The death of “Glee” star Cory Monteith will be dealt with in the third episode of the upcoming fall season with the death of Monteith’s character, Finn Hudson, show-runner Ryan Murphy revealed Saturday.
One week after Monteith, 31, was found dead in a Vancouver hotel room — apparently from a lethal combination of heroin and alcohol, according to a coroner’s report — Murphy did a handful of interviews in which he answered questions about the show’s immediate future following the death of one of its top stars.
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Murphy’s comments come one day after Fox confirmed that the premiere date for the fifth season of “Glee” had been moved by one week — from Thursday, Sept. 19, to Sept. 26.
In the various interviews, Murphy explained that the plan he and his team came up with resulted from a week of meetings in which a number of options were discussed. In this interview on TVLine.com, Murphy explained that the show was due to start the season with four episodes (until taking a break during post-season baseball coverage on Fox).
Now, though, he says he’ll have three episodes ready, with the death of Finn occurring in Episode Three. “We were supposed to be on in the fall with four episodes, and that’s just not going to happen,” Murphy told TVLine.
“So we’re going to go on the air with two episodes and right now we’re writing the third episode, which deals with Finn’s death – which, you can imagine, is a very difficult episode to write. [It] has to be done very carefully and with a lot of taste and really making sure that it’s a tribute to Cory,” he said. He said grief counselors would be on the set of “Glee” to help cast and crew during the production of the season’s initial episodes.
He said the two episodes that precede Episode Three will make no mention of Finn or Monteith. From the interviews, it seems likely that the first two episodes of the season will be a two-parter featuring Beatles music that has been in the works for four years, Murphy said.
After the first three episodes air, Murphy and his team will then go on a production hiatus that has apparently been made necessary by the loss of Monteith. “We’re going to take a long writers’ hiatus after that episode to refigure the season,” Murphy said.
“It’s just a crazy, really difficult, very emotional time,” he said. “I think what we’re really trying to do is deal with it as a family, which is what that group of people is. Lea [Michele] is obviously very grief-stricken but she’s also one of the strongest people I know. She wants people to be better and get back to work. So that’s what we’re going to do.”
Murphy emphasized that he and his co-producers sought Michele’s blessing for the plan they’ve put together in the wake of Monteith’s death. “We made no decisions without consulting Lea,” Murphy said.
“[Executive producer] Brad Falchuk and I talked to Lea and really asked her what she wanted to do. We laid out every possible option. And she was very adamant that she thought it was best for the cast and crew to get back together sooner [rather] than later so that mortgages could be paid and people could take care of their families. Cory was so beloved that she felt people really needed to be together in this time. So we sort of followed her lead.”