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TV,eh? What's up in Canadian television

Links: Law & Order Toronto: Criminal Intent, Season 1

From Bill Brioux of

Link: T.O. looks so good it is almost criminal in Law & Order Toronto: Criminal Intent
The city gets plenty of face time on Thursday night’s premiere episode of Law & Order Toronto: Criminal Intent. You see the main detectives played by Canadian-Australian actor Aden Young and Karen Munroe, rush walk-and-talk past the bright Toronto sign in front of City Hall. Restaurants and other landmarks are also in view. Two extras playing homeless men are glimpsed in one shot on a sidewalk in a nod to the fact that this isn’t Toronto the Good anymore. Continue reading.

From Teghan Beaudette of CBC:

Link: With Law & Order spinoff, Toronto finally gets its big break — as itself
Executive producer Erin Haskett says the show has been in the works for years, but it took some convincing that it could be done on budget with Canadian talent. Rogers calls the show its “biggest investment in Canadian original programming” to date. Continue reading.

From Amber Dowling of Variety:

Link: ‘Law & Order Toronto: Criminal Intent’ Offers Compelling Canadian Spin to Familiar Franchise: TV Review
“Law & Order Toronto: Criminal Intent” may be the biggest original TV series premiere Canada has ever had. That means, when that famous “dun-dun” opens the series on Feb. 22 via Citytv, the pressure is on. Continue reading.

From The Canadian Press:

Link: Cast and crew of ‘Law & Order Toronto’ on fervent first reactions to the spinoff
Few TV franchises are as cherished as “Law & Order,” and the stars of its new Canadian spinoff learned of its deep resonance firsthand when they were cast on the Toronto-based show. Continue reading.

From Johanna Schneller of The Globe & Mail:

Link: Toronto is getting its own Law & Order with tales ripped from the headlines
But in this police station, the wall map is of Toronto, and the name drops are unabashedly 416: Cherry Beach, Bay Street, the Rosedale ravine, the Royal Canadian Yacht Club. Episode 1 begins with a beauty shot of the skyline from Lake Ontario; a scene card reads SINGH FABRICS, GERRARD STREET EAST; an outdoor walk-and-talk moves from new to Old City Hall. Continue reading.

From David Friend of The Canadian Press:

Link: With ‘Law & Order Toronto,’ the pressure looming over the show’s creators is immense
Nobody wants to be the person who mucked up the “Law & Order” franchise. It’s a fear that’s haunted veteran procedural writer Tassie Cameron since she embarked on the most daunting responsibility of her career: turning Dick Wolf’s beloved legal drama into the new spinoff “Law & Order Toronto: Criminal Intent.” Continue reading.

From Elisabetta Bianchini of Yahoo! News Canada:

Link: ‘Law & Order Toronto: Criminal Intent’ scripts are so gripping, the cast couldn’t put them down
“We spent more time together over four months than I’ve spent with most human beings over the course of many, many years. We were working together every day on the show, and so the dynamic of two people who were really kind of in the thick of it, working through some stuff like that, that all felt very real.” Continue reading.

From Eric Volmers of the Calgary Herald:

Link: Alberta expat lands major role in Law & Order Toronto: Criminal Intent
Not long after graduating from the University of Calgary’s theatre program, actress Karen Robinson would watch the seminal police procedural Law & Order every week, often challenging herself to guess who the culprit might be before it was revealed. Continue reading.


Comedian Mae Martin to host The 2024 Canadian Screen Awards

From a media release:

The Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television (the Canadian Academy) announced today that Mae Martin, award-winning Canadian comedian, actor, writer, and producer, will host The 2024 Canadian Screen Awards, airing on Friday, May 31, 2024 at 8:00 PM (9:00 PM AT, 9:30 PM NT) on CBC and CBC Gem.

“We are thrilled that Mae Martin will be hosting The 2024 Canadian Screen Awards,” said Tammy Frick, CEO, Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television. “They are the perfect fit for this show: a dynamic and accomplished Canadian who is breaking barriers and making waves globally both in front of and behind the camera, just like the many talented individuals who we will be celebrating during Canadian Screen Week 2024.” 

Join comedian and host Mae Martin for The 2024 Canadian Screen Awards at the CBC Broadcast Centre in Toronto on Friday, May 31. The one-hour broadcast, airing at 8:00 PM (9 AT, 9:30 NT) on CBC and CBC Gem, promises an innovative blend of unpredictable, emotional award-show moments and unprecedented access to nominees and Special Award winners, offering audiences a celebratory look at the best in Canadian film and television. Produced by creative forces Roma Ahi and Katie Lafferty of Makers, this year’s broadcast will continue to redefine the award show and shine a spotlight on the achievements of our homegrown talent.   

“I am elated to be hosting this celebration of all the amazing talent in Canada, and plan on asking a lot of people I admire for selfies,” said host Mae Martin.

Born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, Mae Martin is an award-winning comedian, actor, writer, and producer who presently hosts the hit comedy podcast Handsome alongside Tig Notaro and Fortune Feimster. They are best known for creating, starring, and co-writing Feel Good, a critically acclaimed drama-comedy series for which their stunning performance earned them a 2021 BAFTA TV Award nomination. Beloved for their stand-up comedy, Martin’s show Dope was nominated for “Best Comedy Show” at the prestigious Edinburgh Comedy Awards, and their standup special SAP, directed by Abbi Jacobson, launched on Netflix in March 2023.

The nominees for the 2024 Canadian Screen Awards will be announced on Wednesday, March 6, 2024 at 7:00 AM ET on

The full schedule for the 2024 Canadian Screen Awards can be found at

Image courtesy of Joseph Sinclair.


Cash Cab Music hits the road

From a media release:

Buckle up, Canada! The iconic Cash Cab series returns with a musical twist, as Cash Cab Music premieres on GameTV on Monday, March 4 at 8 p.m. ET.

Adam Growe—beloved Canadian personality, comedian, and licensed taxi driver—hosts this thrilling game show, giving unsuspecting passengers the chance to test their music knowledge for cash prizes. As they drive to their destination, Growe asks them a series of increasingly-challenging questions. They’re not entirely alone on their journey, however. If they get stumped, there’s help – they can phone a friend, ask the world on social media, or shout out to a stranger on the street. But only once per game!

Each correct answer puts money in their pocket, while each incorrect answer counts as a strike. Like baseball, it’s three strikes and you’re out! The contestant must immediately exit the vehicle, no matter where they are on their route. Contestants who manage to reach their destination without earning three strikes, will have the opportunity to add to their winnings in the all-new “Cash Cab Karaoke” segment. In this electrifying final round riders can double their money if they can belt out the answer to the final question.

About GameTV
GameTV is a Canadian channel specializing in game-related programming such as game shows, competition-based shows, reality series and movies. The channel is available in over 6+ million homes in digital basic on IPTV, cable and satellite systems throughout the territory. GameTV is a subsidiary of Anthem Sports & Entertainment Corp., a leading global sports media company


Law & Order Toronto: Criminal Intent is a killer homegrown addition to the storied franchise

It was about time that the Law & Order franchise headed north of the border. With four international versions airing around the world, Law & Order Toronto: Criminal Intent debuts Thursday at 8 p.m. Eastern on Citytv.

You may have seen the massive billboards in Toronto, the teasers on Citytv, the cast appearances at a recent Toronto Maple Leafs tilt and the social media posts. Rogers/Citytv is expecting big things from Law & Order Toronto: Criminal Intent. Judging from the first episode I screened, the show will deliver.

Starring  Aden Young (Rectify, The Disappearance) as Detective Sergeant Henry Graff, Kathleen Munroe (Chicago Med, Call Me Fitz) as Detective Sergeant Frankie Bateman, Karen Robinson (Schitt’s Creek, Pretty Hard Cases) as Inspector Vivienne Holness and K.C. Collins (Pretty Hard Cases, Shoot the Messenger) as Deputy Crown Attorney Theo Forrester, the first episode of Law & Order Toronto: Criminal Intent hits the ground running and never looks back. Mixing the wry humour of the Law & Order franchise with crimes and a killer guest cast, I can’t believe it’s taken this long for a Canadian take to air.

We spoke to executive producer Amy Cameron about how the series came about, “being Canadian,” and how the iconic “dun-dun” can and can’t be used.

Walk me through the process of how Law & Order Toronto: Criminal Intent came to be.
Amy Cameron: Well, it came through Erin Haskett at Lark Productions. Erin has Lark Productions, which is based in Vancouver. Universal Studio Group are minority shareholders and they hold the format license for Law & Order. They’re always looking for different places to bring Law & Order and what would make sense and what’s the right fit.

I think this conversation started a couple of years ago now with Erin and Rogers about whether or not they could do a Law & Order Canada. And when push came to shove, ultimately people felt that Law & Order Toronto was the sort of city where they wanted to have this start in Canada rather than Vancouver. They’re a Vancouver production company.

I used to be an exec on a project of Erin’s when I was at CBC, but other than that, we hadn’t worked together, but we are friends and enjoy each other’s company and similarly think about the industry. Last Christmas, she came to us and said, just after Christmas, ‘Would you guys be willing to take something on with me and produce it in Toronto and be our co-producer on the show?’ Sure.

Aden Young and Kathleen Munroe

And then it turned out it was Law & Order, which honestly, I spent the winter and the spring kind of feeling like it was all a bit of a surreal joke. I’m not actually checking out studio space for Law & Order Toronto. I’m not actually looking at crew for Law & Order. I mean, I was such a super fan

Tassie [Cameron] ended up writing a pilot that was presented and that was accepted, and we found out that it was green-lit on a Thursday. I should look at the dates, but it was the Thursday, a Thursday night, we found out that we were going to go ahead and it was announced to the world on the Monday.

Were still reeling with the information that we were green-lit, and we were going to produce Law & Order Toronto: Criminal Intent when the rest of the world found out too. That was the end of May, the beginning of June, and we started filming at the end of August. So it was insanely quick to turn around, locking down a studio space, getting our key creatives in place, having our designer design a set, and finding directors. The casting process was so wild, how do you define what’s Canadian? There’s the idea of trying to define how Canada is different from the U.S. What is Canadian versus what is American? No one thing can, there’s no one way to answer that question. It feels like it’s a million little decisions,

We wanted to make sure that this version of Law & Order was imbued with Canadian creatives, Canadian decisions, very much embedded in the Canadian culture and mindset and way of doing and creating. It was pretty wild. We were on the road for the first two weeks because our sets weren’t ready. It was wild. So much fun though. No time to stop and second-guess things. You’re just going.

This being a Dick Wolf creation, is there kind of a checklist that you had to meet? Did he see episodes and have to approve anything?
AC: With the format agreement, you have access to Wolf executives for consultation purposes. We had a wonderful conversation with their post-producer, and we were able to sort of dig into, ‘OK, how do you do this? What’s this with those location cards, with the use of dun-dun? It was so incredibly valuable to have someone just say it out loud, which is the dun-dun sound is never used as an exclamation mark on a scene or music. If you have a score going, you can never count on the dun-dun as the thing that takes you. It’s a small nuance, but it’s its own entity, and it’s not meant for emphasis.

There are certain guidelines, when it came to writing the scripts. For Criminal Intent, you’re aiming for about 10% of the episode from the criminal’s perspective. It is much more an intellectual pursuit of a criminal rather than a physical one.

But for the most part, Wolf and Dick Wolf were hands-off. That said, he did watch the first episode, and he really liked it. The feedback we got was the Canadians did good work.

Karen Robinson

The cast is so strong. Aden Young, Kathleen Munroe, Karen Robinson and K.C. Collins really hit the ground running and are wonderful. Was there chemistry with the cast right away?
AC: The only character that Tassie wrote with the actor in mind was Holness, Karen’s character. We had worked with Karen, and we knew that she would be able to bring it, that she would be able to bring in that humanity and humour when needed.

Working with K.C. on Pretty Hard Cases, we knew how strong an actor he was and really loved working with him again. Aden and Kathleen have worked together in the past. They get along very well.

Rogers and Citytv couldn’t have given you a better time slot on Thursday. You’re right after the mothership. Are you cautiously optimistic for a second season?
AC: We don’t know about the second season, but I feel we have done everything we can to get a second season. If this season is the only season that we get to share with fans, I would be disappointed. And yet I’m incredibly proud. I’m so proud of our crew, they knocked it out of the park. The sets are spectacular. Oleg Savytski is our production designer. Unbelievable. The performances from our actors, the commitment of the writers to cracking the formula, cracking the format, just even our post team, the editors, and the attention to detail in terms of the edit and understanding that … I don’t think there’s anything else we could have done. It is up to Canadian audiences to show up if they want a second season.

Law & Order Toronto: Criminal Intent airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. Eastern on Citytv.

Featured cast image courtesy of Steve Wilkie. Images courtesy of Rogers Media.


Links: Allegiance, Season 1

From M.L. Witkowicz of Broadview:

Link: New police drama ‘Allegiance’ explores how injustice can make you rethink your identity
On its surface, Allegiance, which premiered on Feb. 7, is a gripping, fast-paced crime drama. As the show progresses, Allegiance delves into the Sikh Punjabi community in the heart of Surrey, portraying the experiences of a South Asian woman and her family as they navigate issues of identity, belonging and the complexities of the justice system. Continue reading.

From Aparita Bhandari of The Globe & Mail:

Link: Supinder Wraich’s new CBC series, Allegiance, explores family bonds and the badge
“There’s something about this relationship between the father and daughter. This is a family who’s been in service for generations. I thought that was really cool. Because I have never seen Sikh Punjabi history on screen, forget the fact that I have never seen a family like this, right?” Continue reading.

From Eric Volmers of the Calgary Herald:

Link: ‘Make more room at the table’: Calgary writer deepens immigrant story with cop drama, Allegiance
Anar Ali thinks she can pinpoint the moment when her mother got over her uneasiness about her daughter becoming a writer. Continue reading.

From Kate MacDonald of That Shelf:

Link: Allegiance Review: A Proudly Canadian Police Procedural
Allegiance, the new series premiering on CBC and CBC Gem, takes that foundation and expands it into something even greater by introducing fresh perspectives on the justice system. Continue reading.

From Alex Nino Gheciu of The Canadian Press:

Link: Wraich, Colantoni on breaking cop show tropes with Surrey-set drama ‘Allegiance’
Supinder Wraich says starring in CBC’s new police drama “Allegiance” feels personal on several levels. Continue reading.