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Scott D. Pierce
Scott D. Pierce writes about television for the Salt Lake Tribune. Vice president of the Television Critics Associationn, he's covered TV in Utah since 1990.

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(Scott D. Pierce | The Salt Lake Tribune) The creators of HBO's "Big Love," Mark Olsen, left, Will Scheffer, and actor Bill Paxton.
"Big Love" finale was surprising and emotional

"Big Love" wrapped things up on Sunday night, and I liked it. I really liked it.

(Spoilers ahead if you haven't watched it yet.)

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Any show that provides a big surprise gets bonus points. And Bill's murder surprised me. It certainly didn't come out of the blue, as some have suggested. It made sense in the context of the show.

But, until just before the gunshots sounded, I wasn't expecting it. Until I saw where the bullets entered Bill's chest, I didn't know he was going to die.

And the flash-forward to 11 months after the murder worked well. We got to see where all the characters were, what they were doing - and that they were still a family.

I know several people who cried in the final moments. And, yes, I did get choked up. Both because of the events unfolding on the screen and because it was the end of the show.

I'll miss spending time with the characters. And I'll miss the show's creators/executive producers, Craig V. Olsen and Will Scheffer, who are great guys.

(The good news is that they're working on new projects for HBO. Can't wait.)

I'm also convinced that watching "Big Love" is a somewhat different experience for those of us who live in Utah. What others see as lapses of reality ring true for us.

The world inhabited by the Henricksons isn't where we live, but it's a very close parallel universe. A place that we recognize, with events that closely follow our own.

It's a heightened reality, to be sure. But would be hard to create events in the Utah State Legislature a whole lot crazier than what really goes on there, for example.

This is the only time in television history that a weekly, scripted series has been set in Utah. And, while "Big Love" was filmed almost entirely in Southern California, Olsen, Scheffer & Co. absolutely caught the spirit of what it's like to live here.

I feel like we've lost neighbors. People we grew close to. People we'll miss.

Even Nicki ...

••••••••••••

Several times in the past few days I've been asked if I think "Big Love" is anti-Mormon. And my unhesitating response is - no.

I have personally known people like almost all the characters in "Big Love." Including the LDS characters.

There are some wonderful people in Utah. People of high moral character who would do anything to help others. The best people you could ever hope to meet.

And there are people who don't match that description. Judgmental, self-righteous, vindictive, obnoxious jerks. And some of them are LDS.

Some of the Mormon characters in "Big Love" were the former. Some of them were the latter. Because you can't have scripted drama without conflict.

But the mix of characters was just a reflection of reality.

And, no, I don't think reflecting reality is anti-Mormon.



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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