I’m constantly amazed when I visit the set of a television show. Take Blood and Water, for instance. It’s easy to walk by the nondescript building in Toronto’s Liberty Village, steps away from a GO Transit platform, and have absolutely no clue cameras are rolling.
Yet that’s where Omni’s police drama—as it did for Block 1—is camped out for 18 days of production on-set and some location before completing filming in Vancouver. The warren of hallways and open spaces in the former Inglis factory (Lost Girl filmed there too) serves as the Vancouver Police Department where Det. Jo Bradley (Steph Song) is working her latest case.
Picking up a year after the events of the first eight episodes, Jo has got a new partner in Det. Evan Ong (Byron Mann) and new boss in Lt. Barron (Aidan Devine). Song says things get interesting for Jo during the next set of stories—referred to as Block 2 rather than Season 2 due to the way funding was spread out—because of her history with one cop and thoughts about the other. What is obvious about Jo is she’s in a better place than we last saw her. Not that Jo is hopping on stage to perform standup anytime soon, but her personal life isn’t as dour.
There is, however, another crime to keep Jo and Evan busy in the Mandarin, Cantonese and English-speaking series.
“This block takes place in Ghost Month, and is tied to the first block because a ghost isn’t necessarily a physical manifestation of somebody who is dead,” creator, writer and executive producer Diane Boehme says. “We’re going to play with that. It’s also about what haunts you. It’s regret, it’s the thing you did that you shouldn’t have done or the thing that you should have and the things that remain unresolved. All of our characters are wrestling with that.” Ron Xie (Oscar Hsu) is also back and dealing not only with the loss of his sons, but a power struggle within his company.
Ghost Month isn’t the only thing haunting the cast: the challenge of learning Mandarin and Cantonese is a constant spectre hovering over many. Dialect coaches help the actors and actresses with pronunciation and to ensure the correct phrasing is used.
“I wish they just wrote everything from the first block, because I still have those lines locked away somewhere,” Loretta Yu says with a laugh. “It’s definitely a challenge because I’m working in three languages this year. It’s been stressful, but really good, and I’m up for the challenge.”