Everything about Ransom, eh?

International co-production Ransom takes over Global’s primetime

Global’s Ransom—debuting Sunday, Jan. 1, on the network before moving to Saturdays on Jan. 8—is a fast-paced emotional roller coaster about a crisis negotiation team dropped into potentially deadly situations at a moment’s notice. For Canadian actor Brandon Jay McLaren (Slasher) and Ireland’s Sarah Greene (Vikings), joining the series was just as quick and last-minute: they were cast just days before production on Season 1 began.

“I found out, like, four days before we started shooting that I had gotten the part,” McLaren says with a laugh. “I had to get on a plane in Los Angeles in a day. There was not a lot of prep [for the role].” The same was true for Greene, who found out she’d scored her gig on a Wednesday and needed to be in Toronto for the following Sunday. But while neither had time to prepare for their roles in advance, they’ve gotten a crash course since filming began. McLaren portrays Oliver Yates, a psychologist and profiler who sizes up people and situations in an instant, a key member of Eric Beaumont’s (Luke Roberts, Wolf Hall) crisis negotiation team. Greene’s Maxine Carlson, meanwhile, is the newbie on the squad, introduced in the first moments of Episode 1 and able to quickly prove she’s valuable to have around … despite Oliver’s misgivings.

Brandon Jay McLaren

“Eric and I met years ago, during another hostage taking, and I am very protective of Eric because I know something about his past,” McLaren explains. “When Maxine shows up, I am not happy she’s involving herself with our program because she brings a lot of emotion and instability to Eric and we can’t afford that. I’m very standoffish with her in the beginning, only because I was to protect what we’ve got going.” What Oliver and Eric have got going is something rare within the crisis industry. Inspired by the real-life experiences of hostage negotiator Laurent Combalbert, Eric refuses to carry a gun, preferring to use words and turn of phrase to diffuse deadly scenarios.

“I was told about Laurent about two and a half years ago,” Ransom‘s executive producer Frank Spotnitz says. “It already makes a great TV show, because, in the case of Laurent, every case is 24 to 48 hours. They are naturally adrenaline and suspense-filled. And he doesn’t carry a gun. That’s crazy. I’ve done lots of shows, including The X-Files, where people solved their problems with guns. To have a guy who says, ‘No guns. I’ll solve this with my mind,’ is a challenge but I wanted to do a show like that.” Eric’s skills are shown moments into Sunday’s debut when he confronts a gun-wielding man holding parishioners hostage inside of a church. Everyone gets out safely, but things are dodgy there for a few seconds and even Eric’s longtime team member, and former cop, Zara Hallam (Nazneen Contractor, Covert Affairs) had doubts.

“I exposed an internal crime ring at the NYPD,” Contractor says of her character during a break in shooting in downtown Toronto. “I was fired and shortly thereafter Eric approached me to join his company. She’s a misfit with a very strong sense of honour and moral compass. Zara is the expert who knows every building entrance and exit, who is armed and not armed. I’m his eyes.” She also trusts Eric; like him (and the rest of the team), she no longers uses bullets to solve problems.

Luke Roberts and Nazneen Contractor

Ransom, a co-production between Global, CBS in the U.S. and TF1 in France (Toronto’s Sienna Films and eOne are among the production partners) truly is an international affair both in front of and behind the camera. Spotnitz’s Season 1 writing room consists of Canadians Sara Dodd, Annmarie Morais and David Vainola and homegrown directors Érik Canuel, James Genn and Eleanore Lindo. After filming in Toronto for several months—the city stood in for North American locations—the series decamped for the south of France, with the area representing European spots.

“It sucks,” Contractor teases. “We have to stay in the south of France for three months, live in Nice, shoot five episodes, live on the Riviera … it’s a really hard job and not for the faint of heart.”

Ransom debuts Sunday, Jan. 1, at 8:30 p.m ET on Global before moving to Saturdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT beginning on Jan. 7.

Images courtesy of Global.

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Global reveals Mary Kills People’s midseason debut

From a media release:

Coming off of a highly successful fall season with three of the top five new fall series, Global rings in 2017 with a robust midseason primetime lineup. The network heads into the winter season with a schedule packed with Canada’s most-watched programming including this season’s most-anticipated new and returning series.

Kicking off the New Year are two new Canadian original drama series. Inspired by the professional experiences of distinguished crisis negotiator Laurent Combalbert, comes Ransom, a high stakes suspense drama premiering on Sunday, January 1 at 8:30 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT on Global. Starring Luke Roberts (Wolf Hall, Game of Thrones), as Eric Beaumont, a crisis and hostage negotiator whose team is brought in to save lives when no one else can, the series moves to Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT starting January 4 and Saturdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT beginning January 7.

Then, Global’s compelling, new character-driven drama Mary Kills People joins the schedule Wednesday, January 25 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. Set in the morally grey world of assisted death, the special six-part event series stars Caroline Dhavernas (Hannibal) as Dr. Mary Harris, an overworked single mother and ER doctor, who also moonlights as an underground angel of death – working outside the law to help her patients slip away on their own terms.

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Photo gallery: First look at Global’s Ransom

January is shaping up to be one of the busiest and most exciting in Canadian television, and Global’s Ransom is a part of that.

The Canadian co-production—from executive producer Frank Spotnitz—stars Luke Roberts (Black Sails) as Eric Beaumont, a hostage negotiator who jets to locales around the world talking criminals out of dire situations. The hook? Eric doesn’t carry a gun, preferring to use his gift of patter to disarm the bad guys.

Rounding out Ransom‘s cast is Sarah Greene (Penny Dreadful) as Maxine Carlson, a girl with a secret; Brandon Jay McLaren (Slasher) as Oliver Yates, a psychological profiler; and Nazneen Contractor (Covert Affairs) as ex-cop Zara Hallam. After filming in Toronto for several months—the city stood in for North American locations—the series decamped for the south of France, with the area representing European spots.

Take a look at these gallery images and let us know what you think of Ransom!

 

Ransom debuts Sunday, Jan. 1, at 8:30 p.m ET on Global before moving to Saturdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT beginning on Jan. 7.

Images courtesy of Global.

 

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Ransom joins Global’s midseason lineup on Jan. 1

From a media release:

Global jumpstarts the new year with high stakes and high drama as the network announces new original suspense drama Ransom joins its midseason schedule, premiering on Sunday, January 1 at 8:30 p.m. ET / 8 p.m. PT. Airing in simulcast with CBS in the US, the 13-episode procedural settles into its regular timeslot beginning Saturday, January 7 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Global. From leading independent studio Entertainment One (eOne), Wildcats Productions and Sienna Films, Ransom is executive produced by Emmy® and Golden Globe®-winner Frank Spotnitz (The X-FilesThe Man in the High Castlethrough his company Big Light Productions, and stars Luke Roberts (Wolf HallGame of Thrones), as Eric Beaumont, a crisis and hostage negotiator whose team is brought in to save lives when no one else can. Along with CBS in the US, the procedural drama will also air on France’s TF1 and Germany’s RTL.

Ransom’s premiere episode begins with Eric Beaumont (Luke Roberts) bringing on a new team member, Maxine Carlson (Sarah Greene, Penny Dreadful, Burnt), who is eager to prove herself as an aspiring investigator. But Eric’s trusted team, psych-profiler Oliver Yates (Brandon Jay McLaren, GracelandThe Killing) and ex-cop Zara Hallam (Nazneen Contractor,Heroes RebornCovert Affairs), have doubts about their possible new member. And a dangerous secret from Maxine’s past may pose a threat that even the great Eric Beaumont is unable to resolve.

Ransom is inspired by the professional experiences of distinguished crisis negotiator Laurent Combalbert, who along with partner, Marwan Mery, are considered to be among the top negotiators in the world. Today, they travel around the globe to help multinational corporations and governmental agencies with complex negotiations and conflict resolution.

Ransom is created by David Vainola (DiamondsCombat Hospital) and Frank Spotnitz (The X-FilesThe Man in the High Castle). The series is executive produced by Spotnitz, Valerie Pechels and Odile McDonald of Wildcats Productions, Jocelyn Hamilton of eOne, and Jennifer Kawaja and Julia Sereny via their Sienna Films banner. Ransom is a Canada-France co-production and is co-developed by TF1 and Corus Entertainment Inc., with the participation of the Centre National du Cinema et de l’Image Animé in France as well as Canada Media Fund, and will be produced with the financial assistance of the Ontario Film and Television Tax Credit and the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit.

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Set visit: Global’s crisis negotiation drama puts Toronto up for Ransom

Living in Toronto, seeing orange traffic cones signify one of two things: road work or a film or television production. I’ve seen plenty of the former and latter over the past 15 years, but never a full-on road closure for a television production. Until earlier this summer.

The reason? Global’s crisis negotiation drama, Ransom. The co-production between the Canadian network, CBS in the U.S. and TF1 in France (Toronto’s Sienna Films and eOne are among the production partners) closed down a block near the Eaton Centre, filming a bank heist scene taking place during one of 13 episodes. Yellow barriers and Toronto police redirected traffic while black SUVs and cop cars emblazoned with the NYPD logo sat staggered in front of an old office building standing in for a bank. A phalanx of actors portraying SWAT police trooped down the street during several takes as a drone buzzed loudly overhead, capturing the action.

Ransom stars Luke Roberts (Black Sails) as Eric Beaumont, a hostage negotiator who jets to locales around the world talking criminals out of dire situations. The hook? Eric doesn’t carry a gun, preferring to use his gift of patter to disarm the bad guys. Based on the real-life experiences of negotiator Laurent Combalbert, executive producer Frank Spotnitz (The X-Files) says this is the biggest international show he’s done.

“I was told about Laurent about two and a half years ago,” Spotnitz says. “It already makes a great TV show, because, in the case of Laurent, every case is 24 to 48 hours. They are naturally adrenaline and suspense-filled. And he doesn’t carry a gun. That’s crazy. I’ve done lots of shows, including The X-Files, where people solved their problems with guns. To have a guy who says, ‘No guns. I’ll solve this with my mind,’ is a challenge but I wanted to do a show like that.”

Ransom2

Rounding out Ransom‘s cast is Sarah Greene (Penny Dreadful) as Maxine Carlson, a girl with a secret; Brandon Jay McLaren (Slasher) as Oliver Yates, a psychological profiler; and Nazneen Contractor (Covert Affairs) as ex-cop Zara Hallam. After filming in Toronto for several months—the city stood in for North American locations—the series decamped for the south of France, with the area representing European spots.

Spotnitz, who lives in London, full-time says he fell into the current production model where several countries toss production money into a hat and share costs but sees it as the way of the world now, where viewers are watching programs both traditionally and non-traditionally (like his The Man in the High Castle on Amazon).

“When I moved to London, I sort of fell into this model,” he says. “It’s an amazing time to be in Europe. There is a real awakening of television and a new ambition to do shows in the English language that compete with the best shows in North America. It’s challenging to do a show for two or three broadcasters but I enjoy it, travelling and getting to know all of these different cultures.”

Ransom airs during the 2016-17 broadcast season on Global and CBS. Look for more Ransom coverage on TV, Eh? as we get closer to a broadcast date.

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