Liz Feldman, the creator of the hit Netflix series Dead to Me, has revealed that she wanted to conclude the show the same way it kicked off, with an authentic feeling of grief conveyed. The finale is ambiguous, with Feldman explaining that this was intentional, as grief rarely gives us closure in the real world.
The story concludes after Linda Cardellini’s character Judy is diagnosed with terminal cancer, and her best friend, Jen – played by Christina Applegate – prepares for life without her. The pair travel to Mexico for Judy to enjoy her last days in peace. However, after their final evening together, Jen wakes up to find a note from Judy telling her she’s left for good. Jen goes onto the beach, notices that their small boat has gone, with footsteps leading in the direction of the water – leaving fans with many questions.
“I left things ambiguous in certain respects on purpose,” Feldman told Deadline of the show’s finale. “You’ve spent a lot of time with these characters. I feel like our audience almost has their own relationship with Jen and Judy, and I wanted them to be able to interpret for themselves what they felt like was the end. I didn’t feel that I needed to hit you over the head with it or have any sort of formal ceremony to mark a closure.”
She continued: “I wanted it to feel like grief itself feels, which is that you love someone, you have these beautiful relationships, and then one day they’re gone, and you’re left to put the pieces together yourself.”
“I just wanted it to be satisfying. I wanted it to be cathartic. I wanted it to feel like an emotional experience that we were all going through together as an audience. It’s a lot of pressure to end a series, so I went with the feelings that I was hoping to produce in the audience and worked backward from there,” the Dead to Me creator added.