Terriers Blog 04: Pilot

Below is part 4 of a series of blog posts that were written by Kelly Wheeler (writer and production assistant on ‘Terriers’) for the show. These were posted back in 2010 on the now defunct ‘Terriers’ site on FX.



Pilot Episode
Directed by Craig Brewer
Written by Ted Griffin

Here we are! The pilot!

In our first foray into the Terriers world, an old drinking buddy, Mickey Gosney (played by Gareth Williams), asks Hank to find his wayward daughter, Elenore (played artfully by Rachel Miner). This simple task thrusts Hank and Britt into a bigger case that could affect their whole town.  There’s a lotta money at stake, a dead body in a lifeguard tower and a sex tape.  It’s a good thing that, as a former cop, Hank still has a little pull on the force.  Okay, so maybe his pull is… little-adjacent, as he didn’t exactly leave on the best of terms.  A situation often reflected when he calls in favors with his ex-partner, Mark Gustafson (played by Rockmond Dunbar).

At the end of this episode, we get a sense that some big stuff is heading for our boys.  Should be a fun ride.

And just in case you missed it, our show is called “Terriers.”  (I know, I know… thanks for the obvious info, Wheeler.)  It’s a title that can be misleading.  Is it about feisty dogs?  Well, kinda.  Hank and Britt are tenacious… geezie chreezie, this blog is even boring me.  The truth is, on the surface, it’s about two charming, fly-by-the-seat-of-their-pants private investigators, but this show is also about the other 113 people who drive to random locations around San Diego and shoot a show.

For example, those locations include a crowded train station (see attached picture), the San Diego headquarters for the Salvation Army and a mansion that would make Trump jealous (pic also attached).  We drudge up stairs, over tracks, brave SLOOOOW elevators and navigate through a throng of curious tourists (“Whatta you guys shoot’n?  Is this a TV show?  Terr-what?”)

Now, I’m not downplaying our actors, they work their asses off (15 hour days, crazy stunts, etc)… Hell, Mikey braved the DMV TWICE to get his motorcycle license.  (Quick side note: if you’re trying to bribe a person in line to let you & Mikey cut, make sure you are out of earshot of any terse DMV employees… otherwise you might hear something along the lines of, “Miss… we don’t bribe people here at the DMV.”) That being said, what makes “Terriers” great is the amazing collaborative effort by the best crew around.

And unlike many shows, we really shoot where our show is set… in Ocean Beach.  Which wasn’t as big of a fight as you’d think… Craig Brewer pitched the hell out of the town to the studio and network, totally kicked ass… oh, wait, did I mention that the pilot was directed by Craig?  The man responsible for “Hustle & Flow?” and “Black Snake Moan?”  (Yes, he knows Justin Timberlake – but it’s not even the coolest thing about him).

Craig brought a lot of excitement to this project (“Even though Hank & Britt are not rich, not perfect, they will struggle to get by, but you’re gonna wanna hang out with these guys.”) – by putting his heart into telling our story, working relentlessly with the actors, all the while putting his Memphis spin on a SoCal show.

On the last night of the pilot, he personally walked up to each crew member and gave them a moon pie and a harmonica (a traditional crew gift he likes to give –see attached video), and said, “Thanks for all your hard work” – and as the night closed on the show, you could hear grown adults, puffing away on the harmonicas.  ‘Skinda great.

Learnin’ “Oh Susanna!” as we speak,

— wheeler

Go to Blog #5