Robert Patrick as Cabe Gallo, Jadyn Wong as Happy Quinn,Eddie Kaye Thomas as Toby Curtis, Elyes Gabel as Walter O'Brien, Ari Stidham as Sylvester Dodd, Katharine McPhee as Paige Dineen in SCORPION - Season 1 | ©2014 CBS/Robert Voets

Robert Patrick as Cabe Gallo, Jadyn Wong as Happy Quinn,Eddie Kaye Thomas as Toby Curtis, Elyes Gabel as Walter O’Brien, Ari Stidham as Sylvester Dodd, Katharine McPhee as Paige Dineen in SCORPION – Season 1 | ©2014 CBS/Robert Voets

SCORPION is now in its third season on CBS on Monday nights. Everybody on the team of geniuses headed up by Walter O’Brien (Elyes Gabel) is having ups and downs. If Walter can ever get out of his own way, he may yet win over single mom Paige (Katharine McPhee), whose young son Ralph (Riley B. Smith) has his own super-high IQ. Paige is having issues now that her con artist mother (Lea Thompson) has reappeared in her life. Sylvester Dodd (Ari Stidham) is still mourning the loss of his wife, Walter’s sister Megan. Toby (Eddie Kaye Thomas) has re-proposed to Happy (Jadyn Wong), now that she’s able to divorce Walter after they married years back so that Ireland-born Walter could remain in the United States. Homeland Security liaison Cabe Gallo (Robert Patrick) is, as usual, trying to keep everyone on mission.

Nicholas Wootton, who is one of SCORPION’s executive producers and show runners alongside series developer Nick Santora, talks what’s new this year and what worked about last year.

ASSIGNMENT X: By the end of Season 2, everybody was tremendously upset, except maybe Cabe …

NICHOLAS WOOTTON: Cabe’s fine. He is the one who says, “Okay, I don’t know where you guys are and what you’re doing right now – Walter, you’ve got to get back in this garage right now, we have a case going down right now, ruin your life later, we have a gigantic case, you have to get back here right now.” So he is pretty much – he cracks the whip on them very quickly, and is no-bulls*** from then on out.

AX: How many big arcs do you think you’re going to have in Season 3?

 WOOTTON: I think we’re probably going to have three to four big arcs this year. I don’t think we had nearly as many last year. I think we’ll maybe double the amount that we had. We broke a ton of personal story material this year, because we just wanted to do so much. I mean, we set up so much last year, and we have so much to pay off, and we really wanted to give everybody a swing at the plate in terms of a big story arc, so we have a lot of stuff for every character.

AX: How is Sylvester dealing with his widower-hood?

WOOTTON: We have an episode where we go back to Ireland with Walter to see his family, and we see how he interacts with the parents, who take Sylvester a little bit under their wing, because he was [their daughter’s] husband, and they’re very sweet to him, and he may have inherited some of her property from a beloved aunt who passed away. So it becomes a bit of a complication back there. So we’ll see. But until then, he’s dealing with it. He is Sylvester with all of his idiosyncrasies. One thing we’re very excited about is, [in another episode] Sylvester gets put into a cave where they have to go and save these bats, and they all get attacked by bats, and he hates bats. And it’s really, really fun.

Bats are hugely beneficial to the environment, bats are natural insecticide, they eat their weight in insects. They’re very important to the environment. This is one of the arguments they make. They also carry a lot of diseases, a lot of rabies. They’re very interesting creatures. You don’t want to get bitten by one, but they’re interesting.

AX: Did you know that you were getting picked up for Season 3 at the time you crafted the Season 2 finale?

WOOTTON: Yeah, we knew.

AX: If you ever are on the bubble, where you don’t know if you’re getting picked up at the time you’re shooting the end of a season, would you craft a wrap-up?

WOOTTON: If we’re ever on the bubble, God willing, we never are, never ever. But if we are, I would certainly – I have done shows that did not wrap up on the bubble, and ended up not coming back, and it’s very unsatisfactory. It was unsatisfactory as the writer, so I would say that it would be definitely something that would close off before we ended it. But we’re talking twenty-five years in the future [laughs].

AX: It’s only a little later in story time, but you’re a year later in production time, so how are you dealing with the growth of Riley P. Smith, who plays Paige’s son Ralph?

WOOTTON: He looks amazing. He looks great. He is only about three months older, but he is growing up really fast. He is very close to being a teenager, so I think the next seasonal jump, God willing, we may have to give it a little bit of time to accommodate the fact that he’s going to be a different-looking kid.

WOOTTON: Nuclear – he could end up being seventeen. Exactly. He’ll end up being the Hulk.

The team must out think an ex-SCORPION member on an upcoming episode of SCORPION | © 2016 Richard Cartwright/CBS

The team must out think an ex-SCORPION member on an upcoming episode of SCORPION | © 2016 Richard Cartwright/CBS

AX: In Season 2, what were some of your favorite things, and what were some of the hardest things?

WOOTTON: Some of my favorite things – I loved the weightlessness that we did, I thought that was really cool. I loved shooting [the cremated remains of] Megan into space in the rocket, I thought that was awesome. Some of the hardest things – it was all hard. It was all crazy hard. It’s always amazing – this show is different than anything I’ve ever done, so that it literally is an action movie a week, and you learn so much about what you can actually pack into forty-three minutes. Sometimes it works out exactly the way that you wanted it to, and sometimes it certainly doesn’t, but you find other things in it that are great, too. I can’t put my finger on what was hardest, because literally, you go back and you go, “Ohhhhh.” I would take that back. I would say the hardest thing was doing a ninety-minute episode, because we had to actually deliver the ninety-minute episode, and two hour-long versions. We had to cut it in half and make two hour-long versions to deliver foreign and repeats. So we had to deliver them all in one day. That was the Towering Inferno. We had to deliver in one day the ninety-minute cut, and then two one-hour cuts. They were all cut very differently, and it was really hard.

AX: And what has surprised you most in Season 3? Have any of the characters really taken turns that you hadn’t foreseen?

WOOTTON: You know, I think that I would say I’m most excited about, which we haven’t delved into much, but we saw tiny bits of last season, was Jadyn’s emotional story. I think the Happy character has a lot of stuff this year, more emotional material – because it was never Happy’s character for the first two seasons to be emotional. But we saw little pieces of it. And Jadyn’s so good at that stuff that we’re keeping it on her this year early on. And so far, it’s awesome. So far, it’s really great.

AX: Do you have any other projects going on that we should know about?

WOOTTON: I’m very excited to be continuing with SCORPION this year. Who knows what comes, but right now, I’m just doing SCORPION.

AX: And what would you most like people to know about SCORPION Season 3?

WOOTTON: That so far it’s phenomenally great that we’ve learned so much great stuff about what we can do. Walter [has gone] into space, [the team has gone] into a bat cave, we’re going to Bulgaria. We have amazing, amazing stories that we’re telling, and probably about twice as much as the emotional material than we’ve ever done before, and we’re very excited about that.

This interview was conducted at a CBS Network party for the Television Critics Association press tour.

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 Article: SCORPION: Show runner Nicholas Wootton talks Season 3 – exclusive interview

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