“So Help Me Todd” was premiered at CBS Thursday night. For those who watched the episode and thought “That couldn’t happen,” then the show’s jaw-dropping premise is rooted in executive producer/creator Scott Prendergast’s personal experiences.
In the opening show, Joan (Marcia Gay Harden) is enlisted by her young son Todd (Skyler Astin) – despite the fact that he is somewhat lost in his life – to assist her out after her husband vanishes, as in and without a trace.
“It is very personal to me,” Prendergast, who developed the series was quoted by TheWrap. “There was a period in my 30s, when my life was in turmoil and I was looking to make it into the entertainment industry. I was just turning 30 years old, I believe. … My life was busy with various activities.”
Prendergast had relocated to Portland to return from New York after his career was not growing. After some conflict between mother and son the mother of his son told her that the reason he moved from New York to Los Angeles, to make “an independent film starring Lisa Kudrow.”
“And my mom said”You’re an idiot and you should have health insurance, you have to find a job that is regular. And I said”You don’t believe in me!’ We were in a huge argument. Then we stopped talking for a few weeks” said he, which is very similar to what Todd shares with his mother in the pilot episode of The CBS show.
Then, Prendergast along with his mother began talking again after his mother and husband planned an excursion towards Greece and she asked him to accompany his parents to airport. Soon after, but, things began to go off the rails as his mom called him to inform him that her husband was missing.
“I sprung into action. Then I realized that my mother was extremely unhappy,” Prendergast said. “So, I spent two weeks playing detective with my mom, and we were on a stakeout, and we were all over Portland trying to figure out what was going on.”
In the end, Prendergast solved the mystery locally, and the show featured Todd uncovering Harry (“Mad Mark Moses from Mad Men’s Mark Moses) after he’s taken off on an international flight, destined to leave the country permanently and live the remainder of his life without Joan.
The harrowing story, however did provide Prendergast with basis for the show that became “So Help Me Todd.” “As it was happening, I just kept thinking ‘This would make such a great TV show,'” Prendergast laughed.
“I was thinking”A father and son who are fighting crimes generally. This is like if the mom was a lawyer, and her son were a private detective'” he said. “When I first saw The Good Wife to the very first time it was the very first time that I saw the idea of an in-house detective. … Therefore when I suggested this show idea to CBS I told them”What if we took Alicia and Kalinda and make them father and son, and let them participate in ‘Moonlighting’, and have lots in-between banter. And the characters won’t ever get together as they’re father and son and it’ll be just like an action-oriented show that has two mothers and sons. This is exactly what we’re planning to do.”
Prendergast said his mother said his mother is “not thrilled” that their story inspired the show however, she is pleased that with the fact that he’s “having success.”
“What was actually happening was that her husband was missing, and I was able to help her locate him. Then I found her husband and she was happy to have found the man and unravel the mystery of her life. At the conclusion of the day she said”I believe in you. You have the ability to travel to Hollywood and accomplish whatever. You should pursue your goals and pursue your goals. You’re capable, you’re able to accomplish this. You’ve done a great job for me. She’s satisfied that I’m succeeding,” the EP explained. “She’s somewhat irritated about the possibility that our story is set to be the main focus of a series on CBS.
“And we’ve also changed some of the information. My mother isn’t an attorney. I’m not really a private investigator. However, we did put the investigation in a place located in Portland that’s not too far from where I was born. We’re also name-checking everything in Portland,” he continued. “And Portland is a big character in the show. My mother is planning to get together with her 15 acquaintances to watch the premiere. She’s anxious about the whole thing. She’s scared but she is also aware that this isn’t her.”
One thing she’s not worried about, Prendergast said, is her character. she influenced.
“My mom was like, ‘Oh you know Marcia Gay Harden. This is a fantastic choice. I enjoy this. I am in love with her. I love her. I’m waiting to see her appear on TV”” Prendergast told the story. In fact, Prendergast did go on to create a film with Lisa Kudrow. The film is titled “Kabluey” and came out in 2007.)