Mindy Kaling talks 'Mindy Project' finale: 'The last five minutes are incredible'

.@mindykaling teases what to expect from the #MindyProject finale

A moment of quiet on “The Mindy Project”? It is possible.

The third season finale of the Fox comedy airs Tuesday, and Mindy Kaling--the eponymous heroine at its center--promises the usually totally chatty show will tone it down. At least briefly. And it’s all in response to Chris Messina’s affinity for silent moments.

“I will say this about the finale: The last five minutes are incredible,” Kaling told The Times in a recent phone interview. “Chris always talks to me about how much he loves quiet scenes — and as a writer, that can be a little intimidating when an actor tells you that. But the last five minutes of this episode is my gift to him in stage direction. And just to let the world see how good he is without having to say a single word. That’s what I’m excited about, because I just don’t think you see that on TV comedies.”

She added: “We had a day of shooting where it was just Chris by himself -- if that gives you any indication.”

In the “cliffhanger” finale, titled “Best Man,” Mindy starts to fear Danny’s commitment to their relationship when he flakes on meeting Mindy’s never-before-seen parents. There’s a return of past guest stars Max Greenfield, B.J. Novak and Anders Holm. There might even be an “Empire” reference, Kaling hinted. And wedding bells are ringing, too--but will it be Peter and Lauren or Mindy and Danny?

“There is a wedding,” said writer and star Ike Barinholtz, who plays Morgan. “We did know a wedding would be a good story line for the last episode. But the real story of the episode is Danny and Mindy.”

Kaling shared a story point that set things in motion: “There’s a line where Peter says to Mindy: “Mindy, you have to tell Danny the truth about … something. I don’t want to say what, but it’s a key moment.”

And while the finale ties up a lot of season-long arcs and questions and conflicts between Danny and Mindy, Kaling insists the finale wasn’t approached like it might be the end. Originally picked up for a 15-episode third season, the order eventually got bumped to 21 episodes. The modest-performing comedy--it has averaged less than 3 million viewers this season--is on the bubble for a Season 4 renewal.  

“Maybe some people thought, ‘You should wrap it up just in case,’” Kaling said. “But I’m not that type of person who can operate under the assumption of failure. If it’s going to lead to more stories or it doesn’t, I’ll sort of face that when the time comes. I want to see them again. And I don’t want to write from the point of view of it ending if I don’t believe this is the end.” 

I tweet about TV (and other things) here: @villarrealy

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