Tag Archives: Chris Haddock

Link: Chris Haddock talks The Romeo Section + “Our Future World” preview

From Heather M. of The Televixen:

Link: Chris Haddock talks The Romeo Section + “Our Future World” preview
“I think [there’s a fear] about a two-page scene with big chunks of dialogue [being] boring. Monologues delivered by excellent actors are compelling. When we start shooting them, they really seem to go by much quicker than they look on the page. It’s putting faith in drama and in actors and the audience that if they’re drawn to this type of show and they like the discussion of ideas [they’ll be happy].” Continue reading.

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The Romeo Section advances the plot in Episode 2

Last week, I wrote that I’d enjoyed Episode 1 of The Romeo Section as it headed into Season 2 and I was going to tune in for at least one more episode. I checked out Wednesday’s new instalment and can honestly say I’ve been hooked.

Maybe it’s because I was buried under a deluge of new and returning fall television shows last season—a good problem to have when you’re running a website that covers the genre exclusively—maybe I just wasn’t ready for it, or maybe I’m just liking the angle Chris Haddock has taken in the sophomore season. Whatever it is, I’m all in, especially when it comes to Wolfgang and Norman.

“The Legwork” continued the odd couple’s investigation into the thwarted terror attack at the baseball stadium. Norman’s paranoia and suspicion into anything connected with the case was a nice juxtaposition with Wolfgang, who stressed coincidences do occur. But as the pair interviewed several people associated with the case—the homicide cop who was first on-scene, the coroner who was stopped from analyzing Mustafa’s body, the security guard who shot him in the street—it became clear this wasn’t an open and shut case. City cops giving way to the RCMP is one thing, but the RCMP being pushed out for another federal group? Something is definitely going on, and it may involve folks with high standing in the government. Norman considers it dangerous enough to tear the notes he’d made out of his book and think about what to do with them. Again, I’m all in on these two and their partnership. I couldn’t wait to see who they were going to talk to next and what thoughts they’d have once they did.

Lily has made her next chess move. She’s working her way into Mr. Sproule’s life—a glass of wine in a safe house will do that—and he’s promised a cushy position for her once his promotion goes through. His one condition, to stop communicating with Bill, puts Lily in a tight spot and I can’t help but think she’s going to be a plaything for both men. After this week’s tease, I want to see more.

Rufus’ story, meanwhile, has gotten a lot more enjoyable. Now that Benny is dead, Rufus quickly moved to fill the hole and took over drug running. This, of course, gives him the chance to move a lot more product and keep the movie funded. I like it when Rufus is a man of action rather than spouting clichés, and what’s going on now is great. The only plot I don’t enjoy at this point are the movie scenes being filmed that introduce the drug money plot. It may end up being important later on—scratch that, I know it will—but at this point it’s an unnecessary distraction.

The Romeo Section airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on CBC.

Image courtesy of CBC.

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Link: Chris Haddock and The Romeo Section Cast Preview Season 2

From Heather M. of The Televixen:

Link: Chris Haddock and The Romeo Section Cast Preview Season 2
“In the first season, you see him managing a few different things. This year, he’s more focused with this challenge of trying to get to the bottom of a case that seems suspiciously like a terror incident that was perhaps manufactured or influenced by insiders in government or the administration of government. It’s very ingenious the way Chris has written it. I think it’s going to be satisfying for people who did see Season 1; I don’t think it’s going to be hobbling for anyone who didn’t.” Continue reading.

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Chris Haddock finds the heart of The Romeo Section for Season 2

CBC’s spy drama The Romeo Section returns for its second season tonight, and creator Chris Haddock sounds as relieved as his fans. “It wasn’t a sure thing. I’m grateful to be back.”

The public broadcaster’s last fall season didn’t get off to a great start, but both Romeo and This Life were given a second chance and subtly retooled to allow new viewers to come aboard. Haddock feels Romeo found its feet about halfway through the first season. “I feel like I’ve figured out where the real guts and strength of the show is and I’m going to try to prove it. It’s a little more focused. I found last year I probably had one too many storylines.”

Asking audiences to pay attention to multiple threads weaving into an elaborate pattern has been his style since the heydey of Da Vinci’s Inquest, when he recalls people asking, “are you ever going to wrap up these storylines?”

“It took time for the audience to get used to it and love that style. Some of the actors used to complain, ‘are we ever going to solve this case?’ But I find the stories take ahold of me and I keep digging and asking questions and finding that good vein.”

A chat with Haddock feels less like an interview and more like paying attention to multiple threads weaving into an elaborate conversation, with the PR person signalling the end just as a network might cancel a show on a cliffhanger.

Speaking of Intelligence, Haddock confirms The Romeo Section grew out of elements of that short-lived CBC series that had never completely left his system. Nearly 10 years after the cancellation he still fields questions about whether it might come back, but his James Dean response is: “Live fast, die young, leave a good-looking corpse.”

He’s been around the industry for a long time and has the creative freedom and come-what-may attitude to prove it. He knows it’s harder to find an audience in this time of “peak TV” than when Da Vinci was on the air, added to the ever-present competition from U.S. shows and lack of a U.S.-style promotional infrastructure, such as the late-night talk show circuit and glut of entertainment magazines. “I enjoy all the challenges,” he says. “I don’t panic over things that may have panicked me in my first years.”

“I was in a state when I began Da Vinci where I’d been writing pilots and movies in L.A. but my domestic life was a disaster, I was trying to get my kids,” he says. “I had this great attitude that I didn’t set out to have which is yes, this show is important, but my kids are the most important thing. So I had a good balance from the beginning.”

That calm extends to production challenges such as shooting Vancouver for Hong Kong in the pilot of The Romeo Section and creating gritty drama out of a city with a lot of shine.

“It’s not easy to get a tense, dark, psychologically disturbing atmosphere when it’s Vancouver and it’s beautiful. For a noir show like this I’d love to be shooting in the winter—because I’d get a lot of rain, I’d get earlier nights—but I’m not. You have to figure out a way. So it’s not classic noir, it’s more of a California noir. You can be just as miserable in the hot sun.”

The Romeo Section airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on CBC.

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The Romeo Section ups the intrigue in Season 2

Full disclosure: I wasn’t a die-hard fan of The Romeo Section in Season 1. I am a fan of the show’s creator, Chris Haddock, and his other series, especially Da Vinci’s Inquest and Da Vinci’s City Hall. In both, rat-a-tat, conversational dialogue came as fast and furious as the dead bodies (the former) and political plotting (the latter). And then came the spy-themed The Romeo Section. It was slow and methodical, many scenes were filmed in low light and therefore difficult to see, and I had a hard time warming to the characters.

But as Season 2 approached—it returns Wednesday at 9 p.m. on CBC—I realized I was judging The Romeo Section against two series I loved. That wasn’t fair. As Haddock told press prior to the Season 1 debut, the world has changed (Inquest and City Hall went off the air in 2006) and Romeo Section was a reflection of that. It deserved another shot.

So, how do I feel about The Romeo Section now? I enjoyed parts of the season premiere and was a little annoyed by others.

theromeosection_s2_markinsonnorman-highres
Brian Markinson as Norman

“The Official Narrative” begins with Wolfgang (Andrew Airlie) driving the dark (yup), rain-soaked streets to the Vancouver waterfront. We quickly learn Wolfgang, no longer handing assets, is still teaching at the university and is asked to not just look over notes suggesting the government plans to put all of Canada’s security forces under one umbrella but read up and report on something else: a quashed terrorist plot involving a backpack bomb. Of course, Wolfgang signs on—he needs the money and there wouldn’t be much of a show if he didn’t—and heads to a club where he meets with Norman (Brian Markinson) a blackballed former spy. I love Markinson’s work and was jazzed to read he’d be part of Season 2. Norman is the type of character you can’t help but cheer for, despite the fact he oozes sleaze. He’s the smarmy ying to Wolfgang’s uptight yang, and the pairing works as they recreate the events surrounding the planned bombing and perceived bungles in the investigation.

Meanwhile, Rufus (Juan Riedlinger) has become a player in the city’s heroin market, with the proceeds financing a movie. It doesn’t take long for Rufus to start making key connections in the industry, but it rings a little hollow for me. Rufus utters almost every tough-guy cliché one does when trying to gain trust with violent bad guys while throwing in new ones, joking he found a kilo of heroin under his Christmas tree and that Santa’s elves sit around for most of the year with nothing to do, so they’ve gotten into the heroin trade. OK, bud.

As for Lily (Leeah Wong), she’s a recruit for the Intelligence Service and is caught in a power struggle between Al (Eugene Lipinski) and another agent while keeping her double agent status intact.

Thanks to the back-and-forth between Norman and Wolfgang and their investigation, I’ll tune in to The Romeo Section next week, with fingers crossed the Rufus storyline sheds some frustrating details.

The Romeo Section airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on CBC.

Images courtesy of CBC.

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