Tag Archives: Anna Paquin

Bellevue: “How Do I Remember?”

Spoiler alert! Do not read until you’ve watched Episode 5 of Bellevue.

“Paths can take you wildly away from anything you recognize and still bring you back to your door.” —The Riddler

And so we will follow the paths of remembering, and witness the pain that comes with discovery and growth as we gather more information and fit these pieces into the puzzle that is Bellevue this week.

We are now into the second half of the series and this episode, entitled “How Do I Remember?,” opens with Annie (Anna Paquin) reminiscing with The Riddler via her home surveillance system. She intimates that he made her life bearable after she lost her father.  Annie then questions The Riddler about Neil Driver (Andreas Aspergis) and Jed (Neil Napier) and their connection to the case. But I am beginning to wonder, is Annie still in control here? Is The Riddler needing a connection to Annie to reinforce his own sense of self worth and therefore manipulating Annie into this relationship? Or is he involved in the case(s) himself? Is he someone who knows Annie and wants to help? And is Annie falling back into the bad habits of her youth? A final cryptic message coupled with a request by The Riddler: “I dropped the stone but you are not seeing the ripples. Tomorrow at the funeral, wear the watch.”

The town attends Jesse’s (Sadie O’Neil) funeral to remember and celebrate Jesse’s life and it is the youth of Bellevue that are embracing the choices that she made. I was touched by the moment when Bethany (Emilia Hellman) stood up despite her mother’s (Janine Theriault) objections and brought a reluctant Danny (Cameron Roberts) back to the congregation. Unfortunately—or fortunately for the purposes of the investigation—Mr. Driver crashes the funeral and accuses Maggie (Victoria Sanchez) of ruining his daughter.

“You deserve this. The world needs a place to channel its evil, so God provides children to kill and he gives them to parents who deserve the pain. You know what you DID!” Alright already,  what did Maggie do?

Following the funeral, Daisy Ryder (Madison Ferguson) returns to the location where Jesse’s body was discovered and the other youth of Bellevue who were closest to Jesse are also there. It is here they celebrate Jesse’s courage and her life. I have now watched this episode twice and I couldn’t help it, I cried both times. Jane Maggs and her team created such an honest reaction, and completely captured the essence of youthful innocence as these teens cope with their loss. Their grief was palpable. This scene was perfect!

Now, on to the investigation. Annie first questions Jed about his MDMA, more specifically, how he and his employees package the drug. He believes there must be a new dealer in town working to compete with Jed. Further questioning of Danny’s father (Peter Miller) confirms Jed’s suspicions. There is indeed a new head that has sprouted to replace the old, and rumour has it if you have any unpaid debts, bad things will come your way. Doing some routine neighbourhood canvassing, Annie questions Maggie Sweetland’s neighbour Cali (Catherine Kidd).

“Sometimes you poke around, you might not like what you find,” and Cali queries Annie about Eddie’s (Allen Leech) well-being. Further conversations with The Riddler suggest Eddie is the connection between Sandy Driver and Jesse Sweetland’s deaths.

Meanwhile, just as Cali intimated, Eddie is in trouble. It appears his pill addiction and lack of employment have caught up with him and now he is indebted to the new dealer in town. To make good on his debt, Eddie is ordered to put the pressure on someone else who is not paying his dues. Annie’s curiosity is further piqued after chatting with Eddie’s latest “friend,” Briana (Amber Goldfarb), so she searches Eddie’s home, only to find Daisy’s dog frozen in a locked freezer. They need to talk! Annie accuses Eddie of planting the drugs in Jesse’s room, but no, Eddie admits that the drugs were stolen from him after Jesse was killed. And this is how you “get your shit together”? I guess The Riddler is right. Eddie is connected since somebody stole the drugs and planted them in Jesse’s room. But who? And, if The Riddler is correct, how is Eddie then connected to Sandy Driver?

FINALLY tonight we get to see Allen Leech’s talents. Up until now Eddie has been more of a supporting role. All of this time I have been waiting to see Leech let loose and tonight I was not disappointed. If you thought the chemistry was good in the parking lot scene two episodes ago, tonight these two ratchet it up a few notches! Eddie’s character is losing control under the pressure. He wants to change and his past keeps catching up to him. Annie convinces him not to play the enforcer and he speaks to Peter (Shawn Doyle). Eddie admits he owned the drugs. Eddie will testify as to his ownership of the drugs and swears this was a one time thing. Eddie returns to buy some time from Cali, letting her No. 2 beat the crap out of him. This is the dynamic moment for Leech’s character. Up until now, both Eddie and Annie have been stagnant within their complicated relationship. Each are so dependent on each other and yet they are not together. Eddie: “You love me too much the way I am. I don’t want to be the way I am anymore.” Eddie has effectively tossed down the gauntlet. If these two are to have a future together, Annie must change her ways too.

Once more Annie connects with The Riddler. She confesses that she felt his presence back at the burned shed. He confesses in kind, admitting that yes, he was there watching her. She pokes the bear, telling The Riddler that really he knows nothing, deliberately antagonizing him and he also admits he doesn’t know who killed Jesse. The Riddler is no longer a source. Annie wants him out of her life and orders a trace. Annie has been playing The Riddler for intel after all. She rules him no longer relevant to the case. The trace leads Annie to the cemetery where The Riddler has left his phone at the grave of Sandy Driver with the message, “You’re not crazy”.

Despite being in the minority, Annie is still convinced Jed is not guilty of killing Jesse, and returns to speak to Maggie one more time. “You are the only one who knows. My kid was killed because of me. Retribution for what I did to her. It all started with me. Sandy,” says Maggie. But Maggie has taken too many pills and collapses. Maggie is rushed to the hospital.

The episode closes with Annie trying to re-establish a connection with The Riddler: “I was wrong, you do know things.”

This was such a convoluted episode. So many twist and turns. Lots of new information, and new connections that fold back onto earlier events. So who do you think is The Riddler? Who do you think killed Jesse Sweetland? How is Jesse’s death connected to Sandy Driver? Let me know in the comments below!

Bellevue airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on CBC.

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Bellevue: Hello Little Light

Earlier episodes of Bellevue have had strong religious undercurrents. That trend does not continue tonight. Tonight focuses on connections. Connections within the cases, connections between the crimes.  Connection across time, and “connections.”

Two warnings underscore this episode. The first echoes from last week, “Don’t trust the guy with the fire in his eyes,” and the second is a memory Annie (Anna Paquin) recalls whilst she is reviewing her father’s psych report: “There is someone who THINKS he loves you …. He is dangerous, you wouldn’t know it to look at him. He might be watching right now.” With that in mind …

Peter (Shawn Doyle), is still Annie’s overprotective, overwrought superior and the protegé of her father, Clarence Ryder (Patrick Labbé). The Riddler warned her of a man with “fire in his eyes,” but is it Peter he is referring, or merely a coincidence? We see Peter get all up in the face of the perv who was the initial intermediary between Annie and The Riddler. He is put on notice: if he comes across The Riddler or any guy even sounding like The Riddler, he is to let Peter know. Clearly, Peter is not our creepy messenger, but is he connected in some other manner? We know Peter deliberately set the shed on fire, destroying evidence, but what of his garage? Or is it simply his duty to a mentor and “trust issues” when it comes to Peter and Annie?

Our suspect comes in the form of the renown drug-dealer Jed “Rainmaker” Martin (Neil Napier of Helix).  The police obtain a warrant to search Jed’s home for evidence after they discovered a large quantity of his trademark “Rainmaker” MDMA in Jesse’s room. Instead, they find Jesse’s boyfriend Danny (Cameron Roberts) crashing there. Police also find false eyelashes and size 13 boots they suspect belonged to Jesse. Is Jed engaging in inappropriate relations with minor boys from the reserve? Annie and Virginia (Sharon Taylor) track Jed down and question him while officers remain at his property continuing their search. They uncover a recently-buried tin containing the other pink Eiffel Tower earring and some sweetgrass. This significant find justifies bringing Jed in for questioning and he is later arrested for the death of Jesse. Despite being “low-lying fruit,” Jed believes he is being set up. A final questioning by Annie reveals Jed knew Jesse didn’t belong in the suit his family are planning to bury him in. The earring was who Jesse was. “She was a good kid.” Jed didn’t kill Jesse.

So how is Neil Driver (Andreas Apergis), father of Sandy Driver connected to everything going on? Suffering from schizoaffective disorder, he routinely confuses Annie for his daughter. Coincidentally, he has been back in hospital for 48 hours; the same period of time since Annie’s last message from The Riddler. Annie investigates his home and the entire house stopped at 12:13 on December 24, 1994. Newspapers from December 26, 1994 (the day after Sandy died), January 14, 1995 (the day of Sandy Driver’s funeral), and September 7, 1995 (when Annie’s father took his own life), are on the table with the words, “One day I will be free,” etched into the table top.

Seeing her name marked in the paper, Annie pays a visit to a forcibly-restrained Neil. Here in the hospital he gives Annie a watch that had been missing since the day Sandy was taken. Earlier that day a man approached him on the hospital grounds, gave him the watch, and then left via the woods. Now Neil is giving it to Annie. Neil is not The Riddler. Annie heads out onto the grounds, goes through the gate and discovers the only riddle of the night: “Time will tell if the bracelet fits.” Earlier, Daisy (Madison Ferguson) had given her mum grandpa’s old hospital band. Now, with this latest clue, Annie queries her daughter. Daisy found it not in the trash, as Annie had assumed, but rather on a pole waiting to be found. So what does this mean, “if the bracelet fit”? Was Clarence Ryder on the right track in his investigation?

Annie returns to the Driver home, and Neil has been released from hospital. He attempts to explain December 24, at 12:13. This is the time when life stopped for Neil Driver: he lost his temper with his daughter. He knew she has been up to something with her girlfriend Maggie (Victoria Sanchez). Is this the connection? “If she had just left us alone my Sandy would not have had to die.” Is the connection between Jesse and Sandy a form of retribution? And how did the person who had the watch know about 12:13?

Another interesting “connection”? The episode opened with Annie setting up some home surveillance and later someone taps into it, and begins to watch Annie.

“Hello little light.”

She disconnects the camera, but later reconnects it with the hope this will again strengthen the bond between she and The Riddler, and by extension may lead to the killer or killers.

A couple mentions: Bethany (Emilia Hellman) is the subject of cyber-bullying by her classmates. Eddie (Allen Leech) does not think the job he had been counting on is going to pan out and despite his feelings for Annie, he is spending a lot of time with Briana Holt (Amber Goldfarb) instead. Finally, did anyone else notice Annie making a connection with Brady Holt (Billy McLellan)? These two had a momentary truce followed by that awkward moment when both parties are asking, “What just happened here?”

Another episode absolutely stuffed, and it is difficult to get it all into one recap and keep it under 1,000 words, something which I oftentimes fail with miserably. This week I may have left out some details but I had to leave room.

FINALLY, I get to mention how beautifully the creators of Bellevue are seamlessly including the LGBTQ2 community within this storyline. Oftentimes, shows have a token gay or bi character and it feels forced; an afterthought, as though producers toss an under-represented character in in order to fill a quota. Bellevue has incorporated trans, gay, lesbian and those who are still questioning their sexual identity and/or preferences, and it feels utterly effortless. Those who are marginalized by society, are often the invisible ones never represented in television/media, or the characters embody only the ignorant stereotypes and are used to drive the storyline itself. Not here. These rich characters are merely a part of the landscape, included, and accepted by mainstream Bellevue. Some of the town may not understand it, but most are not judgmental. Here, it is those who are un-accepting that are the minority and even the suspects. People from the LGBTQ2 who are watching Bellevue are seeing themselves on primetime TV. It is about time.

Bellevue airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on CBC.

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Bellevue: I always feel like somebody’s watching me.

The imagery in the opening moments of tonight’s episode of Bellevue, despite lasting just a few seconds, makes use of some powerful symbolism. Mother Mary is watching over the town of Bellevue.  Then we immediately cut to the crime scene, followed by a close-up of the body bag containing Jesse’s (Sadie O’Neil) remains as it is being zipped up. Provocative? By the end of this episode we we will have more questions than answers so here goes….

Peter (Shawn Doyle) wants to know how Annie (Anna Paquin) found Jesse, so she is compelled to reveal the truth. She shows him both the fake nails and the doll that the Riddler left for her. Once again, Peter is over-the-top pissed with her for getting involved.  Annie believes the two cases are somehow connected. She says, “Jessie was at the church where Sandy’s body was found without fingernails, and I am sent fingernails in a doll dressed like Mary, and told to keep quiet or I won’t learn the truth about either of them.” Annie believes this Riddler guy will only communicate with her but to ensure that connection she must keep quiet; they have a bond. Is Peter afraid for Annie or is he trying to scare her? “Tell me you understand you are talking to a killer now…”  Determined, she re-establishes the pattern of give and receive just as she did when she was a child. Annie leaves the Riddler a gift: “What I found beyond the horizon.”

Meanwhile, Jesse’s mother, Maggie (Victoria Sanchez), turns to Father Jameson (Joe Cobden) in her time of grief. She has just identified her son’s body. Maggie confesses she has never believed in God until now, but, she believes God only punishes. It appears someone else may share this same belief. Maggie and Father Jameson turn and notice the image of St. Joseph has been desecrated; an image ripe with betrayal. Instead of a father cradling his son lovingly in his arms, it now portrays the image of father stabbing his son in the back.

Some advances in the investigation do occur. The coroner reports Jesse suffered blunt force trauma to the head; this would indicate heat of the moment. Now we know Jesse got into a white pick-up truck, so something must have happened in the truck. Who conveniently owns a white pick-up truck? Coach Tom (Vincent Leclerc) the surrogate father to Jesse who also happens to be completely obsessed with Jesse making it big in hockey.

Annie then receives the first of two messages in this episode, the first again in the form of a riddle. “If a hero falls from glory, where can he relive it?” Everything is starting to point at Tom. He is known for his rage, even encourages his team to fight out their differences as a team building strategy. Annie screens practice video and discovers the relationship between Jesse and Tom changed significantly about a month prior to Jesse’s untimely death.

In the meantime, Daisy (Madison Ferguson) attempts to conduct a séance, motivated by her hope Sandy Driver’s spirit can impart some secret from the grave. And she is caught. “Uncle Peter” brings her home and she is forced to endure stern lectures from both he and her mother. Annie and Eddie (Allen Leech) disagree with how to handle it but Annie prevails: Daisy needs time with her friends. Eddie leaves to take Daisy for her sleepover, but in a huff.

Shortly after, someone parks their truck out front of Annie’s—why can we not run the VIN to identify him?—and Annie takes off into the woods thinking this must be the Riddler. She finds the second message, not in the form of a riddle but still adhering to his  theme of dolls. This time it comes in the form of a paper doll chain: “Don’t be Scared.”

Then things get a bit messy. Annie—angry with both Eddie and Peter—heads to the Rattlesnake Bar to blow off some steam and hits on some random guy to make Eddie jealous. Her plan works and they hook up in the parking lot. How Hot Was That Scene? OOOF! Whilst still in their afterglow, Annie spots an old payphone and checks it out. Jesse’s jersey number is scratched into the paint. Jesse was there. Phone records need running down. Eddie again leaves in a pique. Evidently, Annie’s obsessions are a sore spot.

While all of this is going on, Peter returns to the shack at Clear Horizons, setting it on fire and burning  the fake fingernails as well. So, are we to believe Peter is behind all the creep stuff? Is he fabricating this facade in an effort to get Annie to depend on him more? What is his motivation to deliberately destroy evidence? Like I said at the top, I feel as though the writers are trying to get us to believe Peter is behind some of the underhanded events but it just feels too early in the story to outright convict him at this point.

The focus then shifts to Coach Tom. Jesse’s boyfriend Danny (Cameron Roberts) reveals Tom took Jesse to a motel and whatever happened that night is what caused Jesse to hate Tom. Peter and Annie visit the hotel and learn that Tom bought a hooker for Jesse, to get him to “man up!” Anne later visits with Tom’s wife, Jackie (Marianne Farley), and she reveals they are not really together. She is aware of Tom’s visits to this hooker. Peter calls Tom down to headquarters and subjects him to Peter and Annie’s good cop/bad cop questioning. They let Tom know that the phone records from the Rattlesnake confirm Tom got a three-minute call at 12:30 a.m. the night Jesse was killed. Tom denies any involvement and Jackie provides his alibi.

With that dead end, Annie revisits the hooker who shares some interesting information about Tom. Not only did he deliberately get himself injured in a traffic accident, ending his career as a hockey player, but he keeps the old sign the city erected in his name. It is hidden in the basement of the arena where he relives his glory through his team and through Jesse. Annie heads there and discovers the sign but someone locks her in. Whoever it is pours gasoline, allowing it to seep under the door.

Remember that image of Joseph stabbing his son in the back that Maggie and Father Jameson discovered in the church? Seems the Riddler wants Annie to tie that image to Coach Tom. Apparently, Tom played Joseph opposite Sandy Driver in the Christmas pageant the year Sandy was brutally murdered. Coincidence?

OK, so back to the gasoline at the door. Annie confesses to whomever is outside that door. She assumes it is the Riddler. She tells him she trusts him but she was hurt and lost after he left her 20 years ago. His response? “Don’t trust the guy with the fire in his eye.” Annie manages to break out of the room and runs to Peter who just happens to be watching his garage burn down. “Goddam, kids” he says.

WHEW!!! Like I said at the top, we are left with more questions than we started with. What is Peter’s story? Can Annie trust him or does she need to heed the Riddler’s warning? Is the Riddler perhaps Sandy Driver’s father Neil ( Andreas Aspergis) who is now off his meds? Did Tom kill Jesse? Is he behind Sandy Driver’s death too? How does the Riddler know all of these details if he is not the killer? So is the Riddler also the killer? I have not got a clue yet myself. But I am having too much fun watching each layer as they are unveiled to me! And I cannot wait to find out what happens next either!

Let me know who you think is behind the killings and who you think the Riddler is in the comments below.

Bellevue airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on CBC.

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Bellevue: Dolls and Riddles and Death, Oh MY!

Here we are at the conclusion of Episode 2 of Bellevue—written by Jane Maggs, produced by Diandra Yoselevitz and directed by Adrienne Mitchelland we are left with many questions. But first, here is a rundown of what we know from last week’s premiere episode:

Our story takes place in the mining town of Bellevue, a town that has fallen on hard times. Det. Annie Ryder (Anna Paquin, most recently from True Blood) is a single mom to Daisy (Madison Ferguson).  Daisy’s father, Eddie Roe (Allen Leech of Downton Abbey fame), is still very much a part of their livesseems this couple is the Lucy and Desi of Bellevue. As a child, Annie’s life was forever altered when her father, also a police officer, took his own life following his inability to solve the case of Sandy Driver, a teen brutally murdered in Bellevue. That case is nicely summarized for us by Daisy in a history presentation for school. We also discover that, following her father’s death, Annie received lettersriddles reallyfrom someone posing as her father. This creep essentially stole Annie’s childhood, resulting in a lifetime battling with self-harm, be it a  physical manifestation or emotional. I am very curious to see how the religious metaphors are going to play out in conjunction with childhood innocence and the duality of good versus evil.

A police investigation is launched following the apparent disappearance of Jesse Sweetland (Sadie O’Neil), the town’s star hockey player who rumour has it is reconsidering his gender identity. Annie Ryder is leading the investigation.

With this new case, the creep of Annie’s youth returns, and the riddles begin anew. “When someone else ate, you became full of me. What am I? Find me where there is none.” There is no “original sin” at the old derelict teen party hang-out “Immaculate Conception” church. We head to the old church and discover that perhaps Jesse’s absence has some religious connection. Even conversion therapy is hinted at.

Episode 2 delves deeper into the case. More leads are discovered and we also gain insight into the complexities that are Annie.

First, some clarification may be needed with respect to Immaculate Conception. It is oftentimes confused with the Doctrine of Incarnation, which covers the birth of Jesus. Immaculate Conception refers to Mother Mary’s conception wherein God blessed Mary at the time of her conception, preserving her soul from the stain of original sin and preparing her to carry the Son of God in the future. I have yet to watch any episodes beyond the first two as I write this, but I have a strong feeling this distinction may prove important as we move forward.

At any rate, this episode picks right up with Annie and confirmed bachelor Chief Peter Welland (Shawn Doyle of Frontier) back at Immaculate Conception, to find all of the blood/paint and barbed wire gone. Also missing is “Alfie” the clown, a figurine Annie had left for her father/creep as a child. Annie is now convinced the “asshole that gave me riddles” is back and shares that information with Peter. Peter’s reaction to the discovery the creep left a message on Annie’s rear windshield while Daisy was in the car demonstrates his long-standing loyalty to Annie. What we don’t know yet is why. Peter believes this guy from Annie’s past has nothing to do with Jesse and orders her off the case; he is handling it personally. Annie believes creep is watching her but does not explain the message delivery system fully; creep messes with her mailbox each time he leaves a new message in the forest for Annie.

We rejoin Annie as the search party is convening, providing a nice foil to learn about the various townspeople. Annie speaks with Jesse’s mother Maggie (Victoria Sanchez of 19-2), but when she spots Father Jameson (Joe Cobden) leading a prayer session, Maggie physically attacks him, naming him responsible for her son’s disappearance. Father reveals he has an opinion regarding Jesse’s “sickness.” But who is the one whose soul is troubled here? Later, we discover Maggie has an ongoing physical relationship with the Father and he permits her advances in the sanctuary. Seems the Father is also a proponent of self-mortification; to atone for his own sinful nature.

Mayor Mansfield (Janine Theriault) is trying to keep the town calm in light of the both the state of high unemployment and this disappearance. Seems she is not getting along with her own daughter Bethany (Amelia Hellman) who as it turns out is secretly attracted to Jesse as a female, much to the dismay of her boyfriend, Jacob (Robert Naylor of Cardinal). Annie catches Bethany searching the crime scene for something small that proves to be an Eiffel Tower earring Bethany tore from Jesse’s ear at the time of his disappearance. After speaking with Bethany, Annie returns to her car and discovers a doll in her backseat, dressed to represent the Virgin Mary.

This latest gift leads Annie to question if the Sandy Driver case her father was unable to solve is somehow linked to Jesse’s disappearance. Sandy’s body was found dressed as the Virgin Mary. Inside a tear in the doll’s leg, Annie finds intact fingernails wrapped in plastic, presumably those that were missing from Sandy Driver’s body and never recovered. Note where on a women’s corresponding anatomy this tear exists on the doll. Coincidence??

Police start to put the scene together and question the boys from Jesse’s hockey team. Their line of questioning leads to Jacob admitting to beating Jesse and witnessing Jesse getting into a white pickup truck.

Another message from creep is left for Annie: “What is the thing that travelers pursue. Hard to hunt; hard to view. The nearer you get the faster it runs from you. There you will find a fish out of water.” Travelers reach out for “New Horizons,” the remnants of a psychiatric hospital, established in 1854. The site now houses a small shack, where Annie quickly assumes Sandy Driver was held, and nearby is a small pond where Annie discovers Jesse’s body.

WHEW! That episode had a ton of stuff happening.

A few of the questions remaining: Who is creep? What is the connection between Sandy Driver and Jesse Sweetland? Why is there a connection between Annie and the two cases? What connection does Father Jameson have to Jesse? Will Eddie be able to protect Annie? What is behind Peter’s protective nature over Annie and Daisy, and why is he so emphatic she not investigate the creep/riddler?

Let me know your theories in the comments below.

Bellevue airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on CBC.

Feature image courtesy of CBC.

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Bellevue: Producers and stars Anna Paquin and Shawn Doyle talk CBC’s darkest drama

Let’s get this out of the way right now. Bellevue isn’t a feel-good drama. You won’t walk away from it whistling and snapping your fingers. You may very well want to retreat to a corner, curl up and rock slightly. It’s CBC’s darkest drama, akin to fantastic shows from the UK and Netherlands like Hinterland, Shetland, Broadchurch, The Fall and Wallander. And that’s exactly why you should be tuning in.

The eight-part Bellevue, debuting Monday at 9 p.m. on CBC, seems like it should be a traditional whodunit: Det. Annie Ryder (Anna Paquin) is called in to investigate when a teenager goes missing in her small town of Bellevue. She and police chief Peter Welland (Shawn Doyle) dig for clues and uncover plenty of secrets. But the secret teen Jesse Sweetland (Sadie O’Neil) is keeping—that he wants to transition to female—is just the beginning. Annie’s past is fraught with tragedy. Her father killed himself when she was a girl and, soon after, she started receiving mysterious notes signed by him. Now her past is intersecting with the present because notes addressed to her are starting to show up again.

Filmed partly in Thetford Mines, Que., the blackened hills—the area used to be an asbestos mine—night scenes and blue filter exude a sense of dread that crosses the line into the downright scary. Bellevue is a town struggling to survive and not everyone living there is nice.

We spoke to series creators and executive producers Jane Maggs and Adrienne Mitchell, and stars Anna Paquin and Shawn Doyle about Bellevue:

Jane, I understand Bellevue was a little different before you brought it to Adrienne. How was it different?
Jane Maggs: It was a little smaller. There was still a mystery and a disappearance, Annie and her relationship with her family was a very strong part of the series, and a mysterious person from her past that comes back. That was the kernel of the story. What we did with Adrienne was make the world bigger and, in some ways, more relevant. We brought a lot more of the town into it and making it more complex.

Adrienne Mitchell: Together we also probed what it would be like to have the character that was missing be the hockey hero and also struggling with gender identity. I read Jane’s initial pilot while I was on a flight and what Jane brought to it was that these characters were all there and had this authenticity and specificity that leapt off the page and felt real. I read a lot of scripts and don’t often see that kind of sophistication.

Aside from the eerie moments and scariness, Bellevue asks some serious questions about sexual identity and religion.
Jane Maggs: The questions around identity came about because we wanted to explore what it was like to be different in a small town. It’s not the same as being different in a big city. We explore that through Jesse and other people in the town, including Annie herself. As for religion, in Bellevue the church has a bit of an archaic form there. The people have their checklist of values they believe in and live by and those don’t alway line up with what it means to be a good person.

How is Annie viewed by the townspeople? Is she seen as damaged goods after everything she’s been through?
Jane Maggs: It depends on who you ask, but I think to the masses there is an element of damaged goods to her. Everybody knows her history and she grew up there and flailed in front of people. She was wild and made a lot of mistakes in front of people; they have their view of her and it goes back years. I think Peter, her superior, and Eddie [Allen Leech], her partner, have different views of her.

What was it about the scripts that you read that attracted you to Bellevue?
Anna Paquin: The scripts are very, very well-written. Jane is a wonderful writer. They’re complex, rich, smart and detailed and like most things, I was sent a script for the pilot. I read it and was like, ‘Well, what happens next!?’ Literally, over the course of a few hours, I was emailing, asking for the next one and the next one. I got to Episode 4 and there were no more scripts left. Then I asked, ‘OK, when can I meet with these people?!’ [Laughs.] It’s not just that the plot kept me engaged, it’s a very rich and complicated character. She occupies a world that is seemingly a nice, small town. But, like any town, there are dark things that happen. She lives life on the edge and is passionate in a way that is reckless, but it all comes from a very good place.

What about you Shawn?
Shawn Doyle: I wasn’t that interested, to be honest. I’ve played a lot of cops, as you know. With cops, you have to go through all of the procedural stuff because it’s part of the story but it’s only engaging to an actor to a certain extent. But then I read the scripts and they were very good. I had faith in what they told me. The didn’t tell me exactly what was going to happen. And, in fact, once Anna and I started working together, based on our connection they started to extrapolate the storyline based on that and created back story and a way forward based on what they were seeing from us, which was exciting. My character grew very complex and presented an interesting challenge.

What can you say about the relationship between Peter and Annie?
Anna Paquin: Peter was a young cop and sort of mentored by Annie’s dad. As we get further into the mystery surrounding this missing teenager in present-day, there are aspects and elements of the circumstances surrounding the death of my dad that come to light that are challenging to our relationship. He has taken on looking after Annie’s well-being in a bigger sense.

Shawn Doyle: As the story deepens and Annie finds out more, we begin to understand the reasons why I’ve taken such care to take care of her and guide her and become almost a father figure to her. The reasons behind that become more apparent.

Thetford Mines adds another character to this story.
Adrienne Mitchell: It’s an interesting way to depict the dark shadow hanging over the town. It’s a town in transition, they don’t know how they’re going to survive. They are kind of fossilized like the asbestos mountains are. The woods are always moving, and they can be beautiful and fucked up at the same time. Those, visually, are two things playing off each other.

Bellevue airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on CBC.

Images courtesy of CBC.

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