The following contains major spoilers from Snowfall’s series finale, which aired on Wednesday. Proceed accordingly.
After six entertaining seasons, Snowfall went out with devastating irony.
Franklin Saint (played by Damson Idris), who we first met on a bright summer day full of promise and big dreams, ended the series on that same street hopeless, delusional and destitute. He was last seen wandering away from the house he bought for his mother — his final possession — as officers from the L.A. Sheriff’s Department swooped in to evict him over unpaid property taxes.
That was the final step in the crime boss’ downward spiral, which began with Teddy stealing his $70 million fortune at the end of Season 5. In the penultimate episode of the show’s final season, Franklin’s mother Cissy killed Teddy mere seconds before he could get back half of his stolen funds, and that marked the point of no return.
“It breaks him,” series co-creator and executive producer Dave Andron tells TVLine. “Had he tried to get back into the game and bought product from the Colombians and stayed with it, he probably would have ended up dead or in jail.”
When Veronique took off with most of his remaining money to a build a new life for their unborn son, Franklin grew more and more desperate. He even murdered Peaches (and two others) to recoup some of the $5 million that Peaches stole from him, only to learn that a measly $12K remained. After that, he fell into deep seclusion as the rest of his funds dried up and bills went unpaid. Eventually, he had nothing left.
“He fully breaks, and he gives up,” Andron explains. “After saying that he’s never going to do it, he just can’t. He can’t take it all in and cope with it… Ending with that guy broken on the street that we started on very much felt like the surprising and yet inevitable end to our show.”
Read on below for our full interview with Andron.
TVLINE | Did you ever consider killing Franklin off?
Over the years, we’ve considered everything. I, personally, would shy away from him dying, partly because it felt a little easy. This is a guy who brought the devastation in his neighborhood, brought cocaine into it [and] did everything he could to push it. It just felt like for him to get killed was letting him off the hook. For him to have to live in the hell that he created, it felt like there was a certain level of dramatic irony in that.
TVLINE | In Episode 9, Cissy kills Teddy, and it’s not surprising, considering what she said about him in the season premiere, remembering that that former CIA agent only let her live because he couldn’t be bothered to view her as a threat. In hindsight, that speech felt like it was foreshadowing what’s to come.
That was all very intentional — not only their feelings about [Teddy] letting her live and why, but also her thing to Franklin of, “Whose side are you on here?” He was still hedging his bets. That speech is really born out of his indecision. When [Franklin] makes the decision at the end of Episode 9 to side with the government, to spare Teddy’s life in exchange for only half the money and thinking that might enable him to go off and live his life, she knows full well that’s never going to happen. She just can’t bear to see him choosing them [the government] over her, and the moment that happens, she knows what she’s going to do… If you’re willing to completely betray the people who you portend to love the most, at that point, you’re irredeemable.
TVLINE | Cissy stands by her decision in Episode 10, and her silence toward Franklin was more devastating than her verbally expressing how she felt ever could.
She said goodbye to him at the end of Episode 9, and that was it. She has nothing more to give him. She’s not going to explain anything to him. She’s not going to help him. She’s not going to yell at him. She’s done. She did what she felt was the only thing she could do, and now she’s moved on.
TVLINE | Cissy will most likely spend the rest of her life in prison, but she at least has Leon to keep her company. How important was it for you to not have her completely left alone like Franklin?
We want to get a little bit of insight into her mindset, and you’re obviously not going to get much of that from Franklin. I think it would be a mistake to interpret her silence with Franklin as she’s hard or she doesn’t feel anything about what she did, that she doesn’t care. There’s so much she’s feeling, she’s just not going to express it to him.
This very unlikely relationship that she and Leon have built over the years… she saved Leon’s life. She’s the voice that says, “Listen, you need to forgive yourself enough to let yourself leave here and really get away from this. Not for a month or two, but for years, and cut arms with what you had done and get past it and come back here and figure out a way to atone.” If Leon stayed in the projects and kept dealing, he is a dead man. He never would have made it out, and so she saved him. It’s nice to think that he was writing her while she was inside. Now that he’s back in L.A. at the very end, I’m sure he’ll go and see her, and those two will continue to have a relationship.
TVLINE | It’s also nice to learn that Wanda got her life back together.
We started to think, in terms of the end of this, the people who really tried to face what they’ve done wrong and atone should have a chance at getting out of this and making it right, and the characters who don’t ever acknowledge what they’ve done wrong and try to change their ways probably won’t. Amidst a lot of harsh endings, it did feel right to us that Wanda had been through enough, that she deserves a chance to make it out and have a life just like Leon.
TVLINE | Veronique did that as well, taking most of Franklin’s remaining funds and running off to build a better life for their son after realizing Franklin was going in a different direction.
The way we dropped her into the story in Season 5, it was fun that the audience didn’t trust her from the jump, and therefore, it made it easy for us to let her keep proving herself, that they always were waiting for the other shoe to drop. She stayed with him as long as she possibly could. I do think that Franklin tries to get out at the end of Season 5, that he truly wanted out. He wanted to run a legit business, but he knows that life on the street only ends one of two ways. She sticks with him for as long as she can. When the things she’s doing are really the things that are in the best interest of the two of them, and he can’t see that [and] threatens her, she knows that she’s come to the end of what she can do for him and needs to go create a different life with his kid.
TVLINE | Were you present for the table read of this episode?
It was the biggest table read we’ve probably had since the pilot. Everybody was there for it. Characters whose lives had already come to an end on the show showed up for it. All the FX execs, [including chairman John] Landgraf, showed up for it. It was obviously really emotional. It felt like it played great, which was a huge relief to me. It’s scary writing the last episode of something in this way and taking such a big swing with where you want to land your lead character. Nobody is expecting for it to end this way for him. We love these characters. We were dying to see them make it and win. I really wanted the impact of what becomes of Franklin to be profound.
TVLINE | How did Damson react to the ending when he found out? [Note: Idris became a producer in Season 5.]
I talked him through it. I wouldn’t just hit him with the script on that. It can be problematic telling actors too much about where their characters are going. Some actors, frankly, don’t even want to know. But he was always a great collaborator, and it was helpful for him to know, and he never has abused the knowledge. He made it his mission to make everything work, and I think the way it does is a testament to him. I remember the first time walking onto the set, seeing him fully in character for that last section, and it was almost too much to look at. I mean, he was there and fully present, and I just remember walking him through it and nodding along and realizing, like, of course, [Franklin] breaks, and he becomes his father, and that’s the right thing.
TVLINE | After seeing this show through to the end, what thoughts ran through your mind as you wrapped that final shot?
It’s a huge mix of things. FX first sent this project across my doorstep eight years ago now. You can imagine what it takes over the course of eight years and six seasons to get a show like this to make it. We made a failed pilot and had to reshoot. The first couple seasons, it didn’t quite catch on right away, but once it caught fire, it really caught fire. It’s taken every bit of that over eight years, along with a whole lot of other people, to make this thing happen. It felt like when you’re at the end of a really long, really hard task and you feel sad that it’s ending and yet you feel like we had this incredible run. We gave it everything we possibly had. We didn’t need any more time. We got to end the story exactly the way we wanted to end it. I feel great amount of pride, and a great amount of relief.
TVLINE | We know that there’s a spinoff in the works. Anything you can say about it?
The news of it leaked, unfortunately. That was not the way in which we’d intended for that to go out into the world. It is very much still in development. I made the decision not to be the person writing it. Being at the center of this one for these six seasons, I felt like I told the story. I didn’t need to be the person at the center of the next chapter if there is going to be a next chapter. It did feel like there’s a reason to continue the story of South Central and what happened once the cocaine dried up in the early 1990s and how hip-hop exploded.
We found the right writer to tell the story in Malcolm Spellman. [Note: Spellman created, wrote and executive-produced the Disney+ series The Falcon and the Winter Solider and is set to pen the script for Captain America: New World Order alongside FATWS staff writer Dalan Musson.] I think he’s got a great story and he’s working on it. If everything lines up again, I’ll help him in whatever capacity I can be helpful. But I’m going to hand the reins off to Malcolm.
TVLINE | Finally, what message do you have for the fans who’ve supported the show over the years?
I just want to thank them for loving this show, this world and these characters the way that we love them. I want to let them know that we always did everything we could to try to tell the story in the most truthful and entertaining way we could. [I’m] just so grateful for all the love and appreciation they show.
What did you think of Snowfall’s series finale? Grade the episode below, and then sound off in the comments.
Two items: (1) Near the end of the episode, that wasn’t the F.B.I. which showed up at Franklin’s house. It was the L.A. Sheriff’s Department, executing an eviction. (2) When Leon and Franklin walk by the set of the movie which is being filmed, the set is supposed to be for “Boyz n the Hood”, released in 1991 and directed by John Singleton. The three boys near the director (Singleton) are supposed to be the young actors who played Ricky, Tre, and Doughboy when Tre first came to live with his father (“Ricky” can be seen in a USC red and gold shirt with numbers on the back, tossing a football in the air).
Now I need to rewatch it. I wasn’t paying attention to the crew & such. Boyz is one of my favorites. Not sure if I would’ve made the connection, but I’m definitely going to check it out. Thank You.
I recognized that immediately. I was like oh how sweet paying tribute to Boyz N the Hood.
You creative and directors brung out the real streets I used to be on the streets selling drugs and y’all brung out the real real streets you don’t stay up forever no matter what the streets will always win
Perfect ending, pretty much.
Shoutout to everyone that played a part in one of the most profound tv series of our time. Thank you
Can’t believe Franklin doesn’t get arrested for the 3 murders in the house where he cracks the safe.
Great series. I was invested from the get go . I agree Franklin could only end up the way he did.
Cissy had to do what she did. She could see as a mother that her son was gone, gone, gone. Oh, the heartbreak.
Thank you writer & actors for a great series.
From the first time that Cissy learns of Altons death in Cuba I had this feeling that once she knew it was Teddy that she would exact her revenge. It was Teddy’s telling her that Alton wasn’t in prison in Puerto Rico, he tells her that he shot him twice and he’s dead but the way he said it showed her that Teddy never considered her and Alton as people more like bugs with no value.
Franklin comes apart as each attempt to regain his money is thwarted by karma. We don’t get the true depth of the horror that crack brought upon South Central or the rest of the countries black hoods from coast to coast, families completely devastated by it and the rise of the young thugs who had no concept of morality or the value of life. For me Franklins story could only end in the way it did, I’m glad that he never bounced back. His love of wealth displaced any hint of humanity in him. Others were only there to be used to increase his bank, if they couldn’t do that then he had no use for them. After his murders of all three men you knew he was lost. I half thought he might kill Leon out of frustration and I’m so happy that this didn’t occur. The message of redemption for Leon was uplifting and rewarding to show that all was not lost. A masterpiece of story telling and I’m sure that many will feel the same way.
The whole series was a morality tale about addiction. Franklin overdosed on his addiction to money and power, and ended up in the street surrounded by the crackheads he helped get addicted to cocaine.
Beautifully analyzed and said. True depiction of what happened to black communities across this country. The government was in bed with the Contas trading guns for drugs that would hopefully wipe out black folks. Now Karma has returned with the opioid epidemic which is wiping out white communities across this country. Karma is a “B”.
It’s not just black Google how many Caucasian individuals die of an overdo.
Yes the government screwed African Americans with crack. They just flipped sides with the fentanyl. And mist Caucasian purchase from African American so there’s your repercussion all the cash of Stacks these kids are killing
The ending was perfect. I sold drugs for 18 years in Los Angeles and mastered in cocaine in my letters 9 years before being raided by the DEA/helicopter. I related to this TV show 100% and it was perfect. I remember losing all my money being depressed in my bed drinking alcohol for weeks and had no more friends since the money was gone, thank God I have my mom’s house to move back in at the moment and get back on my feet. Sad that Franklin’s mom did what had to be done. But he had that ambition look in his face where he wanted to flip it one more time for the last rodeo. Again thank you for snowfall and it was an amazing journey.
The ending was spectacular!
Rest in peace to the producer…
I did not like the ending disappointed 😕 😒 it was sad. Y’all did not have to do Saint like that. It was multiple endings the way it could have went down. This one should have been at the bottom of the barrel.
Damson Idris. Emmy.
Bravo to the entire Snowfall cast and crew!
Thank you for the amazing journey you took us on with these characters and the incredible performances by the cast.
Edris nailed Franklins spiral downward and his performance deserves proper recognition when Emmy time rolls around!
The story line was true to the end. Absolutely the best show I’ve seen in a very long time.
Bravo to the cast, writers and directors 👏👏👏
The show was great for 4 years, the last two years have been ridiculous with incredibly stupider and stupider… and completely unrealistic plot points. The amazing performances the actors put in deserved so much better. The only episode the finale was better than was the tiger cage (the most jump the shark moment I have ever seen).
Agree 100 percent.
Somewhere along the line they went off script,and lost its integrity.Maybe they were told to do so..who knows,but some of the characters,and their lines were way off what had been shown for the first 4 years.
You take a show like “The Shield”,and “Sons Of Anarchy”,or “Breaking Bad”…those shows ended they way they were supposed to.
Here,s an example of a ridiculous line from Teddy saying to Franlikn why he took his money.Teddys answer “You left me”
Cissy killing Teddy made the most sense,after hearing Teddys answer,and the way he answered Cissy after she asked about Alton.
The first 4-5 seasons were lit.Jerome,and Louies wedding was also ridiculous because of the Acid trip they put everyone on.You can see now how they were setting up the finale then.All the characters ,except for Teddy deserved a better fate.
I lived in LA towards the end of that drug phase and it was exactly as it was portrayed the series.
What a great work by all.
What’s next for the actor (Damson Idris) who played Franklin Saint?
He gave an Oscar worthy performance! 🎭
I appreciated the ending, the writers didn’t miss a beat although I thought that we might see how Lucia ended up. The ending was realistic, it should not have ended in a fairytale for Franklin. It didn’t click for me that it was Boyz in the Hood that was being filmed but now it all makes sense, RIP John Singleton. Excellent acting from the cast, especially Idris, definitely Emmy worthy. I’ve been a fan of this show since day one. Thank you for the journey and for telling this story. This was an incredible series!
I hated it
Me too. Frank had a brilliant mind. I just can’t see him ending things that way.
Love the show! I do feel like they could have let Franklin leave with his wife and enjoy raising his family and get away from it all, after all he did help everyone make money despite all the dream that was created by him 🙏
I am so going to miss this show. EXCELLENT cast and performances by far. Although I personally did not love the ending, it expressed the reality of choices. Sowing and Reaping. You get by, but not away. It was his time to pay for his tab. Louie did tell him that he was the devil at Jerome’s funeral and his response was a concur!
Franklin got the Daenerys treatment with that psychotic spiral and we’re supposed to accept that cause he’s a drunk hobo now and thats his punishment? Nah, where’s the realism in that? Doesn’t sound at all like the type of story John Singleton would tell. Maybe where the character ended up, but definitely not the path he took to get there. Meanwhile they want us to believe Cissy was protecting her son after using his greed for her own revenge, only flipping when he wouldn’t follow through on killing Teddy. Leon too. He walked away and found a conscience but now he’s cool with Saint threatening his own family, killing a man’s innocent family, and melting a guy’s skin off cause he stole his money. Cool with that but fought a guy for putting out the street lights. There was a way to finish this story in a more subtle way that could have had more of an impact but they chose to lean into the more dramatic levels of madness reminiscent of Shakespeare. I had hope for better from a show that was meant to expose the horrors of the crack epidemic but eventually just focused on one man’s greed and became a run of the mill drug dealer drama. It’s funny, not one important character died from using crack, and the one who became a junkie, actually got clean, on the first try.
Awesome! Someone that gets it!! Should have never ended that way.
I,m sure Singleton would of had Jerome/Louie Franklin/Veronique ,and Cissy all making it out of “the hood”.They tried it straight,and honest,and look how that worked out.Franklins good deeds to his family etc even on drug money should have garnered him something better than his fate.
Its like there is a direct message being sent by this show or something.
The worst ending ever… Franklin was too brilliant to become a homeless hobo. I followed this show forever. Truly disappointed.
Sorry to say… but, Ozark and Breaking Bad had better endings.
Snowfall was the best show that I have viewed in a long time. I was thoroughly invested in all the characters. I loved the storyline. I was well written. Especially having Walter Mosley on board. I was so upset that none of the award shows recognized the show. I am a true Damson Idris fan now. He was phenomenal.
I was still rooting for Franklin to get his money,and a showdown with Teddy.I wanted Franklin to win,and get his dream.Those neighborhoods are already given less than half a chance to begin with.The show started making less,and less sense as it came closer to the finale.Didnt like the ending for Jerome either.
Wish I could edit my comments.
My replies that I have made are on what RNG, TVguy ,and Gisele commented.
The whole point is that the show did a full circle. His dad in the beginning, and Franklin at the end, broke drunks. Only difference is Franklin took everyone with him almost. Show should have lasted longer. Easy to upload new story line same theme.