TV, eh? | What's up in Canadian television | Page 2
TV,eh? What's up in Canadian television

Crystal Balint brings music and morality to The Bletchley Circle: San Francisco

As all actors know, auditioning can be a heartbreaking experience. You connect with a character, feel you’re perfect for the part, knock it out of the park in the casting session … and then get told you’re not what the project is looking for.

So, it’s natural to develop coping mechanisms, especially if, like actress Crystal Balint, you’ve been working in Canadian and American television for more than 17 years.

“I tend to keep a little bit of distance from characters—even if I fall in love with them—because you just never know,” she says. “But this was one I couldn’t help but fall in love with right out of the gate.”

Balint is speaking of jazz pianist and former cryptologist Iris, one of four co-lead characters in the new mystery series The Bletchley Circle: San Francisco. “As soon as I saw the script and read the pages I was sent, I immediately felt I had a connection with Iris,” she says. “I felt this was someone I could bring justice to.”

Luckily, showrunner Michael MacLennan and the series’ other producers agreed, showing great “excitement” and “enthusiasm” for her two auditions. She was exactly what this project was looking for.

In late January, just three weeks after her first reading, Balint landed the part. “I was just thrilled,” she says. “I had been a fan of the original series, so I was really eager to see where we were going to go with this one.”

The show is a spin-off of UK series The Bletchley Circle, which ran for two seasons and focused on four former Second World War codebreakers who solved crimes in their spare time. Last Friday’s premiere episode on Citytv saw original series characters Millie (Rachael Stirling) and Jean (Julie Graham) travel to California to investigate a murder that appears similar to one that occurred in London during the war. Once in the Bay Area, the amateur—but brilliantly skilled—detectives meet up with former U.S. military members Iris and Hailey (Chanelle Peloso), who agree to help them with the case, thus, forming a new circle of sleuths.

Balint, who has previously appeared in The L-Word, Supernatural, The Good Doctor and Mech-X4, phoned from Vancouver to tell us what she loves about Iris, what it was like working with Rachael Stirling and Julie Graham, and what viewers can expect from this new iteration of The Bletchley Circle.

This spin-off features two original cast members, but also two new leads and a brand new setting. How did that play out on set? Did it feel like you were joining an established show or kicking off something brand new? 
Crystal Balint: You know, I think both Julie Graham and Rachael Stirling came in with very open minds and open hearts, and they came in with so much excitement and so much enthusiasm for what we were endeavouring to do with this spin-off. I never got the sense from either of them that there were any sort of hang-ups that they were feeling or any sort of reluctance to try any of the new directions that we were heading. They both came in really open-minded and very supportive to the vision that Michael [MacLennan] had for this particular spin-off of the show.

They, of course, in carrying that torch of The Bletchley Circle storyline for their two characters, worked very closely with Michael and made sure that they thought their storylines had been honoured from the original series. But I didn’t feel in any way that they were stifling or that they weren’t willing to also play. In fact, they were the opposite. They were really eager to explore what might happen to Jean and Millie in America, and they were really excited to do that both with Michael and with me and Chanelle Peloso, and just explore where this goes in a completely different setting. We looked to them for some guidance in some areas, but we were all sort on this fresh new ship with this show. It was really wonderful.

Your character, Iris, introduces Jean and Millie—and the audience—to the Fillmore, the neighbourhood of San Francisco where multiple murders are taking place. Did you do a lot of research into the area?
When I was invited onto the project in January, I had approximately seven weeks to prepare before we went to camera, which was late March. And I’m sort of a history nerd, which is why I was a fan of the original show, so I was really excited and really eager to start digging and learning about both the time period and the women that actually did this job and also the area in which the show takes place. Like I do with a lot of projects, if there is some kind of reference for me to glob onto, I will generally go full hog into that. I will just go as deep as I possibly can.

So I went down to San Francisco for a weekend and sort of hit the pavement and met with people in the Fillmore who were knowledgeable about the history of the [area], particularly in that time period. I also visited the area where the Presidio was and spoke with some individuals there, and I just sort of walked the streets to get an idea of the [places] and of the streets that we mention on the show. Even though, of course, they’re completely different now.

I felt it was really important for me to get a sense of just what that city felt like, because if you’ve ever been to San Francisco, it’s a very vibrant city, and that area has so much life and so much history. I spent a fair bit of time sort of rooting Iris and her family and her experience, so it gave me some foundation when I started to build who she was.

Did you do the same with the history of American codebreakers?
CB: I did, yes. There’s an excellent book written by an author named Liza Mundy called Code Girls that was released sort of serendipitously last fall. It covers in great detail the amount of input that the American female workforce put into the Second World War, once the U.S. joined the war after Pearl Harbor. And even before that, she goes into great detail about codebreaking efforts that were in place that led to this mass explosion once the U.S. entered the war. That’s something that not a lot of people knew about. We knew about Bletchley Park, of course, and that’s being featured in lots of movies and also television shows like The Bletchley Circle, but there has not been a ton of information available to us about what happened on our side of the pond, in the U.S. and Canada.

I think I got about three-quarters of the way through the book before I had to start shooting, but I tried to absorb as much as I could. Not so much the logistics of codebreaking, because I’ll be totally honest, I don’t have a mathematical mind and those who do, I bow down to. It’s an incredibly complex art form, I would say. But I did want to understand what it was like to be a woman in the 40s when it was not something that came every day, the opportunity to really save lives, in a really abstract sense but in a very important sense. And then what it was like to be snatched up out of what you’re expected to do as a woman, asked to carry this incredible task and then released and sort of forgotten about—which is really what we talk a fair bit about in both series of The Bletchley Circle.

Iris is a jazz pianist, and in real life, you’re a singer. Did that shared love of music help you better understand her character?
CB: Yes, absolutely. When I was asked to read for the project, that was another thing that really stuck out for me. It doesn’t happen often in film and TV, at least for me, that there is a crossover. Music is a big part of my life. I’ve been singing since I was quite young, and I play a couple of instruments. I’m not a pianist, but I’ve dabbled. Music, in general, is a big part of my life, so wherever I find any opportunity, it gets me a little bit jazzed up—no pun intended.

It was really lovely to incorporate those elements into breathing life into Iris because music can be very mathematical. Those who do particularly jazz, from my understanding of it—and again I don’t have formal training in it, but from my understanding of jazz and its complexities—there is a very sort of mathematical, rhythmic thing that occurs there. So just me being a fan of music and being a lover of music, it was really nice to be able to just have that be a part of who Iris was.

And we had an incredible composer working on this show. It was just so lovely to have those pieces be, not just a part of Iris’ life, but part of the world that we find these women in. Jazz is sort of like another character in this San Francisco environment. So it really did help me. I listened to a lot of music. I listened to old jazz, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday. Just every time I was in my car driving anywhere, doing any errands, walking, I was listening to jazz, and I was really trying to get that in my body.

What else really drew you to Iris?
CB: I really love Iris’ fortitude. She has a really strong sense of who she is. I wouldn’t say it was rare in that time period for a woman of her ilk, an African American woman living and working in a city like San Francisco, but there is something really grounded about that and really inspiring about that. I think one of the things I loved most about the way she was written—and the way I perceived her to be and I tried to bring to life—is that she had such a strong moral core because she knows exactly who she is, and she’s not willing to budge on that. It doesn’t mean she doesn’t have moments of doubt, it doesn’t mean she doesn’t sort of struggle with things, but at the end of the day, I think Iris sleeps well. Because she knows in every day, she ‘s done her best.

That’s why when we meet Iris in that first episode, it really throws her off her game, because she knows what she should do, but then there’s this life that she’s put together, and she knows in her heart of hearts what is required of her and what’s necessary and what her instincts are telling her to do. But she struggles, like all of us, like every person.

I love her love of her family. I mean that’s always an appealing quality when you find characters like that. I call her a lioness. She fights for her family, and through the course of the series, you start to find that she incorporates these other women into that, and realizes that that’s also a part of who she is.

What do you think viewers will most enjoy about this version of the show?
CB: I think what people will enjoy most about this show is that it’s a fun kind of romp. I mean, there’s some serious stuff that we tackle, to be sure. We cover a whole range of serious issues that were taking place in the 50s. You know, the civil rights movement hasn’t quite started yet, but things have happened, and women’s rights are beginning, and gay rights are starting to become a thing, and there is stuff going on with the Cold War—but nothing has quite blossomed yet.

So, what’s lovely about that is that we got this opportunity to play in this environment where there are serious things, but there’s also some life to it. There is life, there is colour. It’s different from the first series, where Britain’s a very different time after the war. There were rations. But there’s just a different energy in San Francisco. So, I think what viewers will really love that this is California in the 50s in this hotbed of change, and it’s colourful and it’s fun and amidst all of this, there’s some great humour. And at the core of it, these fantastic relationships with these women that just grab you. It makes you think about the relationships in your own life. Do I stand up for what I believe in? Do I fight for my people? There’s something lovely about that.

The Bletchley Circle: San Francisco airs Fridays at 8 p.m. ET on Citytv.

Images courtesy of Omnifilm Entertainment

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedinmail

CBC’s In the Making goes inside the working lives of some of Canada’s extraordinary artists

For two seasons Sean O’Neill, the director of public programs and cultural partnerships at the Art Gallery of Ontario, hosted CBC’s Crash Gallery, a reality series pitting three Canadian artists against one another in a competition to create under a time limit and be judged by an in-house audience.

Crash Gallery was brash and unapologetic, and just scratched the surface of how art is created and the thoughts and emotions that go into making it.

Now O’Neill is back on the CBC with an all-new series. In the Making, debuting Friday at 8:30 p.m., immerses O’Neill and viewers in the creative process as he spends time with eight leading Canadian artists who opened their doors to him and answered his questions. Friday’s debut finds him spending time with Lido Pimienta as she records her new album in Colombia. Pimienta grabbed headlines last November when she was accused of racism during a concert in Halifax.

We spoke to O’Neill about In the Making, art and who he thinks this series is aimed at. This interview has been edited and condensed.

You’re listed in the credits as not only a creator but also one of their producers. How did the idea for the show come about?
Sean O’Neill: It’s the show that I’ve wanted to see on CBC or really anywhere for a long time. A show that takes people inside the work and lives of some of Canada’s most extraordinary artists. But really takes you behind the scenes and up close in an intimate way inside the question of what does it mean an artist in the world today? After Crash Gallery ended I was talking to the CBC about how we might continue working together—I was already working with them in my capacity in my job at the AGO on a few projects—and it turned out they were thinking about what was next for them and the arts brand and were talking to White Pine Pictures about that. They kind of paired us together and said, ‘If you could make a show, what would you do?’ And this was the show we pitched.

You asked Lido some hard questions and some even better follow-up questions. Kudos to you and your crew for coming up with great questions.
SON: Thank you so much. That’s really nice of you to say. We worked super hard on this. I should say that Rachel Matlow, the story producer who was on Q, was a huge help on teaching me what it means to interview and we had many test runs. If it does feel intimate or it does feel like there’s a kind of trust or an ability to go a little bit further in the show, yes, that is what we were trying to do. Part of that was how we approached our subjects and how we approach each artist and how our great crews were. I think everything we were trying to do with the artist was in service of trying to create that kind of intimacy that we could carry forward to the viewers. I really appreciate you picking up on it, because it was really important to me to try to get to that bar.

How did you decide who you’re going to cover in this first season?
SON: Very carefully. Because I was working at the AGO as the head of programming and then we were doing concerts, and we did dance, and we did talks, and we did film, so I was already, in the 10 years I worked there, I was in touch with so many artists and it was my job to be familiar with what was happening in Canada and around the world. So, when we sat down, we had a small brain trust of people who were working on the show and we put together a list of I think somewhere between 80 and 100 artists who we just thought would be interesting.

Another criteria is that they had to be doing something major during the time we were shooting. Our promise to the viewer is that you’re going to see these artists at a pivotal moment. Something transformational is happening in their work and their lives and we want to give that slice of life, so that was one criteria and it just narrowed it immediately.

And then, because I was a host of the show and because it was the first season, I wanted to make sure these were artists who I was genuinely passionate about and respected because we felt that you would be able to feel that as the viewer. And we were thinking about the representation of where our subjects were living and were they working across the country. We wanted to make sure that we had a variety of identity positions and perspectives of the world represented in the show. And then, none of our artists said no, which was kind of amazing.

Were there any surprises during production? 
SON: I think that the whole trip to Colombia with Lido was a really good example. Every artist is different and our ethic as we were going in was we’re not a formatted show, we’re a documentary show, so we are certainly having conversations about what we’re going to shoot and where we’re going to go each day, but we’re also going to be prepared to throw that out on the day if the artist is compelled to do something else. And we’ll have that conversation with them.

And with Lido, we were going to La Guajira in Colombia, which is a place not like New York or LA or to Paris or to Delhi where there’s a film industry there, and you can pull your fixers and you can have the people that you might bring on to the core crew as you arrive. We were relying on Lido and her family to do everything from driving us around, in some cases feed us and they cooked us some of the most incredible food of our lives, but also Lido knew the land and we wanted to respect Lido’s knowledge of that land and of that place. It was a very personal episode, because Lido has family members who she loved who were buried there.

Who do you view the In the Making audience as?
SON: I think in some ways you find out who your audience is in the first season. And I think both we as producers and the CBC are curious to find out who does tune in. And I think who tunes in on TV versus digitally will be very different. We’re on after Marketplace on Friday nights, which is, even in terms of the CBC, a relatively older, whiter audience. But who tunes in online remains to be seen. I was keeping kind of two viewers in mind as we were making the show.

One is an aficionado within the arts, an appreciator of the arts, who has knowledge, who might be an artist, who might work in the arts. I wanted those people who put art at the centre of their lives to respect the show and to feel like we weren’t reducing things and that we weren’t turning something that somebody’s spent their life working on into some sort of slick TV show. That was one audience.

The other audience … Well, I grew up in a small town in Ontario with no real connection to what this world was and my interest and passion for it and art changed my own life as a kid. It gave me something to imagine in terms of a future that I would find exciting and desirable and meaningful and so I want that person who is interested, who maybe is moved by a song on the radio in their car in the morning, in terms of their experience with art, to be able to turn on the show and feel like there’s a great story being told that they can be drawn into emotionally and they can learn from it and that it’s just an exciting thing to watch.

And maybe along the way what happens is that the viewer is introduced to some of the foremost artists in the country.

In the Making airs Fridays at 8:30 p.m. on CBC. All eight episodes will be available for streaming on the CBC app and website this Friday after the broadcast.

Image courtesy of CBC.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedinmail

Iron Chef Canada reigns supreme on October 17

From a media release:

Allez Cuisine! Today, Food Network Canada unveiled its exceptional culinary cast and premiere date for the great white north’s Iron Chef Canada (10×60), set to debut on October 17 at 10 p.m. ET/PT. At the helm is Canadian television personality, accomplished food writer and trained culinary expert Gail Simmons as host, critically acclaimed food critic Chris Nuttall-Smith as floor reporter and Vancouver-native Jai West as the dynamic chairman. The final two Iron Chefs slated to command the competition include Ottawa-born vegetarian chef and owner of award-winning New York City restaurant Dirt Candy, Amanda Cohen, and prominent Vancouver-based chef and Culinary Director of Cactus Club, Rob Feenie – both former Iron Chef America competitors. Chefs Cohen and Feenie join previously announced Canadian Iron Chefs, Hugh Acheson, Lynn Crawford and Susur Lee.

In every episode, Monogram appliances elevate the head-to-head battles between the Iron Chefs and notable chef competitors in the finely crafted Monogram kitchen stadium. Each has 60 minutes to prepare five dishes using a featured “secret ingredient” and the chef with the highest score from the rotating judging panel wins the epic battle and supreme bragging rights. Stay tuned for more information on which Canadian chef competitors are lined up to compete this fall.

Learn more about the cast of Iron Chef Canada:

Gail Simmons, Host, @gailsimmonseats
Gail Simmons is a trained culinary expert, food writer, and dynamic television personality. Born and raised in Toronto, Ont., Gail moved to New York City in 1999 to attend culinary school at the Institute of Culinary Education. Gail has lent her expertise as a permanent judge on Bravo’s Emmy-winning series Top Chef and was named the #1 Reality TV Judge in America by the New York Post. Gail’s first book, a memoir titled Talking With My Mouth Full, was published in 2012. Her first cookbook, Bringing It Home: Favorite Recipes from a Life of Adventurous Eating, was released in 2017 and was nominated for an IACP award for “Best General Cookbook.” Gail writes a monthly column for Food & Wine magazine and works closely with the country’s top culinary talent on events and initiatives. In 2016, she received the Award of Excellence by Spoons Across America, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating children about the benefits of healthy eating. She is an active board member and supporter of City Harvest, Hot Bread Kitchen, Common Threads, and the Institute of Culinary Education.

Chris Nuttall-Smith, Floor Reporter, @cnutsmith
Chris Nuttall-Smith is editor-in-chief and founder of thetaster.ca, a subscription site for trustworthy restaurant, food and wine reviews. He’s worked as food editor, chief critic and dining columnist at Toronto Life, restaurant critic for enRoute (he wrote the magazine’s celebrated Canada’s Best New Restaurant list in 2009), and more recently, national food reporter and Toronto restaurants columnist for The Globe and Mail. Nuttall-Smith’s writing on food, drink and other subjects has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Esquire, New York magazine, Toro and Lucky Peach, as well as on the podcast The Fridgelight, which he created and hosted. He’s also a resident judge on Food Network Canada’s Top Chef Canada.

Jai West, Chairman, @monsieurwest
Born in Vancouver, B.C., Jai West began his acting career in his teens as a series regular on the popular teen show Kidzone. He also had many roles on TV and film in the U.S. and Canada including guest appearances in Highlander, The Odyssey and 21 Jump Street and more. In Japan he has starred in high-grossing films such as Worst Contact, Bus Panic and Private Detective Mike. In 2004, Jai took on a key role in the Japanese box office hit Survive Style 5+ the directorial debut of creative duo Tada Taku and Sekiguchi Gen. Jai has also received praise for the poetry he creates under the pseudonym ‘Lotus Chamelion’. In 2016, Jai was cast as the lead opposite Dree Hemingway and Pamela Anderson in the psychological thriller The People Garden directed by Canadian filmmaker Nadia Litz.

Amanda Cohen, Canadian Iron Chef, @dirtcandynyc
Amanda Cohen is the chef and owner of Dirt Candy, an award-winning vegetable-only restaurant on New York City’s Lower East Side. Born in Ottawa and raised in Toronto, Ont. Cohen moved to New York to attend university and never left. Dirt Candy was the first vegetable-focused restaurant in New York when it opened in 2008. The restaurant’s original 18-seat location was open for six years and during that time became the first vegetarian restaurant in 17 years to receive two stars from the New York Times, was recognized by the Michelin Guide five years in a row, and won awards from Gourmet Magazine, the Village Voice, and others. Cohen was the first vegetarian chef to compete on Iron Chef America and her comic book cookbook, Dirt Candy: A Cookbook, is the first graphic novel cookbook to be published in North America.

Rob Feenie, Canadian Iron Chef, @cactusclubcafe
Rob Feenie is currently the Culinary Director of Cactus Club based in Vancouver, B.C. Feenie grew up in Burnaby and graduated from the Dubrulle Culinary Institute. Feenie began his career as a sous chef in notable restaurants such as Le Crocodile and Cherry Stone Cove in Vancouver, and The Rim Rock Café in Whistler. He trained with Chef Emile Jung at Au Crocodile and Chef Antoine Westermann at Le Buerehiesel, both Michelin three-star rated restaurants in Alsace, France. Feenie went on to open his own restaurant, the internationally celebrated Lumière, in Vancouver, followed by Lumière Tasting Bar and Feenie’s. On Food Network Canada, Feenie hosted the series New Classics with Chef Rob Feenie and in 2005, he became the first Canadian to win Iron Chef America by defeating Chef Masaharu Morimoto. Feenie has written four cookbooks and is a two-time Vancouver Gold Medal Plates winner. He has received the coveted Relais Gourmand and Traditions et Qualité designations, the Mobil Travel Guide four-stars designation and the AAA Five Diamond Award.

To learn more about the series, Canadian Iron Chefs, catch behind the scenes content and watch episodes online after they premiere, visit www.foodnetwork.ca.

Food Network Canada is available on a National Free Preview for the month of October. Please check local listings for additional details.

Iron Chef Canada is produced by Proper Television in association with Corus Entertainment’s Food Network Canada and based on the original ‘Iron Chef’ Series Produced by Fuji Television Network, Inc.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedinmail

Mighty Trains returns for a worldwide journey aboard the world’s most famous railways, Oct. 14

From a media release:

This fall, Discovery invites viewers to climb aboard powerful locomotives barreling across awe-inspiring landscapes, as the network’s original Canadian series MIGHTY TRAINS returns with an all-new picturesque season, airing Sundays at 7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT beginning Oct. 14 on Discovery and the Discovery GO app. The second season of MIGHTY TRAINS highlights the network’s nationwide free preview, available Oct. 4 – Nov. 1 through TV service providers across Canada.

Each one-hour episode of MIGHTY TRAINS is a journey into the fascinating world of rail travel, as host Teddy Wilson tells the stories of six exceptional trains and their scenic locomotive routes through Canada, Ecuador, India, New Zealand, Sweden, and Spain. Wilson follows the inner workings of these unique rail journeys with immersive and in-depth accounts from train drivers, load-masters, head chefs, track inspectors, rail traffic control officers, and passengers.

Discovery also announced today that production is underway on a third season of MIGHTY TRAINS.

Discovery’s free preview is available for four weeks – Oct. 4 to Nov. 1 – through television service providers across Canada, including Bell, Bell Aliant, Rogers, Telus, Shaw, Shaw Direct, Eastlink, Cogeco, Videotron, BellMTS, SaskTel, and others.

Episode highlights from Season 2 of MIGHTY TRAINS Include:

Rocky Mountaineer
Sunday, Oct. 14 at 7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT
Rocky Mountaineer takes viewers on a scenic journey across Western Canada and over the Rocky Mountains from Vancouver to Banff. This spectacular journey through British Columbia and Alberta gives passengers breathtaking views of some of the country’s most stunning landscapes, from glittering oceans to untamed wilderness.

Also, as the only passenger train on a railroad line packed with enormous, fast-moving freight trains, Rocky Mountaineer’s 16-cylinder locomotive uses its 3,000 horsepower to pull the train up the steep grades of the Rocky Mountains. So far, Rocky Mountaineer has travelled more than eight million kilometres – that’s more than 15 times around the world!

Tren Crucero
Sunday, Oct. 21 at 7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT
Tren Crucero takes passengers on a four-day trek from the southern coastal plains of Ecuador into the Northern Andes Mountains. Along the way, passengers take in the beautiful landscapes and enjoy daily excursions exploring Ecuadorian culture. It all begins in Eloy Alfaro, the capital of Duran, in the province of Guayas, aboard a restored, hundred-year-old steam locomotive. The train climbs into the clouds en route to its final destination of Quito, one of the highest capital cities in the world, 2,850 metres above sea level.

The 240-ton Tren Crucero follows a narrow-gauge line, traversing the Guayas River, traveling across rice fields and through plantations of bananas and sugar cane. The train traverses deep tropical jungles, stretches of mountains, dry forests, and the banks of the Chanchán River, hugging the Andes.

Maharajas’ Express
Sunday, Oct. 28 at 7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT
Voted “The World’s Leading Luxury Train” in 2012, 2013, and 2014, the Maharajas’ Express is made up of 23 carriages, including 14 sleeper carriages (each named after precious stones) for up to 88 guests, as well as dining cars, bars, lounges, generators, and a presidential suite that extends across an entire carriage. The train is outfitted with hydraulic brakes, a unique ballooning system to cushion the ride, and an onboard water filtration plant. Passengers are greeted with a red carpet, and attended to by private butlers and an around-the-clock concierge service.

Running through the night, the crew works tirelessly to ensure the entire experience is seamless. The Maharajas’ Express is not only the most luxurious train in India, it is also one of the longest (one kilometre from end-to-end), making it all the more demanding for the staff on board to keep up.

Subscribers can access live streaming of MIGHTY TRAINS through the Discovery GO app, and stream Season 1 on demand on the Discovery GO app and Discovery.ca.

MIGHTY TRAINS is produced by Exploration Production Inc. (EPI) in association with Discovery Canada. Series Producer is Joey Case. Bruce Glawson is Executive Producer. Kelly McKeown is Director of Production. Nanci MacLean is Vice-President, Bell Media Studios and President Pinewood Studios.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedinmail

Preview: CBC’s excellent The Detectives recalls more crimes from Canada’s past

When Season 2 of The Detectives was greenlit by CBC, I was thrilled twofold.

Not because I was celebrating the deaths of human beings but because the true crime documentary series spotlights the law enforcement officers who refuse to give up on a case no matter how long it remains unsolved. I was equally excited because the project—returning Thursday at 9 p.m. on CBC—boasts an extensive stable of Canadian actors embodying the roles. Where Season 1 featured the likes of Jewel Staite, Eric Johnson, Hugh Dillon, Aidan Devine, Mylène Dinh-Robic, Marianne Farley, Mark Ghanimé, Tiio Horn, Michael Ironside, Daniel Kash, Lochlan Munro and Ron Lea, Season 2 aims for the same lofty heights with Maxim Roy, Janet Kidder, Michael Shanks, David James Elliott, Gil Bellows and—in Thursday’s return—Currie Graham.

Graham plays Greg Brown, an Ottawa detective who was called to the scene of a homicide in 2005. Like most nights, 18-year-old Jennifer Teague took the 10-minute walk home from her late shift at work in Barrhaven, Ont. But this time, she never made it there. As the missing person case turns into a homicide, Det. Brown chases down one promising lead after another until he’s left with nothing but the knowledge that the killer is a local.

Produced by Petro Duszara, Scott Bailey, Jennifer Gatien, Hans Rosenstein and Debbie Travis—yes, that Debbie Travis—The Detectives is head and shoulders above other true crime series because it includes the actual detectives telling their stories to the producers. This awful stuff really happened and affected the investigators for the rest of their lives. Throw in excellent recreations of the events as they unfolded, real news report footage and pictures of the victims and The Detectives is don’t miss television.

The Detectives airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on CBC.

Image courtesy of CBC.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedinmail