Jennifer Holness and Sudz Sutherland have been creating gritty, thought-provoking projects for television for years. There was 2009’s Guns, a two-part miniseries for CBC about Toronto detectives following a 23-year-old gun trafficker. Before that was 2006’s Doomstown, a TV-movie documenting the violence in a housing project. Now the writers and executive producers (and real-life couple) are back with Shoot the Messenger.
Debuting Monday, Oct. 10, at 9 p.m. on CBC, the eight-part series stars Elyse Levesque as Daisy Channing, an entertainment reporter at Toronto’s fictional newspaper The Gazette, who’s finally got her big scoop since transferring to the news department: the death of a young Somali man. Eager to impress her editor Mary Foster (Alex Kingston), Daisy makes a rookie mistake, throwing her into a foreign world she’s unprepared for, and turning to co-worker Simon Olenski (Lucas Bryant) for guidance.
“She wants to be in investigative journalism and prove herself,” Levesque says alongside Bryant during a break in filming. “She is massively ambitious to a fault, and receives a phone call about a huge tip that will blow the lid off this town.” Levesque and Bryant just finished filming a scene outside, where Daisy and Simon met to discuss the latest regarding the story. Standing on the top of a high-rise (in real life the TIFF Bell Lightbox complex) with Toronto below them, the danger of what Daisy uncovered hit home. Why was this young man killed? Who is involved in the conspiracies? The only thing she knows for sure is she’s in way over her head.
Complicating things for Elyse even more? She’s romantically involved with the detective on the case, Kevin Lutz (Lyriq Bent). That causes problems during the investigation and could jeopardize his career.
“Kevin wants to be an ordinary dude,” Bent says. “He wants to have a normal life away from work. He’s caring, considerate and thoughtful. And I think his relationship with Daisy is refreshing for Canadian TV and definitely for CBC.”
Shoot the Messenger‘s supporting cast is a whos who of the Canadian television world, including Nicholas Campbell, Ron Lea, Kim’s Convenience leads Paul Sun-Hyung Lee and Jean Yoon, as well as appearances by The Barenaked Ladies’ Ed Robertson, the Toronto Raptor’s Jamaal Magloire and ex-NBAer turned television star Rick Fox.
“He is my dickhead cousin,” Bryant says of Robertson’s role. “He’s a sports agent and he’s really good. I was a huge Barenaked Ladies fan and was looking forward to meeting him and he was humble, funny and fantastic. He told me that all he ever wanted to do when he was growing up was be a rock star and star in one of Sudz’ movies.”
Shoot the Messenger airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on CBC.
Images courtesy of CBC.