Will the surgeon and suburban mother assigned to operate on the president in fact kill him to save her family being held hostage?
That's the central question on CBS's new drama series, "The Hostages." But, upon viewing the pilot — spoiler alert! — the question isn't quite answered. Rather, she takes "Option C" as one producer at Monday's Television Critics Assn. press tour referred to the decision Toni Collette's Dr. Ellen Sanders makes in the pilot.
So, how do you stretch the idea of a family being held hostage in a house for 15 episodes and avoid what AMC's "The Killing" did when it peeved off viewers by not solving its central question of "Who killed Rosie Larson?"
"The Hostages" executive producer Jeffrey Nachmanoff provides some wiggle room for the series.
"'Hostages' is a metaphor," he said. He would also reveal that Episode 2 finds Ellen's family back on the outside.
We're no longer sure if "The Killing" curse still lingers with the viewers, but it clearly still resonates with reporters who in one way or another asked the same question: Will you resolve the conflict the drama series is based on during Season 1? It seems limiting to hold all dramas to that rule, but the producers continue to answer the question.
In responding, Nachmanoff refers to his fondness for the suspense of Alfred Hitchcock and its influence on the series.
"It's a cat and mouse tale," he said. "We want to give the audience that feeling and that drive of suspense. Suspense is a little different from surprise in that we're not making a horror film, but you feel on edge because you don't how it's going to play out."
"We know what he wants, we know what she wants," executive producer Rick Eid interjected. "The two trains are on a collision track and it's kind of fun and surprising when we put a switcher in right before they collide."
"We're not going to shy away from the dilemma," he would later say.
"The mission doesn't change, the goal we set in the pilot doesn't change," executive producer Jonathan Littman added. "It's the journey getting there."