The Conners are getting serious in the latest episode titled, “Triggered,” as the TV family faces the realities of gun violence when it arrives in their own neighborhood.
Helming the pivotal installment is star Lecy Goranson, who penned the script about the family being put on lockdown in their home when a shooting occurs nearby. “I actually put writing this episode in my contract,” Goranson reveals. The actress, who plays eldest daughter Becky Conner, was inspired to broach the topic on ABC’s hit sitcom after a chance encounter in Chicago.
Goranson explains that while sitting down to see a musical in Chicago, she met a high school teacher from Elgin in the audience, the town that Lanford is based on. “She said, ‘If you want to write about something in the show, you should write about gun violence because it’s really rampant.’”
It was through this exchange that Goranson was initially inspired to push for the subject in one of the show’s future episodes. “That was on my radar then,” she says. “Then during COVID, as most people know, gun violence has gone way up. Everything related with gun violence, whether it’s suicide, accidental gun violence, or gun violence with minors, it is up.”
By putting the stipulation in her contract, Goranson managed to achieve her goal of bringing the serious topic to the spotlight. “I just thought it was really important to use our platform in order to discuss something that’s very difficult to talk about in our society.”
When it came to creating the story, Goranson started out with “a shooting in a park.” Ultimately, the episode sets this situation at the nearby mall where a couple of the Conner family members are. “The other writers wanted to intensify it more, and they thought by having it at a mall indoors, that it would [be more intense].”
The episode explores the impact this event has on everyone in the house ranging from eldest family member Dan (John Goodman) to D.J.’s (Michael Fishman) daughter Mary (Jayden Rey). “There are people who have different perspectives in terms of dealing with trauma, there’s nothing more complicated than that,” Goranson shares. “Especially when people don’t have the support that they need.”
And while The Conners is a comedy at heart, this installment does take a more serious tone. Not as determined to hit comedic beats, “Triggered” allows the reality of the situation to take precedence. “I think what we determined was that the story was paramount to everything else,” she reveals. “I trust that part of why people love our show is because the characters are relatable and not because they’re always cracking jokes. It’s because of what they go through.”
They’re definitely going through a lot in this episode. Don’t miss the memorable installment when it airs on ABC.
The Conners, Season 4, “Triggered,” Wednesday, March 2, 9/8c, ABC