'Eureka' Exclusive Interview: Writer and Producer Amy Berg Talks About the 'Matrix' Story and Holly Marten
'Eureka' Exclusive Interview: Writer and Producer Amy Berg Talks About the 'Matrix' Story and Holly Marten
Laurel Brown
Laurel Brown
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
Has your brain recovered from the awesomeness of Eureka's first three season 5 episodes? Are you still reeling from the unexpected and tragic death of Dr. Holly Marten? Do you need more Eureka right now?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then keep reading. Eureka writer and producer Amy Berg talked to BuddyTV about the show and the killing of a beloved character.

What can you say about the origins of Dr. Holly Marten?

Amy Berg: When I joined Eureka at the start of season 4, the show lacked geek girl representation. It had incredibly strong female characters, but Jo was a hard-charging law enforcer and Allison was more of an administrator than a geeky scientist.

Early on I pitched adding a "Felicia Day-type" to the cast and even mentioned it a few times in interviews. I've been a fan of hers since Buffy and loved her in web series like The Guild and Dr. Horrible. At one point, Felicia herself started commenting on the interviews, saying she'd love to do the show. Around the same time, I'd been working on a story idea that demanded a big guest role. It was the perfect way to introduce a new recurring character.

By the time we brought Felicia in for a meeting I'd already written a few acts of the script, but once I got a feel for Felicia's energy, the role morphed into what we now know as Dr. Holly Marten. She might be the coolest character I've ever had a hand in creating.

What are Felicia Day's best "nerd" roles? Find out here!

Did you expect her character to fit in so well on Eureka?

Amy Berg: To me, she's the perfect mix of intelligence and awkwardness. A number of my friends are astrophysicists, and Holly definitely fits in with that crowd. The show was leaning on Fargo for a lot of the geekier fare, but few others in Eureka could actually relate to him. Holly is our icing on the nerdcake.  

Fortunately, Felicia fit in with the cast just as seamlessly as her character did on the show. She's easy to adore, on screen and in person.

What was the decision-making process that went into determining Holly Marten's fate?

Amy Berg: The simple fact is that we only had Felicia for a limited number of episodes in season 5. She was already committed to another project. So the question became how do we write out a character that'd become such an integral part of the show? The matrix storyline provided the perfect outlet. When you're working within a fabricated reality, it can be difficult to have stakes that feel real. We needed there to be consequences if the truth was ever discovered.  

Was Holly the only choice for the first person to figure out the "Matrix" or were there other possibilities?

Amy Berg: Holly was the only option that made sense, at least to me. She'd been in Eureka for the shortest amount of time. Her relationship to the town and the people in it wasn't long lasting, so she was less affected by the new reality. For Allison, Jo, Fargo, Zane and Grace, their lives were completely turned upside down the moment they stepped off Astraeus. They're busy adjusting to everything that's changed, so they're not as sensitive to the inconsistencies. Also, you have to take into account that Holly is Holly. Her perspective on the world is a little different than everyone else, and her brain processes information at a different speed.

Were there any worries about the level of darkness killing Holly would necessarily bring to the show?

Amy Berg: Showing that actions have consequences may add drama, but doesn't necessarily make it dark. There's no violence or harsh language on Eureka, and we keep the PDA rated PG. We're a family friendly show and this episode doesn't change that. Will some people be pissed off about Holly? Of course. But we love these characters even more than they do, and I hope by this point they trust that we know what we're doing. We have the bigger picture in our heads, and we're only dealing it out piece by piece.

Can we expect dark themes like this to carry on throughout season 5?
Amy Berg: If you're asking whether there's more drama to come, then yes. There's also a hell of a lot of funny, too. We're still the same show everyone knows and loves. Creatively, this is the best season we've ever had. This is an opinion shared by our writing staff, cast, crew, and the network and studio as well. By the time it's all over, the fans will believe it, too.

Does the death of Holly -- and the whole Matrix plotline -- affect what's to come in season 5?

Amy Berg: As with any big event in the lives of these characters, there will be ripple effects. Every episode will deal with it in some small way, whether it's a plot point or character beat.   

Considering the ambiguousness surrounding Holly's death, can we be certain of what really happened?

Amy Berg: You've seen the show, right? <laughs> Let's just put it this way. Carter couldn't let go of Allison. Will Fargo be able to let go of Holly?

Eureka airs Mondays at 9pm on Syfy.

(Image courtesy of Syfy)