The following contains spoilers from all of Lucifer Season 5.
“Oh, my me!” As Lucifer Season 5 came to a close, those three little words from Lucifer (played by Tom Ellis) came on the heels of him using three other, weighter words to at long last affirm his feelings for “the Detective,” Chloe Decker (Lauren German).
Season 5B’s eight episodes, released to Netflix on May 27, have been very well received by fans, including as they did the full-on introduction of God (guest star Dennis Haysbert), a musical episode, a complex journey for Maze (Lesley-Ann Brandt), one mother of an emotional moment for Linda (Rachael Harris) and a dire fate for Dan (Kevin Alejandro).
TVLine spoke with co-showrunners Ildy Modrovich and Joe Henderson about how what was at one point the series finale got tweaked to become the Season 5 finale, why Dan’s demise was so ironic, the return they had to lie about, and much more.
TVLINE | First of all, given Netflix’s last-minute un-cancellation, where at the end of 5B — if we look hard enough — might we spot the skid marks, the needle scratch, a change in direction?
ILDY MODROVICH | Surprisingly, [where we left off] was the easiest endpoint, in the middle of such a curveball. When they said, “Let’s have another season,” that was an easy one because the end of Act V of that episode was Lucifer becoming God, and we realized that that was such a great cliffhanger. [In the original series finale] a lot happened in Act VI, obviously, but we just kind of lopped it off. And [Lucifer becoming God] became the end of 5B.
TVLINE | So, there was no entirely new moment that you had to add to help facilitate a Season 6?
JOE HENDERSON | No. The only changes we made were COVID-related, because we hadn’t shot the big battle. We shot everything other than the big battle, and the scene where Lucifer impersonates Michael, before COVID. As far as everything else, we just looked at the episode and were like, “Hey, that’s a pretty good note to end on.” It wraps up so much of the story to be told this season, which is always so important to us, but makes you go, “I’m coming back for that.”
TVLINE | One of the cast members I spoke to said that Season 6 is, in a way, an elongated version of a series-ending coda you had planned.
JOE | I would say that’s true, to a point. It is very much our goodbye season, but as we started to dig into Season 6, we found new story we wouldn’t have told before. I don’t want people to think that Season 6 is almost like an elongated Act VI, because it’s not. It’s its own season. It’s got its own engine. There is a story that we didn’t know we would have to tell until we got to the point we got to, and once we got there and looked around, we realized that there was an entire engine for an entire season worth of storytelling that we’re excited about. But it is very much a season of saying goodbye to the show we love.
ILDY | In fact, the the main story of Season 6 was not a part of Season 5 at all.
TVLINE | Is there a character that introduce in Season 6 that you otherwise were going to have to leave on the table? Someone you perhaps had mulled in past seasons?
JOE | Oh, that’s a good one…. There is a new character in 6 that was not going to be a part of Season 5. A whole new character.
TVLINE | So I’m talking to Kevin Alejandro… and he says that you all went and killed him off in the next-to-last episode, but then you got your Season 6, and you found some way, to kind, of sort of, bring him back for a little encore.
ILDY | Speaking of curveballs that we throw ourselves! We knew we could not do another season without Detective Douche, so yeah, we found a story for him that we just love, and it’s one of those examples of sometimes you paint yourself into a corner and you find something that’s so much more fun and satisfying because of it. In trying to find your way out of it, you find something you never would have done or never would have thought of before.
TVLINE | But otherwise, he was going to be your big, series-ending death that kind of galvanized everybody for the finale?
JOE | As you asked the question, I’d forgotten: Kevin at the top of Season 5 thinking it was the end, asked to die. He was literally saying to us, “I want Dan to die. I want to do a death scene.” And at first, we were like, “No. We have a different plan for Dan,” but as we started getting into the story, we realized, “Actually, that does dovetail with where we want to get.” It’s funny, because not only was Kevin like, “Oh, God. I’m dead now!” but it was a demise of his own making, because he inspired us to go there. But like Ildy said, in Season 6 he inspired us to do, quite possibly, one of our favorite storylines.
TVLINE | Speaking of Dan, you did some really interesting things this season with the whole question of “Who ends up in Hell?” I mean, you even had us worrying that Chloe might end up there.
JOE | We wanted to explore a couple of things for Lucifer, and one was the idea of the parallel between him and Dan. The idea that our own guilt tortures us, but also the idea that maybe the system isn’t what it should be. Especially as we explore the idea of Lucifer becoming his own father and having to face that, is this the way that the system is supposed to work? Because if Dan Espinosa doesn’t go to heaven, after all he’s gone through and all the wonderful stuff in his heart, then maybe there’s something even bigger broken.
TVLINE | But Dan was a bit sketchy in Season 1. I felt like Hell might not have been entirely out of the question.
ILDY | Yes, he was our corrupt cop, but the funny thing about Hell is that we put ourselves there. So, whether or not he did something that warranted putting himself there, he felt he deserved to be there.
JOE | A big part of “Naked and Afraid” (Season 5, Episode 12) was Dan facing his guilt, and that episode exists very specifically for Dan. He’s assumes he’s going to Hell ever since he found out Hell is actually is real, and after “Naked and Afraid,” he’s actually made peace with himself. It was very important for us to get to that point, so that it feels like he should go to Heaven because he started out corrupt, but what a journey he’s been on, and our show is about redemption. If the devil can be redeemed, so can us all. But Dan’s still in Hell, so what’s going on?
ILDY | I mean, Dan slept with God’s wife! If that doesn’t put you in Hell, I don’t know what does. [Laughs]
TVLINE | That was one of the very best moments of the season, that realization. You just see him withering….
JOE | What about when he explodes?
ILDY | When God explodes his head.! Oh, the best.
TVLINE | You bet heavily that Dennis Haysbert, of 24 and The Unit, would be very funny as God. How did you know?
JOE | Major League!
ILDY | Have you seen Major League?? We also knew it would be a circumstantial comedic situation, more than anything, too. Like, it wasn’t about punch lines for God, although he can deliver one. It was about this gentle, warm sort of dad being plopped in the middle of Lucifer’s world, wearing his socks and sandals while watching Lucifer do his job and stuff. We thought that would be hilarious, and it was, and he was.
TVLINE | I love that you brought back Tricia Helfer as “Charlotte” when you did, how you did and why you did. Talk about that.
JOE | So much of God’s story is his relationship to Lucifer, but it’s also his relationship to Mom — and by the way, I have lied in multiple interviews, saying she was not coming back. That “this is all God’s story,” because I didn’t want anyone to know about this so they could be surprised. But a big part of Mom’s story was her frustration with God, and it felt important to us to speak to the fact that she was right to be frustrated. She was the hero of her own story in Season 2, and God realized that maybe he needed to spend some time in her world after she spent so much time in his. Allowing his wife to show him the things that he needs to learn felt like a really nice payoff for Season 2, but also growth for God in this season. It was super important to us, and also Tricia Helfer… she’s the greatest.
ILDY | We love her so much.
TVLINE | It was just so relatable — the couple where one spouse works too hard, and it creates a distance. It happens to even the most celestial of us, I guess.
JOE | That’s exactly the point. Like, our show is about gods and devils and angels, but it’s about people. It’s about the ultimate wish fulfillment of your dad and mom getting back together, but also the poison pill of “you’re not going to be able to see them anymore.” They’re happy, so you’re happy, but you’re sad because they’re going off somewhere together.
TVLINE | Rattle off some favorite moments from the musical episode (written by Modrovich)….
ILDY | Oh my gosh. I mean, my favorite one in the whole musical is that final number. The Les Miz song (“I Dreamed a Dream”) between God and Lucifer. It feels very intimate but epic at the same time. And the way Tom Camarda, our DP, and Sherwin Shilati, our director, shot it… it had the entire crew in tears. We were all at the monitors watching and crying, because it was so emotional and beautiful. That’s one of my very favorite moments.
JOE | I’ll reference the only one that I had a hand in, which is the “Hammer Time” in 516 (written by Henderson and Modrovich), which is technically not a musical [episode], but…. It was fun to reach back to that [Season 4] episode one more time. Also, so much time had passed, because we shot that after the pandemic, that watching the cast do that felt like we had permission to to laugh again. Everyone was so scared, we were in COVID, we were trying to figure out what to do, and then it sort of reminded us of what our show is, which is big and crazy but also kind of silly and fun. It’s certainly what I needed in the middle of a pandemic.
ILDY | I have to add one more. During “Another One Bites the Dust,” there’s this little moment where Lauren German improvs one of the takes, where she does what we like to call “the lazy stripper move” and sort of dances up on Lucifer. Oh my God, we were laughing so hard. We were like, that’s going in.
JOE | By the way, the musical episode will go down as the episode that I rewatch the most. I love every single sequence in it. It’s such a joy.
TVLINE | Looking ahead to next season…. Are we supposed to fully understand yet what transpired in those last few sequences, where Lucifer crash-landed in Heaven, handed his ring off to Chloe so that she could return to Earth/the living, but then he somehow also got back? Is it simply a matter of, after Chloe left Heaven, Lucifer was certified as God?
JOE | We do get into that in Season 6, but we can tell you that his coming back is not about getting the power of God. It’s more about self-actualization, which is the theme of our show. Lucifer was banished from Heaven, so if he ever went up there he would be lit on fire, but as so much of our show tells you, angels self-actualize. We often are our own worst enemy, so was Lucifer on fire because God banished him? Or because Lucifer didn’t feel worthy? So finally telling Chloe he loved her, finally feeling worthy….
ILDY | Making the ultimate sacrifice of putting somebody before himself, so completely and entirely, was something was Lucifer had never done in his life before.
TVLINE | Lastly, what’s the general gist of Season 6? Is it going to be about Lucifer being God, and any trade-offs involved? Will Chloe still be his consultant?
ILDY | I mean, we can say this: What happens when the dog catches the car? Like, what happens when Lucifer gets a hold of something that maybe he thought he wanted? He’s always his own worst enemy, so it’s not going to be an easy road. Let’s put it that way.