'Tacoma FD': Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme Update Writing Schedule, COVID Challenges Following Season 3 Renewal (Exclusive)

For two seasons, actors Kevin Heffernan and Steve Lemme (Super Troopers, Beerfest) have portrayed firefighters in the comedy series Tacoma FD on truTV. The Season 2 finale airs Thursday, but both men are hard at work writing even more outrageous episodes. TruTV recently renewed Tacoma FD for a third season, and the duo is striving to produce even more entertainment while dealing with COVID-19 and its impact on the industry.

Speaking exclusively with PopCulture.com, Heffernan and Lemme provided an update on Tacoma FD’s upcoming third season following its recent renewal. The adventures of the Washington state-based firefighters will continue in the rainy Pacific Northwest city, albeit with some changes. Several locations are no longer available due to health and safety concerns and certain guest actors can’t currently travel to Los Angeles. However, both Heffernan and Lemme are optimistic about the group of writers and the ideas they have for Season 3.

“This is our first week. We've kind of assembled the writers. We have some new writers, they're joining us,” Heffernan told PopCulture. “We're bringing them up to speed. We're just in the very early stages where we're just batting ideas around. Steve and I have been collecting a lot of stories. We collect a lot of stories from firefighters.”

As Lemme explained, the process has been very different in 2020 due to the coronavirus. Instead of meeting face-to-face in a large room and batting ideas around the table, the writers are meeting over Zoom. The process has not been entirely ideal, but the Tacoma FD writers have enjoyed more relaxed hours. They have longer lunch periods and end their days earlier due to potential burnout from staring at screens too long. They have also expanded their ranks while crafting the next 13 episodes, which Lemme said was to add more diversity to the team in order to mix up the process.

“We have two new women in the room this year. We're actually still interviewing people,” Lemme explained. "Truthfully, it's important to mix things up and get different voices, and so that's something we're really embracing and we're going for it." Heffernan added that there isn’t an ideal size of writer’s room that they shoot for, but they generally keep the group around seven or eight. He said that anything bigger gets a little unwieldy and a little out of control.

Part of the writing process for Lemme and Heffernan is looking back at the show’s first two seasons and figuring out the best direction to take certain characters. Tacoma FD has put the group of firefighters in very unique situations and even stranger outfits. For example, one of the main firefighters — Ike Crystal — thought he turned into a supernatural being after another person bit him under a full moon. These characters have also dressed up in wild rave outfits, put out a fire in a haunted house and given CPR to a cat. The question is how will Lemme and Heffernan top these scenarios in Season 3?

“That's the challenge right now. I have to say, we've got five episodes that we've lightly outlined already, and they're actually, I think, all pretty outrageous right now,” Lemme answered. “We continue to build and pick up with these characters who now we're getting to know very well. That's the challenge for us, but we've got great writers and it's going well.” He then added further context by explaining that many of their storylines actually come from real-life firefighters. These first responders provide more and more outrageous stories the longer that Tacoma FD is on the air, and the writers find ways to pay homage to them in the various episodes.

Asked about potential storylines involving the Tacoma Police Department and another athletic competition in the long-running rivalry, Heffernan and Lemme did not want to spoil anything. They are well aware that the fans love seeing Jamie Kaler, Maria Russell and Jimmy Tatro, whether they are boxing or playing softball. Bringing the police officers back is certainly an option for Season 3, but Heffernan and Lemme won’t make any guarantees just yet. Instead, they will build some anticipation while continuing to write the upcoming episodes.

While Lemme and Heffernan are still focused on Tacoma FD’s third season, they are also spending time working on two other films. Super Troopers 3 is a highly-anticipated project for fans of Lemme, Heffernan and the Broken Lizard crew, but it may not surface for quite a while. However, the duo did tease another project in the works that is an entirely fresh experience. This untitled film will actually create excitement among fans of a different comedic troupe.

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Super Troopers 3 is probably in the second or third draft, which is early for us,” Lemme said. “We do like to do like 25 to 35 drafts of scripts, so I think it's going to be a little while before we actually shoot it. The other one, I won't give away the plot, but I will say it's kind of more historical, in the vein of some of those Monty Python movies when they were in medieval times. Might be our little homage to Monty Python. That script is pretty far along. I wouldn't be surprised if we shoot that one first.”

The Season 2 finale of Tacoma FD airs Thursday night at 10 p.m. ET on truTV. Those new to the series can watch the series on-demand with a cable subscription. While fans tune in for the finale, Heffernan and Lemme will continue writing for roughly the next 12 weeks.