Down THE RIVER with Leslie Hope and Joe Anderson

Tonight on ABC, THE RIVER season 1 comes to an end, but not without scaring the daylights out of everyone watching the show first!  To celebrate the end of the creepiest season of TV I’ve seen in along time, I had a chat with Leslie Hope (Tess) and Joe Anderson (Lincoln), to discuss what happens tonight, what might happen next, and what they hope fans and viewers got out of this adventurous series.

What a fun ride this season has been, hasn’t it?
Leslie: [laughs] Yes!

You know, fun, in all of the scariest ways you can think of, right?
Joe: And we have all the cuts and bruises to show for it! [laughs]

Coming up on the finale [tonight].  The big question is obviously, what can you tease about what’s going to end, as we wind down on THE RIVER.
Leslie: Do you want to go there my cute TV son?
Joe: Yeah, sure!  I think we’re going to fin dout a lot of about people’s relationships.  And people may turn out, they might turn out a little different at the end of this one, after where they started.  Lincoln goes through some massive changes.  I know  Tess and Emmet go through some massive changes.  Without hitting the nail on the head, it wraps itself up quite nicely, but it will full start you.  Leslie, please take over!
Leslie: In this particular episode, just when you think everything is going to be okay, it gets worse than it ever could be, as far as Tess is concerned.  She’s faced with the nightmare of all nightmares, I would say.  I could say that we’re also going to find out a whole lot more about Kurt that I thought was a great surprise, and twist on his character, and I never saw it coming, Tess didn’t, and me, Leslie, I didn’t either.  Joe Anderson kicks ass in this episode! [laughs]

What surprised me, and what I think surprised a lot of people, is that the story didn’t end with finding Emmet.  The story is definitely beyond that.  It was a nice surprise as a viewer to see that there is still so much that happens when he shows up.
Leslie: I think it offers a lot of interesting possibility.  I honestly don’t think it would have bene sustainable to have this rag-tag group, season after season, looking for a guy.  I think it would become tired, and move quickly into scarce.  I think with the discovery of Emmet and this reforming of a family, and a group, and this big question of Now What?, I think is what would make for a really interesting Season 2, should we be so lucky.

Has there been discussion about what would happen beyond a Season 1?
Joe: No, not really.  To be perfectly honest, it wasn’t talked about that much what was happening in season 1 while we were doing season 1 [we all laugh].  We would shoot sort of episode to episode, but wouldn’t really know what was coming up.  We may have a gist of a key point, of a key factor, but other than that, we only really know story to story, script to script.  I think they may do that for a couple of reasons.  The one is that they have room to create until the 11th hour, so to speak.

A lot of the overarching themes in the show are about family, and sort of never giving up on that.  What do you hope viewers took away from the series after watching these 8 episodes?
Leslie:  Oh that’s interesting.  It’s interesting that you say that, because I myself have been like a crack addict, addicted to the internet to see what the reaction has been to stuff, in terms of that family dynamic.  For me, the huge driving force of the character of Tess, and something that I can really relate and identify with; I’m a mom and I’m married.  I have a son, younger than Joe, but he’s almost 19, and the truth of the matter is I, Leslie, would go to the ends of the earth to keep my family together and save my family.  I found it interesting that the reaction has been really varied.  It hasn’t been understood to be so much of a family drama, as a thriller or horror, and I’m not sure why that is, honestly.  I think, what ultimately will tie this show together, and keep us interested is not just the family relationships, but all of those characters’ relationships.  The fact is, as they spool out, possibly in a Season 2, we will find out more and more secrets of these characters, and that would become the drama that would hinge you from week to week.  What secrets these people are holding.  What they don’t know about each other, and what the audience doesn’t know about them.
Joe: I suppose to add to that, to some degree, what people should take from this season, is you know, it’s just a good time [laughs].  Exactly for what it is.  We’re primarily focusing on the events, the characters we discover in sort of a slow boil fashion over these 8 episodes, and that’s how we learn about them.  Hopefully, if a second season goes, it may give the show a chance to change the style slightly to how much time it pays, and how much attention it gives to people, so this season was hopefully just the kick ass teaser.

THE RIVER finale airs tonight on ABC at 9/8c after an all new COUGAR TOWN.  For more information on THE RIVER, head over to for images, video, and more!