“Veep” is finally coming to an end. The Emmy-winning HBO comedy’s final season debuts March 31, capping a historic run in its impact on the TV industry and timely commentary on politics. But even though Season 7 is only seven episodes long — down from its typical 10 — what matters is that the series is going out on its own terms.
“It’s the right ending for America,” showrunner, director, and executive producer David Mandel said during the series’ TCA panel Friday afternoon. “I think everyone will be pleasantly surprised, hopefully in a very funny way.”
“I’m not going to say that Selina evolves, except to say she’s truer to herself,” Louis-Dreyfus said via satellite about her character’s ultimate ending. “She’s truer to herself than she can possibly be by the time this season ends. I’m not sure evolution is her game. I would also add is that where our show ends up is a place I’m ultimately happy about.”
Season 7 shifted production following Louis-Dreyfus’ cancer diagnosis in September 2017, just days after the actress won her sixth consecutive Emmy for the series and “Veep” won its second consecutive Emmy for Best Comedy Series. (Louis-Dreyfus has since announced her cancer is in remission.) Mandel said that scheduling change had an “odd benefit” on Friday, saying it allowed the writers to take a big picture look at the state of politics, prior to ending the series.
“It allowed me — especially last year, when I became aware of how politics were changing so much — for us to sit back and try to say, ‘What are politics about?’” Mandel said. “And we did sort of make some changes — not in where we got to, but the details of getting to that end. […] That was something I’d never done anywhere — deviate from the plan.”
As to why it’s best to end the series now, Mandel said the story had reached a natural stopping point.
“We reached a very natural point, story-wise, [to end it],” Mandel said. “And we just kind of looked at each other and said, ‘That’s the end.'”
Mandel also said that though there are less episodes in the final season than past years, it won’t necessarily feel that way to audiences. “I think you’ll find there are more than 10 episodes worth of material jammed into them,” he said, adding that some entries feel like “crazy, jam-packed” half-hours.
Louis-Dreyfus, who’s currently shooting the “Force Majeure” remake, “Downhill,” in Austria, said the ending was hard on her.
“I was so overcome with joy and grief — a joy and grief mashup — as this show ended,” she said. “It was really surprising to me. […] This show has been my baby for eight years now, [and] I’ve felt fiercely protective of and proud of [what we’re making]. We’ve been through a lot with illness and losing people. It’s been an enormous, huge journey, but ultimately one that’s been extremely powerful for us, personally. […] Ultimately, it was a very sad thing [to say goodbye].”
“Veep” returns for its seventh and final season March 31. It will premiere alongside “Barry” Season 2 on HBO.