Kerry Ehrin Q&A: ‘Bates Motel’ creator
The final shot of the “Bates Motel” series finale is a tragic one, but also oddly hopeful, as we see the tombstone of Norma (Vera Farmiga) and Norman Bates (Freddie Highmore) that implies they’re finally together. The inspiration for that image “came from ‘Wuthering Heights,'” reveals showrunner Kerry Ehrin in our informative new webchat. “It’s a book that has in a lot of ways influenced the show because it’s about a very unnatural love that these two people have that couldn’t really exist in the real world.” Watch our exclusive video with Ehrin above.
Ehrin confirms that what is unsaid about that final image is that it’s Dylan (Max Thieriot) who made sure that his brother Norman was buried next to his mother Norma. “And also we thought that what was inscribed on Norman’s tombstone would also be Dylan, out of respect for people who Norman had murdered,” Ehrin continues. “That he wanted to make a very simple epitaph and he couldn’t make it too flowery. It’s like a respectful ending for Norman, and in my head that’s what Dylan would have chosen to put on that stone.”
Having previously worked on “Parenthood” and “Friday Night Lights,” two shows that went out with a bang, Ehrin admits that “there was definitely pressure” for her and fellow executive producer Carlton Cuse to get it right. “I think we sort of pre-grieved to some extent when Norma died last season, because that was such a turning point in the story-telling. So we really had a year to kind of emotionally absorb and write to the ending. And it was still sad. All of the writers, we all cried.”
Ehrin is a former Emmy nominee as a producer for “The Wonder Years” (1990), and she tells us, “It would mean a lot, honestly,” if the Emmys were to fully embrace “Bates Motel’s” final season. “The Emmys are the standard in which excellence is publicly acknowledged. And it is meaningful. And our show is excellent.” The TV academy has nominated “Bates Motel” three times so far without a win — Best Actress for Farmiga (2013), Best Cinematography (2016) and Best Music Composition (2016) — but will Season 5 change all that?
Also in our interview, Ehrin praises Farmiga and Highmore for their five-year working relationships, she teases what her next two series will be, she dishes A&E’s decision to stop producing scripted series, and she reflects on what she’ll always remember most when she thinks about “Bates Motel.”