‘The Conners’ Star Breaks Down the Origin Behind That Tense Episode

by Allison Hambrick

The Conners actress Lecy Goranson opened up about the intense episode “Triggered,” which took on the topic of gun violence. While the show regularly examines dark topics, this installment had a heavier tone. “Triggered” saw the Conners dealing with the fallout of a shooting at the local mall.

“Well, I think that’s what we usually do as a show,” Goranson told Cinema Bland. “The origin of why I wanted to do it was, I was at a play at Northwestern. I’m from Evanston, Illinois, right north of Chicago. And this woman sits next to me with her daughter, and she knows who I am, she watches the show, and she’s a teacher at Elgin High School, which is where Lanford takes place. Right? So, Lanford is the fictional version of Elgin. And she said, ‘If you really want to write something topical about the show, you should write about the gun violence in Chicago and in the area.’ And that really stayed with me.

“Unfortunately, that was two years ago, and there’s been no sign of anything letting up every day,” she then added. “I think people are very free using guns, but they’re not very free speaking about the consequences on our society, on human beings, on families, on children.”

Goranson shared her convictions with the producers of The Conners, so they opted to work them into a storyline for the show.

The Conners EPs Talk Trauma of Gun Violence

In addition to Goranson, The Conners showrunner Bruce Helford and executive producer Dave Caplan discussed the episode.

“The thing that we all sat and talked about at length was ‘What aspects of this do we want to approach?'” said Helford. “And where we came to is the trauma, the residual trauma, on all people. It doesn’t have to happen to you directly. You’re affected if it happens in your area, if it happens on your block, if it happens in your neighborhood. And there isn’t hardly a family in America, that hasn’t had a thought about ‘Is my kid safe at school? Can my kid go to the movies, can my kid go to the mall, can I go to a concert?’ Everybody has that thought now, and I think that’s become increasing.

“It started out as sporadic and isolated incidents, and then now, well…” he continued. “So we decided that The Conners would discuss the consequences, and then what do you do once that happens. We discussed how important the aspect of healing people is, and whether the communities are set up to do that.”

Caplan echoed Helford’s thoughts. The Conners always addressed the harsh realities of modern, everyday life. Unfortunately, gun violence is becoming a bigger concern.

“On The Conners, we always tried to express the viewpoint of the working class, which we think is underrepresented on television,” said Caplan. “And when the trauma that Lecy and Bruce are talking about occurs in the wake of gun violence, there are mental health resources that are necessary to help people cope with that sort of thing. And in working class neighborhoods a lot of time, these resources just don’t exist, or they’re paltry by comparison to other places. That’s one of the things we’re trying to shine a light on.”

Outsider.com