The first episode of a new television series is always tough on the creators and viewers. Within just 44 minutes for a drama (and 22 for a comedy) you need to create a world, introduce the characters in it and connect all of it for a new audience.
As I wrote last week, the pilot episode of Burden of Truth did it effortlessly. I immediately cheered for small-town lawyer Billy Crawford (Peter Mooney) when big-city litigator Joanna Hanley (Kristin Kreuk) switched sides and joined him in plotting to take down the big pharmaceutical company she was representing. I felt badly for Luna Spence (Star Slade), the young woman determined to fight the company because its drugs were making her and other girls sick. I enjoyed the community feel of Millwood, rife with secrets and ill-will towards Joanna, who left there when she was 14.
I was excited to see what creator Brad Simpson had in store, especially after CBC sent out this episode synopsis:
Joanna must reckon with questions over her family’s hasty departure when she was a teenager while attempting to convince the locals that she has, in fact, switched sides. After footing the bill for medical testing of the sick girls and running commonalities tests, Joanna suspects that the cause of the illness is an environmental toxin on the High School Athletic Field.
And here are more tidbits to tell you after watching a screener of “The Ties That Bind,” written by Simpson and directed by Jeff Woolnough.
Selkirk looks super
Thanks to stunning work by director of photography David A. Makin, the directors and location folks, Selkirk, Manitoba, is stunning as the fictional Millwood. Those wind turbines, waving crops and sun-touched brick buildings bring a whole new level to the production.
Joanna breaks the news to Alan
Almost lost in the shuffle of last week’s debut was Benjamin Ayres as Alan, Joanna’s boyfriend and co-worker at the firm. “The Ties That Bind” jumps right in with she calling he to drop a bit of a bomb in his lap.
The whole reason Joanna was in Millwood was to combat the claim against the company making drugs. Now that she and Billy dig a little deeper into the evidence, they discover the vaccine may not be the culprit after all.
It’s not all about the big case
Billy may be working with Joanna on the major court case but he’s got a bunch of other situations to deal with. We get a ton of background on what Billy is up to, his standing within the community and the difference between doing legal work out of an office in a skyscraper and on country roads. Meanwhile, Joanna’s phone conversations with her dad don’t go so well … and hint at what drove him to leave Millwood 17 years ago.
Burden of Truth airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on CBC.
Images courtesy of CBC.