Interview: 19-2’s Maxim Roy celebrates la belle province

Maxim Roy is fiercely proud of her home province of Quebec. The native of Rigaud is thrilled Montreal and its surrounds serve as another cast member in 19-2 because it allows the series to show off its colour and character.

This second season of Bravo’s Monday night drama has been a tough one for Roy’s character, Isabelle Latendresse. The detective has her sights set on advancing her career in the force, but being married to Nick Barron (Adrian Holmes) seems to have labelled her defective among the higher-ups. Pair that with at-home issues with son Theo (Zackaryer Abdillahi), and things haven’t been easy for Isabelle.

Or, in a way, for Roy. As the veteran actress—and 2015 Canadian Screen Award nominee—tells us, being a French actress who dabbles in roles outside of Quebec has netted her some detractors.

What’s it like having your home province featured in 19-2?
Maxim Roy: It’s so refreshing to finally have our city showcased, and to feel that English Canada has embraced that is really fantastic.

This show is filled with complicated characters. Isabelle is very complicated. There were times in the first season where I shook my fist at the screen. Like when she slept with Nick and then broke things off again the next day.
Yeah … see … [Laughs.] I kind of feel for her, though. She’s in a very difficult position. Nick and Isabelle still love each other and have this amazing chemistry. They have the utmost respect for each other … they just can’t live together and that happens to a lot of couples. It seems so complicated, but the number of couples that I know that are exactly like that? I know a lot. So I thought it was really nice to play somebody that complex for once. She’s not just this superwoman cop who has no emotion. She’s a woman and she has feelings and desires and she is very passionate about her work and her son.

Have you watched the original, French version of 19-2?
I’ve only watched the first season, after we were done with Season 1. I watched it all in two days. I didn’t want to be influenced by performance. I know the girl that plays Isabelle in the French version—we played sisters in a movie—and she’s a fantastic actress. I didn’t want to go there. I wanted to do my own thing and build my own character.

Did you have questions about Isabelle heading into Season 2?
Yeah. Adrian and I had questions about the relationship between Nick and Isabelle and we thought it was important that it stay in there for Season 2. That whole tension thing is interesting and interesting to play. Isabelle is interested in her career and getting ahead this season.

Are you bummed Isabelle isn’t involved in foot chases and taking bad guys down?
[Laughs.] I’m hoping for more flashbacks! I want to wear blue. I want to wear those comfortable shoes, not those frigging high heels! [Laughs.] I am so envious of the other girls.

Quebec is a fascinating province with its own star system.
It’s crazy. You feel like everyone is there encouraging each other and their projects. But there is a lot of pressure in that if you go outside Quebec, like me—I work in both languages—there is some criticism. I have my Facebook page and if I post a picture of me with this crew, there are comments like, ‘Well, why aren’t you doing the French version?’ It’s like a betrayal, almost.

But at the same time it’s so admirable. We have the ratings. We watch our shows and we go and see our own movies, so it gives us jobs. That’s fantastic, but there is a sense of ‘belonging.’ If you belong to Quebec you should stay in Quebec.

19-2 airs Mondays at 10 p.m. ET on Bravo.