Drop Dead Diva EP Josh Berman Chats Season 5, Teases What’s Coming Up

At the end of Drop Dead Diva‘s fourth season, we were left with a massive cliffhanger and a cancellation. Due to the power of social media, devoted fans, and the passion of the people behind the series, it was resurrected and Diva is currently in the Season 5 home stretch. I’d say that this season has definitely been the most complex – and not an easy ride for the characters or the fans. With all of the questions swirling and why certain plot points have come to pass, I went straight to the source – Drop Dead Diva Executive Producer Josh Berman. In our interview, he discussed the motivations behind the story this season and even gave us the first tease for the Season 5 finale! So let’s get right into it …

Season 5 has felt like a journey of self-discovery for Jane and that she’s finally seeing her true colors. I don’t think she’s realized up to this point that she is self-centered. Would you say that the main theme of this season is Jane learning more about herself and realizing that some changes may be in order?

Absolutely, this season has shown Jane that things aren’t black and white. For the first time, life is complicated and messy. Sometimes there isn’t a “right answer” and this can frustrate Jane who always wants to do the right thing.

The “feel good” nature of the series has been noticeably toned down in Season 5. I’d like to know what your motivations were in taking this risk and moving in this different direction.

Drop Dead Diva is still a feel good show. However, for a show to evolve there has to be conflict. In order to be “up” you have to also have days where you feel “down”. Season 5 is a complete journey with a very satisfying arc. I know that viewers were surprised by the Stacy / Owen relationship, but I’ve asked them to trust me with this development. I think it’s very natural for a woman to suddenly and unexpectedly develop feelings for a man who [fathered] her child. I think Jane has every reason to be upset with Stacy. How their conflict resolves is crucial for character development and the growth of the series.

In a follow up to my last question … I think it’s important to keep in mind that Deb was on the shallow side and a big part of the reason she ended up in Jane’s body was to see life differently. Would you say that the story has actually come full circle in a way?

Yes. This is exactly why I introduced the Angel of Paul. Paul is a male version of Deb – beautiful on the outside but shallow on the inside. Now, Jane has to guide and help Paul. She is actually the mentor as she has evolved into a more multi-dimensional human being. But the Jane we know today is still capable of making mistakes and Paul should be there to help her pick up the pieces.

There was a huge fan reaction to the Owen / Stacy angle and the perceived “betrayal” of Jane. Personally, I see this as a way to force Jane to take a look at herself and realize that her actions aren’t always noble. Since it has been so polarizing, can you give some context as to why Stacy and Owen being interested in each other was a necessary plot point?

The next few episodes will address this question. Viewers who are upset about the Owen / Stacy relationship need to have more faith in what I’m doing with the series. Jane has made mistakes – she kissed Grayson at her wedding to Owen. I believe Stacy has now made a mistake. The season has been about mistakes and forgiveness. It’s about pushing boundaries and crossing lines. It’s the natural evolution of a series. I very much hope Lifetime picks the show up for another season. In order to let the show grow, I need to show these characters in a new light. I need to allow them to make mistakes and see the repercussions of their actions – both good and bad.

I think it’s going to take a lot for Jane and Stacy to restore their friendship, but when it comes right down to it, Stacy is Jane’s only friend. Stacy is the only person who knows the truth about Jane. Can Jane and Stacy be best friends again, especially if Stacy does end up with Owen long-term?

Great question. Please watch this week. Sunday’s episode will focus on the Jane / Stacy friendship. They are at a tipping point. Can they regain the trust and love that has kept these two women so close for more than a decade, or will Stacy’s actions keep them apart. Sunday’s episode explores adult, female friendship and I’m really proud of the episode.

There’s a theory circulating that Owen really did die at his and Deb’s wedding, and that Fred is in his body – hence the attraction to Stacy. Now I don’t want you to directly address the validity of that specific theory, but perhaps you can share the wildest theory that you’ve heard from fans about the series.

Well, that’s a very crazy theory. I love that fans create “fiction” for the show. But I can just tell you to keep watching. The next three episodes are perhaps my favorite in the history of Drop Dead Diva. The next three episodes lead up to an extremely explosive finale called “Jane’s Secret Revealed” and it’s without a doubt the best Diva yet. I’m so proud of Sunday’s episode which starts Jane on a new journey of self-awareness.

When the season resumed a couple of episodes back, there was the revelation of a therapist (played by Ileana Douglas) in Jane’s past. How much more are we going to learn about Jane’s “5 year plan” and how this therapist coming back into the picture relates to Jane’s story this season?

I love Ileana Douglas. She does not come back this season, but if we’re picked up for another season, she will likely return. She’s a big fan of Drop Dead Diva. As an FYI, her episode repeats this Sunday at noon on Lifetime.

You’ve touched on it a bit already, but there’s a Drop Dead Diva mini-marathon this Sunday and an all-new episode that I know you are very excited for fans to see. What can you share with us about that episode?

The mini-marathon is from 10am – 1pm and brings the fans up to speed in case they missed anything. The episode at 9/8c is called “ONE SHOT.” The episode deals with love and loss and focuses on Jane and Grayson. For fans interested in the Jane / Grayson storyline, this episode must be watched live! This episode is quite a shocker and I’m really proud of it. It also stars Richard Kind from Spin City and Lindsay Pearce from The Glee Project. Enjoy!

There have often been cliffhangers at the end of a season. Will there be some closure at the end of Season 5?

You heard it here first. The cliffhanger for Season 5 will be our best cliffhanger yet. It will leave you breathless.

Are you planning a potential sixth season as of yet? What hasn’t been tackled as of yet that you’d like to see Jane take on?

Oh yes. I’ve already worked on an entire arc for Jane for Season 6. I’ve already pitched the idea to the studio (Sony) and they are in love with it. If we get a Season 6, the fans are going to love it. I’m so excited to start writing it. In many ways, I feel like the first five seasons have all lead to what I’ve got planned for Season 6. Fingers crossed.

Special thanks to Josh Berman for chatting with me, and don’t forget to watch Sunday’s Diva-thon starting at 10am on Lifetime, and then the all-new episode “One Shot” at 9/8c.

Photo Courtesy of Lifetime

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