Everything about Shoot the Messenger, eh?

Shoot the Messenger weaves a web of danger in Episode 2

Who was driving the black car shadowing Daisy all episode long? That was just one of many questions asked during Episode 2 of Shoot the Messenger on Monday night. By the time the hour had come to a close, the driver stepped out of the vehicle, but only his shoe and leg were shown. I’m guessing hoping we get an answer next week.

Written by Jennifer Holness and Sudz Sutherland, the second instalment furthered the drama introduced last week, as an injured Hassan attempted to lay low and heal, but that wasn’t happening. Meanwhile, violence on the street escalated, as Khaalif sought to avenge Khalid’s murder by targeting a member of a rival gang for the killing. Instead, a young girl was killed in a hail of gunfire and Kevin collared Khaalif for the crime. Pair that with Hassan wanting to meet up with Daisy, and there was a lot going on with that storyline.

I’m quickly realizing that Shoot the Messenger is definitely not the type of series you can just air in the background while reading emails. Not only do the storylines command attention with their intricacies, but the visuals are stunning. Sweeping views of the city at night, a dead girl’s head being slowly pulled out of a congealing pool of blood … you have to watch.


The characters are becoming more fleshed out and complex too. Kevin is a by-the-book cop in some ways, but his relationship with Daisy causes him to push boundaries, perhaps to the point of putting his gig or life in jeopardy if he’s not careful. Daisy, meanwhile, seems to be using her feminine wiles to get her way; she slept with Simon because—as she said—she was “curious.” Now Simon is conflicted—he is engaged to be married, after all—about his feelings for the rookie reporter.

Squeaky-clean Simon seems headed for some dirt too. In a bid to chat with basketball star Orlandio Spence (Jamaal Magloire) about his relationship with Khalid, Simon made a deal with his cousin, sports agent Greggor (Barenaked Ladies’ Ed Robertson) to leak a document to The Gazette‘s sports reporter pressuring the team to sign Orlandio to a new contract. (As an aside, Robertson may not be an actor, but he’s very good in Shoot the Messenger so far.)

Shoot the Messenger has a lot of balls in the air right now and things threaten to get a little confusing. But I’m enjoying the ride I’m being taken on and am excited to see where it goes.

Shoot the Messenger airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on CBC.

Images courtesy of CBC.


Link: Shoot the Messenger’s cast talks block shooting the first season

From Heather M.  of The Televixen:

Link: Shoot the Messenger’s cast talks block shooting the first season
“It was a very difficult and interesting experience but one that I’m so excited that I had, because a month later [I did it again] and I was in my element and I found myself at an advantage because of that experience. It almost makes sense to block shoot at this point. Change [and] the unknown are always things that I embrace. Things that scare me are the things that make me go at it. Everybody really pulled their bootstraps up and said, ‘this is what we’re doing.’” Continue reading.


Comments and queries for the week of October 14

Discussing diversity and Shoot the Messenger

Unless you’re being intentionally ironic, I wouldn’t characterize the guest cast as a “who’s who” of Canadian television. First off, you could name 10 well-established Canadian actors to most Canadians and they’d say “Who?” Second, beyond Nick Campbell your marquis names include former music and pro sports celebrities with not much track laid as actors. It smells of stunt casting to me, which is a sad commentary on the need to add ANY recognizable name to a project, regardless of their requisite skill as actors, in order to raise a show’s profile.

Last, I’m getting a little tired of Sudz and Jennifer talking about diverse casting and storytelling like they somehow have a corner on it. I don’t doubt their struggles early on with an industry slow to evolve and adapt, but diversity has been clearly part of the Canadian broadcaster mandate for a while now, they’re not the sole purveyors. To suggest otherwise demeans the efforts of a lot of industry types, both at the broadcaster and creator level, who have championed this for some time. —Canadian Showrunner


Really? You’re getting tired of me and Jen talking about diverse casting and storytelling? Are you kidding me? If you think you are tired of me talking about it, ask the reporters who lead off their questions to us with the subject. When this is the first and the last thing reporters want to talk about when talking to us—the obviously diverse filmmakers—they will write about it, no matter how much we talk about the challenges of serialized storytelling, and writing all the scripts before production and the challenges that entails for a development budget. No matter how much we talk about working with actors like Alex Kingston, Elyse Levesque and Lyriq Bent, and the rest of our killer cast, one of the main stories that people want to tell when they write about our work is around diversity. Do you honestly think that is all we have to say? Do you honestly think that we think we are the only ones doing work in this area? To write that we think that we are the “sole purveyors” of diversity in Canadian drama shows how little you question the process by how these stories are written, edited and see the light of day, which is one of the things that Shoot The Messenger tries to go behind the scenes to show. Lastly, I do not hide behind any pseudonym. When I write my opinions down on a public forum, I sign my name because I am not afraid for anyone to understand that I am entitled to an opinion, no matter what it is. Can you say the same? —Sudz Sutherland


In an industry that penalizes people for being “off message”? Yup, anonymity required.

Sudz, I’m a fan of your work, I’m a huge supporter of your determination to bring gritty and authentic stories to the public. I’m also heartened you’ve got support from a broadcaster who feels similarly. And I’m sorry you’ve been mischaracterized by the press. The tone of much of the Messenger coverage suggests you and Jennifer are somehow the lone voices at the vanguard of diverse programming and sadly, in my off message opinion, that diminishes the efforts of everyone else who is in those trenches with you. If that’s the media’s fault, then we all need to address that. Is this some white media mea culpa? If they lionize you then that makes their past dismissal of diversity somehow atoned for? I guess taking note of it, even if disproportionately, is better than them NOT highlighting it at all. But I would also like the coverage to be about the quality of the work, not just the diverse subject matter or multi-ethnic casting. What you’re doing, what many of us are doing, can’t be allowed to be talked about like it’s tokenism. If it is then it’s just some pendulum swing to make it seem like the problem has been momentarily compensated for rather than some legitimate progress being made. But maybe I’m putting the proverbial cart before the horse. I actually celebrate what you’ve achieved Sudz and if it came off as anything else then I apologize.

And Greg, I’m impressed by the main cast too. Much more than the musicians and athletes doing cameos. Maybe if the Canadian media focused more on our fine domestic actors we’d have a modest star system in the country that would help draw eyeballs to screens. But that’s a whole other topic. —Canadian Showrunner

Discrepancies in Airport: Below Zero

Just had my first chance to watch this show (Episode 2 in this case). Good show, typical reality formula but being a bit of an airplane/airport geek, this show is somewhat of an interest to me. However, I noticed a couple of anomalies in the production in regards to some inaccuracies which calls into question the validity of the show. There was a glaring error where the subtitles misquoted ground traffic control. Also, a certain type of aircraft was completely misidentified. These errors should not be happening if the show is going to be totally believable. Other than that, I’m actually liking the show. Good characters and a good view into the operation of a major Canadian airport. —Dean


Got a question or comment about Canadian TV? Email greg.david@tv-eh.com or via Twitter @tv_eh.


Jennifer Holness and Sudz Sutherland return to TV with Shoot the Messenger

Jennifer Holness and Sudz Sutherland have been creating gritty, thought-provoking projects for television for years. There was 2009’s Guns, a two-part miniseries for CBC about Toronto detectives following a 23-year-old gun trafficker. Before that was 2006’s Doomstown, a TV-movie documenting the violence in a housing project. Now the writers and executive producers (and real-life couple) are back with Shoot the Messenger.

Debuting Monday, Oct. 10, at 9 p.m. on CBC, the eight-part series stars Elyse Levesque as Daisy Channing, an entertainment reporter at Toronto’s fictional newspaper The Gazette, who’s finally got her big scoop since transferring to the news department: the death of a young Somali man. Eager to impress her editor Mary Foster (Alex Kingston), Daisy makes a rookie mistake, throwing her into a foreign world she’s unprepared for, and turning to co-worker Simon Olenski (Lucas Bryant) for guidance.

“She wants to be in investigative journalism and prove herself,” Levesque says alongside Bryant during a break in filming. “She is massively ambitious to a fault, and receives a phone call about a huge tip that will blow the lid off this town.” Levesque and Bryant just finished filming a scene outside, where Daisy and Simon met to discuss the latest regarding the story. Standing on the top of a high-rise (in real life the TIFF Bell Lightbox complex) with Toronto below them, the danger of what Daisy uncovered hit home. Why was this young man killed? Who is involved in the conspiracies? The only thing she knows for sure is she’s in way over her head.

Lyriq Bent and Elyse Levesque

Complicating things for Elyse even more? She’s romantically involved with the detective on the case, Kevin Lutz (Lyriq Bent). That causes problems during the investigation and could jeopardize his career.

“Kevin wants to be an ordinary dude,” Bent says. “He wants to have a normal life away from work. He’s caring, considerate and thoughtful. And I think his relationship with Daisy is refreshing for Canadian TV and definitely for CBC.”

Shoot the Messenger‘s supporting cast is a whos who of the Canadian television world, including Nicholas Campbell, Ron Lea, Kim’s Convenience leads Paul Sun-Hyung Lee and Jean Yoon, as well as appearances by The Barenaked Ladies’ Ed Robertson, the Toronto Raptor’s Jamaal Magloire and ex-NBAer turned television star Rick Fox.

“He is my dickhead cousin,” Bryant says of Robertson’s role. “He’s a sports agent and he’s really good. I was a huge Barenaked Ladies fan and was looking forward to meeting him and he was humble, funny and fantastic. He told me that all he ever wanted to do when he was growing up was be a rock star and star in one of Sudz’ movies.”

Shoot the Messenger airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on CBC.

Images courtesy of CBC.