Plus: EP Shawn Ryan and series historian David Hoffman annotate the lines

By Shirley Li
Updated October 24, 2016 at 12:00 PM EDT
Sergei Bachlakov/NBC


  • TV Show
  • NBC

The Timeless crew is about to meet Fleming, Ian Fleming.

Showrunners Eric Kripke and Shawn Ryan were looking for a suitable historical figure to be the special guest star in their Nazi Germany episode, “Party at Castle Varlar,” when the action drama’s in-house historian, David Hoffman, proposed the James Bond author. Turns out, the spy novelist was operating behind enemy lines as an intelligence officer at the time, years before his literary career took off. “We were like, ‘You gotta be kidding! That’s the most amazing thing ever!'” Ryan recalls.

Hoffman and Ryan take EW through this 1944-set scene at Fleming’s (Sean Maguire) safe house deep within enemy territory, in which the 007 mastermind brainstorms a way for the trio to stop Flynn (Goran Višnjíc) from wreaking havoc at the castle.

Read the script below, then scroll down for more intel…

…as Hoffman and Ryan break down the following passages:

Though the Castle Varlar party occurred in real life, the Nazi scientists didn’t fire nuclear rockets — just traditional ones, according to Ryan — and Fleming wasn’t in attendance. To up the stakes, the writers added Flynn, who wants to arm the rockets with an atomic core (taken from the Nevada desert in episode 3), and looped Fleming in with the heroes. “It’s spy work, so we don’t know all the details,” Ryan says. “We used that uncertainty to our advantage.”

Writers tweaked history again for Fleming’s backstory. Hoffman consulted biographies like John Pearson’s The Life of Ian Fleming in order to, he says, “pick up pieces that we could then put into the story.” One of those pieces turned out to be the Blitz — the German bombing raids carried out over Britain — which affected Fleming’s family.

Surprise! Fleming offers wine instead of Bond’s shaken-not-stirred martinis, largely for Lucy’s benefit. “I would say that Ian Fleming isn’t one to foist hard alcohol on a woman,” Ryan reasons. “I just loved the idea that when they realized they would be going into a tremendously dangerous and precarious situation, Ian Fleming’s first instinct is to have a drink.”

Lucy (Abigail Spencer) may keep quiet in this scene, but there’s good reason for her silence. After three episodes of “crazy time machines and dangerous adventures in which she has no control,” Ryan notes, “she finds herself very untethered and having a difficult time.” Still, as reserved as she is, she manages to catch a man’s eye. You have one guess who that man could be…

… and you probably guessed right: Fleming takes a liking to Lucy, because, well, of course he does. “When we were breaking this story, we thought about how a Bond movie itself would play out,” Ryan says, laughing. “Here we have this gorgeous, smart, great woman, and it just seemed insane that Ian Fleming’s eye wouldn’t be drawn to her.”

While Rufus (Malcolm Barrett) finds Fleming’s actions amusing, Wyatt (Matt Lanter) doesn’t. After all, he and Lucy have “something building,” teases Ryan. On top of that, Wyatt’s miffed because of how he views Fleming. “Wyatt’s a huge fanboy of Ian Fleming’s,” Ryan says. “No one’s more excited to meet Ian Fleming in the flesh than Wyatt.” Poor Wyatt. How do you possibly compete with James Bond?

A version of this story appears in the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly, on newsstands now. Buy it here or subscribe now for more exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW.

Timeless airs Mondays at 10 p.m. ET on NBC.

Episode Recaps


NBC’s science-fiction drama Timeless features Abigail Spencer, Matt Lanter, and Malcolm Barrett as they time-travel in an effort to save history.
  • TV Show
  • 2
  • NBC