Written by Seamus Kevin Fahey
Directed by Clark Johnson
I take the subway to and from work. The G Train, for those familiar with the worst train in New York City. Plenty o' time waiting for the rickety ole G(hetto) train... which I truly love to hate. I usually stand on the platform and either read something that Michael Green forced on me or zone out and brainstorm ideas for the show. At the time in question, the books were either Arthur Miller's All My Sons or Tom Stoppard's Arcadia... recommended because they're both about uncovering certain ugly truths and character assassination... concepts that were particularly relevant to the Kings episode ("Javelin") I was scripting at the time. Inspiration is as important as any other component in the writing process, in my opinion. At any rate, with no train in site, I pulled out my book, leaned against a pillar, and prepared to pass the time before my beloved train arrived... then I noticed something. Plastered on the subway wall behind me was a KINGS POSTER!
Now, for anyone who has been fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to see something they've worked on displayed in public, it's definitely a charge. An instant validation of sorts. You've suddenly become part of something legit, something recognized, something that's real... and fairly well-promoted ... that's another subject altogether. The show really was make believe, an imaginary production... all made real in a moment.
Needless to say, I found just about as much inspiration in that single image -- a poster in a New York City subway platform -- as I did the works of Miller or Stoppard. It inspired me. Gave me a sense of responsibility, hell, maybe even pride, in telling the greatest story I could. "Javelin" is essentially a courtroom drama. Regardless of how familiar the premise, I was now determined to make it different. Try to find a new angle. Bring something shocking to the proceedings. In part, because of that poster.
Then a funny thing happened. I was in the midst of rewrites right before the episode went into production. This is probably the most difficult time for a writer. It's when your work is challenged and scrutinized. All your labor is questioned. Thankfully, Kings is full of folks -- from Lindsay Gelfand, the Writers' Assistant, to Clark Johnson, the director of my episode -- who all elevate the material. But during this process, I found myself back on that subway platform. I turned to face the poster. My source of inspiration. Something had changed. It had been torn and tagged and was a victim of Gotham vandals. Some of the... additions might not have been suitable for children. But somehow, not only was defacing the heroic image of our show's lead character in a way echoing the premise of an episode about character assassination, it was humbling. It wasn't insulting... it was an honor. It bridged the divide between make believe and the practicality of television production. I was witness to the show's baptism by New York's finest defamers. It was the public acknowledging that the show existed. It dawned on me in that new moment, that the process wasn't just about the writer, the production office, or the studio and network... it was about the audience. We were all connected to it now. And it was real. No matter what, we had made it.
-Seamus Kevin Fahey