Season four of FX’s crime drama “Snowfall” ended on Wednesday night, April 21, with plenty of personal and professional dilemmas for Franklin Saint (Damson Idris) and a few major behind-the-scenes challenges as well. We spoke with Idris about Franklin’s journey, the fate of his father, the tragic loss of series co-creator John Singleton, and how the events of 2020 affected the series. Watch our exclusive video interview above (SPOILERS FOR THE SEASON FINALE INCLUDED).
Season four ended with Franklin forced to choose between CIA agent Reed aka Teddy McDonald (Carter Hudson), his partner in the cocaine business, and his father Alton (Kevin Carroll), who betrayed Franklin by going to the press about his drug operation. “They’re trying to reconcile their relationship, and now to see what he’s done to the business, to see what he’s done to Franklin’s life and his reality, it’s such an amazing journey,” says Idris.
It leads to a standoff in which Franklin threatens to turn on Teddy to protect his father. During that tense scene, “it wasn’t intended for Franklin to ever raise his gun. I fought and fought, and I said, no, this is the first time that he’s actually going up against Reed, and he’s letting him know if you hurt my family I’m going to hurt you.” It seems as though Reed will honor Franklin’s wishes and let Alton disappear with Franklin’s mother Cissy (Michael Hyatt), but later we see Reed in Cuba, facing Alton with a gun in hand to finish the job.
Or does he finish the job? “We don’t know if Reed is going to pull that trigger,” Idris explains. “I think I know what Franklin’s going to do in season five, but whatever he’s going to do is going to be monstrous, and I think it’s going to be something that’s going to keep the audience on the edge of their seat because although Franklin understands this Fredo-esque betrayal that his father’s giving him, deep down he still loves him … It’s going to be tragic for Cissy, and I think Franklin is going to have to deal with that.”
Idris and the rest of the show’s cast and crew had to deal with tragedy off-screen as well. Singleton died in 2019, so season four was the first produced without him. Idris describes the esteemed writer and director as an “older brother” and “mentor” who “taught me so much about the ins and outs of the industry.” But he “gave us armor and made us stronger to head into season four with the idea of keeping up his legacy and making him proud.”
On top of that, production of season four halted midway through because of the COVID-19 pandemic. “That was shocking,” the actor remembers. “We started season four in February 2020. We got to episode four, and then they said, ‘Yeah, you guys head home. We’ll see you in about two weeks.’ And two weeks turned into coming back in October, November, so we were incredibly happy to finish the show and to get it out there into the universe.”
Worldwide protests for racial justice also took place while the show was on hiatus for the pandemic, which made “Snowfall” even more meaningful for Idris: “At a time like this, entertainment is so important for many people, and the show is testimony to that. But alongside that we mustn’t forget Black lives matter. That was something that also contributed to everyone’s mind state telling this story … I marched in the US. I went to London and I marched in London. And all of that energy I brought back into playing this character, so I think it was an incredibly tough year, but it’s been beautiful to see the outcome and to see where we are today.”
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