Marc Cherry, creator of “Devious Maids,” which has it season finale Sunday (Sept. 22) shares with Zap2it how he dealt with the show’s rough first weeks, why the maids are different from other TV help and how he knows some seriously self-absorbed actresses.
The over-the-top Lifetime soap, set in Beverly Hills, follows maids and their employers. Cherry bookended the series by setting the pilot and finale at black-tie parties, hosted by the richest of the employers, the Powells.
In the beginning, a maid was killed and in the finale, her killer will be revealed.
The 13 episodes featured intricate plots in each household, but the season’s main point was to figure out who killed Flora. Cherry, who also created “Desperate Housewives,” is already working on next season, but reflects on this one, which began in controversy.
Zap2it: The show stirred controversy before it aired because the maids are Latina. What was your reaction to all of that?
Marc Cherry: I always knew we would be somewhat controversial show. It has been lovely when people see episode-to-episode, when people see how deeply we go into each woman’s character. These are positive role models. Their profession is incidental to the kind of human beings they are. They are smart, savvy, full-bodied characters with flaws. They are extremely positive role models. And for all the people who were worried I was just depicting Latina maids, I always knew they would discover Marisol is a college professor, a very intelligent woman on a mission. I am just proud of the show we have done, and I know the women are very proud of it, and we feel good about what is a contribution to television. And ultimately the people who were wary are now positive.
The maids were the heart, soul and brains of the show, if not the power. What were you basing them on?
The wily servant has been an archetype of drama and comedy since the days of the Romans. I never saw them as subservient characters because I knew they were going to be the ones shaping the story line. This show is about these people, so I always thought it was interesting that people were so very concerned about the fact that they are in these jobs. These aren’t like any maids you have seen before. It will make everyone look twice at the housekeeper who washes their dishes or the salesgirl who sells them the blouse. These folks are smarter than you give them credit for. Deviousness is not only a characteristic of the wealthy.
Exactly how creepy is Adrian Powell?
I am so blessed to have an actor as good as Tom [Irwin] to play Adrian. They [Adrian and Evelyn] are a combination of George and Martha from “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” mixed in with characters from “Dangerous Liaisons.” They are bored rich people who have too much time and too much money and [are] just up to no good. I love coming up with these dark sexual secrets as their tragic backstory.
Do you know actresses as vain and selfish as Peri?
Oh, yeah! I have been writing primarily for actresses for 24 years and I have witnessed some of the most shockingly narcissistic behavior imaginable. Some of the narcissism and self-involvement I have witnessed is nothing short of incredible. The one thing that rules over everything in our business is talent.
What was your favorite moment of the season?
One of my favorite moments was at the exact moment Olivia [Valerie Mahaffey] was hanging herself, Marisol was figuring out Remi’s involvement in Flora’s death. And, hearing people’s reactions to the unfolding disgusting little hobby.
The season finale of “Devious Maids” airs at 10 p.m. ET Sunday on Lifetime.