“Archer” brought its fifth season, “Archer: Vice,” to a close Monday (April 21) with a couple of bombshells — Malory had been working with the CIA all along and Archer is Lana’s baby daddy. Executive producer Matt Thompson tells Zap2it that those two big reveals were where the show was always headed for the end of Season 5, and he also lets us in on some scoop about where the show is going for Season 6.
Zap2it: Season 5 of Archer was a lot of fun, very outside the box from the previous four seasons. What gave you guys the idea to go that route this year?
Matt Thompson: I think that we did Season 5 because we felt like we had been getting into a “mission of the week” rut, where it was like here’s our mission this week, here’s our mission this week. And we wanted something to jump start and kind of push us down into a place that we hadn’t necessarily been before. At the same time, it was still the same show. I really, really enjoyed it, in all honesty. I liked it a lot more than I thought I was going to.
We did too, it was a lot of fun. The music in particular was awesome, what a great idea to have “Cherlene” come into the mix.
When we first started this season, we didn’t know we were going to do that. We got going on the first episode and we decided that we didn’t want to scare everyone into wondering what the show was going to be, so we wanted to do a large trailer in there to say, “Yes, we are taking a new path, but there’s going to be a lot that you recognize.” But in doing so, we realized we wanted to do this particular song. And it became me and [creator Adam Reed] talking about well, if we’re going to do it this one time, why don’t we do it for the whole season?
We also decided that if everybody got into the business of selling cocaine, they would be doing it for strictly monetary reasons. But Cheryl, we’ve said before, already has half a billion dollars, why is she doing it? She needed a different motivation anyways, so it kind of just naturally came together.
Was it always planned that Malory was working with the CIA?
That was a given that Adam went into the season with. He went into the season with a couple of givens: He knew that we wanted to end up in a fictitious South American country, he knew that it was basically an Iran-Contra deal, he knew that he wanted to have a baby at the end of the season … and we knew that we didn’t want to them to be successful at selling cocaine.
I’m looking forward to them getting back to having some success. For whatever reason, it felt wrong to have them be successful drug dealers. Now, as successful spies? I’m down with that. I think next season we’re going to get back to you win some, you lose some as spies.
So will it be back to business as usual at ISIS? What can you tell us about Season 6?
It’ll be business as usual-ish. The CIA is going to be involved now. ISIS is not going to become the CIA, but we are going to be sub-contractors for them. I believe the Christian Slater character and Agent Holly [Gary Cole] are going to be back. They’re not going to become main-main characters, but we do sub-contract out for the CIA, so you’re going to see that, us going and doing some of the dirty work for the CIA.
Right now, we want to get back to big spy missions and dealing with the moral ambiguity that is doing s***ty stuff for the CIA, as well as wanting them to get back on the winning side here and there. Not the winning side morally, but as opposed to in Season 5 how every coke deal went wrong.
Will Season 6 also explore how the baby changes Lana and Archer’s lives?
That is one of the big things that we are going to bring into next season on the show. What you can’t do is go full-on “Three Men and a Baby.” There are episodes where you will see what it’s like for him to be a spy and a father, and that goes for Lana as well, but at the same time, you can’t let it just take over everything.
I think about the television show “Everybody Loves Raymond” — it wasn’t about the kids. You knew they had kids, but it wasn’t about the kids. There’s a middle road, where we want to see sometimes what’s happening with Abbiejean, but sometimes it’s just hey, we’re doing spy stuff and it’s about the grown-ups.
I do know one thing we’re doing to do with kind of a forgotten character of ours — the wee baby Seamus and his prostitute mom, Trinette. You’re going to see more of Seamus around. He’s going to be approximately four years old now and you’re going to see that relationship come into play as we get this four-month, six-month, eight-month-old Abbiejean. Again, not that we’re doing to become “Archer: Babies,” but you’re going to see a little of that.
You’ve had some great guest-stars on the show, including perhaps the pinnacle of guest stars when Kenny Loggins played himself and sang a duet with “Cherlene.” But do you still have a wishlist of guest-stars you’d like to get?
I do have a couple people and I’ve also been contacted by a couple people that I know I want to try and work into the show. The one thing I always thought would be most interesting, just from a fan standpoint, would be to have Daniel Craig like playing a transvestite or something. Something against type. I think it would be interesting to have him on “Archer.” The same thing goes for Jeffrey Donovan. I think we have a lot of similarities as “Burn Notice” and Jeffrey does a lot of good voices.
Mostly for our own curiosity because she’s our favorite character, but what is to become of Pam in Season 6? She can’t stay addicted to cocaine forever, one assumes.
No, she can’t. We’re still figuring out what we’re going to do with her, but I believe Pam has to go back to her big-girl, farm roots. I think without the cocaine there — I’m just saying I wouldn’t be shocked if Pam ate herself back into her former shape. As far as what she takes over with the daily aspect of the show, we’re not certain, but the one thing I do know is if I had a woman like Pam around, I think that she might be the greatest aunt that a baby could wish for, just the amount of fun she could bring. We’re still planning out what we’re going to do with the sixth season, but I know it’s been talked about that she might get back to her old size and that she might have a little more than normal involvement as the “fun aunt.”
Is there anything else you wanted to mention that we didn’t ask you about?
The Krieger clone thing. I do not specifically know if Krieger is dead and if Krieger’s clone is the one alive. I don’t know. Adam personally told Lucky Yates, the actor, which person survived, but he hasn’t told me or producer Casey Willis. Adam and Lucky know who’s alive, no one else does.
“Archer” returns for Season 6 in early 2015.