Kay Reindl and partner Erin Maher are talented writing partners who work in TV. They have a unique, consistent and strong voice which they have used since 1997 on shows like the dark paranormal dramas "Millennium" and "Haunted". They have also been involved in the "Twilight Zone" revival of 2002, "The Dead Zone", the critically acclaimed "Moonlight" and the syndicated series "Legend of the Seeker". As one half of that team, Kay Reindl co-wrote some of Millennium's most widely celebrated episodes such as Anamesis, A Single Blade of Grass, Matroyshka and the episode we are celebrating all week, Midnight of The Century. I was delighted that Kay took time from her busy schedule to speak to BackToFrankBlack and share with us her recollections of being part of the creative team that brought us Millennium.

MARK HAYDEN: Could you tell us how yourself and Erin became involved in Millennium and what you think it is about the combination of 'Reindl' and Maher' that makes for such a successful writing team and how the process of your collaboration works?

KAY REINDL: I met Glen Morgan through mutual friends. He knew Erin and I were writers and asked to read something because they were shooting a pilot for Fox (The Notorious). The pilot (sadly) didn't go, but they went to run Millennium and asked us to come in and meet. We were completely on the same page with them, with regards to where they were going to take the show.

We’d started writing when we were working in the feature story department at Universal Pictures. The great thing about working in a story department is that you learn about the process of development: How scripts are submitted, covered, passed on or bought. And you read a lot of coverage and scripts, which is imperative if you’re going to write. So we just started writing. And we had a lot of the same interests and developed a similar voice, so that made it easier. I think it was easier since we hadn’t written scripts on our own. So we hadn’t developed individual habits. That’s a problem a lot of writing teams have and why most writers just shudder at the thought of writing with someone else.

MARK HAYDEN: When 'Season Two' of Millennium went into development do you recall the thinking that necessitated the various changes to the shows' thematic? Was this a collaborative process with the writers privy to the new direction the series would take that year? I believe the restoration of Frank's visions was a particular suggestion of yours for example?

KAY REINDL: We weren’t privy to those discussions but when we met with Glen and Jim, they told us where they wanted the show to go, with more of a focus on the Millennium Group and its history. When I saw the pilot I remember thinking how cool the Millennium Group was. And my favorite episodes of the first season were the more genre episodes, like the Lucy Butler episode, which is one of the scariest episodes of TV I’ve ever seen. So it was easy for us to talk about exploring more of that in season two. We weren’t responsible for Frank’s visions coming back. It’s just that A Single Blade Of Grass had so many of them because the episode came in short, so we played twenty-one with his visions. I think if you count his visions, there are actually twenty-one.

MARK HAYDEN: Anamnesis is particularly well received by fans of the franchise which is no mean feat considering it is the only episode of the canon not to feature 'Frank Black'. Could you tell us about the evolution of the story from the concept to the screen?

KAY REINDL: Initially, we wanted to do an episode about girls having visions of the Virgin Mary, sort of a modern-day Fatima. But when we started doing research, we came across Holy Blood Holy Grail and Ean Begg’s Cult Of The Black Virgin, and decided on that direction. Glen and Jim approved it and we basically went nuts with it! It was supposed to feature Catherine but what became obvious after awhile was that it would be a stronger episode without Frank. Lance worked almost every minute on the show and I think he appreciated the break. Anytime you can still tell a good story and give your lead actor time off is nice! We’re very proud of that episode, especially in light of all the Dan Brown hoo-ha. The teaser, for example, was shot exactly how we wrote it. There’s nothing more thrilling than that.

MARK HAYDEN: I recall reading an interview with Glen Morgan in respect of 'A Single Blade of Grass.' In it he stated that the original vision for the episode was originally very different but that he allowed himself to be influenced by the network and shape the episode a little differently. Do you recall the mechanics that influenced the episode's development and what the original vision was?

KAY REINDL: Well, it wasn’t quite as procedural at first. And I think there were other production factors involved that kind of screwed the episode up, too. The biggest issue was that we were making changes quite deep into prep, which usually causes a bit of chaos. Our idea with that episode was to do a Ghost Dance episode, to deal with that mythology. Even though there were problems with the episode that includes the 21 visions, it was a terrific learning experience, too. And it was our first time in the editing room. We had the opportunity to see how an episode can be fixed in post-production. And believe me, the episode turned out as well as it possibly could have, given the circumstances.

MARK HAYDEN: Matryoshka marked a return to the mythology of the Second Season and whilst it attempted to reconcile some of the difference in tone between the first and second season's depiction of the 'Millennium Group' some fans feel the third season was lacking by not returning to the threads created by the Second Season finale, would you agree with this at all?

KAY REINDL: I’m always drawn to mythology and I loved what we got to do in season two. Season three was a different direction, which was another good learning experience for us. The most important job of a writer on staff of a TV show is to fulfill the vision of the showrunner and/or creator. And we lost our showrunner fairly early in the season, so there was a lot of adjustment that had to go on. I don’t know what the network or studio wanted of the show and that’s always something you have to take into consideration.

Of course, we wanted to do m
ythology anytime we could, but I think we were able to do it in a way that kept with what the third season was about. I love the guys who ran season three and have worked for one of them since. I’m proud of that episode and of course I’d love to do a whole season with Hoover and Tolson and the modern Millennium Group, but I love that we basically did Cold Case before Cold Case!

MARK HAYDEN: We've been in the process of tracking down a number of un-produced episodes of Millennium, for example Michael R Perry's 'Dirty Snowball.' We believe that during the Third Season of Millennium yourself and Erin spent a significant portion of the season working on drafts of another script, an episode with the working title "Fallen Angel," concerning Frank Black's attempts to arrange an FBI sanctioned exorcism. Could you tell us if there is any truth in this and what became of the episode?

KAY REINDL: One of the things we wanted to do right at the start of season three was a Millennium version of the Paul and Karla Homolka case, but we couldn’t crack it. It wasn’t Millenniumistic enough! So we took some of the elements we liked and added the Garden of Eden and Lilith. There’s an awesome hedge maze in Vancouver (you’ve seen it dozens of times on other shows) that Chris Carter would up using in his return of Lucy Butler episode. We had our Garden of Eden idea tied up with the hedge maze, so the script ended up getting tossed out. But that happens on every show. More now than it did then, certainly, but it happens.

MARK HAYDEN: As we are celebrating "Midnight of the Century" with a week focussed upon that episode, I recall reading an interview that proclaimed one of the more enjoyable aspects of that episode was watching the growing friendship between Frank Black and Lara Means. Some fans have viewed some of those scenes as indication that there was a romantic fondness growing between the two, what's your take on that?

KAY REINDL: Regarding any perceived romantic leanings, there were none. Lara's function was to add an element of danger to Frank's visions, to show how they could adversely affect him if he hadn't been as grounded as he was. Their affection for each other war borne out of what they had in common and not any romantic interest.

MARK HAYDEN: It's been over a decade since Millennium's cancellation, with hindsight how would you describe your experience of being part of that show?

KAY REINDL: Best experience ever. Even at the time we knew we were lucky to get to work on such a quality show. It’s still the high water mark for us, both for the types of stories we got to tell, and the people we got to work with. The only other show we’ve been on that came close to that was Haunted. We learned a lot on Millennium and I would love nothing better than to get a chance to explore those themes and stories again. Like Twin Peaks, the show was obviously ahead of its time. I think it would be much more popular and appreciated now.

MARK HAYDEN: I wondered with regards to your work if it's becoming easier now to get work/interviews than when you started or is the recession squeezing out people other than well-knowns?

KAY REINDL: It’s not, actually. The shows that are hot now are the straight procedurals, like CSI, and shows with humor in them. Millennium was a hybrid type of show, neither genre nor procedural, so that experience is hard to pigeonhole. And the industry has to pigeonhole writers because there are so many of them! Basically what’s happened in this business is that the middle has been totally squeezed out. Sort of like what’s happening with the middle class in this country. So anyone at midlevel is finding it harder to even get meetings.

MARK HAYDEN: What can fans of yours keep their eyes open for with regards to the continuing career of Kay Reindl?

KAY REINDL: Good question! We just signed with new agents and feel like we’re getting some good traction out there. I wrote a novel during the strike and just finished another, so I’m going to be delving into the publishing world and trying to get familiar with it. Mostly, we want to work with great people on great shows, whether they’re ours or someone else’s.

A distressingly high number of writers have a lousy first experience. We were very lucky and we know what TV’s like when it’s good and when a show’s well-run. So everything we do is about getting back to that, and also letting our writer friends know that things don’t have to be awful. Showrunners don’t have to be mean and restrictive. The ultimate goal, of course, is to get our own show on the air. And just to put added pressure on us actually writing the thing, we’re working on a spec pilot that has a lot of the Millennium elements we love. So hopefully we’ll get that written soon.

MARK HAYDEN: Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us Kay and may we wish you and yours and truly wonderful Christmas!

If you have enjoyed our Midnight of The Century Week so far and enjoyed our interview with Kay Reindl then please leave some comments for her attention on this Blog and remember folks why we are doing what we are doing. We are a campaign first and foremost and all we ask is that if you enjoy the work that we do you consider adding your voice to the countless voices that have, already, asked for a return of Frank Black. Add your voice today!


You better watch out, you better not cry, better not pout, I'm telling you why...DiRT's coming to town of course and now that he's finished decking the halls and fa-la-la-la-la-ing we had the chance to sit him front of the television with a glass of mulled wine and a slice of Yule log with instructions to cast his discerning gaze upon the reason for our week of celebrations, Midnight Of The Century!

Christmas Eve and the anniversary of his mother's death brings Frank Black into confrontations with Catherine, his estranged father, and even an angel. All the painful memories and arguments serve a purpose, however, in helping to steer Frank in the right direction for dealing with some important decisions regarding Jordan and the gifts she's inherited. Like most of you I have watched Midnight of the Century more than a few times over the festive season and I know that I love it but let's find out what our resident reviewer thinks of Millennium's very first festive outing.

So now you know, that's DiRT's view of Midnight Of The Century and now we want to know yours. Did DiRT hit the nail on the head for you or was he so wrong you considered for a moment if he had had more mulled wine than he should have done. So, dust down those keyboards and tell us what you think. Rest assured, DiRT reads all the feedback he gets so don't be shy and please, join with me in wishing him and his family a very Merry Christmas!

As always, every new video we add to Youtube, or is added to Youtube for us, reaches out to a whole new audience and may find a Millennium fan who never knew of our campaign in the process. Don't forget, keep sending those letters and postcards to Mr. Steve Asbell.

As always, lend your considerable support to the man and go visit his own websites and find out what it's all about. Remember, every video made for the this campaign is an indispensable way of reaching out to a potential new campaigner.

  • To visit his website and enjoy the numerous things he has on offer, click here!
  • To check out his Youtube channel and view more reviews from the man himself, visit here!
Whilst you are enjoying this week, please take some time to remember why we are here and why we strive to bring you things we think you, as Millennium fans, will find enjoyable. Our very reason for existing is to encourage supporters of the show to send letters and postcards to Steve Asbell asking for a return of Frank Black and I shall dispense with any shred of dignity I have left and beg you to do just that. If you don't have the facilities to print the postcards we release then do as Russ did above, send whatever you have to hand and, if I'm honest, I like his own contribution more than anything I have designed. It shows a certain individuality and nothing speaks louder than that. No more tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow folks, post them today!


Midnight of The Century was a welcome opportunity for viewers to take a look back to Frank Black's childhood and to introduce his mother and father to the audience for the first time. The touching story of a woman struggling beneath the weight of her failing health and her growing visionary facility and the man who loved her, but could not cope with the profundity of her experiences, is one of the most touching aspects of the story and one which certainly resonates strongly with viewer's emotions. BackToFrankBlack was delighted when Cheryl McNamara (Linda Black) agreed to take time from her busy schedule to share her recollections of being part of that story. We hope you will join with all of us in showing your gratitude to her and wishing her a very Merry Christmas in the process.

MARK HAYDEN: I wondered if we could begin by asking you how you came to play the role of Linda Black in Millennium's "Midnight of The Century"?

CHERYL MCNAMARA: Coreen Mayrs was the casting director of Millennium and X-Files. She was, and continues to be one, of Vancouver’s top casting directors. I had graduated from my acting training at the University of British Columbia two years prior to playing Linda Black in Millennium. Coreen was absolutely terrific. She was very supportive of actors new to film and TV.

I remember the audition process quite well. The breakdown for Linda Black told the story of a woman in the 1940s dying from cancer. In preparation, I delved into my closet for clothes that fit the era the most (long tapered skirt, etc.). I also hauled out my Halloween makeup to give my skin a grey and sickly hue. This was counter intuitive, of course, as one always wanted to look their very best for auditions. When I arrived at the audition space at Lions Gate Studios in North Vancouver, I panicked. The waiting hall was full of bouncy healthy looking women. I remember sitting there telling myself over and over that I made the right choice. I had no choice. I was made up and ready to go. The audition went well.

When I was called back it immediately dawned on me that I made t
he right choice because there were very few in the waiting hall and none there suited the role. It became apparent that I got the role when Coreen’s assistant was asking me for specific measurements for the wardrobe department.

MARK HAYDEN: Do you remember what your first impressions of the story when you received the script?

CHERYL MCNAMARA: The only impressions that I recall was that the story was intriguing – I was very interested in the supernatural - and that it was a great episode to be part of. I was amused by the notion that I was going to be part of the 'Millennium Christmas Special'.

MARK HAYDEN: Could you describe for us the experience of being part of that particular shoot, for example, how many hours your were on the set, how long you had for rehearsal time and what your experience was of working with the cast and crew of Millennium? Did you have the opportunity to spend time with individuals like Lance Henriksen, Kristen Cloke and the late Darren McGavin?

CHERYL MCNAMARA: My memory of the shoot is quite vivid. Millennium had a reputation of having a fantastic crew – everyone from the DOP to makeup and hair. They did not disappoint. The atmosphere on set was very positive, supportive and fun. I got along very well with makeup and hair, despite having my eyebrows aggressively plucked for that 1940s look. I also remember having to remind makeup that my character was quite sick. She had to confirm this with the director.

Making anyone look sick on TV seemed an unholy act. I was fully prepared to look awful. My background was in stage. I had plenty of experience making myself look old and even dead and decaying. If Linda was dying of cancer, she should look like it. I think I was also inspired by the realistic-looking makeup in a Movie of the Week I has seen about a cancer patient on death’s door. Personally I don’t think they went far enough with the makeup.

The shoot was the week of American Thanksgiving – end of November. As a Canadian I didn’t realize it was Thanksgiving until they served turkey and the like at dinner break. It was a lovely surprise and I think made everyone feel a bit closer. It was of course important to the Americans on set.

That night may have been the time we shot all the scenes in the house. All my shots were on location in Vancouver, not in studio. We waited for some time into the evening. Darren McGavin was shooting his big scene. I had hoped to meet him, but didn’t even have a chance to see him.

I do recall an Australian family – parents and their young adult daughter - hanging about the honey wagons that night. I learned that they were diehard fans of the show and had flown all the way from their country just to be on set. I thought that was simply quite extraordinary. I passed by them en route to the house when our call came. I remember wanting to stop to chat about their passion for the show.

I met Lance Henricksen briefly. The only moment our characters connect is when he sees his mother in the nativity window display. He seemed nice – a bit taciturn.

The crew rigged me into the angel wings for the nativity window. The window display was full of hay. I was sitting on it. We shot the scene. That went well. Then the crew forgot about me. I don’t know why. They did. I called out but no one came. I couldn’t take the wings off myself and they needed to be removed before I could exit the window. I don’t normally have allergies, but I’d never been around that much hay. I started to develop a full blown reaction. My eyes watered and I was having trouble breathing. I started yelling and finally someone came to the rescue. Really, the crew were nice...just preoccupied and forgetful.

In terms of rehearsal time, they are are very brief. They usually afford us just one pass before tapping. That was the case on Millennium.

MARK HAYDEN: Linda's story is particularly melancholy but no doubt beautifully written. What were your own feelings about the role you played and the episode itself? It's actually something of a tradition to watch this episode at Christmas time amongst Millennium fans, do ever revisit this episode and watch your own performance in it?

CHERYL MCNAMARA: It’s a touching story of the deep connection between a mother and son, and his loss. I always felt it odd that Linda went up to the top room to die, alone. Of course it served to emphasize the solitude of having her gift.

I worked on specifying the cancer she had. It was never suggested in the script (although cancer was mentioned in the audition breakdown). I decided she had ovarian cancer and worked with that.

I believe I have a tape of that episode somewhere. I haven’t seen it since it aired.

MARK HAYDEN: You shared the bulk of your scenes in that episode with a gentleman who portrayed the young Henry Black. I have been unable to discover who portrayed that role and I wondered if you recalled who he was? You also had screen time with A.J. Adamson as the young Frank Black, does the old adage of "...never work with animals or children.." have a grain of truth about it?

CHERYL MCNAMARA: I can’t remember the name of the actor who played Henry Black. A.J. was adorable. He had some challenges remembering his cues, but he was a little boy and of course everyone cut him considerable slack. The scene with Linda and young Frank looking at the train set in the window took numerous takes because of this issue. He couldn’t remember when to say his lines. It was tricky because of the timing with the train going around. Eventually I had to squeeze his arm to let him know to say his line then. Even that took a number of takes.

When A.J. was wrapped – had shot his final scene – the Assistant Director announced this with a flourish and everyone gave him a big round of applause. I remember him walking away beaming.

“Never work with animals or children” is particularly relevant to stage. They are so unaffected and, let’s face it, cute, that the audience member’s eye is immediately drawn to them. They are the quintessential clowns. TV and film is a little different as the camera dictates what you see. On set, part of my focus was ensuring that A.J. was hitting his marks.

MARK HAYDEN: I notice that you went on to star in the X-Files in "Zero Sum" and "Folie a Deux", did you secure these parts through your involvement with Millennium and what was the experience like of working on our sister show?

CHERYL MCNAMARA: You are too kind. I played what is referred to ‘day player’ roles on the X-File episodes. Coreen Mayrs cast both Millennium and X-Files, and she called me in regularly for auditions.

MARK HAYDEN: If I'm correct, it seems that you left the acting profession shortly after your appearances in the X-Files could you tell us what prompted that decision and if there have ever been any regrets on that score?

CHERYL MCNAMARA: I moved to Toronto a few years later and worked primarily in developing my own stage shows. I was also engaged in local arts activism. Then, after a painful process, I realized that I wasn’t really in love with acting – certainly not so much that I was willing to barely get by. So I left the business.

MARK HAYDEN: Could you tell us what you have been involved with post Millennium and do you have anything you would like to bring to the attention of the Millennium fans who are reading this interview?

I’ve been working in the charitable sector and writing. I’m getting back to playwriting and realize that I really do love it.

I’ve also very active in raising awareness on climate change and solutions. That has kept me very busy of late. I write a blog called Carbon Slim (www.carbonslim.blogspot.com) which chronicles my efforts in cutting back on my personal carbon emissions. I am also currently developing an online community with the objective of elevating the public conversation on climate change.

Thank you, Cheryl, for taking the time to talk us and on behalf of all of us at BackToFrankBlack, a very Merry Christmas to you and yours.

If you enjoyed Cheryl's recollections, and I know you guys will have, please do leave some comments for her attention and don't forget the real reason behind this week of events. Please send your letters and postcards to 20th Century Fox, we are all writing Christmas Cards, why not write one more!


Well I hope you are enjoying BackToFrankBlack's little seasonal celebration as we spend a week in the company of season two's wonderful festive outing, The Midnight of The Century. What Christmas would be complete without Christmas music and whilst you are no doubt growing weary of the same old jingles over and over again then allow me to introduce a new carol for the hymn book, a Christmas song Millennium style.

Now some of you may remember Steve Katzenmoyer from a previous entry in which he shared a superb little ditty he had written about Frank Black which, officially became our campaign anthem. I ran the idea by Steve of creating a Millennium Christmas Song, thinking this was an all but impossible request, and being the talented musician he is, he rose to the challenge. Below you can hear the results: The Frank Black Christmas Song.

Now it may not be lost on you that there's more than a little flavour of Bobby Darin in the track and this was intentional as a homage to Frank Black's beloved entertainer and having now heard it I am sure you will agree with me that Steve has created something every Millennium fan should add to their playlist at Christmas. To help you do just that, simply click on Frank's Christmas Tree to be taken to a download link so that you can enjoy this song at your leisure.

So join with me in wishing Steven a very Merry Christmas and a truly Happy New Year and please share your thoughts with him about his work. I know how much the people who contribute to this campaign value your insights and comments. Enjoy the rest of the week!


Midnight of The Century Week Day One: Midnight Of A Merry Little Christmas!

T'was the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse although Josef was securely locked in the basement working on the video you are about to watch. It's time for BackToFrankBlack to plunge itself into the festive season with a week long celebration of the Kay Reindl and Erin Maher penned festive episode, Midnight of the Century! I am delighted to say that all the hard work that has gone in to this week has been supported by Frank Spotnitz and to all who made it possible, and to Frank, I am very grateful.

We have a week of events to help you good folk celebrate the festive season, Millennium style and we hope that you will all be duly inspired to do you bit for the cause and post your letters and postcards to 20th Century Fox before Christmas. To launch the week, Josef has created a beautiful little video celebrating the episode so without further ado, switch on the fairy lights, grab a glass of eggnog and two types of bread and join with me in wishing all Millennium fans out there, A Merry Little Christmas!

I think you will agree with me that that is inspired and as Josef has continually beavered away, week in, week out, in order to increase our presence at Youtube and bring new supporters in our direction (he is well on his way to his videos receiving a hundred views with each new release) please share you thoughts with him on this wonderful festive outing and wish him Merry Christmas in the process.

As promised, each music new release from Josef will be accompanied by a postcard that we urge you to send to Steve Asbell at 20th Century Fox. Making 20th Century Fox aware that we are here to stay and active in our support of a Millennium Movie is a vital way you can help this campaign achieve its ends. We are regularly asked what is the best way to help this campaign and there is no finer way than sending this postcard. The only way we can bring this show back is to make some noise and continue making that noise. Give Frank black the best Christmas present you could possibly give him by helping to bring him back to our screens in 2010.

Send your letters and postcards to FOX:

Twentieth Century Fox
10201 West Pico Blvd.,
Bldg. 88, Room 132
Los Angeles, CA 90035#


As a little extra treat for you good folks (well it is Christmas after all) you can now download a behind the scenes account of the creative process that goes into the creation of the above music video. Simply click on Frank's Christmas tree below to be taken to the download link.