After six season and 123 episodes, NBC’s fantasy crime drama Grimm has come to an end – and boy did they save the best for last, taking fans on a whirlwind of emotions.
The second to last episode left fans shocked after Hank and Wu were unexpectedly killed and the Zerstörer was roaming around town trying to find his young bride. As the finale began, Nick tried to bring his friends back using the mysterious stick but, unfortunately, we later found out that because of the Zerstörer, the stick was no use now. Distressed by their deaths, he reunited with Monroe, Rosalee and Juliette, who were working on rare potion that would help them fight. Meanwhile, Capt. Renard and Adalind tried to keep Diana and baby Kelly safe as the devil had set its eyes on them.
The episode took another shocking twist when Juliette became the Zerstörer’s next victim, but that was nothing compared to the four following deaths that came. But Nick wasn’t going down without a fight and looked to his ancestors – more specifically his mother (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio), his Aunt Marie (Kate Burton) and Trubel (Jacqueline Toboni) – for the strength to save the world. Thankfully, the creators couldn’t leave Grimmsters with that tragic ending and when it was all said and done, Nick traveled back through the mirror to be reunited with his very much alive friends and family.
Deadline spoke with creators David Greenwalt and Jim Kouf about that killer twist, their reasoning for shocking fans and what they appreciated most about being part of the Grimm family.
DEADLINE: Why did you feel like you needed to “tease” the audience with Hank and Wu’s death in the second-to-last episode?
GREENWALT: Well, I don’t know if we were teasing as much as saying, ‘OK, this is going to get horrific and Nick is about to face the toughest adversary that he/they have ever faced. There are going to be some bad consequences,’ Plus you couldn’t just kill absolutely everybody in the last episode, right Jim?
KOUF: Well, no you can’t because there would be less room for talking. When you have so much to get done, and you have 42 minutes of broadcast, you have to be careful how you set things up. Pay them off.
GREENWALT: I’ll tell you, there have been a few things in my lengthy career where you’ve written it and then you actually see it, and the killing of Hank and Wu and our other beloved members, that was like wow! … It just has more … It gives me a big wallop to actually see it, these people you’ve worked and loved for so many years. I got pretty moved.
DEADLINE: Was that your plan all along from the beginning to kill everyone off?
KOUF: From the very beginning we knew exactly what we were going to do, right David?
GREENWALT: [Laughs] No, we knew we have 13 episodes to end this and we had two different versions … and this one seemed like the best version and it also explained that stick, which was helping explain the crusader [other things] that we talked about so long ago, and we felt we should answer that as well.
DEADLINE: Was there ever a moment when you thought you actually should kill off a main character?
KOUF: We toyed with it, but there was no real good reason to kill anybody off.
GREENWALT: We killed Renard once and then we killed Juliette once. And in our hearts we just couldn’t bring ourselves to really [kill anyone] until the end. Tour de force for David Giuntoli, every single person that means something to him, taken from him. I thought he did a great job acting.
KOUF: We wanted to take our fans through the same emotional journey that Giuntoli went through, basically.
DEADLINE: At the end there is this epic fight scene with the Zerstörer outside of the cabin. Describe the creation of that scene and any difficulties you encountered.
KOUF: It was mainly complicated by the fact that we had terrible weather and we lost a lot of time to snow and rain. So we had less time than we hoped to.
GREENWALT: Jim and I both wrote and directed that finale together. A lot of it were just the elements, like we were way over time and budget, there were huge snow storms in Portland in January. But it all seemed to kind of contribute to the hectic and emotional pace of it. And when we were writing it, at least I recall saying, “Oh my god how are we going to direct this?” and Jim would say, “Well that’s the director’s problem.”
And then when we were directing it, we had done it enough that we knew there are certain things that you have to get, and things that are going to be able to cut, and these are big huge important things. So we did our best as many of the pieces as we could. That particular episode has 1,000 cuts in it, not that sequence, but the whole episode. That’s a lot of cuts for an episode of 42 minutes of television, and how we’ve always done it, which it has been quick bites of film, we used to get in trouble because it’s hard to shoot that many scenes and go through that many sequences. But I kind of took to Jim’s guidance on that, this is filmmaking and this is what makes it interesting to the audience. It was something, that could’ve been the last night of a lot of those actors as well. I do recall standing out in the woods and each one of them making beautiful speech to the crew and their follow cast-mates.
KOUF: As everybody died, everybody gave a speech because that was about the end. Also, we also have to give a lot of credit to Matt Taylor, our stunt coordinator. He really did a great job choreographing a lot of the fights. Of course they were a lot bigger than we ever do. We had a constant build to the fights that went on. Hank and Wu were the first, then Juliette, then all of them outside of the cabin, but we had to keep saving it for the big fight with all the Grimm. Each one had to top the other.
GREENWALT: He did such an incredible job for us.
KOUF: We should also give credit to Lynn for one shot, we were both exhausted, and Lynn said no, you got to get the crane shot.
GREENWALT: Which we had wanted but we were so far behind … but Lynn really helped us capture that shot and everybody pulled together. [The scene is] when Nick is kneeling over Monroe and Rosalee and the crane pulls up and shows the agony. We got everything, we just got in there in the mud.
KOUF: We had a two-day schedule before Mary Elizabeth [Mastrantonio] and Kate Burton, and we had them for two days that’s it. No more, no less. And we lost one of the days of shooting to weather, so we had to do all their scenes in one day and they were great.
GREENWALT: And all of their stunts, and they’re part if the big fight. But that worked out too.
DEADLINE: Were there any additional storylines you wished you could’ve explored?
GREENWALT: We missed Butt Crack Bud! We wanted to get him in there somehow. The refrigerator repair man who did such a wonderful arc in the whole show, but there was just no time. And a couple other type of characters that we could’ve done more [with].
DEADLINE: We jump forward 20 years, any potential spinoffs or more Grimm in the future?
KOUF: We just leave all our options open. You just never know.
DEADLINE: What made you want to jump forward in time?
KOUF: It seemed like a very fairytale ending to the show. We really wanted to close the book on it.
GREENWALT: We literally closed the book and we liked the idea of suddenly you’re with Nick at Monroe’s house … and you get this great look on Nick’s face and then you hear this other narrator person who basically says: “What happened in the world that day was either a myth, a legend, or a fairytale and I know it’s true because my father told me.”
KOUF: The whole emotional ending turned out to be about family and the power of family. And [the ending] continues that idea that here are the two siblings working together with their family.
DEADLINE: Fans had been wondering what Nick and Juliette’s future would look like. Do you think they would’ve ended up together again?
GREENWALT: There are a lot of people who have a lot of opinions about that on both sides of that question. But I think that there was such a beautiful speech in the third to last episode in which Eve/Juliette says, “I wouldn’t go back if I could … We’ve all grown, we’re all different now than we were.” So I think that’s more realistic.
KOUF: I mean they’re friends, there’s something there. You don’t have to be married and sleeping together to have a good, happy relationship.
DEADLINE: Did the cast know what was going to happen to them in the last episodes?
GREENWALT: They didn’t know, not until they read the script. Just like all of the other 123 episodes, we never told them anything. It’s not good for them to know what’s going to happen. Just like life, you never know what is going to happen.
KOUF: They were all emotional, like, “Wow this is it. It’s really coming to an end.” But we, everybody, knew it was coming to an end anyway. We knew we were ending the series, but they didn’t know how their characters were ending. But it was a big emotional moment for all of them when they died on screen. But it was also a big emotional thing because we were ending the series. We were like a family, which is unusual for a TV series to have everyone get along so well.
DEADLINE: Looking back after six seasons, how did Grimm standout and what made it so special for you both?
KOUF: I think for both of us, we got a chance to create a world that hasn’t been created before. We had a chance to create Wesen and Blutbad, and all the wonderful characters that went into that world that had not been done before. So that was fun. Really create a fairytale world and take it and ground it in reality.
GREENWALT: Also, kind of explain evil, the kind of evil that gets in these parts. And at the same time show the antagony of the Wesen and give them a rhythm too and that they have a point of view of what they’re doing. Like Jim said, there are 90-some-odd critters were created for this thing. Both by us and our writers and our wonderful CGI and special makeup department. Every eight days there was a new critter to be done and it was really fun.
KOUF: You don’t get a chance to explore as many things as we got to explore on this series.
GREENWALT: A lot of history, a lot of myth. We drew from all over the world and the Grimm was just a jumping off point. Africa, Japan, the Philippines, you name it, we drew mythical stories and creatures from those places. I think it kind of makes this show universal, we are in over 200 countries and the show will continue to have a life, which is another thing … It will have a life of its own.