FBI showrunner talks about making it a “grounded” franchise

Jubal (Jeremy Sisto) and Isobel (Alana de la Garza) handle a tough case on FBI. Pic credit: CBS

The FBI showrunner is talking about how it feels to make these hit series work.

Ric Eid opened up on how the FBI shows attempt to ground things, so even with the excitement of each week, they feel real for fans.

He also touched on the possibility of more crossover with the series, including outside of CBS.

FBI’s connection with fans

Since premiering in 2018, FBI has been one of CBS’ biggest hits. The series was so successful that it had a spin-off, FBI: Most Wanted, already set by the end of its first season. 

It’s continued with FBI: International joining the slate this year and all three shows doing great in the ratings. Speaking to Give Me My Remote, showrunner Rick Eid shared how his vision to keep the series “grounded” is what makes them work. 

“To me, personally, making the show feel—and the shows feel—grounded and real is incredibly important. I probably say that three times a week to the [FBI] writers: ‘Make it feel real’—it’s kind of my mantra.”

Eid has regular talks with FBI: International showrunner Derek Has and FBI: Most Wanted boss David Hudgins. They touch on how to connect the series with major events, such as the death of Jess LaCroix when Julian McMahon left the series. 

“There’s so much work to be done on each show that we all kind of mind our own business and do our own thing. But when there are elements crossing over—or something significant happens, like Jess’ death—we talk about how to recognize it or acknowledge it in the show in an organic way so it creates that one universe feeling.”

Eid also touched on the tricks of handling relationships on the show. For example, a key subplot of FBI: International is the romance of leader Scott Forrester (Luke Kleintank) and second-in-command Jamie Kellett (Heida Reed).

The pair began the series in a relationship but have seen a split, with a brief one-night stand since. Eid acknowledges how complicated that can be but is happy they find a good balance. 

“I think any show can handle great relationships and great romantic relationships. It’s just how you do it. And how you do it in a way that doesn’t really impact the integrity of the show… It’s a tricky dance: how do you build those relationship moments and issues into the plot, as opposed to, ‘We interrupt this episode to do three scenes about your romantic relationship,'” he continues. “So it’s that fine line. But I’m always excited to try to do that and to try to find those characters that might have a relationship. It’s something we’re always talking about and open to.”

While Eid is mum on more details of romances, he has opened up about the possibility of further crossovers with the FBI shows. 

More FBI crossovers coming? 

FBI team-up
Isobel (Alana de la Garza) guest-stars on FBI: Most Wanted Season 3. Pic credit: CBS

The current season kicked off with an epic three-part crossover of the three FBI shows. However, further team-ups have been limited, with the best being Jubal (Jeremy Sisto) making a cameo by video chat with the FBI: International team. 

A key reason is that FBI: International films on location in Budapest, so the logistics of working them into a case are tricky. Eid was asked about the possibility of a further crossover with other Dick Wolf shows such as Chicago P.D.

“I always say nothing is impossible in the Dick Wolf universe. It would not be impossible to be to do an inter-network crossover. But I’m not aware of specific plans to do that. But it’d be really cool.”

For now, Eid is simply enjoying being able to do a fourth full season of the show. Season 2 of FBI was cut short by the coronavirus pandemic, which then limited Season 3 to 15 episodes. 

“We’ve been able to write the show a little bigger. During [the height of] COVID, there were all kinds of constraints on what you could do on city streets, how many extras and background actors you could have. So, as a result, the scope of the production was constrained. But this season… it’s almost been back to normal, I’d say. And we have such a great production team in New York who did such an amazing job that they make it look like a movie every week.”

With the build to the season finales coming, Eid seems happy to keep FBI going with all the action and drama fans love so well.

FBI Season 4 airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on CBS.

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