Everything about Diggstown, eh?

Diggstown creator Floyd Kane breaks down Season 2’s shocking opening scene

The first minutes of Diggstown‘s second season debut will leave you on the edge of your seat. As “Amazing Race” swells, a woman’s body is thrown through the air in a slow-motion dance that ends in tragedy. It’s a shocking return for the CBC legal drama.

Returning Wednesday at 8 p.m., Diggstown follows lawyer Marcie Diggs (Vinessa Antoine) and the team at Halifax Legal Aid, lead by Colleen MacDonnell (Natasha Henstridge). Fellow lawyers include Pam MacLean (Stacey Farber), Reggie Thompson (C. David Johnson), Doug Paul (Brandon Oakes) and Iris Beals (Shailene Garnett).

We spoke to creator Floyd Kane about those emotionally draining opening moments.

One of the things that have set Diggstown apart for me is the dialogue. I’ve listened to so many shows where the dialogue between characters seems really forced and Diggstown doesn’t feel like that. Another CBC series, Coroner, feels natural as well. Is that hard to write dialogue to make it sound natural?
Floyd Kane: It’s very hard, but I give a lot of credit to our actors, they kind of put a little bit of their own dust on it. But for me, it’s always interesting because when I’m trying to write, especially for communities that I don’t know, you’re always trying to get the voice in your head. That’s the thing that it’s the most challenging part is just making sure that you’ve got that voice in your head properly.

Before we talk about Season 2, let’s go back a bit into Season 1. Were there some takeaways for you, things that worked in Season 1, things that maybe you thought you could have done a little bit better moving into Season 2?
FK: Definitely. I think that every season of the show you’re learning something more. I think in the first season you’re learning certain things like what actors could handle what. Who can you give more to? These are all things that come up.  Our show is a procedural and in the first season, there were very few continuing elements. And so this season what we did is we incorporated some continuing storylines. Viewers want a contained story, but they also want to be able to get some bits of character that they can pull on too.

It would appear that in the very first episode you hint at what may be a season-long story with Avery being handled the case and taking out the photo of Marcie in there. I’m assuming that’s going to last more than a couple of episodes. 
FK: For sure. Episode 4 of Season 2 is actually a big episode for Marcie and Avery and Pam in terms of their relationship to one another.

You start out the season in slow motion, with an accident and ‘Amazing Grace’ being played. It’s very effective. Why did you decide to start off like that?
FK: We had written … I think there was a full-blown sequence involving cars and kids crossing the street, a high-speed chase. We are not a $4 million show. I sat with the director and we started noodling, ‘Well how do we do this?’ And he had an idea and then I kind of said, ‘Well something I would really want us to try to do, and see if it works, is play that from the point of view of the person who’s been hit by the car and have them falling through the air, and we’re seeing what they’re seeing. That’s where that came from. It just was really trying to figure out, ‘What’s the cool visual way to stage that?’

It’s interesting to have the police officer be Asian and being defended by Marci because you were able to have her community turn against her. Was that always the way that you wanted to go for that main storyline?
FK: Here’s where that all came from. We wanted to do a cop killing involving a black person this season. We had written on the board, it was going to be a white woman shooting an unarmed black person. And we knew that we wanted it to be a single mom who was killed. I watch a lot of television and I’m like, every show is doing the black person being killed by a white cop.

I don’t want to do this. There has to be a different way. And that’s when we sat in the writing room and it was like, ‘OK, it’s not going to be a shooting, it’s going to be a high-speed chase and they’re going to kill this black woman. That was where that came from. And then, I wanted the cop to the Asian because I just wanted to have that conversation. I want people, when they watch the episode, to think about the relationship that exists between the black communities in this country and the Asian communities in this country. I think these are communities that don’t necessarily talk as much as they should.

What type of writer are you? Are you the type of writer that likes to be in a room quiet and quietly when you’re writing? Do you prefer a coffee shop with a lot of noise around you? 
FK: I love the coffee shop. My wife says I have undiagnosed ADHD so I have a hard time when I’m alone, getting down to brass tacks with the writing. But if I’m in a coffee shop … because I have all of this noise around me, and I have my headphones in so I’m listening to a podcast or something. I can just like blaze through. That’s how I work.

Diggstown airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on CBC.

Images courtesy of CBC.

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CBC announces winter premiere dates for Coroner, Schitt’s Creek, Workin’ Moms and more

From a media release:

CBC today announced premiere dates for its winter 2020 lineup of new and returning Canadian series, featuring original programming that reflects contemporary Canada. With a new winter schedule launching Sunday, January 5, each series will be available on CBC and the free CBC Gem streaming service.

New original series premiering this winter include:

Hosted by Gerry Dee, FAMILY FEUD CANADA will introduce audiences to Canadian families from across the country four nights a week, beginning Monday, December 16 at a special time of 8PM (8:30 NT), before moving into its regular time slot at 7:30PM (8 NT) on Monday, December 23

New original factual series HIGH ARCTIC HAULERS, a high-stakes journey at sea that offers a look at Canada’s resilient, vibrant northern communities, premieres Sunday, January 5 at 8PM (8:30 NT)

Starring Kari Matchett (Covert Affairs), Darren Mann (Giant Little Ones) and Stephen Moyer (True Blood) and set in the social and political chaos of 1968, new spy drama FORTUNATE SON premieres Wednesday January 8 at 9PM (9:30 NT)

In a new take on the popular factual entertainment format, BACK IN TIME FOR WINTER follows one modern Canadian family on a winter time-travelling adventure beginning Thursday, January 9 at 8PM (8:30NT)

Epic sci-fi adventure series ENDLINGS produced in partnership with Hulu, follows four foster kids who make a startling discovery that affects the entire universe, and premieres Sunday, January 5 at 6PM (6:30 NT) with weekly back-to-back episodes

New culinary competition series and original Canadian format, FRIDGE WARS, premieres Thursday, February 27 at 8PM (8:30 NT)

New CBC Docs original series THE OLAND MURDER premieres Thursday, March 5 at 9PM (9:30 NT)

Returning titles include:

Last season’s most-watched new Canadian series* CORONER, starring Serinda Swan, returns for Season 2 Monday, January 6 at 9PM (9:30 NT)

CBC’s popular Tuesday night comedy lineup returns with the fourth season of KIM’S CONVENIENCE at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT) and the sixth and final season of SCHITT’S CREEK at 9 p.m. (9:30 NT) beginning Tuesday, January 7, with WORKIN’ MOMS returning for a fourth season Tuesday, February 18 at 9:30PM (10 NT)

The Kristin Kreuk-led legal drama BURDEN OF TRUTH returns for Season 3 Wednesday, January 8 at 8PM (8:30 NT)

Gripping Canadian true crime series THE DETECTIVES returns for Season 3 Thursday, January 9 at 9PM (9:30 NT)

CBC DOCS POV returns with a new series of documentaries from some of Canada’s most talented documentary filmmakers beginning Sunday, February 9 at 9PM (9:30 NT)

Halifax legal aid drama DIGGSTOWN starring Vinessa Antoine and Natasha Henstridge returns for Season 2 Wednesday, March 4 at 8PM (8:30 NT)

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CBC original legal aid drama Diggstown rolls on second season

From a media release:

Production is underway in Halifax, Nova Scotia on the second season of the CBC original one-hour drama Diggstown (6×60). Produced by Circle Blue Entertainment, Freddie Films Inc., and Waterstar Entertainment Inc. and created by Halifax’s Floyd Kane (Across The Line), the series will premiere in winter 2020 on CBC and stream on CBC Gem.

In the first season of Diggstown, viewers were introduced to the fierceness of Marcie Diggs (Vinessa Antoine, Being Erica, Heartland) and the emotionally and ethically devastating world of legal aid. Season 2 follows Marcie and her fellow crusaders at legal aid as they continue their fight against a criminal justice system that shows no mercy to their most at-risk citizens.

Marcie dives deeper into criminal law, testing her ethics as a lawyer at every turn. Pam (Stacey Farber, Grace and Frankie), focuses on her work as her personal life crumbles around her. While preoccupied with staving off her boss, Colleen (Natasha Henstridge,  Species), struggles to keep the Halifax Legal Aid team in line. Reggie (C. David Johnson, Street Legal) is surprised when a reluctant favour turns into a new exciting interest. Doug (Brandon Oakes, Arctic Air) makes a potentially devastating professional blunder and Iris (Shailene Garnett, Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments) dives into her dream career.

Cory Bowles, Kelly Makin and Lynne Stopkewich are back as directors, with Sharon Lewis joining as an additional director.

A CBC original drama, Diggstown is co-produced by Circle Blue Entertainment, Freddie Films Inc., and Waterstar Entertainment Inc. Kane is creator, executive producer and showrunner, and Amos Adetuyi (Jean of the Jones), Brenda Greenberg (Being Erica), Karen Wentzell (Seed) and Todd Berger (Wynonna Earp) are executive producers.

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Links: Diggstown, Season 1

From Michela Rosano of Canadian Geographic:

Link: Our Country: Vinessa Antoine’s favourite place in Canada
“I recently shot the first season of Diggstown in Nova Scotia, which is a place I had never visited before. When I started to do research for my character, Marcie Diggs, I learned that Nova Scotia has Canada’s oldest and largest black community, North Preston in Halifax.” Continue reading. 

From Tony Wong of the Toronto Star:

Link: Diggstown’s Vinessa Antoine is the face of change as first Black woman to star in prime-time TV drama
“Growing up in Toronto, seeing faces on television like your own was virtually non-existent. But if a young person turns on the television in the future and thinks that they are being represented, that there is a possibility out there for me, then hopefully things will change.” Continue reading.

From Victoria Ahearn of the Canadian Press:

Link: Halifax-shot ‘Diggstown’ making strides for representation in Canadian TV
“It’s so important to be able to have stories that are driven and come from communities that are like mine and like so many other communities that are considered minority communities. It’s so important to show that representation because there’s nothing more Canadian, I feel than multiculturalism and diversity.’” Continue reading. 

From Elizabeth Patterson of the Cape Breton Post:

Link: East Bay native acting up a storm
“It’s a good week to be Billy MacLellan.”

The actor, who hails from East Bay, has had a busy winter with various acting and writing projects, some of which are coming to fruition right now. He even had his very own Canadian minute a few days ago. Continue reading. 

From Bill Brioux of Brioux.tv:

Link: REVIEW: CBC’s Diggstown
I didn’t expect to dig Diggstown as much as I do, but I do.

The story takes place in North Preston, Nova Scotia, billed as Canada’s Largest Black Community. At the centre stands Marcia Diggs (Vinessa Antoine, above left with Karen LeBlanc), a rising star, big city, corporate lawyer who – for reasons unclear in the pilot but amplified later on – is knocked back down to her rural roots in Nova Scotia. Continue reading. 

From Melissa Girimonte of The Televixen:

Link: Vinessa Antoine and Natasha Henstridge welcome us to Diggstown
“Mental health issues are something that’s kept behind closed doors. You’re meant to feel ashamed or you don’t talk about it. With Marcie, it’s prevalent in her family. They’re a religious family as well. This tight-knit community in Nova Scotia, North Preston, is heavily religious. The idea of mental health and suicide are not discussed very much.” Continue reading. 

From Charles Trapunski of Brief Take:

Link: Interview: Diggstown’s Vinessa Antoine and Natasha Henstridge
“I think that people who see this show will start to see Nova Scotia as yet another option as a Canadian province in which to shoot. There’s just a different vibe over there, in terms of working in TV and film, but also it’s not just a beautiful,  Nova Scotian gorgeous backdrop. It’s a real character, Nova Scotia, and there are just parts that aren’t that beautiful and there are shows that should be shot there.” Continue reading.

From Bridget Liszewski of The TV Junkies:

Link: Diggstown’s Vinessa Antoine on Marcie’s complicated relationships
“It’s so important to show all communities of Canada, but this Black community hasn’t been really shown. It’s a nice feeling to be able to bring that to the Canadian audience.” Continue reading.

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