‘Monarch’ Boss on Killing Off [Spoiler] & Susan Sarandon Making Dottie’s ‘Over the Top’ Move Seem ‘Natural’

Susan Sarandon and Trace Adkins in 'Monarch'
Spoiler Alert
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[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Monarch Episode 7, “About Last Night.”]

Monarch answers the questions we’ve had through the first six episodes: Who’s dead, and what exactly happened?

The body is Nicky’s (Anna Friel) ex-husband Clive (Adam Croasdell), but there are a few steps before he’s buried. First, he attacks Nicky, and Gigi (Beth Ditto) intervenes, hitting him in the head with the award seen in a previous flashforward. Then, Albie (Trace Adkins) goes to bury him, only for it to turn out that Clive’s not as dead as he thought … yet. The Roman patriarch has to put a few bullets in him to finish the job.

Showrunner Jon Feldman takes us inside that reveal and teases what’s ahead.

When did you know you’d be killing off Clive?

Jon Feldman: As we started to undergo this murder mystery subplot, we went through all the possible suspects and potential people who could be killed and ultimately settled on Clive just because we thought he was one of the less obvious people, and we were hopeful that it might play as a twist for large portions of the audience.

Speaking of the twist, all of the parts of it, from the attack on Nicky to Gigi hitting him to Albie delivering the final shots …

We have a great bunch of writers, and we kind of tried to weave a scenario that we found interesting and twisty and suspenseful and surprising, and hopefully, we were able to do something like that.

Was the plan always to have multiple family members involved, or did that evolve?

That evolved as well. Although what we tried to do over the course of the first six was expand each episode [on] who was involved in the coverup, who could be complicit in what seems to be a murder, and who are the potential victims. So every episode tried to expand both the perpetrators and the potential victims, and ultimately our goal was to try to have it kind of swallow up the whole family.

Anna Friel in 'Monarch'

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The entire family is involved, even Nicky’s son.

Yes, and as you’ve seen and will see going forward, family is a big part of this show, and we like the idea of the family that could be pushed apart but also brought back together in this really, really complicated way.

But Tatum is on the outside, and it seems like she could be a problem.

That is a great point, and as you’ll see going forward, suspicions arise, and it will create real complications for the family.

I’m imagining a lot of tension between Tatum and Nicky going forward.

That’ll be one part of it, but there will also be the coverup of what happened and the potential criminal and legal ramifications that come from that. And so, although the killing, in a way, solved one problem, it’s gonna create a host more for them.

Because there’s going to be an investigation into what happened. Will Albie regret not telling Tripp (D.W. Moffett) after that conversation about whether there’s something he needs to know?

As you’ll see, there’s a distrust. The Tripp-Albie relationship goes back for years and has some real tension and secrets between them that will start to emerge, and you’ll understand why Albie is not coming clean with Tripp.

Will Nicky and Gigi come together in a way they haven’t yet as a result of this, especially with the upcoming investigation?

You’re gonna see the sisters kind of come together and be pushed apart and come together and ultimately, without giving away where they land, let’s just say that there’s a lot of twists and turns in store for the sisters.

Trace Adkins in 'Monarch'

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What can you preview about the investigation and the weakest link for the family?

The weakest link is probably going to be the fact that Tripp has an ax to grind against Albie. We don’t know what it is yet, but we’re gonna slowly discover that there’s a complicated backstory between these two men, and Tripp may not be quite the friend that Albie thinks he is.

How’s Gigi going to be handling what she did, even if it’s not what killed Clive?

As we see in the episode, she’s gonna have to do what Romans have long been schooled to do, which is in the face of personal problems, pretend you don’t have them, and the show must go on. And so Gigi is from this performing family, and they have to set aside what they’re dealing with and try to put the best face on for their public life.

Because Gigi talks all about the truth in this episode, when is she gonna find out about Kayla (Meagan Holder) and Luke (Joshua Sasse)?

Stay tuned. I assure you, it’s coming up.

Can you tease anything about how that’s going to come out or how she’s gonna handle that?

I’ll just say it’s going to potentially fracture the family for good, and we’ll see if they can overcome that.

Albie tells Nicky about Catt (Martha Higareda), and he could’ve kept that to himself for a while. So talk about having him confess to that in this episode. If not for recent events, how long might it have taken for him to tell her?

Our feeling was a savvy audience will probably know, once this information comes out, who Catt is. We kind of tip that in Episode 6, and once the audience knows, I think that it felt for us like we would rather use this as a springboard to other stories than continue to play that secret because the audience knows, and it won’t be a surprise to them. It may be a surprise to the characters, but obviously, when it’s not a surprise to the audience, it doesn’t have the same dramatic value.

Trace Adkins and Anna Friel in 'Monarch'

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How is Nicky gonna handle that news going forward?

She’s gonna try to summon her inner Dottie Roman [Susan Sarandon] and deal with it as her mom might have, which she’s gonna realize that she is not built to be Dottie and so she’s gonna have to figure out how to handle this her own way.

Speaking of Dottie, I loved her shooting Albie.

The beauty of writing for Susan Sarandon is that she can make anything seem plausible and relatable, and natural, and so one of the fun things is that character can do really over-the-top stuff, and it plays amusing because of how she does it. And so we thought, what better way to dramatize this tumultuous, loving relationship between two passionate people than to have her shoot him and have him forgive her and love her even more because of it?

Gigi and Luke don’t know about Catt. Will they find out soon? Are there gonna be conversations about telling them or not telling them?

The family is going to be brought together in a few different ways. They’re gonna be brought together by this revelation of Catt. They’re gonna be brought together by this coverup. And the question is, will other forces come to fracture them? As you’ll see going forward, there’s a lot of different forces acting upon this family — in business, in their personal lives, in crime, [and] in parentage. And the family will have to try to hold together even as they’re slowly pulled apart.

Looking at the business, something I was wondering about that launch party — was there ever a possibility of a tour for Nicky, or did Luke just tell her that so she’d perform?

There is. We introduced the Mackenzie Gates character and Open Horizon earlier in [the] season, and that’s gonna be kind of a recurring theme and an arc over the course of the season as Nicky is gonna try to earn the tour. So no, Luke what was above board in that moment, but it just didn’t work out for her as they’d hoped.

I was just curious how manipulative he might have been being.

He’s gonna be manipulative in future episodes, and you’ll see it, but that was a rare, genuine Roman move.

What’s coming up for Nicky and Jamie (Damon Dayoub)? Because the reason she’s pulled away is because of what happened, not because of her feelings, right?

Right. And so, as you’ll see going forward, he’s gonna reveal certain motivations and actions that might come as a surprise to her that will both pull them closer and push them apart. But there’s also the threat of another man lurking out there who could drive them apart as well. So like everyone on the show, that pair is gonna face their own challenges going forward.

Is there anything else you can tease about what’s coming up?

We have murder, we have coverups, we have infidelity, we have sibling rivalry, we have criminal investigations, and we have families fracturing and yet trying to stay together. There’s a lot of drama coming up. And I haven’t even mentioned the fact that the family may lose control of the record label that’s been synonymous with them for 40 years. So there’s no shortage of drama, stakes, and complications going forward for the Romans.

Looking at that potential loss of the record label, is that the biggest loss that could be coming for them versus another family member dying or being killed?

The stakes are high both in business and in their personal relationships. They could lose Monarch. They could have certain truths revealed about what happened the night of the shooting. They could find themselves fracturing from within due to lies and infidelities within the family. There’s no shortage of stakes for the Romans going forward.

Can you say if there’ll be another death?

I’d rather not say, but you will have to watch to see how it all plays out.

Monarch, Tuesdays, 9/8c, Fox