'Emergence' writer from Chicago reflects journey from South Side to Hollywood

CHICAGO (WLS) -- ABC's "Emergence" is back, and a Chicago writer who hails from the South Side talked about the many messages and plot twists of this breakout drama.

Kendra Chanae Chapman was behind one of the latest twists form this sci-fi thriller, in which a trusted character proved to be artificial intelligence.

"I wrote it and read it 15,000 times, but seeing it in editing - he glows - it was like, oh my God, it's insane. I am still surprised by it," she said.

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More surprising story lines are expected from South Side-born Chapman. A Jones College Prep and Carnegie-Mellon grad, she took a chance after college and headed for Hollywood.

"My dad drove my car out by himself and moved to LA," Chapman recalled "I've been there for 8 years and I climbed the ranks as an assistant, and now I am writing. And 'Emergence' is the second show I've been staffed on. I am in the beginning of my journey but I love it."

Aside from mystery, "Emergence" is also a show about divorce, co-parenting and fostering.

I think it's really fun to be part of a project that is highlighting that type of theme and, yeah, I think the themes of family go a lot deeper than family shows," said star Allison Tolman, who plays Chief Jo Evans. "And so getting to have these themes of family wrapped up in this sci-fi show is really fun and also to test the boundaries of what family means."

"We try to prioritize that and not lose that as we are telling this huge sci-fi story," Chapman added.

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Chapman also had a message for aspiring Chicago writers.

"My parents grew up in Englewood and Gresham," she said. "If I can do it and make it out here in LA, all the people can do it!"

"Emergence" airs 9 p.m. CT on ABC7.
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