Have you heard of the children’s book, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day? It’s about a boy who wakes up, and from the moment he does, everything goes wrong. I can’t help but think of that book—written by Judith Viorst and illustrated by Ray Cruz—every time I watch an episode of 19-2. Every time something goes right for that Montreal police squad, it seems like 20 don’t.
Returning for its fourth—and final—season on Monday at 10 p.m. ET/PT, 19-2 makes the jump from Bravo to CTV, a well-deserved move that will give more Canadians the opportunity to catch this exceedingly well-written, expertly acted cop drama. (CraveTV subscribers get to see episodes a day early, on Sundays.) Adapted from the Radio Canada series of the same name, showrunner Bruce Smith and his writers have not only managed to set the English version of 19-2 apart from the French but has outlasted it by one season. It’s also gathered a pile of awards—Canadian Screen Awards for leads Jared Keeso, Adrian Holmes as well as Best Drama—and critical acclaim in the U.S.
Now it all comes to an end beginning on Monday with the episode entitled “Swimming.” Season 3 ended in a flurry of violence and emotion. Officers Nick Barron (Holmes, above) and Ben Chartier (Keeso) were determined to hunt down Inspector Elise Roberge (Krista Bridges) to avenge the brutal death of Nick’s sister and Ben’s lover, Amelie (Tattiawna Jones). Escalating mob violence in the city has an impact on the 19-2 squad directly, leading to Ben and Audrey (Laurence Leboeuf) involved in a deadly car accident.
When we first met Nick and Ben we asked, ‘Can these two guys be partners?’ And, after Houle [Conrad Pla] shot himself, and fell into the lake, and the two of them are driving back into the city … the message we were sending to the audience is they’re partners now.
Back for Season 4 of 19-2 are Dan Petronijevic J.M., who saw his marriage crumble because of his rage issues; Benz Antoine as Tyler, on the mend from alcohol abuse; Mylène Dinh-Robic as Béatrice, who is seeking redemption after losing her stripes; Bruce Ramsay as manipulative District Commander Marcel Gendron; and Alexander De Jordy as young cop Richard Dulac. Maxim Roy returns to guest star as Nick’s ex-wife, Det. Isabelle Latendresse. New cast includes Aiza Ntibarikure as Roxanne, a new young female cop; and Sagine Sémajuste as Farah, a social worker.
Last November, TV, Eh was part of a press junket to Montreal that included a stop at the set of 19-2, where we chatted with Smith, Keeso and Holmes about Season 4, and the series overall.
Where do we pick up in Season 4?
Bruce Smith: Season 4 picks up exactly where Season 3 left off, not just in terms of plot, but emotionally and in intensity. These are characters in extremis from the beginning. We’re really excited about the way Season 4 starts. It starts with more plot going on than is normal for us—it’s not always about plot with our show, it’s about emotion. And really what we felt is that we spent so much time building up the emotional intensity, particularly for Nick and Ben, that we felt we could keep that intensity going rather than having to build it again. And, really, this final season is really the second of two two-part movies.
When we first met Nick and Ben we asked, ‘Can these two guys be partners?’ And, after Houle [Conrad Pla] shot himself, and fell into the lake, and the two of them are driving back into the city … the message we were sending to the audience is they’re partners now. They have been through the school shooting, through Houle … whatever they feel about each other, they are inseparable. Season 3 and four has been an exploration of that partnership under extremis. The real extremis was the losing of a common loved one between them. It really was like a marriage and the loss of a child causing a marriage to break up. We tracked them almost breaking up last season, and then they came together and move forward into Season 4. They’re not together when we start Season 4.
Can you saywhy?
One of the first things they experience is the weirdness of not being together for a very emotional moment. That’s for both the characters and the audience. There are a series of events that happen and they are physically separated. When they do come back together, it’s strange because they haven’t experienced it together. One of the focuses for us in the writer’s room in Season 4 was to show how much is undone. There are very prominent characters, our core characters, who never really had arcs together before. There are a couple of new pairings and new relationship arcs between core characters in Season 4.
Jared and Adrian, what were your reactions to Amelie’s death last season?
Adrian Holmes: It was a huge shock to me. Tattiawna was so great and when you lose an actor it’s hard because it’s like a family we’ve created here. So to not have her around was hard. And for the characters, it’s a huge blow and it’s something that adds a lot of tension and friction. The characters have to rise above that and find a way to still keep the marriage together. It was a big shock, but these are the things that make 19-2 so unique and special. You just don’t know what’s going to happen. The shock value is very high on our show and we take a lot of pride in it.
Once you do an episode about a school shooting, the second episode really needs to be about what that feels like. That’s it. It’s very challenging to write and very challenging to act, but if you can do it, you get rewarded for facing those challenges.
Jared Keeso: I think it was the first time that I read the script, and I texted Smitty and said, ‘This is a great opportunity for us as actors to play something like this.’ I’ve certainly never played anything that heavy before. The good thing about our show is it’s earned. It’s all about the writing on our show. It builds and builds and builds, and then boom. All the context is there and that’s a huge advantage for us as actors as well.
I always watch 19-2 cringing because no one is safe. That’s by design, correct?
Bruce Smith: From the beginning of the show and certainly by Season 3 we saw, from the reaction of the audience, that we had done our jobs. We want to train the audience to be afraid. When you have happiness, be a bit nervous but also cherish it. With the cast that we built up and the writers and directors we’ve had, we felt early on what we were really good at. We were really good at provoking intense emotion in the audience and in the characters. It’s a show about first responders. It’s not a show about abstraction and putting things together and solving something. It’s about being stuck in awful or exhilarating or wonderful moments and then dealing with the aftermath of just that moment.
Once you do an episode about a school shooting, the second episode really needs to be about what that feels like. That’s it. It’s very challenging to write and very challenging to act, but if you can do it, you get rewarded for facing those challenges. In Season 4, we’re coming in hot and there is intense feeling from the top and you’re on an emotional roller coaster with these characters.
Do you think fans will be happy with the series finale episode?
Bruce Smith: I sure hope so.
CTV announced today that after a successful three-season run on Bravo, the final eight episodes of the critically acclaimed drama 19-2 will premiere on CTV in a special final-season broadcast event, Mondays at 10 p.m. ET/PT beginning July 31. The hour-long drama sees the return of Canadian Screen Award-winning actors Adrian Holmes and Jared Keeso as beat partners Nick Barron and Ben Chartier, navigating systemic corruption in Montréal while in the wake of a shared personal tragedy.
Season 4 of 19-2 will also get a CraveTV First Look with all new episodes premiering one day earlier, Sundays at 10 p.m. ET beginning July 30. Seasons 1 – 3 of the critically acclaimed drama are streaming now, exclusively on CraveTV.
Winner of multiple Canadian Screen Awards including Best Drama as well as Best Actor for both Keeso and Holmes, 19-2 has garnered much critical acclaim and accolades throughout its three-season run. Cited as a series that “defies expectations” by the New York Times, and “exciting” by the Wall Street Journal, the series was also nominated for a 2016 International Emmy®Award.
Season 4 of 19-2 begins with Nick and Ben working to avenge the death of Nick’s sister and Ben’s lover, Amelie. In the process, they find themselves pulled into an escalating cycle of mob violence and revenge. While Nick is determined to move forward, Ben fights to keep his faith in justice and in himself. As a raging gang war intensifies, the entire squad is pushed to their limits and forced to depend on each other more than ever.
In the Season 4 premiere episode, “Swimming,” (Monday, July 31 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CTV) Nick and Ben are set on taking down Inspector Elise Roberge (Krista Bridges, RANSOM) in order to avenge the brutal murder of Nick’s sister Amelie. Nick is first on site at a horrific event with many casualties. Meanwhile, Ben and Audrey are implicated in a tragic accident.
19-2 is co-produced by Sphère Média Plus and Echo Media in association with Bell Media. Executive producers are Jocelyn Deschênes, Virginia Rankin, and Josee Vallee from Sphère Média Plus, Luc Châtelain from Echo Media, and showrunner Bruce Smith.
19-2’s exceptional cast ensemble sees the return of CSA-nominee and Gemeaux winner Laurence Lebeouf (MARCHE À L’OMBRE) as fiery officer Audrey Pouliot; CSA-nominee Dan Petronijevic (SAVING HOPE) as angry beat-cop J.M.; CSA-nominee Benz Antoine (MARY KILLS PEOPLE) as jovial officer Tyler, on the mend and in recovery; Mylène Dinh-Robic (Sleeper) as no-nonsense Béatrice, seeking redemption after losing her stripes; CSA-nominee Bruce Ramsay (21 THUNDER) as manipulative District Commander Marcel Gendron; and Alexander De Jordy (LETTERKENNY) as young cop Richard Dulac. CSA-nominee Maxim Roy (BAD BLOOD) returns to guest star as Nick’s ex-wife Detective Isabelle Latendresse.
Joining 19-2 this final season are Aiza Ntibarikure (THE ART OF MORE) as Roxanne, a new young female cop; and Sagine Sémajuste (LOST GIRL) as Farah, a social worker.
Writers Bruce Smith (CRACKED), Nikolijne Troubetzkoy (CALL ME FITZ), Lynne Kamm (8 Count) return, with Jackie May (Van Helsing) and Greg Nelson (SAVING HOPE) joining the writer’s room this season. Louis Choquette (THIS LIFE, VERSAILLES) and Sturla Gunnarsson (MOTIVE), return to direct.
Ben may have told Nick to walk away from the investigation into Kaz’s death, but we knew Nick would ignore his partner. Far from trusting anyone to find his cousin’s death, Nick does some digging on his own, uncovering plenty of secrets during “Rescue,” Monday’s new episode.
Nick investigates Kaz’s murder
Adrian Holmes deserves applause for his portrayal of Nick in the opening moments of “Rescue.” He’s literally haunted by his cousin’s death—there’s an all-to-brief scene in the home where the body was found—followed by him observing people laughing and playing in the sunshine while he, dressed in the black of mourning, aimlessly wanders the neighbourhood. That leads to him being introduced to Martine, a teenager stuck in the child welfare system, and a potential witness in Kaz’s disappearance. The only issue? Martine will work any angle to get out of her group home.
Tyler struggles with sobriety
The affable, likeable Tyler—who has been off booze for months now—makes one little post-workout mistake that sends him into a spiral, culminating in a truly sad sequence of events. The scenes prove how difficult it is to shake addiction without help.
Ben is … happy?
Chartier’s work-life balance seems to be perfect. This being 19-2, I don’t expect that to last.
Audrey & the Rookie vs. bike thieves
The bad guys never stood a chance.