A Sears photographer who’s secretly a human weapon and a hairdresser who’s secretly an expert hacker are forced into a deal with the government to kill exactly nineteen people
MESSAGE FROM THE WRITER
"Here is a description of something I am down to watch one hundred percent of the time: character who was at some point involved in some sort of secret military operation + some kind of organized crime/mafia type of element + collision of a secret identity with a past life + JOKES. That’s all. If all that stuff is present, I’ve either watched it or I am willing to watch it right now. Wanna throw in some barely explained cool computer hacking moments? I am here for that. I like that!
Literally, my only goal in writing Snapshot was to try to make a show that I would really really want to watch. I have seen television shows that execute pulpy action moments very well, and I have seen lots of great comedy, but I want to watch a show that effectively combines the two. I want the action, but I don’t want to watch the main character darkly brooding in a shadow every time he’s not fighting. I want the comedy, but I don’t want my jokes to be woven exclusively into story-lines that I would literally never watch if there weren’t jokes (come on, what’s actually happening on some of these shows? People are just walking around getting yogurt and stuff).
There was a running joke in a writers’ room I worked in… every time we were really stuck on a story point, someone would turn to the writer next to them and say “Hey, what do YOU wanna see on TV?” Well, I’ve had some time to think about that question. This show is not about my kooky in-laws or my time as a struggling comedian. It’s not auto-biographical. My personal connection to the show is that I want to watch it. This show does not have a large, impactful social message. There is no activist mission behind it. Here’s what it does have: Every single scene on this show should be fun. It should either have tension or comedy on screen at all times and often it will have both. And there’s a little bit of heart. This is what I want to see on TV."
Logan/Evan- dangerous, with a detached, offbeat charm. Confident in combat situations, but socially lost. Answers the question of how life might be different if Charlie Brown knew fourteen different ways to kill someone with a pencil. He’s unlucky, his boss is always riding him, and he’s no longer doing a great job at biting his tongue. he’s a guy who didn’t quite fit into traditional society, so he found a place where he could thrive, and when that was stripped away from him he made some bad decisions. He’s a misfit in crisis, who’s basically good, searching for some peace and redemption. But his past won’t leave him alone. Loser on the outside, badass on the inside, searching for a firm hold on anything at all.
Jessica- fast-talking, energetic, impulsive. she’s someone who is naturally inclined to test the boundaries and question the rules. Quick to stand up for herself and slow to weigh the possible consequences. Like a lot of conspiracy theorists, she’s very eager to be in on something other people don’t know about. She initially sees Logan as a window to more excitement and answers, but she also jumps on board without ever having faced the reality of like… killing someone. So that’s a trip for her. She has a stronger moral compass than Logan or Tess which can lead to some conflict on the job.
Tess- Picture Tilda Swinton trying to seem casual. She’s a successful career woman who does not have it all. She’s like a dorky English teacher who wants to relate to her students and be liked, but is still handcuffed by the bureaucracy of her job. She doesn’t want Logan to mess up her position, but at the same time she relates to him and is even a tad jealous of the idea that he could get out and start fresh.
Summer- Jessica’s sourpuss co-worker. Naturally negative, lightly condescending, but overall harmless. She thinks Jessica is out of her mind but loves her for it. She’s got a lot of advice on how her clients and co-workers should live their lives, while being unable to wrap her head around why she always has some kind of personal drama clearly stemming from her personality. The type of person who will explain with great authority how you’re mishandling a relationship right after admitting that no one in their family has spoken to them in over a decade.
Colin- The ultimate well-meaning manager you can’t stand to work for. He genuinely believes that working for an organization like Sears is the ultimate privilege. That’s why he uses his own special brand of tough love with his staff, “You think I like being a hardass?” he’ll ask and then tell you that he most certainly does not, but it seems like he probably does. Colin tries to inspire and impart life lessons to his employees with seemingly no awareness that they don’t respect him or envy his position.
Roy- Co-worker at sears and Logan’s only friend there. Nice guy without a clue. He’s one of these people who is so ignorant that he’s sort of looped all the way back around to being wise. Knows himself, not self-conscious about anything, and genuinely wants to be helpful to people. It would be a shame to see him get dragged into the violent world Logan lives in, so it will definitely happen.
Imposing Man/ Anton- Russian mob boss who hired Logan to wipe out some of his friends and enemies in the past. Knows Logan was arrested and knows he’s not in jail, so views him as a threat. Ruthless, cunning, and willful. He will ultimately make contact with Logan and force him to answer for his past deeds.
Episode 1: pilot
Episode 2: reset the facts. Logan is back at Sears. He is dealing with BS, but he’s in a better mood now that he sees a possible way out. Jessica finishes up her last cut of the day at the salon and the man tells her Tess will provide the tip. She turns to find Tess who says “Now you know I can get to you, too” and Jessica reminds her that’s how it all started so she knew that before. Tess brushes off the flub and gives her a target. Jessica meets up with Logan and he’s weirdly butt-hurt about her being the contact person, like he thinks it means Tess doesn’t like talking to him. They go out on a mission, and at first he can’t believe how helpful Jessica is. It looks like it’s going to be an easy one but Jessica calls it off at the last minute. She hadn’t totally thought about how she’d be helping him actually kill actual living people. Logan reminds her they’re in something of a numbers game here and they are mostly very bad people. Jessica points out that he was supposed to kill her so he caves. They talk to Tess, and work out a deal where they get to find out who the people are, what their crime was, and also maybe she can consider Logan’s feelings a little instead of cutting him totally out of the loop. The person turns out to be true scum once they have the facts and Jessica happily helps complete the mission. At some point, we clock Anton’s goons watching Logan leave the Sears.
Episode 3: Due to a recent firing of an executive, the Sears staff have to attend a mandatory emergency sexual harassment seminar. This prevents Logan and Jessica from keeping their intended schedule and grabbing their latest target in his home. Instead, they need to extract him from a busy mall. They knock him out temporarily and while Logan is destroying the security footage, Jessica unwittingly puts the man in the trunk where he has access to a lot of Logan’s weapons. This creates sort of a “reverse Cujo” where they need to somehow get into a car occupied by a dangerous armed killer, all the while arguing over what the phrase “put him in the back” means.
Episode 4: Cold open in the middle of an action sequence. Logan is involved in a crazy foot chase. Through a building, down the stairs, into the street, over a fence. We follow the guy as he finally seems to have lost Logan. He’s looking around panicked when a van stops right in front of him and the female driver he doesn’t recognize screams at him to get in. There’s no time to think, he does, and Logan pops up from the back. The driver was Jessica. Oops. Logan is back at Sears, telling Roy how much better his “side business” has been doing when he notices Colin in some kind of shouting match. Some low level thug has come to Sears to shake down Colin over his brother’s gambling debts. As much as Logan enjoys seeing Colin get roughed around, he interjects to keep the peace and after the thug foolishly gets in his face, Logan gets himself tangled up in the situation and has to make things right for stupid Colin’s stupid brother. Jessica comes to help Logan out with these goons, and she just can’t get over him working at Sears. Like, he told her, but seeing it is just too much.
Episode 5: Summer grills Jessica over why she has been cutting back her hours at the salon lately and gives some ironic advice about taking hair seriously before she gets herself into trouble. Jessica smugly says she’ll keep it in mind. That night, she and Logan take a target out into the woods to execute him quietly, when all of a sudden they start getting shot at. This allows their original target to escape, so they are hunting the first guy while also being hunted by someone unknown. This is the first time Jessica feels her life in danger, since she’s been more of a support person to this point. They successfully set a trap for the guy who’s after them and get their original target, and then chew out Tess about how they want credit for two kills, and she should have mentioned this guy travels with backup. Tess has no clue what they’re talking about and doesn’t know who this other guy was. They must have been followed. Meanwhile, we see Anton finding out his guy got killed. He’s going to have to get more aggressive.
Episode 6: Logan promised Roy he’d attend a performance he’s doing of some “slam poetry set to music.” Logan can’t figure out exactly how that’s not a description of rap, but Roy promises it’s different. Logan and Jessica have a job to pull that night at a fancy banquet, but they assume it will be very quick. As they’re about to take out their target (from a nearby balcony), they realize the woman they were sent to kill has an identical twin also in attendance. Both women are doing that weird twin thing where they dress the same even as adults and only one deserves to get taken out. It gets complicated, since now they need to infiltrate the banquet and start talking to people to find out who is who. They’re also pretending to be on a fancy date, which brings up some slightly awkward implications. We see Roy frozen on stage, unable to muster the courage to speak, but Logan makes it just in time and gives him a soulful nod. Roy does his terrible performance with gusto.
Episode 7: Anton decides that he needs to ratchet up his tactics, so he sends a team into Sears at closing time to take out Logan when he’s not armed or expecting it. Roy and Colin get roped into the world of assassins and mobsters as they are all locked in the department store overnight battling with this armed gang (possibly lead by a member of Logan’s old military unit). Jessica lends support from the parking lot. Colin assumes these creeps are after money since everyone knows he runs “the most lucrative sears branch in the county” but Logan finally realizes what’s been going on this whole time. His old employers found him and he’s put everyone he knows in danger.
Episode 8: Roy gets kidnapped by Anton’s people and Logan gets a ransom note. Logan shows up at Jessica’s salon and explains what’s happening. Summer totally remembers him and says she assumed he stopped coming in because he clearly had a crush on Jessica but he was too scared to ask her out. Logan laughs too hard at how wrong that is because he is so uncomfortable with the topic. He and Jessica go together to Tess to ask for a new deal. He’s been discovered, and he is willing to offer more time under contract if she can get him a new identity. She can’t. He asks why not, they just negotiated a new deal like a month ago. She says actually she never had the authority to do that either. Tess made that deal just to buy some time and figured Logan would either get killed before they finished the terms or maybe she could get transferred or something. Jessica and Logan start to realize just how unofficial all this work they’ve been doing really is. It’s not exactly the kind of thing the government keeps a paper trail on. He probably could have just run at any time, but now it’s too late. They have to go right at Anton and get Roy back. Tess straps up. She’s coming, too.
Episode 9: Logan, Jessica, and Tess go into Anton’s headquarters. Kill everyone (at least, we think. might want to leave some ambiguity over whether Anton or one of his family members is confirmed dead or could possibly come back to haunt them later). They rescue Roy who is less traumatized than most people would be, and they finally get a chance to catch their breath. They all go out to celebrate really really hard. Logan and Jessica sleep together, but in the morning both say they regret it and it was just the adrenaline and now the mission is over so they should maybe even part ways. It’s pretty clear that Jessica means it and is ready to just forget this happened, but Logan is a little more conflicted.
Episode 10: Logan goes into Sears to formally turn in his name tag. Colin informs him that someone from corporate is there to see him. He goes into a closed office where Tess is waiting and he gets offered a juicy new identity and cover story as a cool fashion photographer with a more normal name. He considers it, and says that it sounds great, but technically he still has like six kills left on the original deal they made. Maybe he should do those first, and just stay at Sears for now. He clearly feels a responsibility to these people he endangered and wants to make sure they’re all okay before he moves on. Logan and Tess shake on the new terms. Jessica comes out of the closet and says “I told you he wouldn’t take it” and Logan is freshly mad that they loop him out of stuff.
POSSIBLE FUTURE SEASON ARCS:
Tess got a very sensitive thumb drive or other artifact stolen by a rival operative. She, Jessica, and Logan put a hold on all the killing to pull off a major heist from a super secure facility complete with role-playing to infiltrate the rival network, pointing at blueprints and talking about entry points, and maybe even doing that thing where they crawl under lasers.
Tess is mysteriously replaced by a different handler with a significantly frostier bedside manner. Logan and Jessica, having paid off their debts accept his offer to work for the government in a seemingly more official capacity. As they carry out tasks, they also begin to investigate the new guy and find that they may not have known who they’ve really been working for all along.
Logan and Jessica: This is the core dynamic of the show. Obviously, the pairing seems like an incredible match at first. They both have strengths that complement the other’s weaknesses, but there will also be conflict and tension between them. Logan is a guy who has worked and lived alone for so long it has made him weirdly set in his ways. Just the presence of another voice on his missions is an adjustment. He also hasn’t had someone who totally knows his whole life the way Jessica does and that makes him feel a little exposed. These feelings will manifest when she suggests alternative approaches to obstacles and Logan bristles, but Jessica is someone who has to do things on her own terms or she won’t do them at all. It’s not that she thinks she’s always right, but if she isn’t you’re going to have to prove it to her. She’s also obviously thrown into a new arrangement and has maybe never spent this much time with someone she views as an equal who can fully understand all the supposedly “crazy” things she’s been sounding off about for years. There will be playful bickering, authentic disagreements, mutual respect, and a deep level of care for one another under all the superficial stuff.
Overall season structure: I think that the best way to deliver the most satisfying elements of the genres we are attacking while still keeping an audience engaged over the long-term is to start off with some big, fun Monster of the Week type episodes while quietly sneaking the larger season arc in through the back door. It shouldn’t feel too complicated too early on, but by sprinkling in some mythology and character back-stories at the beginning, we can build to some big satisfying showdowns and set pieces at the end. Our job will be to dazzle the viewers with some inventive action and creative humor while we simultaneously trick them into caring about these people and their fates. By leading to a strong resolution, we can repeat that same structure season after season with a little less groundwork to lay each time. The blueprint is there for it and we have the right crew to execute it.
In a way, there aren’t any shows like this, which is why I wanted to write it, but for reference I see it as a half hour show with a strong comedic voice, told in the style of: