Dynasty showrunner takes you behind the scenes of that drama-filled gala
The Carringtons are back and as glamorous as ever! And to celebrate their return, Dynasty showrunner Sallie Patrick will be blogging major episodes for EW throughout the show’s first season. This week, she’s sharing some insights on “Guilt Is for Insecure People”…
“I’m being charged with murder. I can’t go to an ’80s dance party.”
That pretty much sums up this episode in a nutshell. It’s Dynasty, and we’re not going to spend our third episode in a courtroom — original fans know that comes later on in the series — so we wanted to juxtapose the seriousness of being arrested and investigated for murder with the absurdity of hosting a charity gala. That isn’t to say things won’t become more grim later on…but no spoilers!
And of course the party is ’80’s-themed, replete with taffeta, caviar, ’80s hits, and an auction for diamonds. The script was written by Ali Adler (co-creator of Supergirl and a Supergirl herself), and it’s one of our more colorful episodes. It’s a true throwback, not just because it contains nods to the original Dynasty, but the gala itself is a tribute to the music video culture of the ’80s. We love the neon pink and blue lighting, the dresses that were inspired by Nolan Miller’s iconic Dynasty gowns, and the soundtrack. “Temptation” by New Order was in the script from the beginning, and we were thrilled that we were able to use it. (Those guys still rock, BTW — one of the best shows at Coachella last year.)
Speaking of temptation…Cristal is plunged deeper into the opulent world of the Carringtons as she is being fitted for custom gowns, taste-testing caviar, selecting the diamond necklace to be auctioned, and receiving her no-limit “black card” (or Blake card, as I call it). While she’s surrounded by these absurd pleasures of the 1 percent, she’s wrestling with the fact that her sister, Sammy Jo’s mother (living in Venezuela), needs money and needs it fast. This introduces the first chapter in Cristal’s backstory, and her flashbacks contain clues as to what Cristal is hiding…I’d like to tell you more, but like I said, no spoilers.
Because of her sister’s dire situation, Cristal considers stealing the incredibly expensive necklace she’s wearing — for the record, those diamonds are very real and came with an armed security guard; he would not have tolerated Sammy Jo’s antics… The twist of the story being, of course, that Sammy Jo took matters into his own hands, and we learn the reason he wasn’t able to give Steven an alibi is that he used to be associated with a “bling ring”-type crowd who’d make money stealing from rich people’s parties. And it’s those people who might now have Matthew Blaisdel’s phone that Blake stole from evidence (what’s on the phone??). By the way, I love Grant Show’s warmth when he lies directly to his son’s face about having returned the phone. That’s just one of the skills that make Blake Carrington the multi-billion dollar magnate that he is.
Finally, because this was our ’80s throwback episode, we chose it to premiere our theme and main titles sequence. The original theme was composed by Bill Conti and our adaptation was composed by Paul Leonard-Morgan, recorded live at Capitol Records.
Fallon’s gown for the gala was handmade by our fabulous designer, Meredith Markworth-Pollack. I’ve included a couple of photos below of Cristal trying on her gown (hair still in curlers), as well as the diamond necklace we finally decided on. The winner was a combination of what looked best on camera as well as the most ridiculously expensive (naturally).
The title of the episode was an Alexis line from the original series — “Guilt is an emotion I don’t suffer from. Guilt is for insecure people” — used here when Cristal is trying her best to convince the world (and Anders) that she’s something she’s not.
Tomcat fight! In the same way we teased a catfight in the pilot, we have a brief coming to blows with Blake and Jeff, whose rivalry is just getting started. This stunt was more complicated than you might guess. Once you break ice, it’s broken, so we only had a few chances to get it right and rolled multiple cameras in case. Our very smart UPM, Trish Stanard, saved some of the broken pieces in the freezer in case we needed to reshoot.
I’d love an office like the one Jeff Colby is commissioning for Fallon, filled with my favorite things, designed by my favorite interior decorator. That’s my kind of wish fulfillment (does that mean I work too much?). Whether he’s doing it because he likes her or because he’s just trying to get her to spend more time working around the clock remains to be seen.
The moment when Fallon grabs a glass of champagne from the server (post shade-throwing match with Cristal) and the server spills was not planned. But when we found it in the outtakes, we had to use it.