Everything about Played, eh?

New Thursday: Played, Doc Zone, Nature of Things, Storage Wars Canada


Played, CTV – “Girls”
A 15-year-old escort disappears at a sleek downtown hotel and he C.I.U. goes undercover to infiltrate an underage prostitution ring masterminded by two volatile brothers, Shaun (Chris Hoffman, FLASHPOINT) and Paul Devlin (Morgan Kelly, BEING ERICA). As Maria (Lisa Marcos) gets close to one of the brothers, she’s haunted by memories of a savage beating she suffered on a previous case. In a risky final play, Maria struggles to stay focused and safe as she takes on the escort ring’s vicious leader.

Doc Zone, CBC – “Deadly By Design”
Deadly By Design explores the lucrative business of illegal synthetic drugs in Canada.

The Nature of Things, CBC – “Ticked Off: The Mystery of Lyme Disease”
The tick that carries Lyme disease has been spreading across Canada with alarming speed. From the micro world of the tick and its disease-causing bacteria, to the macro world of human infection, Ticked Off explores a disease that can have devastating effects, is often misdiagnosed and mistreated, and continues to be mired in a medical controversy.

Storage Wars Canada, OLN – “Wanna Smell My Hair?”
Roy aims to disturb the peace in Scarborough, Ontario, when he poses as “crazy cousin Ray.” Meanwhile, among the sane, Rick and Cindy set their sights on a big score, Paul and Bogart try to avoid getting stung, and Ursula travels in style.


Interview: Played’s Dwain Murphy on being “the bark”

"Played" Ep 101 Day 01

CTV’s new undercover cop drama Played airs Thursdays at 10 pm. TV, eh?’s Adam Langton spoke with Dwain Murphy about the brotherhood of cops and actors that make up the show.

AL: On Played you play Daniel Price, a member of a very elite covert team. I was wondering: how much has that team atmosphere come into play between the ensemble cast that you have collected on this show?

DM: Oh man, we’re a family at the end of the day. Cops in real life are a brotherhood and I think that when we first all met on set it was immediately great. There aren’t a lot of times when actors immediately click like that right away, on a personal level before you even get to the work. You have to connect on a personal level and then you have to take that into the work and make that connection. It was such an easy transition because we all actually, genuinely liked each other—and still do, even after five months of filming. That made it an easy transition, that was the great part about it.

AL: Working in such a big ensemble cast of talented people, was it reminiscent of maybe theatre days, more so than TV?

DM: Probably, yeah. I mean I worked with a theatre company as a stage manager’s assistant and that’s usually how a cast goes. There’s all of these different moving parts and you have to juggle everyone’s personality, everyone’s working styles. But the beauty is, again, all of the actors have been so great to work with. All the way from Vincent [Walsh] playing lead to Adam Butcher who plays Jesse, the team were just all so easy to get along with and it made the work that much more fun to dive into. We were all waiting to see “what’s this person going to bring to the table? What’s this person going to bring to the table?” so we could all make the scenes spicy and juicy and bring in viewers.

AL: This is a team with very specific skills and Price is described as the Confidence Man on the team. Did you do any research on Confidence Men or anything specific as part of your preparation here?

DM: Well, for me, when I first read the Daniel Price character, the biggest thing that came across was that this is John Moreland, played by Vincent Walsh’s, right-hand man. He’s a guy who he trusts with his life at the end of the day. We all trust each other but originally the team was just Vincent Walsh (as John Moreland), Lisa Marcos (as Maria Cortez) and Daniel Price. That’s the original team before Chandra West (who plays Rebecca Ellis) brought the others in. We already had a team established, just us three. So the biggest thing that I learned was that Daniel is the guy that John goes to when he’s in a tight situation. Or he could go to Lisa’s character, Maria Cortez. The physical stature is what I wanted to bring across on screen: Daniel is not the guy you wanna mess with. This is the guy that, if John says to bark, I’m the bark. It’s a confident smooth bark—it’s not crazy and erratic, it’s like “okay, you want it to go down, I’m gonna take you down. So don’t even step out of line.” I tried to bring that across on screen, that physical confidence, that mental confidence, that smooth operator kind of vibe.

AL: It’s very clear from the first episode that Price is so loyal to John Moreland and I’m sure that we can look forward to getting a little backstory to that as the season continues.

DM: It’s gonna be great.

AL: So how about the opposite: is there any member of the team that rubs Price the wrong way?

DM: At first, we get introduced to the other half of the team and obviously I’m going in the same direction that Vincent Walsh’s character is going in; I don’t know about this new boss that we have, I don’t know that we can trust her. So I’m following John’s lead like, “if you say it’s okay to trust her, then I’m gonna trust her.” But it’s also the fact that we’re bringing in new team members makes us wonder, are we not good enough? So at first you kind of see that, a little bit of hesitation. Which way is John gonna go with this? It’s all resting on what Vincent Walsh’s character does. We kind of tag along and go the direction he goes because we’re a team at the end of the day.

AL: Without giving too much away, what can we expect from the rest of this season on Played?

DM: The thing about Played is that you aren’t just getting a TV series, you’re getting thirteen mini-movies. Every mini-movie gives you a great action story but the heart of everything is the emotions you’re going to have between the good guys, the bad guys, the good guys’ family members, and how all of those lives can cross over and interfere with each other. It’s a beautiful thing because at any time in the thirteen episodes, you can jump in at any point and not be lost. It’s such an emotional heartstring every single time. Any given day, you can just sit down at night and watch a mini-movie and be entertained, Played is going to give you that.

AL: That sounds great. One last question: as a fellow Toronto Raptors fan, what do you think they need to do to become a playoff team? (laughs)

DM: Honestly, I think they’ve already set the foundation. They’ve put the proper guys on the floor. It’s a matter of seeing where the young talent can go, with what we have. It’s a matter of developing the guys and I think it’s a good direction that they’re going in. I finally feel comfortable saying that we have a young core that’s going to stay; that’s been the problem in the past, we’ve had the young players leave and seek other markets. And I think that guys are slowly beginning to realize that you have a whole country when you play in Toronto, not just the city. There’s no Vancouver team anymore, you have a whole country on your back. And I think that some of the players are beginning to realize “man, I could really dominate a whole market up there.”

AL: Absolutely. Go Raptors, go! Thanks again for taking the time to talk, hopefully a lot of people tune in to Played.

DM: I hope so. I think viewers will be pleasantly surprised with what they come across. I’m excited.


Played goes undercover

From Scott Stinson of the National Post:

Toronto steals the show in CTV’s new cop procedural Played
Actors are, as a rule, not shy about discussing the many preparations they undertake for a role. Weeks of study, job shadowing, physical training, that kind of thing. An actor who plays a coroner once described time spent in a hospital morgue in such vivid detail that her interviewer almost excused himself to retch. Continue reading.

From Alex Strachan of Postmedia News:

Psychological thriller moves at brisk pace
Played seethes with anxiety and coiled tension. Set inside the glass towers and seedy back alleys of Toronto and featuring an assured, confident ensemble — Vincent Walsh as the cop-with-attitude assigned to a rogue undercover unit; Chandra West as the calculating chameleon with a mind for playing for the long game; Lisa Marcos as the empath with a gift for getting inside the heads of her quarry, and losing a bit of herself in the process — Played moves along at a brisk clip, without resorting to mayhem and noisy action sequences. It’s more of a psychological thriller than an action adventure, but that doesn’t mean it has to be slow or tedious. Continue reading.

From Brad Oswald of the Winnipeg Free Press:

Playfulness missing from too-serious Canadian cop series
Police work — particularly the undercover variety, in which the wrong word or an ill-timed flinch can put lives at risk — is a deadly serious business. There’s no margin for error, and no time for tomfoolery. A TV show about undercover police work, however… well, something like that ought to be at least a little bit of fun. Continue reading.

From D.K. Latta of Huffington Post Canada:

CTV’s Crime-Drama Played is Worth Betting On
There was a time when you could declare a Canadian TV season successful if two series were airing around the same time. And a “hit” season if people had actually heard of one of them. But in recent years, we’ve seen Canadian series enjoy modest popular success and critical acclaim — occasionally at the same time. And though the number of series in production is still pretty miserly (for a G7 Nation) there are actually enough that there’s a fall season of new shows (comedies like Package Deal and Spun Out), returning shows (The Murdoch Mysteries, Republic of Doyle) and even “re-vamped” returning shows (Cracked). And along comes Played — CTV’s crime-drama about undercover cops that premieres Thursday, Oct. 3rd. Continue reading.

From Tony Wong of the Toronto Star:

Lisa Marcos, Vincent Walsh, Chandra West star in new cop drama
As an actor, Lisa Marcos is used to assuming another identity.
In the CTV series Played (debuting Thursday, Oct. 3 at 10 p.m.), she plays undercover detective Maria Cortez, who is always assuming another identity. The role, says Marcos, is eminently relatable. Except the stakes are much higher. Continue reading.

From Melissa Hank of Postmedia News:

Chandra West takes centre stage in Played
When Shakespeare wrote that all the world’s a stage and each must play a part, he probably wasn’t thinking about collaring crooks. But the cops in the CTV drama Played are just as likely to break a figurative leg as a literal one. Continue reading.

From Bill Brioux of TV Feeds My Family:

CTV’s Played a slick seen-it-before
CTV has had good luck opening Canadian shows at 10 p.m. Thursdays. Can they keep the streak alive tonight with Played?
The undercover cop drama stars Irish/Canadian actor Vincent Walsh as Det. John Moreland. Walsh has worked everything from Hemingway vs Callaghan to Lost Girl to Republic of Doyle over a two continent career. I first caught up with him years ago in Halifax on Shattered City. Continue reading.


New Thursday: Played, Degrassi, Storage Wars Canada, Nature of Things


Played, CTV – “Drugs” series premiere
Undercover detective John Moreland (Walsh) faces suspension after assaulting a Drug Squad officer. He gets a second chance when Detective Sergeant Rebecca Ellis (West) recruits Moreland and his team into her newly formed Covert Investigations Unit. The C.I.U.’s first case is to take down David Thorpe (Serge Houde, 50/50), an elusive drug kingpin Moreland has been hunting for years. Rebecca’s leadership and her fragile relationship with Moreland are severely tested when Thorpe suspects that Moreland is a cop.

Degrassi, MTV – “This Is How We Do It”
Degrassi’s back in school. Student Council President Drew wants to make sure everyone has a positive year after the devastating loss of Adam. But it’s easier said than done when he’s battling insomnia. Zoë is about to tackle her greatest role yet: “Zoë Rivas, Degrassi Student.” But when you grow up on a film set, how do you know what’s cool in the real world? Alli wants to spend her senior year with her best friends but when Leo flies to be by her side, it’ll take some convincing for the group to accept him as her new BF.

Degrassi in Nicaragua, MTV – Special
This summer the cast of Degrassi travelled to the tiny village of El Trapiche in Nicaragua with Free The Children, to help provide the newly established school with a much needed fresh water supply. Cast members Munro Chambers, Chloe Rose, and Luke Bilyk embark on a life changing adventure in this 30-minute MTV special.

Storage Wars Canada, OLN – “Ain’t No Locker Like a Birthday Locker”
Cindy looks for Rick’s birthday present in North York, Ontario, while the other buyers hope to crash the party.

The Nature of Things, CBC – “Carpe Diem”
The threat of the Asian Carp, and the scientific and unorthodox methods being utilized against them.


Played premieres October 3

From a media release:

Thursday’s Secret Weapon: CTV’s Original Undercover Cop Drama PLAYED Premieres Oct. 3

Money. Guns. Cars. Drugs. Thursday night gets a dose of suspense this fall with the premiere of CTV’s compelling new original undercover cop drama PLAYED. Launching with CTV’s biggest promotional investment of any other network priority this fall, PLAYED joins CTV’s blockbuster Thursday night line-up at 10 p.m. ET/PT beginning Oct. 3 (visit CTV.ca to confirm local broadcast times). And with a goal of driving awareness of the new series ahead of its debut, CTV announced today it will sample the emotion and tension-filled premiere with a one-week sneak peek, exclusively at CTV.ca, on the CTV App, and the CTV Mobile Channel on Bell Mobile TV, beginning Thursday, Sept. 27 at 9 a.m. ET.

PLAYED follows the Covert Investigations Unit (C.I.U.), an elite, Toronto-based undercover police unit formed to infiltrate criminal worlds. In nerve-wracking confidence games or “plays,” these smooth-talking cops flirt with killers, befriend gang members, and arrange gun shipments – all to collect evidence, coax confessions, and make arrests.

In PLAYED, the C.I.U. team faces the risks of going undercover to infiltrate, and bring down, criminal organizations. With the new style of short-term, high-intensity undercover work, each covert “play” is crafted quickly and executed at an even faster pace. Placed into various worlds of crime without a safety net, the cops are in constant danger. Wearing wires, coaxing confessions, and setting up stings, the cops of the C.I.U. must think quickly, talk smoothly, and rely on pure instinct. If these cops aren’t convincing, if they aren’t real, if they miss one cue – their lives are over in an instant. They slip in and out of characters so often, they sometimes lose track of who they really are. The bonds within the team are close, and the conflicts are intense. The team is everything.

The talented and instinct-driven Detective John Moreland (Gemini Award-nominee Vincent Walsh, DECEPTION, LOST GIRL) is used to being in charge, but when consummate strategist Rebecca Ellis (Chandra West, NYPD BLUE, JOHN FROM CINCINNATI) is suddenly given the reigns, conflict ensues. Balancing her keen intellect against his from-the-hip instincts, Rebecca and John need each other to pull off their risky plays – and they know it.

In the heart-pounding premiere, entitled “Drugs” (Thursday, Oct. 3 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CTV, and in a digital preview beginning Thursday, Sept. 27 at 9 a.m. ET across CTV digital platforms), undercover detective John Moreland (Walsh) faces suspension after assaulting a Drug Squad officer. He gets a second chance when Detective Sergeant Rebecca Ellis (West) recruits Moreland and his team into her newly formed Covert Investigations Unit. The C.I.U.’s first case is to take down David Thorpe (Serge Houde, 50/50), an elusive drug kingpin Moreland has been hunting for years. Rebecca’s leadership and her fragile relationship with Moreland are severely tested when Thorpe suspects that Moreland is a cop.

Set and shot in Toronto, the high-risk drama also stars Lisa Marcos (THE LISTENER, FLASHPOINT) as Maria Cortez, a cop who has an exceptional ability to read a mark and transform herself to adapt to any situation; Dwain Murphy (COMBAT HOSPITAL, NIKITA) as Daniel Price, whose confidence and magnetic warmth easily dispels suspicion; Agam Darshi (SANCTUARY, RING OF FIRE) as Khali Bhatt, whose effortless skill with technology is a real asset for the team; and Adam Butcher (REPUBLIC OF DOYLE, BOMB GIRLS) as Jesse Calvert, the undercover unit’s explosive rookie.

PLAYED is produced by Muse Entertainment Enterprises and Back Alley Film Productions Ltd. in association with Bell Media. The series was created by Greg Nelson (SAVING HOPE, ROOKIE BLUE), and developed in association with executive producers Janis Lundman and Adrienne Mitchell (DURHAM COUNTY, BOMB GIRLS). Greg Nelson serves as executive producer and is co-showrunner with Adrienne Mitchell who also directed the pilot episode. Other episode directors include: Charles Binamé (CYBERBULLY), Kelly Makin (FLASHPOINT), Bradley Walsh (BEAUTY AND THE BEAST), Andy Mikita (BITTEN), Rachel Talalay (BOMB GIRLS), and Jerry Ciccoritti (LIVES OF SAINTS). The director of photography is Thom Best (THE BRIDGE), and the production designer is Aidan Leroux (BOMB GIRLS).