Nurses may have only just debuted but with Global’s unprecedented order of a second season, the medical drama has a lot to live up to. That security of a sophomore year could’ve allowed for the writers to have more time to develop the five main characters—Grace Knight (Tiera Skovbye), Ashley Collins (Natasha Callis), Keon Colby (Jordan Johnson-Hinds), Nazneen Khan (Sandy Sidhu) and Wolf Burke (Donald MacLean Jr.)—but viewers will instead get quite a bit of insight into what makes these newbies tick, and how they got to where they are now in the second episode.
The description for “Undisclosed Conditions” is pretty generic stuff: “When a guest of honour at a St. Mary’s fundraiser collapses, Grace grapples with the patient’s refusal to tell her family her secret, while Ashley confronts Grace about her own secret.” That’s what it’s all about with these five: secrets. And for Grace and Ashley, a bit of a rivalry as well, both professionally and personally.
“It’s a misunderstanding,” Skovbye clarified when I met with the five actors at Corus’ headquarters to chat about the show. “It’s two people, coming in, one thinks they know what’s going but when the truth is revealed, they end up forming a bond.”
It’s the final heartbreaking scene in Episode 2 that Callis calls the “turning point” for Grace and Ashley, and will move them “a step in the right direction.” But if you’re hoping they’re going to be besties (which they are in real-life, FYI), think again. “It levels the playing field,” added Skovbye. “But it’s not like they’re going to be buddy-buddy.”
As for Ashley’s actual buddy, we get a peek into Wolf’s past, which MacLean Jr. described as “a life-defining moment.”
“Wolf seems like a goof, kind of wears everything on his sleeve, and maybe gets judged for that, but then you realize that this guy has something figured out within himself from when he was a child,” revealed MacLean Jr., who found parallels between himself and his character. “Before I even auditioned for it, I was searching for that feeling of fulfillment and zeroing in on what’s important and spiritually being enlightened, and then this came across my table and I fell in love. And I think I matured with the character.”
Sidhu shares those same sentiments about her time on Nurses, specifically where her character came from, and what lies ahead. Nazneen may come across as spoiled (OK, technically, she kind of was), but she tries to prove she’s anything but. Some things, though, you can’t fake.
“What I really love about her journey is it’s really a reinvention story,” she explained. “Why is she in Canada, and why is she a nurse? How does someone like that, who comes from such a wealthy family in India, and has had a life of privilege, decide to transplant herself into a totally new environment where she doesn’t know anyone and chooses the most selfless occupation ever?” Sidhu promised her story would be unraveled as the season plays out.
We also got answers as to why Keon would give up a possibly lucrative football career for nursing (“a freak accident” is how Johnson-Hinds described it), but as far as the actor is concerned, he’s only looking towards his—and Keon’s—futures.
“I think once [creator and showrunner] Adam [Pettle] and I sit down and see where he wants to take Keon’s story, more layers will be pulled back,” said Johnson-Hinds. “It’ll be interesting to see where the writers take that. Because I’ll be ready to chime in and say, ‘Yup, this is what I wanna be fighting for for this character.'”
It’s safe to say they’re all going to be fighting for their characters.
Nurses airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Global.
Images courtesy of Corus Entertainment.