The following contains major spoilers from Snowfall’s series finale, which aired on Wednesday. Proceed accordingly.
After six entertaining seasons, Snowfall went out with devastating irony.
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Franklin Saint (played by Damson Idris), who we first met on a bright summer day full of promise and big dreams, ended the series on that same street hopeless, delusional and destitute. He was last seen wandering away from the house he bought for his mother — his final possession — as officers from the L.A. Sheriff’s Department swooped in to evict him over unpaid property taxes.
That was the final step in the crime boss’ downward spiral, which began with Teddy stealing his $70 million fortune at the end of Season 5. In the penultimate episode of the show’s final season, Franklin’s mother Cissy killed Teddy mere seconds before he could get back half of his stolen funds, and that marked the point of no return.
“It breaks him,” series co-creator and executive producer Dave Andron tells TVLine. “Had he tried to get back into the game and bought product from the Colombians and stayed with it, he probably would have ended up dead or in jail.”
When Veronique took off with most of his remaining money to a build a new life for their unborn son, Franklin grew more and more desperate. He even murdered Peaches (and two others) to recoup some of the $5 million that Peaches stole from him, only to learn that a measly $12K remained. After that, he fell into deep seclusion as the rest of his funds dried up and bills went unpaid. Eventually, he had nothing left.
“He fully breaks, and he gives up,” Andron explains. “After saying that he’s never going to do it, he just can’t. He can’t take it all in and cope with it… Ending with that guy broken on the street that we started on very much felt like the surprising and yet inevitable end to our show.”
Read on below for our full interview with Andron.
TVLINE | Did you ever consider killing Franklin off?
Over the years, we’ve considered everything. I, personally, would shy away from him dying, partly because it felt a little easy. This is a guy who brought the devastation in his neighborhood, brought cocaine into it [and] did everything he could to push it. It just felt like for him to get killed was letting him off the hook. For him to have to live in the hell that he created, it felt like there was a certain level of dramatic irony in that.
TVLINE | In Episode 9, Cissy kills Teddy, and it’s not surprising, considering what she said about him in the season premiere, remembering that that former CIA agent only let her live because he couldn’t be bothered to view her as a threat. In hindsight, that speech felt like it was foreshadowing what’s to come.
That was all very intentional — not only their feelings about [Teddy] letting her live and why, but also her thing to Franklin of, “Whose side are you on here?” He was still hedging his bets. That speech is really born out of his indecision. When [Franklin] makes the decision at the end of Episode 9 to side with the government, to spare Teddy’s life in exchange for only half the money and thinking that might enable him to go off and live his life, she knows full well that’s never going to happen. She just can’t bear to see him choosing them [the government] over her, and the moment that happens, she knows what she’s going to do… If you’re willing to completely betray the people who you portend to love the most, at that point, you’re irredeemable.
TVLINE | Cissy stands by her decision in Episode 10, and her silence toward Franklin was more devastating than her verbally expressing how she felt ever could.
She said goodbye to him at the end of Episode 9, and that was it. She has nothing more to give him. She’s not going to explain anything to him. She’s not going to help him. She’s not going to yell at him. She’s done. She did what she felt was the only thing she could do, and now she’s moved on.
TVLINE | Cissy will most likely spend the rest of her life in prison, but she at least has Leon to keep her company. How important was it for you to not have her completely left alone like Franklin?
We want to get a little bit of insight into her mindset, and you’re obviously not going to get much of that from Franklin. I think it would be a mistake to interpret her silence with Franklin as she’s hard or she doesn’t feel anything about what she did, that she doesn’t care. There’s so much she’s feeling, she’s just not going to express it to him.
This very unlikely relationship that she and Leon have built over the years… she saved Leon’s life. She’s the voice that says, “Listen, you need to forgive yourself enough to let yourself leave here and really get away from this. Not for a month or two, but for years, and cut arms with what you had done and get past it and come back here and figure out a way to atone.” If Leon stayed in the projects and kept dealing, he is a dead man. He never would have made it out, and so she saved him. It’s nice to think that he was writing her while she was inside. Now that he’s back in L.A. at the very end, I’m sure he’ll go and see her, and those two will continue to have a relationship.
TVLINE | It’s also nice to learn that Wanda got her life back together.
We started to think, in terms of the end of this, the people who really tried to face what they’ve done wrong and atone should have a chance at getting out of this and making it right, and the characters who don’t ever acknowledge what they’ve done wrong and try to change their ways probably won’t. Amidst a lot of harsh endings, it did feel right to us that Wanda had been through enough, that she deserves a chance to make it out and have a life just like Leon.
TVLINE | Veronique did that as well, taking most of Franklin’s remaining funds and running off to build a better life for their son after realizing Franklin was going in a different direction.
The way we dropped her into the story in Season 5, it was fun that the audience didn’t trust her from the jump, and therefore, it made it easy for us to let her keep proving herself, that they always were waiting for the other shoe to drop. She stayed with him as long as she possibly could. I do think that Franklin tries to get out at the end of Season 5, that he truly wanted out. He wanted to run a legit business, but he knows that life on the street only ends one of two ways. She sticks with him for as long as she can. When the things she’s doing are really the things that are in the best interest of the two of them, and he can’t see that [and] threatens her, she knows that she’s come to the end of what she can do for him and needs to go create a different life with his kid.
TVLINE | Were you present for the table read of this episode?
It was the biggest table read we’ve probably had since the pilot. Everybody was there for it. Characters whose lives had already come to an end on the show showed up for it. All the FX execs, [including chairman John] Landgraf, showed up for it. It was obviously really emotional. It felt like it played great, which was a huge relief to me. It’s scary writing the last episode of something in this way and taking such a big swing with where you want to land your lead character. Nobody is expecting for it to end this way for him. We love these characters. We were dying to see them make it and win. I really wanted the impact of what becomes of Franklin to be profound.
TVLINE | How did Damson react to the ending when he found out? [Note: Idris became a producer in Season 5.]
I talked him through it. I wouldn’t just hit him with the script on that. It can be problematic telling actors too much about where their characters are going. Some actors, frankly, don’t even want to know. But he was always a great collaborator, and it was helpful for him to know, and he never has abused the knowledge. He made it his mission to make everything work, and I think the way it does is a testament to him. I remember the first time walking onto the set, seeing him fully in character for that last section, and it was almost too much to look at. I mean, he was there and fully present, and I just remember walking him through it and nodding along and realizing, like, of course, [Franklin] breaks, and he becomes his father, and that’s the right thing.
TVLINE | After seeing this show through to the end, what thoughts ran through your mind as you wrapped that final shot?
It’s a huge mix of things. FX first sent this project across my doorstep eight years ago now. You can imagine what it takes over the course of eight years and six seasons to get a show like this to make it. We made a failed pilot and had to reshoot. The first couple seasons, it didn’t quite catch on right away, but once it caught fire, it really caught fire. It’s taken every bit of that over eight years, along with a whole lot of other people, to make this thing happen. It felt like when you’re at the end of a really long, really hard task and you feel sad that it’s ending and yet you feel like we had this incredible run. We gave it everything we possibly had. We didn’t need any more time. We got to end the story exactly the way we wanted to end it. I feel great amount of pride, and a great amount of relief.
TVLINE | We know that there’s a spinoff in the works. Anything you can say about it?
The news of it leaked, unfortunately. That was not the way in which we’d intended for that to go out into the world. It is very much still in development. I made the decision not to be the person writing it. Being at the center of this one for these six seasons, I felt like I told the story. I didn’t need to be the person at the center of the next chapter if there is going to be a next chapter. It did feel like there’s a reason to continue the story of South Central and what happened once the cocaine dried up in the early 1990s and how hip-hop exploded.
We found the right writer to tell the story in Malcolm Spellman. [Note: Spellman created, wrote and executive-produced the Disney+ series The Falcon and the Winter Solider and is set to pen the script for Captain America: New World Order alongside FATWS staff writer Dalan Musson.] I think he’s got a great story and he’s working on it. If everything lines up again, I’ll help him in whatever capacity I can be helpful. But I’m going to hand the reins off to Malcolm.
TVLINE | Finally, what message do you have for the fans who’ve supported the show over the years?
I just want to thank them for loving this show, this world and these characters the way that we love them. I want to let them know that we always did everything we could to try to tell the story in the most truthful and entertaining way we could. [I’m] just so grateful for all the love and appreciation they show.
What did you think of Snowfall’s series finale? Grade the episode below, and then sound off in the comments.
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