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Ghost Whisperer takes a sharp turn

It’s always risky business when you kill off a character on TV. When the show is Ghost Whisperer, the effect isn’t quite the same. Dealing with ghosts, characters aren’t really gone at all.

“Jim is a character that is the in the core of the storytelling and he is not leaving the show, not in any way, shape or form,” says Kim Moses, one of the executive producers of Ghost Whisperer to SheKnows.

But Jim’s dead, right? He was shot and killed a couple of weeks ago, much to the dismay of the fans who expected it to be the last they’d ever see of actor David Conrad. Fear not. Conrad still has a job and he’s still playing Jim only he’s a ghost trapped in the body of a guy named Sam who has amnesia and so he has no idea who he really is — and neither do I.

What's up with Conrad?!

So what’s the point of the big shake up?

Says Moses and partner Ian Sander, this plot twist was a way to give the fans more of the Jim-Melinda relationship that they adore without taking away from the “ghost” aspect of the series.

“When we started the series four years ago, the pilot opened up on Jim and Melinda’s wedding,” Moses explains. “In the four year journey what we’ve found is that audiences really love their relationship and because we have two immensely popular actors Jennifer Love Hewitt and David Conrad who have amazing chemistry onscreen. And what we wanted to do was give the audience more of them because we’d been hearing from the audience how much they love them.”

But can fans be satisfied by a body swap that only some can see?

Jennifer Love Hewitt on CBS' Ghost Whisperer“This was a way of going back and giving them a courtship, if you will,” says Sander, “in a way that we think is both very dramatic and very exciting. We know that it’s created a whole lot of buzz, and that’s something that we certainly don’t want to shy away from. We just want the audience, of course, to be reassured that it is a way of moving forward in a way that we think they’ll be even more satisfied and excited about.”

So far, the reviews have been mixed. Many find the idea of Melinda courting her own husband in another man’s – possibly unwilling- body, to be creepy. Ironically, Supernatural fans have recently found themselves involved in the same debate as it was revealed that Sam Winchester has been having sex with a woman’s whose body is possessed by a demon.
But Sander isn’t worried. “Unless you stick it out there and try to do something that is brave, you will never do anything great and this is our way of doing that.”

In the end, the producers say they hope that the Ghost Whisperer fans will give this new story a fair chance.

“You must turn the page and see where this mystery is going if you want to be satisfied and all that we saw at the end of last week’s episode was a page in the mystery,” says Sander. “We now encourage you to turn the page and we promise you you’ll both be surprised and satisfied with what’s on the next page and the mystery will be fulfilled.”

So what say you, Ghost Whisperer fans? Are you willing to go along for the ride, or has this series signed it’s own death certificate with this quirky new mythology?

Photo: Cliff Lipson/CBS

December 2, 2008

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