Ted Danson as Michael
“The Good Place” creator Michael Schur deleted one of Michael’s lines in the original pilot because he felt that it would ruin the show’s huge twist at the end of the Season 1 finale. NBC/Ron Batzdorff

To make sure that “The Good Place” wouldn’t give away its huge twist at the end of the Season 1 finale, every script of the NBC comedy was thoroughly vetted. In fact, series creator Michael Schur admitted to deleting one of Michael’s lines in the original pilot even if he wasn’t entirely convinced that it would ultimately reveal the secret that Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani and Jason were actually in the Bad Place all along.

“In the original pilot, when Michael introduces Tahani (Jameela Jamil) and Jason (Manny Jacinto) to Eleanor(Kristen Bell) and Chidi (William Jackson Harper), Michael (Ted Danson) says, ‘The thought of the four of you spending eternity next to each other just fills me with an incredible sense of joy,’” Schur recalled in a recent interview with Fast Company. “And there was something about it, and I was maybe just being paranoid, but I thought it was a little tippy. Anything where our Spidey sense went off that we were maybe tipping our hand, we got rid of it.”

Schur admitted that he was “very nervous” that the twist would leak out ahead of the season finale. “In a weird way, the entire season’s success or failure was going to be based on whether we kept [the] secret,” Schur told Entertainment Weekly earlier this month. “I felt pretty strongly that the season really wouldn’t be considered a success unless we got all the way to the end and no one knew that it happened. … So, I tried not to be super paranoid about it, and I really tried not to go overboard.”

Schur said that both Danson and Bell had known about the secret since Schur pitched the project to them. “We [then] made the decision not to tell the other actors for the simple reason that I didn’t want them to be distracted [or change their performance],” Schur added.

In a separate interview with Entertainment Weekly, Danson admitted that playing that secret as an actor was truly challenging for him. “Usually humor comes from the audience being in on something, and you doing the bad version of a double take or you rolling your eyes and everybody goes, ‘Haha, I get it,’ but there could be none of that,” the three-time Golden Globe winner explained. “And there were no private moments. You could not see my character by himself ever, because by himself he would have lit up a joint and kicked back and killed somebody or something. He would have become very devilish, very evil. So I kind of felt like, ‘Oh dear lord, I’m doing either a really good job, or this is some of the worst acting I’ve ever seen.’ Because you just kind of came in on one note. The note was kind of Willy Wonka; he was always slightly frantic, it felt kind of one-note-ish to me — but by golly, it worked.”

An all new-episode of “The Good Place” (Season 2, episode 3) airs tonight at 8:30 p.m. EDT on NBC.