Why Elsbeth ‘Didn’t Suspect’ the Fashion Show Murderer ‘At All’ in the Season Finale

Note: This story contains spoilers from the “Elsbeth” Season 1 finale.

In the season finale of “Elsbeth,” the quirky main character, played by Carrie Preston, inspired a fashion line by legendary designer Matteo Hart (André De Shields), who —SPOILER— also ended up being the culprit behind a photographer’s murder. She was also warmly welcomed to stay on in New York by a now-completely-exonerated Captain Wagner (Wendell Pierce).

TheWrap spoke with Preston and showrunner Jonathan Tolins about breaking the “howdunit” structure for the finale, what to expect in Season 2 and whether we’re getting an Elsbeth fashion line — or trademark tote bag — in real life.

André De Shields (right) guest stars as fashion designer Matteo Hart in the “Elsbeth” Season 1 finale. Pictured (L-R): Laura Benanti, Carrie Preston and André De Shields (CREDIT: CBS)

TheWrap: Did you consider ending on a cliffhanger?

Jonathan Tolins: Yeah, we did. But we decided to finish out the Wagner investigation this season and to make a little bit more room for ourselves, as we go into a second season, to explore other parts of our three main characters’ lives. We only have so much real estate because we intend to keep up the demands of the procedural. So having to keep up the “is Wagner a bad guy or not” thing would prevent us from exploring other areas.

Did you film the finale before you got the news of the season renewal?

Tolins: We were on our last day of shooting when we got the renewal. It was after only four episodes that aired but that was how it timed out, because we had a lot of preemptions because of March Madness and the State of the Union, so we had already planned to wrap it up. 

Carrie Preston: When we were shooting those scenes, we were on shaky ground ourselves, not knowing whether or not we were going to be able to continue to work together. I think that really injected those scenes with our own emotions. We found out on our last day of shooting for the season that we got picked up, so it was a wonderful wrap gift.

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