In Season 4 of Arrested Development, the Bluth clan set out to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico to “keep Mexicans out,” and Lindsay Bluth’s “Put up the wall” speech landed her so much public support that she decided to run for office on the Republican ticket. Three years later, that plotline does not sound as over the top as it might have before Donald Trump launched his Presidential bid with the poll-friendly promise to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexican border.
This has provided a surreal backdrop for Arrested Development creator Mitch Hurwitz as he’s been working on Season 5. Given the timeliness, he is champing at the bit and hoping to get the new season out before the November Presidential elections, he shared in a party conversation. Working with a team of writers, Hurwitz has the season outlined, but complex negotiations with the cast over scheduling are still ongoing, and it is unclear yet who will be available to come back as all have other commitments. Once he knows which actors are signed, Hurwitz will start writing the scripts. One other reason he is putting that off until the last second — because there has been so much art imitating life over the past months that he’s had to constantly rewrite storylines.
The Season 4 finale ended with Buster arrested for the murder of Lucille Austero. That set up Season 5, which will be a serialized murder mystery, Hurwitz said. When he originally mapped out the fifth season, he had no idea the genre would become white hot — first with Serial and The Jinx, and now with the Netflix phenomenon Making a Murderer. Season 5 of Arrested Development is in the vein of Making a Murderer, noted Hurwitz, a big fan of the real-crime documentary series.
Because of the delay of Season 5 over cast schedules, Hurwitz will have to discard some story ideas. For instance, he had long envisioned that George, played by Jeffrey Tambor, would become a woman, changing the dynamic of his relationship with Michael. In light of Tambor’s acclaimed performance as Maura in Transparent, that is no longer in the cards. (Hurwitz at one point even had planned to have George as a mute woman, which happened to be a disguise used by The Jinx‘s Robert Durst.) There was also Bluths’ idea to have the Mexicans pay for the wall, which has been usurped by Trump.
Still, there is plenty in the Season 5 storylines to make it feel as original as timely and ripped-from-the-headlines. The key is to start production soon, something Hurwitz is hopeful about.