Republic of Doyle leaves a legacy for Newfoundland

Allan Hawco says he had a panic attack at the CBC upfronts when announcing this coming season would be the last for Republic of Doyle. “That day was the hardest for me, because once you say it out loud it’s real,” he said in an interview at yesterday’s Vancouver media and fan event with some of the cast from the show.

He and co-creator Perry Chafe had started to worry they would run out of fresh stories and were happy to get a final season of 10 episodes to wrap things up on their own terms. Hawco points out a sixth season wasn’t a sure thing, nor was it a given that CBC would allow them to bow out after that.

He’s been filming The Book of Negroes and Hyena Road, but Caught was recently announced as the next project where he’ll produce and write — though that news going public caught him unprepared. “It’s still a ways away,” he says. “The announcement came out that I was starring in a new series and I was thinking, ‘Wait, I haven’t written it yet.'” Based on a book by Newfoundland writer Lisa Moore, the series is another collaboration with CBC.

Doyle costar Sean McGinley — who is not from Newfoundland himself — was the one who’d pushed Hawco to read Moore’s writing, and who points out that Republic of Doyle has now left the province with more of the “infrastructure and body of experience to tell their stories to the world.”

Born and raised Newfoundlander Marthe Bernard agrees, adding that there has always been a strong voice and strong arts community there, which has been shown to the world in a big way in recent years.

“As soon as a cab driver picks up someone from the airport, they want to go to The Duke,” laughs Lynda Boyd.

“I should’ve bought shares in that bar,” Hawco interjects.

The final season of Republic of Doyle begins tonight on CBC.