Were there any other James Marsdens? People who stayed on the wishlist and never came off?
Mandel: Jennifer Lawrence is a huge fan of Veep, and we reached out to her to play Richard Splett's First Lady. [Laughs.] Unfortunately, she couldn't do it, but we had this dream of Richard walking [into Selina's funeral] with a very stately Jennifer Lawrence. She would have just been a glorified extra, but it made me laugh tremendously.
For obvious reasons, Trump has made political comedy and, specifically, satire tougher. What was your strategy in dealing with that going into this season?
Mandel: Obviously, this is a very different season of our show than others. The show and the characters had to react to Trump, even though Trump doesn't exist in our world -- because let's stay agnostic: If you like him, if you hate him, whichever it is, you have to agree he has changed a lot of things. He's changed the way campaigns go, the way the president behaves, the use of Twitter, a lot of what we considered to be the norms of the presidency.
So sometimes when you go back and watch earlier seasons of Veep -- and by the way, by earlier seasons, I mean even Season 5 when she's the President -- they seem old and quaint. They're not bad in any way, shape, or form, but they might as well be from the 1800s. It just seems like a different era -- where Selina Meyer tries to do something, she publicly screws up, she pays the price. She's constantly, as they say in the first episode, "hoisted by her own retard," and yet with Trump he's constantly victorious. I mean, he gets accused -- I won't say of tax fraud, but certainly, he hasn't paid taxes in 10 years -- and pats himself on the back.
So I think that's the real reflection you are seeing in this final season -- trying not to do Trump, but trying to do the symptoms that led to Trump and the results of Trump. I kept trying to imagine how one would look back on this time of Trump, and then, if this is what people are going to think about this time, how do I embrace that to put that into Selina Meyer's world?
Speaking of Trump, I was really loving the "kill her" runner this season. I could've done without Trump saying it for real about immigrants down in Florida. But that was a true fave [Veep joke] of mine.