How Netflix Hit “Maid” Got Made: A Showrunner’s Story

Executive Producer of Netflix’s “Maid,” screenwriter Molly Smith Metzler sat down with The Creative Coalition CEO Robin Bronk in the latest episode of “At Home With The Creative Coalition,” a podcast featuring unplugged and uncensored conversations with today’s biggest stars. In the newest episode, Metzler opens up about how much she loved working with John Wells and the entire cast and crew of “Shameless,” how she took great care to make Alex’s experiences in “Maid” as authentic as possible to real experiences of domestic violence, the unique opportunity to be a producer as well as a writer on “Orange Is the New Black,” and much more. Highlights below.

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Highlights from “At Home With The Creative Coalition” featuring Molly Smith Metzler —

On her love for working on “Shameless” with John Wells and why it was so easy to write: 
“I loved ‘Shameless.’ ‘Shameless’ was my favorite job I think I’ve ever had because it’s just pure comedy. I was the least funny person in the room – I think I was sort of there to help massage the drama stories. You know, to help finding that dramedy. But there were, like, stand-up comedy level comedians in that room, and you just laugh. It is just so much fun. That show was just so much fun to write. Loved it. Loved every moment. Stayed for three seasons and the only reason I couldn’t do the final season was because I was doing ‘Maid’ across the hall… I will say, when you’re working on a show that’s in, like, season eight, nine, 10, you’ve done a lot. You’ve played a lot of stories, you’ve played mom showing up, mom dying, you’ve played sobriety stories… so the big challenge is kind of keeping it fresh and keeping it relevant. But it was always easy to write ‘Shameless’ because John just has such a clear vision of the show. This is the wonderful thing for me about working with John Wells – and I wish for everyone to work in one of his writers’ rooms – you learn that the job of a showrunner is to have this incredible vision and focus. You have to have the answer and you have to know what it is. John knew his characters inside and out – I think he knew how Bill’s story was going to end 10 years ago – you know, he really has a sense of these characters, so it’s an honor to get to write them and bring them to life for an episode or two, but mostly I feel like I was a part of this beautiful thing that John made.”

On why she was surprised while researching domestic violence laws when writing “Maid”: 
“When I started to research these things, it was so eye opening. The courts make everything harder. I was just sort of stunned. The book talks about it a little bit, but the actual experiences that Alex has in the show – most of them are fictionalized, but I wanted the research to be really accurate because I wanted the audience to have the same experience I did reading the book because I learned a lot. It’s a beautiful read so you don’t realize you’re learning so much but I really learned a lot, so I wanted the audience to have that. When I started turning over rocks about some of the laws and, you know, the first thing they ask is ‘bruises,’ and proof, and you have to prove it. You’re the bad guy… So antiquated and unfair. And then if it’s emotional abuse, forget it. I felt like I was making it up, but everything in that show is real. Those are the Washington state laws. It is not considered a form of domestic violence in the state of Washington, it is not considered a form of domestic violence in most states. I spent most of the writing period with my jaw on the desk. It was shocking. People are like ‘why do you think so many people responded to ‘Maid’?’ And I was like, ‘I think there’s millions of us!’ There are so many untold stories. Every woman I know knows someone or has gone through Alex’s experience directly. And I walk around this world as a middle-class white girl believing there’s a safety net there for me if I leave an abuser. There is not. It is not there. There is not a safety net for you if you go through Alex’s experience.”

On getting production experience as a writer for “Orange Is the New Black”: 
“‘Orange’ is intense because it’s a nine-month writers’ room in L.A., but you’re shooting in New York. It was funny to come onto a show in the fifth season – just getting caught up and trying to keep it fresh and trying to fit into the room. What was amazing about ‘Orange Is the New Black’ is that you fully produce your episode when you’re the writer, which is not a given. I have so many really successful TV writing friends who have never been on a set. It’s not a given anymore that you produce your episode. The way Jenji [Kohan] did it, which was, I think, so smart, is that she sends the writer to set, you fully produce it, you’re in editing the whole time, you really have a sense of pride and ownership in your episode. And those skills of being on set, talking to actors, you know, you have to do it to learn it. So I came off of ‘Orange’ really experienced with production which is a gift. A lot of writers don’t get to do that these days.”


More about “At Home With The Creative Coalition”
Hosted by The Creative Coalition CEO Robin Bronk, “At Home With The Creative Coalition” brings listeners intimate portraits, key moments of discovery, and “art and soul” conversations with iconic entertainment industry personalities from the big screen to the boardroom, from L.A. to D.C. Listen now at

Upcoming guests include Justin Bartha (“The Hangover,” “National Treasure”), Kerry Ehrin (“The Morning Show”), New York Times Bestselling Author Susan Isaacs (“Compromising Positions”), Ken Olin (“This is Us,” “Thirtysomething”), Joe Pantoliano (“The Sopranos,” “The Matrix”), Yolonda Ross (“The Chi”), and Reid Scott (“Echo”).

Previous guests include Jason Alexander (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”), Shiri Appleby (“UnREAL”), David Alan Basche (“The Exes”), Asante Blackk (“This Is Us”), Carly Chaikin (“Mr. Robot”), Wilson Cruz (“Star Trek: Discovery”), Alan Cumming (“Schmigadoon!, “The Good Wife”), Ethan Cutkosky (“Shameless”), The Creative Coalition President and actor Tim Daly (“Madam Secretary”), Lea DeLaria (“Orange Is the New Black”), Griffin Dunne (“This Is Us”), Michael Fishman (“Roseanne,” “The Conners”), Jim Gaffigan (“The Jim Gaffigan Show”), Willie Garson (“And Just Like That…”), Judy Gold (“The Other F Word”), Nicholas Gonzalez (“The Good Doctor”), Clark Gregg (“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”), Tony Hale (“Veep,” “Arrested Development”), Evan Handler (“And Just Like That…,” “Californication”), Patricia Heaton (“Everybody Loves Raymond,” “The Middle”), Jon Huertas (“This Is Us”), Jason Isaacs (“Star Trek: Discovery,” “Harry Potter”), Richard Kind (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”), Chad Lowe (“Supergirl”), Aasif Mandvi (“The Daily Show”), Rachel Mason (“Circus of Books”), Marlee Matlin (“CODA”), AnnaLynne McCord (“Let’s Get Physical”), Eric McCormack (“Will and Grace”), Wendi McLendon-Covey (“The Goldbergs”), Katherine McNamara (“Shadowhunters”), Marta Milans (“Shazam!”), Rob Morrow (“Billions”), Kathy Najimy (“Younger”), Haley Joel Osment (“Future Man,” “Entourage”), Bill Prady (“The Big Bang Theory”), Jessica Queller (“Supergirl”), Anthony Rapp (“Star Trek: Discovery”), Mona Scott-Young (“Love & Hip Hop”), Alena Smith (“Dickinson”), Julie Taymor (“The Lion King”), Krista Vernoff (“Grey’s Anatomy”), KT Tunstall (“Black Horse and the Cherry Tree,” “Suddenly I See”), Matt Walsh (“Veep”), Alfre Woodard (“Clemency,” “Luke Cage”), Constance Zimmer (“Good Trouble”), and David Zucker (“Airplane!,” “Scary Movie”). 

More about The Creative Coalition
The Creative Coalition is the premier nonprofit, nonpartisan 501(c)(3) social and public advocacy organization of the arts and entertainment community. Founded in 1989 by prominent members of the creative community, The Creative Coalition is dedicated to educating, mobilizing, and activating its members on issues of public importance. Actor Tim Daly serves as the organization’s President. The Creative Coalition also creates award-winning public service campaigns including #RightToBearArts to promote the efficacy of the arts. The Creative Coalition harnesses the unique platforms of the arts community and entertainment industry to make positive impacts on social welfare issues. For more information, visit