was locked in before the thriller was cancelled and therefore was more of a bridge to Season 4 than a series wrap-up. As we watched, a presumed-dead Ryan allowed Max, Mike and Gwen — who’s carrying Hardy’s child — to believe that he’d drowned, a decision meant to keep them safe while he tracked down Theo’s evil backers (AKA the person/people for whom Eliza worked).

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“If we’re going to have this evil force out there, something bigger than Theo, something bigger than Strauss or Joe, the idea of it being a very, very wealthy person or small group was interesting to us,” Hawley says.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. A much more interesting premise than anything they’ve tackled over the last season and a half.

  2. AL says:

    So basically a big organization a la Revenge (the initiative) and Scandal (B613)- no thanks!

  3. Joe says:

    After this article I’m happy they cancelled it then

  4. Gerald says:

    Too bad they couldn’t tweak the ending with a re-shoot after they knew it was cancelled.
    What was most disappointing is that Ryan actually killed the FBI traitor woman presumably after he got info out of her. That is cold blooded.
    Also he would in no way be able to track this group without his FBI resources.

  5. Monica says:

    Are these the same people that set up Lincoln Burrows for murder on Prison Break?

  6. Thank God this show got canceled. What started off as smart and believable turned in to stupid television. No reality whatsoever. If I have to watch another episode of Ryan Hardy running around like a loose cannon doing everything on his own I will put my head in my oven and turn it on high. What was and what is on this show is entirely different and The Following deserves to be in the canceled bin.

    • James says:

      …you’d kill yourself? Over a TV show?

    • Steven says:

      The show has always been outside the realm of believably. In the first season the FBI was completely inept and every single person was a follower. How is that believable?

      • LMAO very true..I remember a scene where an FBI agent had one of these crazy killers cornered in a garage or something like that and the guy kept creeping towards the agent who kept saying don’t come any closer, don’t come any closer!!! Of course the bad guy got close enough (after going about 20 feet towards the agent) to be able to take his gun away and shoot the agent with it. And yes everyone is a follower!!

        I laughed so hard when the public and the bosses at the FBI and even congress were grilling Ryan Hardy on how he stepped “over the line” in trying to stop these killers lol. People who would enter a restaurant wearing masks and slit everyones throats BUT NO RYAN HARDY WENT TOOO FAR!!!!

    • Brooke says:

      Guess what, good news! No one is forced to watch any television they don’t want to if they exist outside of A Clockwork Orange.

      This show was never believable. I loved how insane it was, it was highly entertaining. Entertaining does not have to = believable.

    • David4 says:

      Season one was believable? If the FBI was as stupid and as useless as the one in the fictional season 1 all the agents would be dead and there would be horrible crimes all the time.

    • Brenda austin says:

      Wow! You don’t HAVE to watch the show for 3 seasons….. Just turn it over! JS!

    • WOW! u don’t HAVE to watch it, just turn it off…. JS!!!

    • stew gravy says:

      it’s tv and not reality TV It shouldn’t need to be believable just entertaining…

    • BPofQA says:

      I lost IQ points halfway through the first season. Yet another show that could’ve been great but was so dumbed down it was nearly unwatchable. Thankfully I was smart enough to quit watching it.

    • Nick says:

      No one forced you to watch so shut up terd.

  7. Tea says:

    I’d be happy with a final season for sure.

  8. Important feedback. says:

    Show had a rough but entertaining first season. Watched second season in anticipation of them ironing out its problems now that they had a better feel for what worked and what didn’t. Never happened and the show tanked hard. I didn’t return for season 3 and it seems no one else did either.

  9. Frank says:

    Can someone contact Cynthia Cidre and find out what was planned for Dallas if it got a Season 4? The Following should have been cancelled after Season 2.

  10. jean smith says:

    Me and my grandson have been watching since the following began …Please don’t cancel it

  11. Kay says:

    I would’ve watched season 4 with Ryan going after and killing serial killers,if they had Joe fake his death also showed up and team up with Ryan…those two made the show!

    • jwoss says:

      Totally agree! Joe and Ryan made the show. Claire needs to come back….sorry but Gwen’s character was way too boring. Ryan can’t have a normal life. Please bring it back with some good tweaks.

  12. s fairbank says:

    This was one of best “edge of me seat” program for all seasons!! PLEASE don’t cancel it!!!!!!!!!

  13. chrispatt86 says:

    Very disappointed with this people. Three years watching a show for what? Not even a minimum closure for the story. Come on guys, cancellation was obvious since episode one of this season. What a way to say thankyou to the few supporters the show had…

  14. Janice says:

    Fed up with these series being cancelled, Stalker, Dallas and now The Following.
    Does fox think it’s ok to just let us down after we been watching 3 series.

  15. Weezy says:

    I was really excited to read this article, you know, until I read it. Wasn’t everything in it abundantly clear to anyone who watched the show? I thought we were going to get some interesting insights, but no just the obvious. I personally liked the new style of the show in Season 3 and loved Ealy’s character (of course I love him in everything). After S2, I wouldn’t have cared if the show got cancelled but now I’m pretty disappointed after that cliffhanger. I think it would’ve taken the show to new levels, but I guess we will never know.

  16. Weezy says:

    Also I thought it was pretty well known that the #1 occupation for psychopaths was being a CEO. Anyone with basic common sense could make the leap to rich serial killers…of course I find it hilarious that this guy tries to act like this show had any basis in reality.

  17. If this show was cancel on Fox. at least Let TNT buy the show and re-air day or night time there’s alot of fan’s viewers can’t resist what happen the next lost story and uncover the truth..

    ex: American Dad cancel dude low rating after few weeks later, TBS intercept and brought the show and on-air making all fans and viewer having good time.

    • Liam says:

      yeah, ur right! i started watching this series since the pilot episode. the series ended in a major cliffhanger and i ask myself, “Was that the series finale? or only season finale?”.

      it ended with a lot of question in my mind.

      i hope they will give a chance to have another season to wrap up everything.

  18. Liam says:

    The FOX should give another season for THE FOLLOWING to wrap up everything. I still want to know who is the RICH PSYCHOPATH. There are lot of things need to be revealed. The story ended with a lot of questions to viewers’ mind. Like, where is Eliza? Who is she calling to? What happened to Theo? what will be the first move of hardy in planning for revenge? what happened to max and mike? how about gwen and their baby? what happened to agent mendez’ wife? AS IN A LOT OF QUESTIONS….

    Pls. i still want to close it right. Maybe u need to consider the fans who started watching since the beginning and they want to see a better ending for the good guys!

    i hope someone will get and try to end the series in a most interesting way .

    • Laurence says:

      Precisely what I was thinking! Even a straight to DVD movie just to wrap it up would do it for me!

    • reba h says:

      I agree my family and I have been watching the following since it started and that was the worst series finally we have ever seen!

  19. I think it would really make a great series. Love that the writers left it open to our imaginations. Please bring Ryan back.

  20. Charlotte says:

    Absolutely gutted they have cancelled this show. It was the only show that I did actually ‘follow’! Man it was exciting to think where it could have gone. So disappointed

  21. Ford F. says:

    I think the rich psychopath could have been Joe. Who’s to say he didn’t pay off everyone in that room that injected him and just replace the lethal injection doses with something else? I was hoping James Purefoy would come back in the end somehow…but, this will just be another dead FIREFLY on the wall…*sigh*

  22. Chris Henry says:

    OK, so now we know why FOX cancelled it- anything that talks bad about the rich is not good for Fox.

    >>> OK SO HERE’s my PLOT IDEA: JOE was a lone for a while in the death chamber before he was executed. Let’s say he tampered with the death shots (they even showed the glass vials a few times!) and made it so just enough to stop his heart and paralyze him was injected. Then when his body was delivered to be cremated he woke up when no one was there. switched a body out for his, then cut to a scene where that body is cremated and the tech signs off. JOE IS BACK!

    • Wild one says:

      Agreed .. Without Joe the show didn’t work .. You don’t suffer that much with lethal injection – you just go to sleep – he was alone with the hostages and window was down right when he died .. I have to believe it was Joe the whole time – he could survive anything – ending the way it should

  23. Brenda austin says:

    WOW! you don’t HAVE to watch it…. Just turn it off! JS!!!

  24. rich bozzi says:

    Please renew “the following”.so much more for ryan to do

  25. Dana says:

    Season 4 would’ve been great. Especially if *plot twist* Joe was never killed and now that ryan has gone off the grid and rogue fighter and all they could’ve worked together to take down the giant killer corporation!

  26. Lee says:

    The first season showed the absolute brilliance of the show. I think they should have stretched out Joe’s capture/death at least one more complete season. He should have had a back up following just in case a second wave was needed. This season showed that they writers ran out of strong compelling storyline. Lastly, if they would have got a 4th season they were setting it up for a Ryan/Revenge/Serial Killer type of rampage. It would have came totally full circle where Ryan becomes a Joe. A premise that would have definitely drive the ratings into more of a free fall than this year has been

  27. htchhkr says:

    Seemed to me like they were headed for a crossover with “The Hostel.” I thought this season was the best, though. They guy who played Theo was great; too bad everything he’s in gets cancelled.

  28. Janet says:

    You guys are nuts. Sure everything wasn’t believable but its not a reality show. Its for entertainment, as for myself it kept me entertained and at the edge of my seat all 3 seasons. Love you Kevin Bacon! Lol

  29. Ritza says:

    love the show you never knew what was next insane

  30. I reLly must say how guttex and disappointed i am that they are not making a season 4 of The Following. Out of all my favourite American shows the following was right up there on my list. Please is there any chance at all that the topbguys will change their minds and do a 4th series. The next season would’ve been immense. Watching ryan get his rerevenge.

  31. Irene ebanks says:

    I think it wrong not to have anymore of the following I love it what will I look forward to seeing I am from England so I think you should make serious 4 for me please

  32. Follower says:

    Hey. I am from South Africa. Cape Town. I’ve been following the following from season 1. And I love it. Although criminal minds might be master mind now and then. The following season 3 really took serial killers to another level. Even their intellect. There Needs to be the Following season 4. And Joe and Ryan needs to take out the new born Serial Killers. Old School vs New school. I don’t do comments so consider me a Stan fan of the following. And every other watcher of the following deserves a wrap up because season left to much lose end.

  33. Anna Maria says:

    Non sono assolutamente d’accordo, per la cancellazione della serie THE FOLLOWING BUUUUUUUUUUIUUUU

  34. Anna Maria says:

    È uno schifo come funziona la fox, desidero la quarta stagione di the FOLLOWING

  35. kim m says:

    Seriously there are too many great shows being cancelled and there is just junk on tv. Really hope this one comes back to give up an ending. Netflix picked up The Killing , how about picking up this one too.

  36. david says:

    would definitely be interested in seeing season 4 with Ryan Hardy as the hitman! wish they could bring it back for 4.

    • Austin following says:

      All people want to watch is believed reality bs. I’m sick of that crap. Bring it back please. There are people out here that love intense unpredictable shows. I’m sick of all the good stuff being canceled. Honestly if they do this to me again I’m cutting my cable off. Not going to keep paying for bs. I’m down to one show now law an order svu.

  37. Tim Thomas says:

    The following fans should ban fox TV.
    It won’t shut fox down, but I’m sure they will feel the sting.
    Give us season 4 of The Following!