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Interview: Kim Shaw, Saving Hope’s newest doctor in the house

It doesn’t take long for Hope Zion’s newest junior resident, Dr. Cassie Williams—played by Kim Shaw—to make an impression on Dr. Alex Reid in Thursday’s new episode. Cassie’s bubbly enthusiasm and confidence attracts the attention of all. But this being Saving Hope, nothing on the surface is truly what it seems, and key facets to Cassie’s life are uncovered by the end of “Start Me Up.”

Shaw’s gig on Saving Hope is the latest in an impressive body of television work. The Windsor, Ont., born actress has appeared in sitcoms like Two and a Half Men, Anger Management and How I Met Your Mother, and high-profile dramas like NCIS and The Good Wife. We spoke to Shaw about her career, playing Cassie and winter weather.

You’ve had a really varied career. You’ve been on comedies like Two and a Half Men, Anger Management and How I Met Your Mother, and dramas like The Good Wife and NCIS. That’s a lot of high-profile stuff.
Kim Shaw: It’s been a roller coaster. You never feel like you work enough. I moved to New York when I graduated from high school and went to theatre school and kind of started working right out of the gate. I was very lucky to find people who wanted to work with me and put in the time, management-wise. Then I got sick of the cold and moved to L.A. about five years ago and, happily, haven’t had to waitress since I made that move. When you’re a comedy actress, which I kind of consider myself, you never really feel like you ever get a chance to show that darker side. And then when you’re doing a dark show, you just want to be light! [Laughs.] It’s been fun to explore all of that.

How did you get the role of Dr. Cassie Williams?
I’m a Canadian citizen but have been living in the States and I applied to have a Social Insurance Number. Saving Hope was the first audition I had after getting the card. It was a self-tape, so my boyfriend—God bless him—put me on tape about 20 times, just trying to get the takes right for the scenes they had given me. You send that away and kind of forget about it after it’s gone. I got that wonderful phone call that every actor dreams of—that they were interested—and they tested me out of Los Angeles and I booked it and flew to Toronto.

My best friend is a nurse, my mom is a nurse and my brother is a doctor, so I’ve had that repertoire in my system but have never gotten the chance to do it myself. I’ve played heroin addicts and things on the other side of it, but this is so challenging. Everyone on set has been so lovely … it’s lovely to join a well-oiled machine and feel like you fit in immediately.


How does your family feel about you playing a doctor?
I called my brother and told him, ‘I’m a doctor now! In your face! Mine happened a lot quicker than yours!’

Has anyone on-set, like Michael Shanks or Benjamin Ayres played practical jokes on you?
Wendy Crewson is the most trouble on-set. She is just the most fun; she is an amazing person and cracks everybody up. I have a couple of story arcs with her and I’ve learned so much from her, from who I want to be as a person and who I want to be on-set. Erica has just had a baby, so she has this glow and joy about her all of the time which is fun to be around. I don’t have a lot of scenes with Michael, but during the table reads he likes to throw in zingers and make everyone laugh.

Cassie certainly makes an impression when she appears on Thursday night. She’s spunky and ready to go.
She’s over-eager, but I think anyone—on the first day of the rest of your life—is excited to get started. I’m sure that’s how I came across on our first table read.

That excitement is tempered by an incident that occurs a little later on.
As medical students, I think you think you’re ready but you’ve only been cutting open dead bodies for the past four years and you crave that real OR. It’s overwhelming as an actor to be in the OR for the first time because you’re covered in plastic, the gloves are so hard to put on, you’re sweaty and your mask is on. I’m glad I got to show how I felt on the inside.

At the end of the episode, there is another incident, this time involving Dr. Curtis. How long will it take for that storyline to shake out?
It’s a little bit of a slow burn, but it’s a juicy storyline once we get into it.

What can you tell me about Cassie’s evolution this season?
The thing I enjoy about her the most is that she is extremely empathetic, which I can relate to, and she is going through this thing. She thinks she wants to be a doctor and realizes how hard it is to see a patient as a patient and not a person. She struggles with that, and how blunt she has to be. Doctors have to be really cold sometimes and she has a hard time with that. She is one of the smartest doctors—she knows her stuff—but she struggles with the emotion of the new job.

Saving Hope airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CTV.