Orphan Black creator explains that shocking event + what happens next

The latest episode of Orphan Black took out one of the series’ main characters, and creator John Fawcett is here to explain why they pulled the trigger. Literally.

Spoilers ahead for this weekend’s episode of Orphan Black!

As we already know, the writers killed off Dr. Aldous Leekie (Matt Frewer) in an absolutely shocking, dark and pretty darn funny scene where he’s picked up by a distraught Donnie after being run out of the Dyad Institute on threat of death. Unfortunately for Leekie, Donnie has an accidentally itchy trigger finger.

The scene was absolutely fantastic, and left our jaws on the floor once it finally faded to black. It takes one heck of a script to turn the hapless Donnie into a character we actually feel bad for, but they’ve done it. Believe it or not, we’re kind of pulling for Donnie a little bit at this point, the poor, uninformed schlub.

So why’d they do it? According to Fawcett, they knew they’d kill off Leekie all the way back in season two, and they were as amused as we were once they ironed out the details. Plus, in case you think they were just playing it for shock value, Fawcett promises the death informs quite a bit of the story heading into the finale.

“We knew Dr. Leekie was going to die in season 2. And we knew that was something that we wanted to work towards and was going to be a big part of the Rachel/Dr. Leekie story and be a big part of why we’ve been telling a lot of this backstory. Ultimately, I think we didn’t really know how we were going to do it. We knew we were going to do it, we just didn’t know how we were going to do it. And [co-creator] Graeme [Manson] early on had this idea that Donnie should kill Dr. Leekie. It’s funny because my initial reaction was “that’s ridiculous.” Then we sort of kind of went at it a bunch of different ways: Who would kill him? How would he die? And ultimately we came back to Donnie. We wanted to do it in a surprising sort of strangely comic fashion, and that was the result …

Well, I think that obviously Dr. Leekie and Matt Frewer are a big part of our show and it is a very big decision to decide to eliminate a character. We don’t want to just make those decisions lightly, and it really has to have a bearing on not just story structure of the season, but really the big picture also. It has to work towards our end goals. So we designed the first part of the season all the way to episode 7 knowing this was going to come to a head and that Leekie was going to die.

We used that as building blocks for that character, and by the time the end came for him, he wanted to build a character that we actually had grown to like and maybe couldn’t entirely trust, but were having some sympathies for. And he wasn’t just a kind of a bad guy. He was kind of in a weird way helping. It’s interesting then to kind of kill off someone that actually the audience and the fans are sort of starting to like and care about. I think it was an important element to building that character and using his death to actually mean something at the end of episode 7, and going forward in the next bunch of episodes. Because Dr. Leekie’s death…the fact that he’s gone or missing or presumed dead or whatever — that informs a bunch of story in the coming episodes.”

What did you think of the huge twist? Will you miss Dr. Leekie?

Orphan Black airs Saturday nights on BBC America.

(Via Entertainment Weekly)

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