[Editor’s Note: The following interview contains spoilers for the “Veep” Season 6 finale, Episode 10, “Groundbreaking.”]
And “Veep” is back in the race.
After a year largely spent outside the political arena, Selina Meyer declared her candidacy for President of the United States for the
second fourth time in “Veep” history. The Season 6 finale experimented with a new, time-jumping structure, revealed a number of whopping secrets, and ultimately saw Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ politician choose the pursuit of power over the pursuit of happiness once more.
Showrunner — as well as episode writer and director — David Mandel spoke with IndieWire shortly after the finale ended and immediately made two things clear:
“It was always the plan,” Mandel said of Selina running for office again. “In some ways, it was just about giving Selina the happy ending anyone would want — the library at Yale, the fabulous guy, Jaffar, with who she has a shared interest and shares true happiness — and then she throws it all away because she can’t help herself.”
Mandel’s preferred writing method is to know the first and last scene of a season right from the start, so he knew Selina would be running again when the writers began breaking Season 6 in June 2016.
“At that moment, we weren’t 100 percent sure how she was going to be running again,” he said. “I sort of assumed maybe it was about Tibet, but we didn’t have how that all worked out.”
Mandel also noted just because Selina is running, that doesn’t mean we’ll be seeing her as president anytime soon, if at all.
“All she’s saying is she wants to run,” Mandel said. “We’re not jumping into her vs. President Montez. We’re talking about the early days of Iowa, which in some ways are as tangential to Washington as where we were this year. Obviously, it’s connected, but she’s not moving back into the Oval Office next season. I want to make that clear.”
It won’t just be her vs. Jonah Ryan (Timothy Simons) either. Though the ousted congressman also announced his intent to run for president in another last-minute twist (and with less elegance than President Meyer), Mandel said that’s all we know right now.
“Anyone can say they want to run for president,” he said. “Though Jonah has a crazy billionaire backing him, so he’s probably got a pretty good chance.”
Mandel also cautioned that despite Selina’s political resurgence, history is still working against her.
“She’s no longer the president running for president. She’s a person who used to be the president and is now running for president, but that never worked out too well,” Mandel said. “It didn’t work out for Teddy Roosevelt, and it has not worked out historically when one-term presidents have tried to run [after losing].”
Though he hasn’t given Season 7 “too much thought yet,” Mandel said he sees a lot of potential in what’s immediately facing of Selina and her team.
“There’s a lot to be explored and a lot of fun in the year before a caucus,” he said. “That’s just where my head is at in this moment, and it could be different a week from now, but I think we’re still in the weeds in a good way.”
There is one thing he already knows: Despite the finale ending with a possible exit strategy for disgraced former press secretary Mike McLintock, Emmy-nominee Matt Walsh is coming back.
“Matt Walsh will be returning for Season 7, but [Mike] is no longer in the employ of Selina Meyer,” Mandel said. “I know where we’re not going to find him, and that is working for Selina.”
In Mike’s firing, Mandel saw a connection between Selina and Hillary Clinton — a comparison he’s prepared to face when Season 7 gets underway.
“As we come down the pike to the next season, I have no doubt — especially since we’re talking about Iowa and running again — there will be a thousand [people saying], ‘Oh, she’s Hillary!’” Mandel said. “In the book ‘Shattered,’ one thing Hillary did was look back on her campaign against Obama and attempt to fix some of the things that had gone wrong the first time. And I think if you look at the two seasons I’ve been in charge of the show, at least Selina has come to realize that Mike is terrible at his job. Even back in her Senate campaign, she started to realize Mike was terrible, and it only took her 16 years to get rid of him.”