Good Trouble is back and better than ever. Everyone at The Coterie is going through major changes in season 3. Mariana and Evan have decided to take a chance on their relationship, while Callie and Jamie’s relationship has reached a new low. Malika’s court date arrived, but she did not get the outcome she expected. Dennis and Davia’s romance took a turn, sending them both on different journeys.
HollywoodLife talked EXCLUSIVELY with executive producer Joanna Johnson about what’s ahead after the season 3 premiere. Mariana and Evan will face “multiple challenges,” while Davia will be focusing more on herself this season. Despite Jamie saying Callie “ruined” him, Joanna revealed they have a “great journey” this season. However, Callie’s connection to Gael is “undeniable.” Read our full Q&A below:
Last year, COVID-19 shut down most everything down for the better portion of the year. As you were developing the new season, did storylines change because of the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement? How did that all come together for the new season?
Joanna Johnson: We pretty much just stayed the course of what we had already because we started shooting our first episode of the season, and then we had to shut down. At that point, we didn’t know how long this was going to happen, and how long this was going to go. We naively thought, well, maybe we’ll be back in three months. Like everyone else, we just didn’t know. Because there were so many unknowns, we really decided not to play COVID right away and not to try to change course. The other thing also is we didn’t want to run a show where everybody is isolating at home. Yes, our people live together, but they also have really rich lives outside of The Coterie and they work. Davia is a schoolteacher. What if we couldn’t tell any of those stories then? And then Callie’s going into the criminal defense world. We wouldn’t be able to do that. So we both felt that people probably did not want to turn on the television and see everybody in masks, so we decided we’re just going to tell our stories and just not know where we are really in time. A lot of the things that we deal with are very timely anyway. We deal with Black Lives Matter. We deal with all kinds of prison reform. We deal with so many issues that are still going to be here post the summer as well, so we didn’t feel like we needed to directly address COVID.
At the end of the episode, Malika’s bail is raised to $250,000, and she’s remanded into custody until it’s paid. What is this experience going to be like for her? And how will it inspire her and the other Coterie crew to fight back?
Joanna Johnson: Malika is very strong, and she understands as an activist that she’s going to be targeted because the system tends to criminalize Black protests. What’s happened in this country, not just on January 6, but last summer and continues to happen and has been historically happening is that when you see Black activism or a protest, they’re met with force and they’re criminalized. But you can see a bunch of right-wing, White protesters show up at a government building, and nothing happens to them. Something that we’re showing in the story of Malika is that this is a discriminatory practice of assuming that as a BLM member she is going to be a flight risk, which is absolutely totally discriminatory and totally bogus that this stuff happens. She’s remanded and with this incredibly discriminatory high bail. We’re going to see everybody galvanize around her to try to raise the money for the bond to get her out. But also her experience when she’s in holding really enlightens her to how many other people are being held, and the fact that if you can’t make bail they’ll put you in jail. It can be months [before you’re out], and you have not been convicted of a crime. That’s mostly reserved for people of color. That’s what inspires Malika from this experience to really do some work to help, especially support women who are detained and as a result lose childcare. They lose their jobs and often for very minor things like unpaid parking tickets. It’s going to ultimately be a very inspiring experience for her and motivating.
Dennis and Davia are one of my favorite couples. In the beginning, it seemed like it was total bliss for them. But Dennis left The Coterie to work on himself more and hasn’t set a date on returning. This obviously devastated Davia. I loved the part of the episode where the woman tells Davia to be kind and empathetic towards herself. Davia is very selfless, especially when it comes to Dennis, so I’m excited to see Davia on this journey without Dennis immediately in her vicinity. What can you say about her arc this season?
Joanna Johnson: I think it was a wake-up call for Davia that she’s been sort of codependent with Dennis. She’s been trying to save him and pull him out of depression, and she really needs to focus on herself as well. With him taking this time away, she can really reconnect with her goals, which is to get her third year of Teach for America because they’ll then pay for her to get her master’s degree. She’s learned over the last couple of years that she really wants to be a teacher. She joined Teach for America because she didn’t really know what she wanted to do out of college. A lot of times, they recruit college students that are graduating, but she really fell in love with teaching and wants to be a good teacher. She knows she’s not a good teacher yet, so she’s very focused on that now, which is good and not so focused on saving Dennis.
When it comes to Mariana and Evan, they can’t ignore their feelings anymore. But dating your boss adds a very complicated layer to the power dynamic that’s already there in the workplace. What challenges will these two face as they embark on a relationship?
Joanna Johnson: You have multiple challenges. First of all, they got together when technically she was still with Raj, so she’s going to be dealing with that. She thought she was justified, and then comes to learn differently. But the truth is, the two of them need to take time apart. She really has to pursue this with Evan. But the problem is, it’s complicated, right? Because he’s her boss. He still has the company’s best interest to keep in mind when it comes to her app and the differences of opinion that they have about what her app should be and how to protect her app. So that becomes a complication. But also, she doesn’t want to tell anybody she’s dating him, so they’re having a secret relationship. They can’t really be seen out in public because she doesn’t want to be found out. Mariana’s always got secrets. Mariana tends to have a problem with sort of telling the truth, so this is going to play into some of her worst instincts in that regard. It’s very hard to keep a secret. It’s very hard to date your boss. And then also she’s learning about him because he’s a little bit on the spectrum, so he has persnickety things that she’s not really probably aware of just from working with him. Their relationship has a lot of challenges.
We also have to talk about Isabella. She didn’t actually sleep with Raj. She’s the woman who slept with Gael and not Callie. Will the Isabella and Gael relationship continue? He seemed upset when he found out that she moved out.
Joanna Johnson: I think he just was worried thinking they had sex, and then she took off the next day. He doesn’t know what happened with all the girls. He doesn’t know that they all thought she slept with Raj and that Davia accused her of that. He doesn’t know any of that right now. I think he just thinks, well, was it me? It was really kind of like, what have we got to lose? It wasn’t like they were in a relationship or that he was in love with her. He was just worried and hoped he didn’t have anything to do with her taking off.
What does this mean for Gael and Callie? They have a very charged relationship, but it hasn’t worked out in the past. But she is single.
Joanna Johnson: I think Gael has always carried a torch for Callie. She didn’t choose him. She chose Jamie, and that stings. But now it didn’t work out with Jamie. I think that Callie is questioning whether she chose the right guy. I think that Gael has feelings for her, but I think he’s also wary because he doesn’t want to get hurt again. One thing that they hadn’t kind of worked on before was friendship. They really had a very sexually charged relationship, but they didn’t have the foundation of friendship. So I think that’s something they’re both looking at. I don’t think Callie is ready to jump right back into a relationship yet. But they have a chemistry that’s undeniable.
And then there’s Jamie. Things are not good between Callie and Jamie at the moment. Is there hope for these two to reunite or possibly even just get to a good place?
Joanna Johnson: I think that they have a very strong connection. I think they love each other. I see both sides of what happened between them. Callie felt she couldn’t betray her values and her own ethics. She felt she had an ethical and moral responsibility to share what she knew about what was happening with the tenants. He felt that he was protecting his client, and he was justified in not sharing that information. He felt very betrayed by her, and she felt that he didn’t make the right ethical decision. It doesn’t mean they don’t love each other, and I think she questions if she did the right thing at times. There’s a lot of second-guessing herself, and he’s still very much reeling from the betrayal. But first of all, her brother and his sister are married. They have a family connection. They’re going to find their world revolving around each other going forward in ways I don’t want to quite tip off yet, but it does seem like the universe keeps pushing them together at least in each other’s paths. They have to try to find their way eventually to finding peace between them as far as what happened in their relationship. They have a really great journey coming ahead that I’m really excited about.