Here's some more impressions from the interview!
Mr. Hanson said that there's no formula for the show itself -- that they try to mix the shows up as much as they can, sometimes they'll have more case, sometimes more personal stuff... sometimes a lot more personal stuff.
He mentioned that back in the second season an exec told him that there's nothing at all wrong with having a formula, that they'd end up having more viewers if the show had a recognizable formula -- to which he shook his head and laughed in his chair as he joked that he should've gone formulaic.
The interviewer nodded, saying that the strength of a show like LAW & ORDER, where you know that by 23 minutes into the hour the case will be solved and they'll be off to trial, is that it's sort of like meatloaf. Comfort food. And Mr. Hanson agreed, saying that his show's version of 'comfort food' was that you'll have a laugh, throw up a bit and, in the end, they'll catch the bad guy.
But he also added that one of the things that people really seem to like about the show is that the case isn't the main aspect of the show; intimating that it's ultimately the strong character moments -- like Dr. Brennan throwing down 'the Crab' move in this particular episode ("The Maggots In The Meathead") -- that really make the show sing.
Of the 'techniques' and fancy machines used in the show? He mentions that while they often 'cheat' like crazy -- getting DNA results back in 5 minutes, for example -- they have not lied or made up anything in the show, all of it exists in the real world. It may not work as fast but it all exists.
He says that they're not the kind of show that's going to 'spring' anyone on you -- by the time you get to the end of the episode, you'll have met the murderer in some fashion.
Side Note: One person apparently wrote to him and told him that her husband had figured out that 'it's always the 3rd person they meet on the show' -- which sent them all scrambling to figure out if that was true because they always want to keep people guessing.
In the writing room, the beginning of the next season always begins at the end of the last season when they start to talk 'arenas' for new episodes. Once they have about six or eight good arenas set up then they'll start to begin the process of actually breaking some of the stories -- Mr. Hanson himself talked about how he'd often leave the main story-breaking efforts to his Co-Executive Producers while he'd come up with the B stories (the personal stories) that would come up during the episodes. As a team the room would break the 'Crime' story and then pitch it to Mr. Hanson who would tell them what he feels works or doesn't work (often where the Act ends are).
Great Idea for Writers: Over time he's discovered that the best way to pitch a story is to have them tell him the story from the Murderer's point of view. This helps make sure the murder and motives make sense. He used the example of 'well why's there a body in the basement?' and the response was something like 'because it'd be a great Act out' -- but that doesn't cut it. First and foremost: The murder has to make sense.
Fast show fact: The explanation at the end of the show, where they reveal how the murder happened, is called 'the download'.
Now that they've done 108 murders (at the time of the talk) he admits that it's getting harder to not repeat themselves, getting to the point now where the actual process of finding stories they can use is almost a full day longer than it used to be.
Alright folks, that's all for today. More tomorrow ;)