What transpires in the final 30 minutes of Sunday's episode of Veep could be seen as Iannucci’s version of a series finale. The ending is emotional but far from absolute -- which he would have found dissatisfying.
“There’s always a danger of being almost too conclusive,” he says. “Somehow you feel you have to wrap everything up and everyone has to have some final story that finishes it off. That’s why I really liked The Sopranos ending. For me, I felt like, ‘How else could it end?’ It starts feeling absolutist if you end it with a capital ‘END.’ I rather like the fact: this is going to carry on; this is their lives, and you can’t get away from that.”
Ultimately what happens next season will be left in the hands of Mandel. “When we met, I had thought where season five could go and he had thought where season five could go and we more-or-less gelled," he says, confident that Mandel is more than capable of maintaining the show’s pace and tone while adding a few surprises of his own. "They were similar thoughts. That’s a sign."
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But Iannucci’s own conclusion with the series actually aired one week prior. The second-to-last episode, “Testimony,” which saw President Meyer and her staff facing rounds of committee hearings, was actually filmed out of order, on the last day of shooting.
Shot in a day, filming was an entirely unique experience to the series. Instead of allowing improvising, which has become a popular element of the show, Iannucci had the entire cast learn their scripts and started filming them immediately upon entering the room designed for their depositions. And they filmed in “real time,” only allowing characters to watch scenes that would have aired live on TV as in a real deposition. When finished, that was it, each of the actors were free to go.
“What was really nice was they just wanted to stay,” Iannucci says of the emotional last day. “So around by the monitors in the playback, as the day went on, we had more and more of the cast assembled behind me watching this courtroom drama play out. It was a nice way to end shooting the season.”
After the finale airs, Iannucci will be completely finished with Veep. He’s already back in the U.K. and by the end of the month, he’ll have completely handed over the reins to his successor.
“It’s David’s baby now,” he says.
Watch a montage of deleted Selina Meyer one-liners from Veep season three.