SPOILERS! Don’t read on if you haven’t watched the first episode of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
It takes barely any time at all for Netflix’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt to offer up one of the best gags of its second season: A recurring appearance from infamous true crime subject, Robert Durst.
Only, it’s not Durst, but SNL alum Fred Armisen’s spot-on impression of the Durst presented to the world in HBO’s 2015 series, The Jinx. The docu-series about the self-admittedly homicidal billionaire eccentric quickly captivated the country last February and March, with Durst mania reaching its height at the tail end of the spring, just as the writers of Kimmy began to discuss season two.
“In and out of that summer, obviously, everyone was just obsessed with The Jinx when we sat down to write,” co-creator Robert Carlock says between chuckles, as if he knows full well just how absurd Armisen’s cameo truly is. The result is, “Durst just keeps coming in and out the whole season — he’s got an arc. We’ve got to really figure a way to really pay that off here.”
Durst initially pops up as a former flame of nutjob landlady Lillian (Carol Kane), but his role takes on a bigger shape in the season when the two rekindle their romance over roller skates and ukulele duets.
The biggest champion of introducing Durst as a love interest for Kane was Carlock’s co-creator, Tina Fey. “Tina really insisted that the overlap between these two New York eccentrics, as one might term them, was just too good,” says Carlock. “And I think Lillian has a very high level of tolerance for violent eccentricities.”
Kane, to her credit, says she wasn’t particularly surprised when she learned who would romance Lillian. “Umm…no,” she says with a laugh. “Which speaks volumes!”