Dustin Milligan is taking over the CBC one TV show at a time. He laughs when that’s mentioned, but it sure seems to be happening. The Yellowknife native can be seen on Season 2 of Schitt’s Creek where he plays love-lorn veterinarian Ted Mullens, and the sophomore go-round of X Company, returning to the network on Wednesday at 9 p.m.
“It’s an odd thing to be doing two great shows on a network that was such a big part of my formative viewing years,” Milligan says. “I was influenced by it quite heavily. I grew up on the CBC.” Far from the wintry weather, Milligan was lined up at the Department of Motor Vehicles in Los Angeles when we called to get the scoop on what’s to come for Tom Cummings and his unit when the high-octane Second World War thriller returns. When we last left the team, the American ad man had been shot while secreting away a Holocaust witness, radio man Harry (Connor Price) fell in love with the wrong girl and Alfred (Jack Laskey) had been captured by the Nazis, who were prepping to take advantage of his synesthesia for every plan the Allies have in motion.
“The Season 1 cliffhanger had so much going on and revealed in the last-minute how quickly plans can fall apart,” he says. “The tone of Season 2 is that nothing is going to be easy anymore. What’s great about the first episode is that the proverbial shit is hitting the fan.” He’s right. Wednesday’s return, “Creon via London,” hits the ground running and never lets up. Gravely injured, Tom needs emergency medical attention and team leader Aurora (Evelyne Brochu) makes a decision that puts everyone in jeopardy. They’re all reeling emotionally—Aurora feels guilt over Alfred’s capture and Neil (Warren Brown) is shattered about killing the German soldier he bonded with—but have a mission to carry out and people depending on them in Germany and back in Canada at Camp X.
“Everything is darker and more real now,” Milligan says of Tom and the outfit. “Nothing is black and white—everything is shades of grey—and morally we’re all doing what we hope and believe is right in that moment. But we just don’t know.”
Series co-creator Stephanie Morgenstern revealed late last year the 10 upcoming storylines would be more serialized and the goal set for our heroes is to prepare for the ill-fated invasion of Dieppe. (On the morning of Aug. 19, 1942, Canadian forces suffered over 900 casualties and 2,000 were taken prisoner.) Production moved from Budapest, the show’s filming base, to Dieppe’s beaches for the two-part season finale.
“It was surreal because you get to the town itself and there are Canadian flags everywhere,” he recalls. “They remember Canada’s role so much, I get chills talking about it. It’s such a heartbreaking place because you look around at those pebbles and the cliffs and think, ‘How did they ever think that this was going to work?'”
X Company airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on CBC.