3571– Monday, July 22, 2019 – How Writing is Done for a TV Series!


I recently watched an episode of The Closer that was funny and challenging.  The plot kept us interested and despite being a murder mystery, it had many spots of levity in it. Karen and I decided to see who the writers were.  In the process, we found much more detail on how a typical TV show is now written.  I thought I would publish the following information as it shows the complex process that goes into writing a TV show these days.  The collaboration is proof of how important teamwork is to the writing process.  Seems like teams in writing are just as crucial to writing a script as teams in many business operations are to developing better products or improved processes.  Teams can handle more complexity than a single individual.  Evidence that more heads are usually better than one or even two.  The following material is from Fandom.

The Writing Process

A script is never the product of one writer’s work, despite the way they are eventually credited. Development of an episode takes place in the writers “room”, a traditional model for writing American television shows. The writers gather in the room to select an over-arching theme for the season, develop season-long story arcs, such as the Phillip Stroh story, as well as plotting character development over the season. Individual episodes are subsequently plotted out, aligning to the theme. Many good ideas for episodes never make it past early development stages because they don’t lend themselves to the four-act television format.

After an episode is “broken” into a series of acts and scenes by the writing team, a short episode overview, then a full-length script is written by one or more writers, assigned in the writing room. Individual writers may do extensive research or work with consultants when developing their scripts, adding to the accuracy of the show. In addition to Mike Berchem, former Los Angeles County District Attorney Gil Garcetti serves as a consulting producer on the show.  They may also elect to take liberties with facts or procedures for the sake of plot. The writer(s) for any given script are generally on set while the episode is being filmed, where final edits can be made during production.\



Writers for The Closer are members of the Writers’ Guild of America (WGA). The WGA represents writers during contract negotiations, and governs, among other things, how writers are credited. When more than one writer works on a script, the use of “and” versus “&” indicates the nature of their collaboration: “and” indicates the two writers worked independently on the script, either one after the other, or on separate sections of the script. On the other hand, the use of “&” indicates the writers collaborated on the whole script.

Season One Writing Team

  • James Duff
  • Mike Berchem
  • Nancy Miller
  • Wendy West
  • Rick Kellard
  • Roger Wolfson
  • Hunt Baldwin & John Coveny (writing team)

The above material was from Fandom.

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