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Production begins on Season 4 of Burden of Truth

From a media release:

ICF Films, Eagle Vision, and eOne today announced that production is underway on Season 4 of CBC original drama series BURDEN OF TRUTH (8X60) in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Following lawyer Joanna Chang, (Kristin Kreuk; SmallvilleBeauty and the Beast), BURDEN OF TRUTH began production in early September and is set to shoot until late fall. Seasons 1-3 of BURDEN OF TRUTH are available now on the free CBC Gem streaming service. BURDEN OF TRUTH is also broadcast on The CW in the U.S. and on additional networks around the world.

BURDEN OF TRUTH follows Joanna Chang, a ruthless, big-city lawyer who returns to her small hometown in Millwood for a case that will change her life forever. Each season centres around a new life-altering legal case – the vulnerable plaintiffs searching for answers and the boots-on-the-ground lawyers fighting incredible odds to deliver justice.

Reprising their roles for Season 4 are executive producer Kristin Kreuk as Joanna Chang; Peter Mooney (Rookie BlueSaving Hope) as Billy Crawford; Star Slade (Frontier, Emerald Code) as law student Luna Spence; Meegwun Fairbrother (Mohawk GirlsHemlock Grove) as Police Chief Owen Beckbie; and Anwen O’Driscoll (Emerald CodeFlint) as new Millwood police recruit, Officer Taylor Matheson. Additional returning cast members include local Winnipeg actors Eugene Baffoe (Ruthless SoulsOur Scene) as Officer Thorpe; Skye Pelletier (Taken, Indian Horse)) returning from Season 2 as Saulteaux teen, Kip Bellegarde; and lawyer Nevin Page returns from Season 2 and 3, played by Paul Essiembre (ChloeWarehouse 13).

This season also welcomes new additions Brynn Godenir (The Middles, Journey Back to Christmas) as Stevie Nichols, Luna’s new law-student girlfriend, and Cherissa Richards (A Dog’s JourneyThe Secret Ingredient) as Joanna’s new adversary, Elise Moore.

Season 4 welcomes a talented array of directors including Doug Mitchell (The Pinkertons, Less Than Kind), Kelly Makin (Flashpoint, Saving Hope), Michelle Latimer (Trickster, Rise), Madison Thomas (Taken, Colour of Scar Tissue), and 2nd Unit Director, Tyson Caron (Wynter, Lovesick).

Writers this season include Brad Simpson, Madison Thomas, Eric Putzer, Shannon Masters, Hayden Simpson, Felicia Brooker, and cast member, Meegwun Fairbrother joins the writers this season.

In Season 4, when a mining company reopens a dormant mine outside Millwood, Joanna and Billy, lawyers and new parents, step in to protect a local woman’s home from certain destruction. When the mine swiftly retaliates, Joanna is forced to confront a long-buried secret from her past and scramble to protect the future of her career and her family. As both sides prepare for war with the fate of Millwood at stake, Joanna and Billy must juggle their life with a newborn with waging a legal battle against a corporate titan. When they come across evidence the mine isn’t what it claims to be, Joanna seizes an opportunity to launch an unexpected legal battle that will bring the company to its knees.

A CBC original series, BURDEN OF TRUTH is produced by ICF Films, Eagle Vision, and eOne. The series is created by Brad Simpson (Rookie Blue, King), who is also an executive producer. Brad Simpson and Adam Pettle (Saving Hope, The Detail, Nurses) serve as co-showrunners and also write on Season 4. BURDEN OF TRUTH is executive produced by Ilana Frank (Nurses, Saving Hope), Linda Pope (Nurses, Saving Hope), Adam Pettle (Nurses, Saving Hope), Jocelyn Hamilton (CardinalMary Kills People), Eagle Vision’s Kyle Irving (Taken, Ice Road Truckers) and Kristin Kreuk (Beauty & The Beast, Smallville). Co-Executive producers are Lisa Meeches of Eagle Vision (Taken, Ice Road Truckers) and Tyson Caron (Lovesick, Wynter).

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Burden of Truth: Kristin Kreuk and Peter Mooney preview “dangerous” Season 2

The first season of CBC’s Burden of Truth was a pleasant surprise. At first glance, the series—with its vague title and legal theme—had the unfortunate outer markings of a bland procedural, a sort of brown paper bag among more colourful “Peak TV” offerings.

But in a wonderful sidestep, the series eschewed a plot-focused case-of-the-week format in favour of a single, serialized case that took its time and built its characters. Moreover, its environmental storyline involving big-time corporate lawyer Joanna Hanley (Kristin Kreuk) and a mysterious illness affecting high school girls in her hometown of Millwood, Manitoba, exonerated its seemingly punchless title. As the suffering of the girls became impossible to ignore, the weight of Joanna’s conscience—which her lawyer-boss father David Hanley (Alex Carter) proudly proclaimed she didn’t have—became heavier and heavier. This moral awakening led her to defect from her dad’s big-city law firm and help small-town lawyer Billy Crawford (Peter Mooney) investigate the cause of the girls’ illness. It also led her to discover that her father once preyed upon an underage girl, resulting in the birth of her sister Luna (Star Slade). This helped her to win the case but forced her to change her name.

The burden of truth, indeed.

In the show’s Season 2 premiere, which airs Wednesday at 8 p.m. on CBC, that burden still looms large. Now working at a high-pressure corporate law firm in Winnipeg and using the last name “Chang,” Joanna is trying to distance herself from both her father’s shadow and the Millwood case. However, the events of Season 1 won’t be easy to shake off.

“I think Brad Simpson, who created the show, really wanted to be sure that we stayed with the lives of these people and to really instill that these cases don’t just end and that’s it,” Kreuk explains during a phone interview from Toronto. “There’s a lot of complexity and also a lot of horrible things happened, so they have to deal with the balance of that.”

For Joanna, that means having to deal with Millwood-related aftershocks—be they in the form of a visit from her estranged father or in the form of an unwanted Case of the Year award—while she is struggling to rein in her difficult new client, a hacker-turned-political activist (Varun Saranga). For the people of Millwood, that means finding a way to rebuild their lives after the closure of Matheson Steel, the source of the environmental contamination that made the girls ill.

While the series is admirably willing to delve into the aftermath of Season 1, Mooney assures viewers that there are plenty of fresh storylines and threats lurking about in Season 2.

“I think the danger in the second season is so much more immediate,” he says. “The onus in the first season was chipping away at these girls’ lives in a really tragic way, and this season is just as dangerous. But that danger is not a future danger, but a danger that’s present and right there in every day of the season.”

One major source of danger is Joanna’s new case, which involves hacktivists, shadowy corporations and Internet privacy.

“When the hacktivist stuff happens, it’s hard for her,” Kreuk says. “Not just because she doesn’t understand the Internet and she doesn’t understand privacy, but because she’s dealing with young people who are really emotional and really intense, and that’s really tough for her. I think, practically, that puts her into a space where her life is on the line and so are the lives of her clients.”

To make matters worse, the case forces Joanna to confront parts of her personality she would rather keep hidden.

“When people attack Joanna’s privacy, it starts to get into emotional profiling and the darkest parts of your psychodynamics that you don’t want to look at and you don’t want anyone else to see,” Kreuk says.

Meanwhile, back in Millwood, Matheson Steel victims Molly (Sara Thompson) and Taylor (Anwen O’Driscoll) are trying to physically and emotionally heal after their ordeal, while Luna remains troubled by the crime David Hanley committed against her mother (Jessica Matten). The town is also reeling from the closure of the mill—an event that is driving up unemployment and increasing tensions. This causes Billy to retreat to the outskirts of town, but his tranquil existence is interrupted when his impulsive younger brother (Andrew Chown) suddenly turns up.

“Billy got away pretty clear in Season 1,” Mooney says. “Anything from his past that he’d rather have avoided, he was able to avoid in that season. But in Season 2, it comes crashing back into his life and we meet his brother Shane, who brings us back into his history, and it’s tricky history. There’s a lot going on. We see a lot of different sides of Billy beyond the side that he usually puts forward.”

If all of this sounds like a Season 1-style slow-burn instead of the “immediate” danger Mooney spoke of, don’t be lulled into a false sense of security. There is an early-season twist that turns everything on its head, and Kreuk says the fallout will challenge viewers and push them to “think about their place in Canada, or in the world, in a more nuanced way.”

Mooney concurs, adding, “We tell a really difficult story this season, and I think it’s really well told. I’m really proud of it.”

Burden of Truth airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on CBC and CBC Gem.

Images courtesy of CBC.

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