'3 Body Problem': What's the deal with everyone smoking?

Multiple characters smoke in "3 Body Problem". Showrunners David Benioff, D.B. Weiss and Alexander Woo told us why.

'3 Body Problem': What's the deal with everyone smoking?
A man sits in a chair smoking a cigarette.

Given that David Benioff, D.B. Weiss and Alexander Woo's sci-fi epic 3 Body Problem is packed full of dazzling visuals, curious clues and intriguing details, the amount of smoking in the show might seem like an odd thing to pick up on.

But seriously, when was the last time you saw so many characters gleefully puffing away — especially indoors?

They're not all at it in 3 Body Problem, but enough of them are that we couldn't help but notice it and wonder about it. Auggie (Eiza Gonzálaz) is smoking when she has that weird encounter with the stranger in episode 1 (among other sessions inside people's homes and offices), and detective Da Shi (Benedict Wong) does it so much that his boss Thomas Wade (Liam Cunningham) has to sack a colleague who complains about him smoking in his office in episode 2.

So why all the smoking? In an interview about the show, Mashable asked showrunners David Benioff, D.B. Weiss, and Alexander Woo to explain.

Why is there so much smoking in 3 Body Problem?

"In some cases it was actually a plot decision," Weiss told us. "In the Auggie storyline, there’s a moment in a scene — across a couple of scenes — where her smoking helps people figure something out what they wouldn’t have been able to figure out otherwise."

He's talking about the fact that the stranger (Marlo Kelly) who lights Auggie's cigarette doesn't show up on any cameras, but – crucially – the flame from her lighter does. This proves to the detectives that there was indeed someone talking to Auggie, but the video footage has been manipulated to edit her out.

With Da Shi, meanwhile, Weiss said that it was more of a character choice.

"People don’t smoke the way they used to — although it feels like in the UK maybe they smoke a little bit more than they do in Los Angeles, for instance — but in the books and in the show he seemed like a bit of a man from a different time," Weiss said. "Like his office looks the way offices used to look, and he’s rumpled and crumpled, kind of like a back alley sort of detective, like the character in the books was.

"And it just felt like the right thing for that character to be doing, that he knows is awful and deadly for him, and even though it’s not the sort of thing you see as much in television as much as you used to, it felt important for him to give you a sense of who he was, and it provided some fun moments, and some nice lighting."

In fairness, you can't argue with the lighting.

How to watch: 3 Body Problem is now streaming on Netflix.

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