Julie Puckrin Talks Killjoys Season 4 and “Baby, Face Killer” [Exclusive]
[Warning: General spoilers for “Baby, Face Killer.]
Julie Puckrin is one of the Killjoys writers who joined the show in Season 3 and stayed on through the end of the series. Last season, she gifted us with “Heist, Heist Baby.” This past Friday, her latest episode, “Baby, Face Killer,” had Pree in all his glory plus heart-to-heart family drama and Zeph breaking out the science. Friday morning, I spoke with Puckrin about the episode and writing for the show.
As y’all know if you’ve read us for a while, I’m a mad, all-in Motive fan, and prior to joining Killjoys. Puckrin wrote for that series and the World War II Canadian drama series, X Company, which is running now in the US on Ovation. She had fantastic experiences on all of them and feels very fortunate to have three such seemingly disparate genres under her belt, although she points out they’re more similar than you’d expect.
Like me, Puckrin had hoped for a longer Motive run. “The format was something that could have gone for ages and ages. They were such fun puzzles and we had such a good time solving those puzzles and creating them,” she shares. “It was such a good show to work on and I learned so much. I think we were all disappointed that it didn’t run longer.”
“When Motive was [ending], I wasn’t sure what [was next]. I posted something on Facebook that I was coming back to Toronto. Leslie Grant, who was one of the producers at [production company] Temple Street, saw [that] and asked me to come in and meet with them about X Company. I was a super big fan and it worked out that I [joined] in Season 3. It was hard to leave Vancouver but was a pretty good way to crash land.”
“It was a big change, and a great change. We liked to think of Motive as a character anthology. It’s a complicated procedural, yes, but you’re also spending a lot of time with the killer and the victim. We approached those stories figuring out the characters and what was motivating them.”
“X Company was more of that. All of the character stuff felt familiar but a different pace. There was more time to sit and breathe in the moments and emotions. It was a great team to work with and learn from.”
When X Company ended, Puckrin moved over to Killjoys. “Because I had been on X Company, Temple Street knew who I was and mentioned me to Michelle [Lovretta]. I was in Budapest for X Company and it was this crazy long-distance phone call,â€ she recalls. “I knew we were going to like each other because we laughed a lot. Killjoys is an ambitious show and sometimes there’s lots of puzzle pieces to figure out but everyone on the show is lovely and fun to work with and we laugh a lot.”
Season 4 was filmed back-to-back with Season 5, with block shooting of two episodes at a time thrown in for even more of a pressure cooker, alongside an accelerated scripting process. Puckrin says they took it all in stride, digging in and getting it done. “Itâ€™s funny, because Season 3 did not feel leisurely [by comparison]. It felt like we had a lot to figure out. The more serialized it becomes, the more complicated breaking episodes become,” she explains.
“The great thing about [doing 4 and 5 together] was that we knew the show was ending and could plan for that ending and have this continuity of thought and be aware as we were moving through 4 what we needed to set up for 5. We all knew each other really well and have a good shorthand so that worked out really well. It was a challenge, but we pulled it off. It’s amazing what you can do when you have to.”
“Baby, Face Killer” introduced us to the Hunter and Puckrin loved creating that character. “I was really excited that we could have a total badass killer assassin after the gang and…do a little bit of our version of The Terminator. We’ll learn more about him and where he comes from in the next episode,” she says.
The family dynamics that have been brewing since we knew there was a baby on the way broke wide open in Fridayâ€™s episode as Dâ€™av and Dutch came to a head about how their past informs their potential future co-parenting of Jaq. Puckrin explains that thereâ€™s a rich well of emotions and memories to be mined.
“I was really excited about exploring the relationships between Dutch and The Kid and Dâ€™av and The Kid. How are these people with The Kid thrown in, and who is he? There were some emotional moments that we wanted to build toward. We were all very excited about the scene at the end of the episode where Jaq chooses his name. We wanted to build the whole emotional story of the episode around that,” she shares.
“We had been thinking of him as ‘The Kid’ and ‘The Baby.’ We’re naming an adult, so we thought it would be really interesting if he could choose his own name. He’s looking for a family and finding his way toward a family. We wanted his name to be something that would honor D’avin in a way and I really liked Jaqobi because it could be a name and I think Derek Robertson said, ‘What about Jaq for short?’ and we all really liked that.”
“Dâ€™av is such an interesting character When we met him, he seemed like this big, tough, ex-military guy, but he’s actually a very deep character and really reflective and has a lot of heart, like Johnny, because he’s a Jaqobi. They both have so much heart and I loved getting to see that his son does, too.”
“[I wanted to] see how [parenting] would change Dâ€™av and bring up things from his past and how it would trigger things from Dutch’s past…this idea that when you become a parent you reflect on your own parents and the choices they made. You start repeating things they did and you can fall into [that] without realizing it. We were really excited to explore that.”
“[Dâ€™av and Johnny] have always been honest about the fact that their dad was abusive and [Dutch] has not been super forthcoming. Johnny is Dutch’s gravity. He’s also really protective of her, but he won’t necessarily call her on the hard truths that she’s not ready to face.”
“D’av will. It was Michelle’s idea that he would be the one to tell her, ‘that was abuse.’ I think it’s because when he discovers he’s going to be a father, that it’s so much on his mind [how to] navigate who his father was and what his past is. We’ll see him wrestle with that.”
“It’s one of the first times he goes against Dutch. He takes the kid and leaves. Being a parent changes what you will and won’t allow to go unsaid. The only time he’s willing to go against her is for the sake of his child. We knew that was something that we would build to, and [next week] we take an episode and sit with that on Dutch’s end and see how she feels about that. The dynamic and how it changes them and how they feel about their history will thread through the season.”
The episode is balanced out with the lighter moments of Jaqâ€™s emerging sense of humor and Pree and Fancy teaming up, and Puckrin enjoyed that mix. “There was also all this room for humor. This was an opportunity to figure out who Jaq was a character and figure out his voice and have fun with the idea that he’s a teenager who’s also two days old,” she says.
We had this idea [for Pree] that we called ‘The Last of The Preehicansâ€™…that Gared would be taken and Pree would go full warrior badass to get his man back. Pree and Fancy are such a good foil for each other. Fancy is no-nonsense, but he has a very dry sense of humor. [With Pree], you’re going to get it from him, and he’s always going to tell you what he’s thinking. It was interesting to see Pree be way scarier than Fancy.”
The third arc of Friday’s episode was Zeph wrestling with how to save Pip. “Zeph has evolved a lot as a character. One of the things that’s exciting about her is that she’s not just a brain. She has so much heart,” Puckrin explains.
“She cares deeply and I think it’s hard for her to run up against a science problem she can’t solve, but in this instance, it’s even harder for her heart. [She and Pip] are really great together. We’re enjoying seeing them together and this developing tenderness that’s surprisingly heartwarming is really nice. Zeph is Zeph and she’s not going to give up. This is a huge obstacle but we will see her do whatever she can for Pip.”
Correction: An earlier version of this interview incorrectly credited Puckrin for last season’s “The Lion, the Witch, and the Warlord.” That episode was written by Julian Doucet.
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