Michael Sardo_Facing Kate by daet

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Michael Sardo:   Nice spread. Anybody from the Bronx like me? No?

Panel:           Well, I was born and raised in Manhattan.

Michael Sardo:   Were you? All right, close. So you all watched the pilot.

Panel:           Yes. Actually yeah, if I could start off, I do have a question for you.

Michael Sardo:   What’s your name?

Panel:           I’m Anita.

Michael Sardo:   Anita.

Panel:           I am from Clique Clack TV [ph] – Hi. Nice to meet you.

Michael Sardo:   Nice to meet you too.

Panel:           So I guess I just had a question about why you decided to choose
                 mediation, because it’s like the bastard stepchild of the legal system.

Michael Sardo:   I guess I don’t think of it that way. I was interested myself in how broken
                 the legal system is, and the whys of it. I think if you have – think about
                 having a friend and something terrible has happened to them. And you feel
                 really bad. And they say, “Well, - ” I say, “What’s going to happen now?”
                 And they say, “Well, I’m going to court.” Would you really think of
                 saying, “Oh good, then everything will work out just fine.”

                 You don’t. You go to find out what the law says, which is very different
                 than what’s right. And I saw in my own life, and the lives of friends, that it
                 was – it’s about this one size fits all law. And you hope that it happens to
                 be on your side – it may or may not be. You know, a guy breaks into your
                 house while you’re on vacation, falls into your pool and dies. You have a

                 Especially once I had a house with children, and all of a sudden everything
                 is liability, and a problem, and you feel like you’re in this defensive
                 posture and you’re being attacked. But you’re being attacked almost by
                 the laws that you think are supposed to protect you. You’re driving along,
                 the guy in front of you jams on the brakes and you hit him from behind –
                 your fault. You were behind him. It doesn’t matter what went on. It
                 doesn’t matter – it just matters -- this is what the law says.

                 And in a way, the law has to be that way, because so many people come
                 through it. So you have to standardize things some way. And what I tried
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to do in the pilot was to show that without the law that way lies anarchy –
you can’t do that. But you do have to reintroduce some aspect of
humanity, and of relating to – understanding the situation.

And the reason I brought up being from the Bronx is I just saw – I went to
a very good college, and I saw the way that my friends were treated by the
law. There was an assumption of guilt that it was just a matter of time
before you were going to do something, so we might as well get you off
the street now. Whereas if you were a kid from Greenwich, Connecticut,
or Short Hills, New Jersey, or Winnetka, Illinois, and the same thing
happens it’s, “He’s just like the Senator – his dad. You know, he’s full of
piss and vinegar and he’s great.”

You know, the same thing that if you’re a kid from the Bronx it’s, “You
know what? You’re a freaking juvenile delinquent. We’re going to just get
you into the system now, because if not now, you’ll be in there in six
months.” And the law actually does treat people very differently. So
there’s this enormous explosion in mediation because people are looking
for another way. And the courts themselves are looking for another way.

All kinds of things – family law doesn’t fit into the court system. You
know, imagine you’re a judge – the judge who married my wife and I, he
was the head of criminal death penalty cases in Orange County. And I said
to him, “Boy, that must be so difficult.” And he said, “No.” He said, “You
know, when it gets to the penalty phase in my court, everything is done so
thoroughly,” he says, “I have no – I know the guy is guilty. But family law
I did for eight years.” And he said, “I spent eight years trying to get out of

Because you sit there and you have to decide within the strictures of these
laws. So you two are married, and you’re dividing things up, and basically
you’re dividing up your unhappiness and dissatisfaction. But what it
comes down to is do I send the children to you for 55% of the time and
45% to you, or 63% to you, and 37% to you. How do you make those
decisions? So a lot of those kind of cases now are shifting to mediation.
And it’s gaining in importance.

And it’s, to me, a much more mature way of dealing with conflict.
Because you take two people, put them in a room, “What’s your problem?
What’s your problem? Let’s work out a solution.” And I take those two
people, put them in court, “Don’t speak. Don’t speak. She’s going to speak
for you, he’s going to speak for you. And then this judge, who’s dad or
grandpa will from on high tell you what the ruling is.” You know, so to
me, that’s the bastard stepchild of how laws and society should work. And
people addressing each other directly and working it out together that’s the
way that things should work.
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Panel:           Well, you make a very good case. I guess it’s just a friend from college
                 has used mediation for various things, so I’m just intrigued that you’re
                 using the mediator since it something new for the legal area.

Michael Sardo:   I think that, you know, it sort of takes away a lot of the artifice of legal
                 shows. And the thing that you want to get to is that scene in the fourth act
                 where you – the people get to confront each other, the explosive truth
                 comes out. We start with that.

Panel:           Can you talk about the, you know, how the [inaudible] –

Michael Sardo:   What’s your name?

Panel:           Dave.

Michael Sardo:   Dave, hi.

Panel:           Hi.

Michael Sardo:   It’s just hard to address, like, a room of anonymous guests. Not that I will
                 necessarily remember everyone’s name, but just in that moment.

Panel:           So I’m just curious about the various characters that we see in the pilot,
                 and how, you know, which ones will have a more prominent role in
                 subsequent episodes, and whether anything will change from the pilot. I
                 know that often happens.

Michael Sardo:   We’ve changed very little from the pilot. What you saw is what you’ll see
                 on television. The characters, you know, we’re always looking for people
                 that we can thread back in that have a unique chemistry, or a unique
                 storyline. In the first year of the show, what we’re looking for in the 12
                 episodes, you know, I tell the staff that we’re making 12 little movies. And
                 each one will be just a little bit different tonally, and in terms of content
                 than the others, but with a commonality to it of hope in humanity, of real
                 drama, and real comedy.

                 And not just here’s the dramatic scene, here’s the comedic scene, which is
                 the way in hybrids, but this smashing into each other in the same scene.
                 Which to me, is what happens in life, at least in my life. So in terms of
                 seeing the Peas [ph] father and son again, I don’t know that we will. You
                 know, we might see Nathan come through the show at some point.

Panel:           I guess I mean more, like, you know, her brother –

Michael Sardo:   Her brother will –
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Panel:           And Michael Trucco’s character, and –

Michael Sardo:   Oh yes, I’m sorry.

Panel:           And her assistant, and, like, you know, whether –

Michael Sardo:   So the regulars of the show are Kate Reed, obviously, Lauren Reed, who
                 is the managing partner of the firm, and also Kate’s step-mother – de facto
                 step- mother, they’re the same age. Justin Patrick is one of the Assistant
                 Districts Attorney – District Attorney’s, excuse me, for San Francisco, and
                 Kate’s ex-husband. And they have an interesting relationship in that most
                 shows you have a will they, won’t they, sleep together.

                 Whereas opposed you have a couple who’s broken up who still
                 occasionally sleeps together, occasionally – and if you asked any of them
                 in the moment when they’re going over to see the other and talking, “Are
                 you going over to sleep with them?” They’d go, “No, I’m going over to
                 talk. You know, let’s just have a cup of coffee. You know what? Let’s put
                 a little sambuca in it. Forget the coffee – a friend of mine brought me this
                 bottle of wine. It’s so far to go home.”

                 It never winds up that way, but we’ll take them through – they’re trying to
                 figure out this relationship that actually works better than their marriage
                 did. But it’ll take some interesting turns in the course of the year. We’ll
                 see Spencer, her brother. And Spencer –

Panel:           And sister- in- law – will she come in – the sister- in- law?

Michael Sardo:   Spencer is gay – Terry is a man.

Panel:           Oh, ah. Yeah, he seemed like he was – yeah. I wondered – I heard
                 rumours, but [inaudible – background talking]. I took the easy path on that

Michael Sardo:   I thought to do a show in San Francisco and not have a character who’s
                 gay would be a little disingenuous. But the parts of it that I was interested
                 in, I don’t think that in 2010 the fact that someone’s gay is all that
                 interesting, you know, as it is – the fact that someone’s straight is not all
                 that interesting. That’s just not a character type, that’s just [inaudible].

Panel:           I for one would like to thank you for not making him over the top

Panel:           Oh, very much so.
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Michael Sardo:   Well, the interesting – I didn’t tell the actors who were auditioning that he
                 was gay, because I didn’t want anyone to play gay.

Panel:           That was a good move.

Michael Sardo:   Play a stay at home dad who used to be a lawyer. And the part of Spencer
                 that interested me – two things – that his dad, who is an old San Francisco
                 guy, wasn’t thrown or bothered by the fact that he was gay, but he hated
                 the fact that he left the firm. That riled him. And with Spencer, the thing
                 that interested me was – I’m married, I have two kids, and my wife – her
                 career had – she was an actress, and a singer, and it just hit a point where
                 it was a good point to take off and raise the kids.

                 And now they’re 16, 14, and she’s going back to work. And the interesting
                 thing with men and women is there’s this assumption that in society
                 women are going to take care of the child. So if the woman is a
                 neurosurgeon, and the guy teaches gym part-time to third graders, and she
                 has a baby, it’s an inherent thing of, “Well, you’re going to stay home,
                 right?” Even though she’s the neurosurgeon and he’s teaching gym part

                 So I thought, you have two guys – one’s an investment banker, and one’s a
                 litigator. And the litigator, who’s Spencer, says, “You know what? I just
                 want to be home for my daughter.” What happens when he gets tired of
                 that? How do you decide? Because there’s no genetic or societal
                 predisposition for either one to raise the child. And I kind of was
                 interested in the non- issue of it.

                 In that – because people have said – when I told some actors they went,
                 “He’s gay? Well, then I’ll play him this way.” I said, “Well, I thought you
                 were playing a dad, and a – ” we had two of our friends – two guys who
                 are partners over at our house for brunch last Sunday – old friends of
                 mine. And they’re trying to have a child. And have a woman who’s a
                 friend of mine and her partner they have two children, and they conceived
                 – one partner carried the child.

                 And the guys are trying in vitro, and trying to adopt. And it’s just every
                 kind of combination, but essentially you’re talking about how do I raise
                 my kids? Not what position were you in when you conceived them. It’s
                 just not – that’s nobody’s business. It’s not that interesting. So Spencer
                 will be back.

Panel:           Yeah, so what threw me was that Spencer referred to himself as the father.
                 It’s in the dialogue, right?

Michael Sardo:   Right.
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Panel:           Because she says, “I thought you hated when dad – ” and I pictured the
                 wife being very busy and away from home a lot, and her equating it to her

Michael Sardo:   Right.

Panel:           And then when he said –

Michael Sardo:   But it’s his [inaudible].

Panel:           “But my daughter will know her father.”

Michael Sardo:   And when she says, “But what about your wife?” She’s just teasing him,
                 you know. And it’s just brother, sister stuff.

Panel:           Brother, sister dancing.

Michael Sardo:   Yeah.

Panel:           Can I ask one follow- up? What about the, like, I don’t know if he was
                 Australian or British guy who’s brought to the [inaudible].

Panel:           Andrew [inaudible].

Michael Sardo:   Oh yes, he will be back too – yes, we’ll see Andrew. And, I think it also
                 would be disingenuous to have a show with a lead as beautiful as Sarah
                 Shahi and not have someone notice.

Panel:           Oh yeah.

Michael Sardo:   So Andrew’s the guy who notices.

Panel:           Even from above.

Michael Sardo:   Yes, exactly, exactly. And you’ll meet her and you’ll feel the temperature
                 of the room change. No, but she’s got a beauty that comes truly from
                 inside. You know, she’s just a really lovely person. And sometimes I
                 almost get a little defensive or protective of her, because people say,
                 “She’s so beautiful.” And I say, “Yes, but she’s such a good actress, and
                 she works so hard.” She’s got leading lady looks but she’s got character
                 actress abilities, which you don’t often find in the same package. So we’re
                 very lucky to have her.

Panel:           So everyone with a ring tone we can expect to come back?
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Michael Sardo:   I think that’s a safe assumption.

Panel:           Now what was with all the Wizard of Oz references?

Michael Sardo:   I think at this point in her life, Kate’s a little like Dorothy. Everything that
                 she’s familiar with has just been swept aside. And even though she is part
                 of the force sweeping them aside, she’s grappling with, “What happens
                 now?”, “Where am I?” Her dad, who she hadn’t resolved her conflicts
                 with, just died. And that’s a very uncomfortable thing where you haven’t
                 dealt with it just yet.

                 And Justin, who she wanted – she’s the one who wanted the divorce –
                 they’re very connected still. So how does that work? And now Lauren is
                 the person she most talks to at the firm, and she really doesn’t like her.
                 And this is my stepmother, and yet I know that you made my father happy.
                 So she’s sitting in all that discomfort. And in some ways, you know, Sarah
                 and I have talked about this, it makes her drive to more toward solving
                 other people’s conflicts, because she can’t quite resolve the ones of

Panel:           I thought that’s a very creative way to handle that.

Michael Sardo:   Yeah, it was – it’s just something that in the writing just kind of
                 developed, and then all of a sudden it went, “Wow, this really fits.”

Panel:           I like Leo and the Lion.

Michael Sardo:   All the people – yes.

Panel:           I liked that too, yeah.

Panel:           Leo being the lion.

Panel:           I liked the [inaudible] shout out [inaudible]

Panel:           I was just going to ask if there’s any chance you might reference Battlestar
                 Galactica, or a [inaudible] Battlestar Galactica.

Michael Sardo:   It’s a dangerous one, having Michael Trucco there. You worry about
                 getting a little too meta. Are we commenting on ourselves, you know? But
                 I’ve been tempted. I’ve been tempted. We’ll see if I lose control
                 somewhere down the line in the scenes.

Panel:           [inaudible] there’s no [inaudible] I don’t know –
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Panel:           Well, I think if anybody does, that Leo would be the one to do it. And that
                 actually is my question – my name’s Jim.

Michael Sardo:   Oh, hi Jim.

Panel:           And I’m with Pacific [inaudible] Spotlight as well as [indiscernible]
                 [Reboot] magazine. I have a question on the geek side – it seems a lot of
                 the newer shows now are starting to add in characters that are of the geek
                 persuasion. That are like Leo, you know, or if you watch Leverage, that
                 are like hard [SN], you know, for the [horror] and that sort of thing. Do
                 you – now why did you decide to put him in there? You just thought, “Oh,
                 this would be cool?” Or did you think it was actually something that’s
                 like, “You know, we need to reflect more on that?” What was the impetus
                 on that one?

Michael Sardo:   The character of Leonard Prince I originally conceived as a 300-pound
                 Hispanic guy who was fastidious about the way he dressed. And in my
                 neighbourhood in the Bronx it was, like, throw a rock and you’d hit, you
                 know, these guys. I was always called the milkman’s son because I’m
                 Italian. Every one in my family is really, really big, and I’m not. My mom
                 was Irish and thin – I have her build.

                 And just – I hadn’t seen on TV that kind of guy who’s a big guy, but who
                 would be in 3-piece suits, and always, like, a lot of cologne, a lot of
                 aftershave. And I based him on a character I knew who was this guy from
                 the neighbourhood who just loved women – it was his thing. And he
                 would be with one day the most beautiful woman you ever saw, and one
                 day with a woman who was quite frankly, homely.

                 And I’d say, “Hey what’s the deal with this woman?” He’d go, “Did you
                 see her elbows? She has [beautiful] elbows.” He always found something
                 to love in each person there was. But he had these really specific, odd,
                 interests that were always different than anyone else’s. And everybody
                 loved him. And I just couldn’t find him in casting.

                 And then when Baron Vaughn auditioned, I thought – my partner Steve
                 Stark on this said, “You know, the thing about that audition is I kind of
                 want to see what happens the next time they’re together.” And then I
                 thought what kind of character – his interests came out of who would be
                 working at a law firm that is not a striver at the law firm. That has – and
                 who could hold their own with Kate? Who’s the one person who is not
                 susceptible to her charms, either because they need something in business,
                 or because they think she’s so beautiful – who exists a little bit outside of
                 the realm of normal behaviour. And I came to Leonardo.
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                 And I had written in all the things – all his personality things. And when
                 we cast Baron I flew him in a few days early and I said, “Look, I need you
                 to look at these things.” The magic cards, all things that my kids have
                 gone through, and interests that I had. I was a huge comic book freak.
                 And, you know, and I said, “Which things do you feel fit the character and
                 fit you?” He goes, “Oh, all this.” He said, “I’m a black nerd.” He said,
                 “All my friends are.”

                 And I said, “I never heard that expression.” He goes, “Oh yeah.” He says –
                 I said, “Well we got a box of magic cards.” He goes, “I am so stealing
                 those.” And so I said, “Really? These are your interests?” And he said,
                 “Yeah.” And I’ve met his friends, and they just happen to be his things.
                 But I thought – the part that interested me was that what we came up with
                 him for a back-story was that he’s working on a Watchmen-like graphic
                 novel that’s his masterpiece. And –

Panel:           Hence the sketcher.

Michael Sardo:   Yes, hence the sketching. And that Kate inspires him. That she’s this
                 heroic figure that somehow is in the centre of his graphic novel. But I
                 wanted to see how the idea of the character was someone who interprets
                 what we all see, but in a slightly different way. And basically, the whole
                 community to me – the sci- fi community of things is you’re operating in a
                 parallel universe.

                 But when it really works well – when it’s Star Trek, or when it’s Battlestar
                 Galactica – is again, like mediation, it’s the way to tell very human stories
                 in a different way. I appreciate anyone that’s telling them without having
                 to be a cop or a doctor.

Panel:           Well, the D & D dialogue – very well played sir, very well played.

Michael Sardo:   Oh well thank you – thank you, I appreciate that. I did talk to some people
                 who are very involved to make sure. Because it’s a sensitive community.

Panel:           Yeah, it is. We’re a challenge that way – [inaudible] –

Michael Sardo:   No, it’s – you know what, it’s specific. I think in whatever you write, I
                 think there are things that you feel like that that you feel like you know
                 because you’ve seen it on TV. And no, you know. So I called some friends
                 and said, “Hey, how would you do this? Does this sound right?” And they
                 said, “Oh, no one would say that.” I was like, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” So
                 we try to be as authentic as possible.

Panel:           Can I ask about the title?
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Michael Sardo:   Yes.

Panel:           I’m Diana by the way – [inaudible].

Michael Sardo:   Hi, Michael – hi.

Panel:           So Facing – just getting to the end of the pilot, you know, it’s a satisfying
                 entrance to the show. It’s a good strong start. Characters are introduced –
                 very interesting characters, good storylines, humour. And then I came to
                 the title and I was, like, I don’t know what it references. And what it
                 echoes of is Judging Amy is what I hear when I think – when I hear
                 Facing Kate. And then also the connotation for me, and it might just be
                 personal, is that facing always seems confrontational. And she says very
                 specifically at the end, “I don’t like confrontation.”

Michael Sardo:   Oh, it’s supposed to be sarcastic.

Panel:           Okay.

Michael Sardo:   Yeah.

Panel:           So it’s meant to be sarcastic?

Michael Sardo:   Yes. Because I will tell you in the auditions, I looked at over 90 actresses
                 who came in to read the deli scene. And all 90 when Justin Reader [ph]
                 pulled out the gun went, “No, uh, uh, uh, whoa, whoa.” And Sarah came
                 in and the minute the gun came out she, “Oh, wow, wow,” and moved in.
                 Because you can’t solve conflict by backing away. So she’s kind of a
                 lightning rod for conflict. And when she walks into a room where there
                 isn’t any she’ll create it.

                 So the title, which we’ve wrestled with, is the idea that I imagine a title
                 sequence of when you see Facing and then different word s – “conflict,”
                 “concern” – things all hard “C” sounds, and then “Kate.” So she’s helping
                 people face all these things, but she’s also facing them in herself.

Panel:           Facing conflict – all right, okay.

Panel:           I wanted to know about Teddy Reed’s ashes.

Michael Sardo:   Yes.

Panel:           Will that remain a character throughout the whole thing? Will she go back
                 and talk to that?

Michael Sardo:   We – yes we will see the ashes again. Yeah, and trying to figure out –
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Panel:           [inaudible]

Michael Sardo:   Yes, and with Teddy it’s an interesting thing of not wanting the most
                 interesting character to be the character who’s dead. That’s the danger of
                 it, of being too much backward looking. So our challenge is to keep his
                 presence alive, and that he’s big in her life, but at the same time, as with
                 any death, you’re grappling with it, and you’re also moving forward in a
                 new way. But we will see the ashes again.

Panel:           Will we ever see him? Like, ala Six Feet Under, or something?

Michael Sardo:   Do you know, we cast – for that reason, we cast a real actor for the
                 pictures, and everything. And so also to have someone available to put in
                 the photos in the offices, and things, and to have the possibility. In the
                 pilot, you have flashbacks of the same accident. And it’s a bit of a
                 [indiscernible] in the pilot, but how we refer to them in all the episodes is
                 as perspectives – they’re different people’s perspectives of the truth of
                 whatever’s going on.

                 And we’re using them in all different ways. In episode two, it’s about a
                 case – a guy who was wrongly convicted of a crime he didn’t commit.
                 And he’s exonerated, but he spent 22 years in prison. So Kate has to
                 mediate a settlement between the City of San Francisco and his lawyer,
                 who’s literally a bus bench lawyer, like a guy who’s picture is all over
                 town. This is the biggest case he’s ever had.

                 So he wants an exorbitant amount, and the state wants to pay very little.
                 And the question becomes, what is a life worth? And when the first – his
                 lawyer gets up to make his case he says, “Well, you know, he’s been in
                 jail for 22 years. He got an A plus in computer science. Do you know who
                 else did – ?” And they’re these odd perspectives of William Hewlett, and
                 David Packard working in their garage, which becomes Steve Jobs, which
                 becomes Bill Gates, which becomes this character, Steve Jangs [ph].

                 Then the lawyer for the state gets up and says, “You know what? We treat
                 everyone the same. You could be a scientist, a shop keeper, a gang banger
                 – you could be whatever, you get $100 a day.” And we’d see those people.
                 But then at the end when she asks Steve, “What do you want?” And he
                 says, you know, “What did you want in your life?” And he says, “I always
                 had one dream. You know, to work at a job I didn’t hate, so I could come
                 home to a family that I loved.” And it’s just shots of him tucking his
                 children in, and getting into bed with his wife – just a very simple thing
                 that he wanted.
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                 And he says, “I don’t know what that’s worth – that’s what I lost.” So
                 those are perspectives of something that didn’t happen – you know,
                 people’s conjectures. So possibly seeing Teddy in Kate’s perspective of
                 something. So we want to use those in all different ways, not just referring
                 to the same scene three different ways, because it actually limits your
                 story telling if you can only use them that way. So we’ve talked about
                 bringing him back in that kind of scenario.

Panel:           You just said you saw 90 women to read for the part. Can you tell us a
                 little bit more about casting Sarah, or how you chose Sarah?

Michael Sardo:   The minute she made that move – Sarah came in – people came in
                 dressed, this and that. Sarah had – her son Wolf was three months old. She
                 wasn’t sure she wanted to do a show. She came in with a big diaper bag
                 that literally said, “Big Diaper Bag,” on it. It was this giant bag. Slammed
                 it down – and she slammed it down, and she sat down. And she said, “You
                 know, I don’t know if I really want to do a show.”

                 And I said, “Okay.” I said, “Do you want to leave?” You know, and that
                 was, like, the beginning of our thing. And she said, “Well, maybe I’ll
                 read.” I said, “Okay, read.” Because I was, you know, I said, “I’m a Bronx
                 guy.” I said, “I like this kind of attitude.” I said, “Let’s see what you do.”
                 And I said, “You know, no one’s asking you to do the show.” And she
                 goes, “ I know – I’m just going to read.” So we started off with a nice little

                 And then she got up, and she did that scene. The minute she made that
                 move I thought, “This is the girl.” Because what she understood was the
                 guy with the gun – he’s terrified. That’s why he has a gun. You know,
                 everybody else played, “I’m so afraid that guy has a gun.” And she played
                 – was able to do the texture of, “I’m scared, but I’m not going to let you
                 show it. First I’m going to solve this. I’ll be scared afterwards.”

                 And it’s so – the woman who – we brought four choices to the network.
                 The woman who was the strong second choice was a more traditional
                 looking lead – tall, blonde, willowy, like –

Panel:           Lauren?

Michael Sardo:   Yeah, yeah. But a traditional lead. And I said to the network – this woman
                 – she’s a fine actress. I said, “She’ll give 100% of what’s on the page.” I
                 said, “Sarah will give 125%. I have no idea what that other 25% is, and the
                 thought of it sometimes really scares me, but I’m kind of interested to see
                 what it is.” And that’s what happens.
                                                                        Michael Sardo_Facing Kate
                                                                                          Page 13

                 She’s taken off and made it her own in her own unique way. And I’ll be
                 on the stage, and she’ll do something, and I’ll go, “No!” Or, “Wow!” But
                 it’s always entertaining. It’s always entertaining. And I hope, with all the
                 TV that’s out there to always be surprising, and interesting from moment
                 to moment.

Panel:           I’m Samantha from TVGrapevine.

Michael Sardo:   Oh, hi.

Panel:           Are we going to see more of Lauren and Sarah’s relationship?

Michael Sardo:   Oh, yes.

Panel:           And why they hate each other so much?

Michael Sardo:   Oh, yes.

Panel:           Besides the fact that a younger woman married daddy.

Michael Sardo:   No, so that’s a very good question. And that’s the trap to fall into. And
                 Lauren, and what Virginia did masterfully, which was so difficult to find,
                 is so many women came in and played Lauren as a b*tch.

Panel:           Right.

Michael Sardo:   And she’s not. You know, and it sort of symbolizes the show in that
                 they’re women who look through the same prism from a different facet.
                 And Lauren is not mean, or unpleasant. The truth is – she says – first right
                 in the pilot is, “You need the Lauren to keep the lights on in the firm.” It’s
                 Lauren doing what she does that allows Kate to be Kate.

                 You need mediation and you need the law. When I was younger I think I
                 would have thought you just need one, but you need both. And Lauren
                 was able to embody – Virginia was able to embody this character in a way
                 that was firm, and proud, and not mean or unpleasant. You wouldn’t
                 necessarily go, “I love her, and I want to hang out with her.” But you go,
                 “Oh, I get it. I get it – yeah. You’re really good at your job.”

Panel:           It’s definitely somebody worth respect, I could say.

Michael Sardo:   Yeah, that’s the thing, and who demands it. And Lauren’s journey in this
                 first season is she’s a woman who was attractive at any early age. So men,
                 you know, girls – my sons are 16 and 14. And you see they’re goofy and
                 ridiculous. You see the 16-year-old girls and they’re – they mature –
                                                                       Michael Sardo_Facing Kate
                                                                                         Page 14

                 women mature much faster. That’s why you guys really have all the
                 power, even though we pretend we do.

                 But they – Lauren has always been defined by the men in her life. And her
                 relationship with Teddy, which on the surface appears – people would go,
                 “Trophy wife.” They were both sort of lawn nerds. They’d stay at home
                 on the weekends and talk about better ways to manage the firm, to do this.
                 And Teddy really literally respected her for her intellect. And no one had
                 ever – he was beyond the point where looks were the thing that mattered.

                 They really connected over their love of the law, and their love of the
                 minutia of running the firm. And so now in Teddy’s death, it’s Lauren’s
                 first time to define herself without a man in her life. And we’ll see her be
                 quite afraid of that, and falter at times, and be unsure of can I really do
                 this? But it’s something she’ll never show Kate. But the audience will get
                 glimpses of it.

Panel:           And I liked how she was not necessarily the character you love to hate, but
                 one character you want to know more about. She was one of the more
                 intriguing characters.

Michael Sardo:   I mean, she’s not – the danger is, with all due respect to 80’s television, I
                 don’t want to make her Alexis Carrington.

Panel:           Yes, exactly.

Michael Sardo:   And it’s a catfight. And it’s easy to go that route. But she’s a well-rounded
                 person. And you’ll see her start to come out of the shock of her husband’s
                 death. They have very different reactions, Kate and Lauren. Lauren’s is,
                 “I’m going to manage everything.” And Kate’s is, “I’m going to feel
                 everything.” And I think between the two of them, you sort of have a full
                 scope of human behaviour and reactions to the same situation in different

Panel:           Has it been difficult to find the perfect balance of drama and comedy?
                 Because there’s a good balance in the pilot.

Michael Sardo:   It is. That’s a week-to-week challenge, you know. Because the thing is –
                 what’s your name?

Panel:           Megan.

Michael Sardo:   Megan, hi. Because the thing is that you – when you up the stakes of the
                 case, then if you don’t want to someone to seem callous for making a joke.
                 And I find that I’m wary of that, and sometimes when I see the so-called
                 hybrid form of things, that there’s a dead body, but everybody’s talking
                                                                     Michael Sardo_Facing Kate
                                                                                       Page 15

                 about their lunch. And so we try to be very respectful of the case and yet
                 have room for a full life.

                 And realize that even with a strong case, you can forget it for a minute or
                 two and be involved in this other kind of moment. But that’s a constant
                 challenge. Because, you know, you have to – you can’t look at them in
                 and of themselves, especially as I said, when we’re trying to do them in
                 the same scene. So yeah, that’s a big one for us.

Panel:           I have a question.

Michael Sardo:   Yes.

Panel:           Is Kate’s mother Glenda? Is that her ring tone?

Michael Sardo:   That’s a very good question. That’s a very good question. Were you in the
                 writer’s room listening in? We’re going to – you’ll be learning more about
                 that. You’ve – I’m not easily at a loss for words, but you put me there.

Panel:           I was going to bring it back to mediation. Maybe I’m just a little obsessed
                 with it. When I think about mediation I always think of it as something
                 dealing with smaller cases.

Michael Sardo:   Mm hmm.

Panel:           Such as either mediating divorce, or cases such as a family versus a
                 school. And for some odd – not some odd reason, but it seem as if Kate is
                 dealing with larger types of issues in mediation, which I haven’t seen. So
                 do you think it possibly takes away from the initial focus because she’s
                 shifting from being a high powered lawyer because she wants to help
                 people, but she’s still at a high-powered law firm? So I guess, is there a
                 possible contradiction at still working at a high-powered law firm? And
                 will we eventually see her possibly leaving that firm, and perhaps working
                 on those smaller kind of family cases? Although she still finds a way to do
                 it at the high-powered law firm.

Michael Sardo:   Well I think she’s drawn to the humanity at the centre of the case. I was
                 talking to a mediator in New York who was dealing with an issue. Now,
                 New York, for instance, New York State, has 64 mediation centres – one
                 in each county. And they’re free – anyone can walk in and get things. Or
                 Florida, you have – you cannot get a divorce in court until you’ve been
                 through mediation. You know, so the courts are recognizing it a lot more.
                 And now in a lot of states for the first time you can do family issues.

                 But mediators are also called in routinely by the UN to mediate
                 disagreements between countries. But essentially, between countries what
                                                     Michael Sardo_Facing Kate
                                                                       Page 16

you have is you have two people sitting there. They might be Heads of
State, but they have a lot of history. And they might have gone to prep
school together in Switzerland. And so if you can ferret that out, you can
get maybe to a solution.

But this – the case I was going to tell you about, a woman was – filed a
suit of sexual harassment. She was a receptionist. It was against the CEO
of a company. The CEO found out that she was an illegal immigrant so
tried to get her deported. So she went to a human rights lawyer. So by the
time a mediator got involved, there were 22 parties involved in this room
when she walked in. The Humans Rights Commission was involved. You
know, it had become this enormous thing.

So it became sorting through all of that to get to the fundamental issue,
which was, “What was your workplace environment like?” So even when
you have a big issue, there’s usually a small thing at the centre of it. And
Kate in each of these cases – as you go through our first – we like to think
of a line that encapsulates – a question that we’re dealing with, or
grappling. So what is a life worth? How do you put a value on it? Who is a

We have a case – episode 106 is a woman comes in and it’s a case of
identity theft, except she’s involved in a way that’s unusual. She was
brought here from Honduras at the age of 2, doesn’t speak Spanish –
raised to be the All- American girl. Her parents discouraged her from
speaking another language. They didn’t find out until high school there
was no path to citizenship for her unless she went back to Honduras. She
doesn’t know anyone there. She doesn’t have any relatives there. She
doesn’t speak Spanish.

So she bought a stolen – a social security number of a woman who was
dead and enlisted in the army, served two tours of duty in Afghanistan and
came back. And as soon as she applied for a credit card found out the
woman’s alive. And then because of that, when she meets the woman the
woman reports her to immigration. And now it’s an immigration issue. So
she can deal with bigger issues, but always in a Kate way. And for that she
enlists the help of Lauren, because she can’t go to court.

But at the centre of all of these, we try to make the issues are a lways about
the people, and not about the points of law. And that’s the difference.
Because in a law show, a traditional law show, you’re dealing with how
do I get the best results for my clients given the strictures of the law? And
here, there are no rules. A friend of mine who uses – he’s a real estate
lawyer. And we walk our dogs together, and we’re talking about
mediators. And he was on a case for I think it was four years of these two
landlords suing each other.
                                                                     Michael Sardo_Facing Kate
                                                                                       Page 17

                 So he said, “I’m going to bring in this mediator. This guy teaches at
                 Stanford. $10,000 a day he gets.” It’s not a low paying job necessarily.
                 And the guy came in and said, “All right, you two – it’s been four years.
                 Here’s the deal. It’s 8am. You go to the bathroom, we all go to the
                 bathroom. You go to get something to eat, we all get something to eat.
                 And no one leaves except to the go to the bathroom. And when we do that
                 we’re all going together.” And they started at 8am, and at 3am the next
                 morning they solved the case. They were tired, they didn’t smell so good,
                 but they solved the case. So I think, it’s about pushing off everything else
                 and just putting those people together.

Panel:           Hey guys, I think we have time for one more question.

Panel:           As season one progresses and starts airing, will we get more glimpses into
                 the backgrounds of each character, and how they came to be together?

Michael Sardo:   Yes, that’s a very good question. And it’s something, you know, when
                 you’re dealing with background, it’s how do you bring it in elegantly
                 without saying, “Remember when eight years ago we were – ” Which is
                 always tempting. But yes, and we’ll learn about how Lauren and Kate first
                 met. We learn about Justin and Kate’s relationship, and how it started out,
                 and where it ended up.

                 We learn a lot about Kate’s dad, and history that we didn’t know existed.
                 And how sometimes a parent presents a certain face to you, and then when
                 you look deeper, you know, you’ve only known them as that parent. But
                 they had a history before they had you. And Kate’s going to find out some
                 very interesting things about her dad.

Panel:           Would it be possible to ask one quick – just about Michael Trucco, and
                 how he came – you talked about everybody else – but how he got cast, and
                 why you chose him?

Michael Sardo:   It’s interesting. He’s really well loved for good reasons at Sci-Fi and USA.
                 And they said, you know, “Look at Michael Trucco.” And I went, “Well,
                 okay, sure. You know, bring him in.” And he came in and he did a really
                 nice audition. They said, “You can only see him once. And you know,
                 because he’s Michael Trucco, and blah, blah, blah.” And he gave this
                 audition, and I said, “Well, that was nice.” And I went out in the hall, and
                 Michael was there.

                 He said, “What do you think?” I said, “Oh, it was okay.” He goes, “Do
                 you want me to do it again?” I said, “Well, yeah.” He said, “What do you
                 want me to do?” I said, “This,” and he did it. And we looked at our film,
                 and I said, “You know, I’d like to have him in again.” And they said,
                                                                    Michael Sardo_Facing Kate
                                                                                      Page 18

                 “No.” His agents, I think it was, “No, you can’t.” And then Michael found
                 out and said, “I want to come in again. I want to do this part.” He said,
                 “Just tell me what you think.” And he just could do any version of the
                 scene that you wanted.

                 And there was just such a great – initially, I saw that part as maybe 6 out
                 of 12 episodes. And when we got Michael and I saw what he could do,
                 and how he was with Sarah, I said, “Well, we’ve got to have him in every
                 episode.” You know, and you’ll just see as the season develops that the
                 depth that he gives – to answer your question, there are scenes without
                 addressing their past where – especially when they get angry at each other,
                 where you just see the history of a couple in a scene without having it
                 reference, you know, something that happened five years ago. They play
                 so well together. And, you know, it’s hard to find someone who has the
                 presence to stand up to Sarah. But he’s got it. So we feel very lucky to
                 have him.

Panel:           Well, he’s in here momentarily.

Michael Sardo:   You’re moving me out.

Panel:           Thank you so much. [background talking]

Michael Sardo:   Thank you for coming. Nice to meet you all.

[End of Audio]

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