Netflix's sweat-soaked family drama Bloodline has had a somewhat rocky road. Despite critical acclaim and several Emmy nominations (including a win for Supporting Actor Ben Mendelsohn), the show has never quite picked up the same cultural buzz as some of the streaming service's other offerings. But Bloodline was renewed for Season 3 nonetheless, with creator Todd A. Kessler announcing at the time that he had a five- or six-season plan for his series. But just a few months after that, in September of last year, Netflix suddenly announced that the upcoming third season would be the show's last. Why won't Bloodline return for Season 4? And will viewers be unsatisfied by the show's abrupt ending?
According to to The Hollywood Reporter, which first announced Bloodline's cancellation, the reason for Netflix's sudden decision had something to do with Florida's tax incentives, which had made it cheap for the show to shoot its first two seasons in the Sunshine State — and which unfortunately ended between the second and third seasons. Kessler himself had acknowledged this advantage to THR at the show's Season 2 premiere in June, telling the publication that, "We decided to set the show [in Florida] because it's crucial to what the show is, not because of the tax incentive, but it does affect things financially for us and the show will be challenged because of that. It makes things more difficult."
At the same time, Kessler (who also created Damages for FX) was still hopeful for his show's future. "When we pitched it and we thought about it, we were thinking five to six seasons down the line because we wanted to make sure it could hold that much material," he told THR. "So we certainly have ideas for where everything could go and hopefully where everything will go."
However Netflix's decision came to pass, it appears to have happened in enough time for Kessler and his fellow writers to adjust their plans for Season 3, turning those 10 episodes into a makeshift swan song for the series. Despite his previous desire for up to six seasons, Kessler isn't afraid that his fans will be dissatisfied with how the show ends — even if it's sooner than he had anticipated.
"I think we're really happy with the end," Kessler said to reporters at a Netflix press junket this month. "I think there are a lot of emotional surprises. Season 3 goes pretty deep into character and emotion, so I think that will be very satisfying. Or I hope it will be."
He seemed to have a positive attitude about his show's premature cancellation, telling reporters that, "It was very exciting to know this is it, and how do we wrap it up in an entertaining way that gives all of the characters a conclusion? To know that it was the final one was really a shot in the arm for all of us because it made me appreciate every moment. Overall we're very happy and think it's a great, entertaining ride that will hopefully lead to a lot of conversation among the fans. Overall it really feels like a complete piece, and I think that's the goal of storytelling."
Cast member Norbert Leo Butz (who plays hapless screw-up Kevin Rayburn), echoed Kessler's sentiments. "I think [fans] will be satisfied," he predicted. "I think the show ends. I think it's honest. I don't think it's manipulative. It ends, and like Todd, said it's a very, very hard thing to do. But I think it's really satisfying for people who have put in a lot of hours."
The fact that Bloodline is ending so soon might not be satisfying to the show's many fans — but at least it sounds like the finale itself won't leave viewers hanging. The end of the Rayburn family saga begins when Season 3 debuts on Netflix on May 26.
Additional reporting by Martha Sorren.