"I say as dark as we need to get to tell the story properly," said TNT programming chief Michael Wright at an August press conference on the show's set. "To be honest that's always our approach. We never want to be gratuitous. If it's germane, you do it. And that really is sort of our rule. This particular series we said to Frank an audience is coming to this with a vocabulary. They see the genre done. So, if you're not authentic, it's easily dismissed. So, our attack, if you will, our approach to Frank was whatever you do, be authentic. Don't be gratuitous, but this is inherently violent story and a sexy story as Frank said, and a pulpy story. That's what makes it so rich. Very high stakes, very big personalities engaged in genuinely life and death conflict. Using that description you understand why a guy in my job is drawn to this story. So, our job is to say to Frank and all these guys, do what you have to do to make it authentic and interesting."
"What he actually said to me was he said, 'I want to give my standards and practices people sleepless nights,'" Darabont added.