Did Bill Hader Write and Direct Every Episode of ‘Barry’?

Though a show about a hitman who wants to become an actor sounds like an unusual crowd-pleaser, Bill Hader’s Barry is officially a critical and commercial success. In the second season, we’ve seen Hader and co-creator Alec Berg take even more chances with the material.

Meanwhile, they’ve found a way to keep fan-favorite Noho Hank (Anthony Carrigan), from being killed. That’s probably because Berg and Hader have such tight control on the story. You see one or the other credited as writer or director (or both) on all the early episodes in the first season.

As Season One went on, Berg and Hader brought in top-notch talent from series such as Atlanta, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and American Horror Story to handle directing duties. But Hader and Berg remain the main creative forces on the show.

Here’s a look at how they’ve divided their duties across the first two seasons.

Hader and Berg directed 9 episodes and have story credit for all 16 episodes.

Of the 16 episodes spread across the first two seasons of Barry, Hader has directing credit on six. That’s the most of anyone. Though Hader hadn’t directed any productions prior to the show, HBO trusted him to get the job done.

It turns out to have been a good bet for the premium network. Fans of Barry might notice Hader’s handiwork on Episodes Two and Three of Season One or the extraordinary, fight-heavy “ronny/lily” (Season Two, Episode Five).

Berg, who has produced and directed Curb Your Enthusiasm and Silicon Valley, has three directing credits across the two seasons. “Know Your Truth” and “Loud, Fast, and Keep Going,” the final episodes of Season One, featured Berg at the helm.

Otherwise, Barry’s third primary director has become one of the most in-demand figures in the business in recent years.

Hiro Murai, best known for ‘Atlanta,’ directed 4 episodes.

Besides Berg and Hader, the director with the most credits on Barry is Hiro Murai. Best known for directing 14 episodes of Donald Glover’s Atlanta, Murai got his start in music videos. (He has Earl Sweatshirt, A Tribe Called Quest, and Childish Gambino credits to his name.)

Murai’s talents were on full display in “The Power of No” (Season Two, Episode Two). After Hank ropes Barry into whacking Esther, he infiltrates the monastery where the Burmese gang resides at night.

The scene where Barry creeps through the empty prayer rooms is as good a sequence as you’ll find on HBO this year. Murai’s steady hand allows the writers to keep the show’s unusual blend of comedy and noir-ish murder plots working.

This creative team has already produced two excellent seasons, and there’s a third coming in 2020. HBO announced it ordered Season Three in the second week of April.

With the April 30 episode, Barry reached its highest gross audience (2.5 million viewers) to date. Clearly, Bill Hader and collaborators made the most out of their shot at HBO.

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