If one thing was learned at the CBS' Dramas Showrunners TCA Panel on Wednesday it was that 22+ episodes in one season is an incredible feat, and accomplishing it comes with challenges. "Person of Interest" Executive Producer Jonathan Nolan joked, "The number of episodes seems to be calibrated to exactly when a showrunner will have a nervous breakdown."
"Elementary" Executive Producer Rob Doherty explained how he handles the long seasons, "Your order is your order, you have an obligation to find 24 good stories. It's hard; part of it is not looking too far ahead, not panicking. We'd all love to have ten, but you just have to set them up and knock them down one at a time."
The panel then began to focus on each show's storylines and their specific challenges. "NCIS" Executive Producer Gary Glasberg addressed the show's decision to leave Delilah (Margo Harshman) paralyzed after an explosion. "I'm actually really proud of that decision. The intent is to show a smart individual take control of her life and rise up after what she's been through, and we're excited about the arc that character will face in a wheelchair."
"The Good Wife" creators Robert and Michelle King faced their own challenges and elaborated on it by talking about Kalinda's (Archie Panjabi) storyline last season with her husband. "We kind of knew it was a plot point that stepped the wrong way, so we started to move up plot that we had shot," Robert King continued, "It was one of the hardest things we've ever done in our life. We had to keep moving up B plots earlier and earlier to end that storyline, and it was a nightmare."
The discussion continued as each panel member revealed a bit more about their respective shows. Michelle King explained how difficult it becomes to get actors together based on their differing schedules, "The arcs do not just involve regular cast members, if you cast someone to be Alicia's brother, and then he's not available when you want to expand on the story, you've got a problem."
Doherty added of the "Elementary" cast and schedule, "Jonny Lee Miller (Sherlock) and Lucy Liu (Watson) have to be together and on camera a ton. It's very difficult for us to find relief for a story for just Watson or just Holmes. It definitely influences the way you tell a story."
The last question posed what the panel members thought of working in television to which Jonathan Nolan declared, "The thing they don't tell you about working in television is that's the last time you'll watch television, because you don't have the time."
And, after a few panel members explained how far behind on watching "The Good Wife" they were, Robert King humorously addressed the rest of the panel and remarked, "We've watched all of your shows…every single one."