Tag Archives: CBC

Preview: Frankie Drake Mysteries dips into Frankie’s past

In last week’s preview for “The Pilot” episode of Frankie Drake Mysteries, I bemoaned the fact a key storyline regarding Frankie’s past seemed to have been skipped over; namely her past working in Canada’s Signal Corps during the First World War. I assumed that storyline would never be examined. I was, of course, wrong. And for once, I’m happy I was incorrect.

In this Monday’s new episode “Ghosts”—written by Ian Carpenter and directed by Peter “James Pendrick” Stebbings—we dig deep into Frankie’s time in the Signal Corps and how it affected her. Here’s the official synopsis via CBC:

The horrors of war haunt Frankie when an investigation into a soldier’s murder reunites her with a friend left traumatized by his tour of duty.

And here are more details we noted from watching a screener.

Frankie Drake Mysteries gets serious
Not that solving crimes isn’t already a serious enough topic, but the show goes in a bold direction in “Ghosts” by addressing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or what was back then referred to as shell shock. The episode jumps right into the main story with nary a scene with Trudy, Mary or Flo and a pretty big bang. The episode also delves into the physical scars suffered by First World War soldiers in an unflinching way. This is easily the most gritty Frankie Drake episode yet, especially when Frankie runs into an old friend.

Gia Sandhu guest-stars
Gia Sandhu, most recently seen on CTV’s The Indian Detective and CBC’s Kim’s Convenience, checks in as a wife concerned with the way her war veteran husband is acting. What is he hiding? Frankie is hired to find out.

Veteran actor Geordie Johnson appears
Geordie Johnson is a “that guy” of film and television, starring in projects like The English Patient, Street Legal, Traders, Durham County, Copper and Murdoch Mysteries, is General Chanston, who meets with the veteran’s wife.

Use Google
There are two English locations and one Canadian military force that you’ll want to look up after watching this episode. The story behind their significance to the First World War is stunning.

Frankie Drake Mysteries airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on CBC.

Images courtesy of CBC.




Preview: Murdoch Mysteries rings a bell for … murder?

Last Monday, “Biffers and Blockers,” written by Dan Trotta revealed that—at long last—Julia is pregnant. It also introduced us to Rupert Newsome and showed how Higgins is faring as an upper-class citizen thanks to Ruth Newsome. It was an episode filled with funny moments.

This coming Monday, things take a decidedly darker turn. Here’s what the CBC has to say about “Mary Wept,” written by Noelle Girard and directed by Megan Follows:

Murdoch investigates when a statue of the Virgin Mary gifted to his church begins miraculously weeping.

And, as always, we’ve got more info to share after watching a screener.

Welcome, Sophia Walker
A member of the Canadian Film Centre’s 2016 Actors Conservatory, Sophia Walker guest-stars as Josephine Beatty, a woman at the centre of “Mary Wept.” You can read up on Walker’s past work via the CFC’s website, but she’s done a ton of theatre work as well as appearing in 12 Monkeys and Rookie Blue.

Welcome back Det. Watts, Violet Hart and GEORGE CRABTREE
Det. Watts and Violet Hart answer the call this week and play key roles in the murder case. Meanwhile, George’s jaunt in Paris is over and he’s back at Station House No. 4. Turns out the City of Light has affected him in many ways and we get to hear all about it. Also, Higgins plans a life-changing event.

William and Julia head to church
I can’t remember the last time William’s religion was the focus of a Murdoch Mysteries storyline (I’m betting readers will let me know.) but it’s front and centre in “Mary Wept.” It’s also the opportunity for Julia to take a playful jab at attending a church service. As an aside, Harry Judge—who last appeared in the 2011 episode “Kommando” as Matthew Larson—guests as Father McGray. Regarding the weeping statue of the Virgin Mary … there is more to that than first appears. Of course.

You gotta have faith
Is the weeping Virgin Mary a miracle or something more sinister? The image above may give you a clue, but the whole case is the opportunity to discuss religion in general and faith specifically. It’s interesting to hear the opinions of everyone involved in the main storyline and may leave you reflecting on your own beliefs.

Murdoch Mysteries airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on CBC.

Images courtesy of CBC.




Preview: Burden of Truth blossoms in Episode 2

The first episode of a new television series is always tough on the creators and viewers. Within just 44 minutes for a drama (and 22 for a comedy) you need to create a world, introduce the characters in it and connect all of it for a new audience.

As I wrote last week, the pilot episode of Burden of Truth did it effortlessly. I immediately cheered for small-town lawyer Billy Crawford (Peter Mooney) when big-city litigator Joanna Hanley (Kristin Kreuk) switched sides and joined him in plotting to take down the big pharmaceutical company she was representing. I felt badly for Luna Spence (Star Slade), the young woman determined to fight the company because its drugs were making her and other girls sick. I enjoyed the community feel of Millwood, rife with secrets and ill-will towards Joanna, who left there when she was 14.

I was excited to see what creator Brad Simpson had in store, especially after CBC sent out this episode synopsis:

Joanna must reckon with questions over her family’s hasty departure when she was a teenager while attempting to convince the locals that she has, in fact, switched sides. After footing the bill for medical testing of the sick girls and running commonalities tests, Joanna suspects that the cause of the illness is an environmental toxin on the High School Athletic Field.

And here are more tidbits to tell you after watching a screener of “The Ties That Bind,” written by Simpson and directed by Jeff Woolnough.

Selkirk looks super
Thanks to stunning work by director of photography David A. Makin, the directors and location folks, Selkirk, Manitoba, is stunning as the fictional Millwood. Those wind turbines, waving crops and sun-touched brick buildings bring a whole new level to the production.

Joanna breaks the news to Alan
Almost lost in the shuffle of last week’s debut was Benjamin Ayres as Alan, Joanna’s boyfriend and co-worker at the firm. “The Ties That Bind” jumps right in with she calling he to drop a bit of a bomb in his lap.

The whole reason Joanna was in Millwood was to combat the claim against the company making drugs. Now that she and Billy dig a little deeper into the evidence, they discover the vaccine may not be the culprit after all.

It’s not all about the big case
Billy may be working with Joanna on the major court case but he’s got a bunch of other situations to deal with. We get a ton of background on what Billy is up to, his standing within the community and the difference between doing legal work out of an office in a skyscraper and on country roads. Meanwhile, Joanna’s phone conversations with her dad don’t go so well … and hint at what drove him to leave Millwood 17 years ago.

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

Images courtesy of CBC.




Murdoch Mysteries: Writer Dan Trotta discusses Julia’s news and Higgins’ growth

Spoiler Alert! Do not read this interview until you have watched the Season 11 episode entitled “Biffers and Blockers.”

So many fans have told me how much they’ve enjoyed Season 11 of Murdoch Mysteries. I agree. The writer’s room has hit a grand slam with regard to storylines, taking our favourite characters in bold new directions while keeping the core intact. That’s difficult to do, and yet showrunner Peter Mitchell and his crew make it seem easy.

Monday’s newest instalment, “Biffers and Blockers,” was memorable for several reasons. At long last, Julia said the words William and Murdoch Mysteries fans have been waiting for: she is pregnant. Secondly, the series was able to bring a beloved character back from the dead (sort of) by introducing us to Dr. Rupert Newsome (Cyrus Lane), identical twin brother of the late Roger Newsome. And third, with Constable Crabtree off in Paris, Higgins stepped forward and got some major airtime not only with regard to the murder of a cricket player but his social life with Ruth Newsome as well.

We spoke to the episode’s writer, Dan Trotta, about everything that went down.

I was thrilled to see Cyrus Lane return to the show as Dr. Rupert Newsome. How did the idea to have Cyrus come back as a twin come about?
Dan Trotta: Everyone in the room loved the character and everyone loved working with the actor. I didn’t have a whole lot to do with that decision. The character of Roger was just so fun to write for. There were a couple of pictures of him in the writer’s room. I know Jordan Christianson was a big fan. So, the class system was a big part of the episode and it made sense to have him as part of it. And the trick then was how to distinguish the brothers, and that was a fun part of it.

Cyrus Lane brings a lot to the role and has really created something special.
That guy is a fantastic actor. It’s the first time that I’ve worked with him. Comedy, I find in my limited experience, can be tricky especially when you really try to bring the funny. First, it’s on the page in the script. But, there is a security and a confidence that he has in his ability that makes him hilarious. What I noticed in the read-through is that his timing is fantastic. And he does seem to give the other actors a lot of space. He has a ton of charisma but doesn’t take over a scene, although I totally think he could easily if he wanted to. I was really looking forward to those scenes and seeing how they’d pop with him in them.

The return of a Newsome wasn’t even the biggest news of the episode. That was reserved for Julia revealing she is pregnant. How did it feel to have your name on this script and include this huge moment?
I was totally surprised that I was allowed to do this. It was an honour and a real responsibility. And I felt a responsibility to get it right because I know just how important it is to people. We’re seeing these characters in a situation we’ve never seen them before, really. So there was kind of a freedom in that. The old rules didn’t really apply, in a way, but you also want to honour the truth of these characters. I was kind of floored and it wasn’t even a really huge discussion. It was just kind of like, ‘Dan, this [episode] is yours.’ The way it all unfolded was certainly something we talked about but I’ve been consistently flattered by how much trust that Pete and the room have had in me.

A pivotal moment like this is usually saved for a season finale. Any comment? We’re only on Episode 11, so something big must happen in the season finale.

Now, just because she’s pregnant doesn’t mean she’ll carry the baby to term, right?
I suppose that’s a possibility, Greg.

You mentioned that class is a big part of this storyline. We got to see Higgins outside of the office, with Ruth, and you fleshed out more of that character. It must have been fun to do that with Lachlan Murdoch.
Honestly, he is such a blast to write for. To me, he is one of the funniest characters on the show and I thought that before I even started. And I thought it was hilarious to have this clash that he was going through. He slipped into that world so naturally. There is an element of British humour to it and an obliviousness to this character that I have always found fall-over funny. That, to me, was really what was so fun about it. Writing for clueless characters is just a blast. It’s the best.

It was neat to see him clearly besotted with Ruth and, at this point anyway, keep the worlds apart and not speak down to the lads in Station House No. 4.
So far, yes. [Laughs.] I think that’s in its infancy.

Did you know anything about cricket before writing this episode?
Dude, nothing. Nothing at all. That was a tricky part. The thing that lends itself to cricket is the clash and class distinction. I was writing and I would leave something like a strikeout blank and then go back and research the actual word. Instead of batter it’s batsmen. [Laughs.] It was a bit of a process. And, to be quite honest, I’m still not sure I know exactly how it works. I read your preview and I had the same questions you did. I still not sure what a match can last more than a day. I still don’t get that.

Where were the cricket scenes filmed?
Oh man, that was Shanty Bay. It was stunning. [Attention history buffs: the cricket scenes were, according to this website, the summer estate of Titanic survivor Lt. Col. Arthur Peuchen.] We got these two perfectly clear, gorgeous days to film. It’s one of the most beautiful pieces of real estate I’ve ever seen.

What did you think of the episode? Are you happy for Julia? Let me know in the comments below!

Murdoch Mysteries airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on CBC.




Link: Frankie Drake Mysteries’ Sharron Matthews on why Flo was “meant to be”

From Kelly Townsend of The TV Junkies:

Link: Frankie Drake Mysteries’ Sharron Matthews on why Flo was “meant to be”
“Some characters you read and you go, ‘I can play that.’ Then there are some characters you read and say, ‘Oh, that’s me,’ I literally put my suitcase in the middle of the smallest hotel room in the world, I put a toaster container on top of it, I leaned my iPhone on it, and did a self-tape.” Continue reading.