Saving Hope prepares for a tumultuous goodbye

Five years. Eighty-five episodes. Regardless of what country it’s been created and filmed in, Saving Hope is a success story. Now we’re saying goodbye to CTV’s medical drama, but the Canadian Screen Award nominee—returning Sunday at 10 p.m. ET/PT—isn’t going quietly.

Executive producer and showrunner Adam Pettle and co-executive producers Noelle Carbone and Patrick Tarr (the latter two are currently writing Season 3 of Cardinal), sat down with us during a Saving Hope set visit last summer and hinted at the drama Alex (Erica Durance) and Charlie (Michael Shanks) will go through, and what will befall recent lovebirds Dawn (Michelle Nolden) and Zach (Benjamin Ayres). And keep your eyes peeled for our interviews with Nolden, Ayres and Dejan Loyola in the coming weeks.

At what point did you know there would be a Season 5?
Adam Pettle: I think it was October, just after the Season 4 debut. We were still working on the season finale and weren’t sure if we would be writing a series finale or a season finale.

Noelle Carbone: I think every series [in Canada] is in the same boat where you write for a series finale and hope it’s a season finale.

What would have happened if last season’s finale was the series finale? Would it have been different?
Adam Pettle: Yes, and you’ll see it this year. Maybe.

Noelle Carbone: [Laughs.] Yeah, we’re just going to recycle our idea!

I understand you had to close off the street in front of the Royal York Hotel downtown to film part of the Season 5 return. Is that the biggest shoot you’ve done?
Adam Pettle: My feeling was, we wanted to come back and have a different energy and pace to this year’s premiere than last year’s. Last year it was quieter because Alex and Charlie were together and in this domestic setting. We’ve been rooting for them to be together.

Will Crenshaw be back in Season 5?
Patrick Tarr: We’ll definitely be feeling his effects.

You brought Alex and Charlie together … but I understand things may change?
Adam Pettle: Saving Hope is a love story between Charlie and Alex and to have an emotional payoff for fans [is important]. They’ve also had really shitty luck and need to figure out some stuff.

Noelle Carbone: As in real life, having a baby doesn’t always solve your problems. There is a lot of work to be done in solving the fundamental problems of that relationship. Every time they get together something tragic happens. [Charlie] might see ghosts or he might be crazy. Alex has been searching for a cure, suggesting that he have the surgery to remove the brain tumour. She’s not 100 per cent bought into his reality and that’s a fundamental disparity between them. Luke—as adorable as he is and as much as they love him—is not going to solve that.

Patrick Tarr: We have these great lead actors [in Erica Durance and Michael Shanks] and to give them real challenges and real places to go—yearning and frustration—there is a lot more there than in contentment. To give them some scenes to really sink their teeth into was motivation as well.

Adam Pettle: Alex is our hero and I think putting her in a place where she’s doubting herself or having a crisis of faith is identifiable.

I noticed a name on the call sheet that says ‘Ghost Claudia.’ Obviously, having the tumour removed did not change what Charlie can see.
Patrick Tarr: That’s right, and some might say at some point in the season it comes back with a vengeance.

Noelle Carbone: The Season 4 finale did such a wonderful job opening up that spiritual world to what is possible for Charlie. It was so visual and so different … how do we build on that and how do we evolve that experience for him seemed like a natural progression for Season 5.

Dawn and Zach have a solid relationship now.
Noelle Carbone: In the read-through, when they finally got together, everybody cheered. Everyone here is as invested in them as much as a fans are.

Adam Pettle: Even inside of the Dawn and Zach relationship we want to give them obstacles and challenges. We have to keep those characters who they are so that they don’t become soft.

Patrick Tarr: They’re prickly people, so that makes it easy to create some tension in their relationship. They’re both fully-formed people with opinions.

Noelle Carbone: We also threw some professional challenges at them in the early part of the season that I think will galvanize their relationship.

Saving Hope airs Sundays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CTV.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.

Greg David
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Greg David

Prior to becoming a television critic and owner of TV, Eh?, Greg David was a critic for TV Guide Canada, the country's most trusted source for TV news. He has interviewed television actors, actresses and behind-the-scenes folks from hundreds of television series from Canada, the U.S. and internationally. He is a podcaster, public speaker, weekly radio guest and educator, and past member of the Television Critics Association.
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7 thoughts on “Saving Hope prepares for a tumultuous goodbye”

  1. I love Saving Hope its one of the best shows I’ve ever watched on tv.please don’t take it off the air after season 5 just continue to make new shows of Saving Hope…..I love it.sincerly April Dubuisson Sicks

    1. The show is great,but truly the Charlie and Alex breaking up over and over again, and each time Alex having a need to be with every new male doctor is horrible storyline

  2. Alex definitely showed signs of embracing the spirit world and supporting Charlie last season, but she still has a ways to go. Since the tumor didn’t eliminate the ghosts, will she still be looking for an explanation? Also very curious how the spirits will change for Charlie.

    Rooting for Zach and Dawn, and hopefully Maggie will find someone too.

  3. Thanks Greg – terrific piece. Look forward to the other interviews!!
    It’s been a great run and sad to see it end.
    S

  4. This show is just to good to end…. Somebody plz save the show… It’s amazing 😀😀😀😀😀 all good things don’t have to end… Use ur imagination make a lifetime story of it.. Ppl come and go in the hospital and there is always a story to tell.. 😢😢plz plz save the show..

  5. I Love hospital dramas but I’m addicted to Saving Hope i watched it from season 1 again the story lines are fantastic you just don’t know what’s going to happen next so it would be a sin for it to finish in Series 5 surely you’ve got more stories in your head for Alex Charlie Dawn Dad Maggie etc please please please you have to keep it going it’s sooooooo good it would me a mortal sin for it to end so I’m going to Pray to my Guardian Angel & all other Angels out there to Save Saving Hope you just can’t let your FANS DOWN PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE

  6. I love saving hope and having challenges for Charlie and Alex make for good storylines. What makes very upset is every time something happens to Charlie. Alex runs into the arms of another man, watching charlie’s heart break is hard to watch. She has dumped on him to many times, this makes Alex look bad like she doesn’t even care about Charlie feelings, heartless. You don’t want to make your viewers feel this way. I hope Charlie and Alex get back together soon, let’s end saving hope on a happy note the way the viewers want it to end.

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