Tag Archives: Hudson & Rex

Showrunner Peter Mitchell talks Hudson & Rex and Murdoch Mysteries

When it comes to Canadian television, showrunner Peter Mitchell has one foot in the past and one in the present.

On Mondays, the period whodunit Murdoch Mysteries—starring Yannick Bisson, Hélène Joy, Jonny Harris, Shanice Banton and Thomas Craig—continues to chug along in Season 15 on CBC, with no end in sight.

On Thursdays, it’s the modern-day cop drama Hudson & Rex, which follows the adventures of cop Charlie Hudson (John Reardon) his crime-solving dog, Rex (Diesel vom Burgimwald), Supt. Joe Donovan (Kevin Hanchard), Sarah Truong (Mayko Nguyen) and Jesse Mills (Justin Kelly) as they solve crimes in St. John’s.

With both series at roughly the halfway point in their seasons, we had a chat with Peter Mitchell about the challenges he faces helming two primetime series.

How do you logistically juggle both shows? Do you spend time in St. John’s, or are you doing Zoom meetings, and things like that?
Peter Mitchell: It’s a combination. I think I was out in St. John’s for slightly extended periods, about four times over the course of the season. And the times that I wasn’t there, writer Mary Pedersen, Joe Milando or Keri Ferencz was out there. I always had a writer around in St. John’s over the run. And the rest of it was just like it has been for the last few years. Just Zoomland. It was similar around Murdoch, although I was in the Murdoch offices more, obviously, because it’s just across the Gardiner, as supposed to across the continent.

How are you not burned out?
PM: I’ve got Mary Pedersen and the writing team on one side, and I’ve got Simon McNabb, and Paul Aitken, and the rest of the writing team on the other side. I will admit to getting confused every once in a while. What episode are we doing? What show is it? Is there a dog in this one?

I’ve had the chance to speak to Mary several times over the years, and it sounds as though she’s really become your right-hand person in St. John’s, with Hudson & Rex. Is that accurate?
PM: Yeah, that’s completely accurate. I mean, the other writers have contributed greatly too. But, Mary started with me as a script coordinator about six or seven years ago, and she’s essentially co-writing Rex with me. And the same with McNabb on the other show.

One of the things specifically about Hudson & Rex I wanted to ask you about, is going out and having the team be mobile. Was that something that was organic?
PM: I think the reason behind it was just doing a bit of a subtle shift of the show, and not leaning into the mystery so much. And then leaning a bit more into a classic police procedural. That meant tracking down a lot more clues, interviewing a lot more people, and trying to take advantage of the environment that we were blessed to shoot in. I really wanted to get a little bit more value out of Newfoundland than just aerial stock shots, and stuff like that.

And it doesn’t take long in Newfoundland, if you’re in St. John’s, to be any number of unique locations. As much as we could, in the first part of the season, we tried to maximize the exterior locations. Then as winter came, we pushed more inside, and it was a very deliberate attempt to make our team more active, and get some of the characters who often spent a lot of time behind the desk, out into the field a bit more and to try and have them work as a tighter unit. Each of them still maintaining the same sort of skillsets, but just getting them all out a bit more.

I think the actors all enjoyed that, and it just made it more of an investigative unit. It was a pretty deliberate decision. It might have been like the first or second line I wrote in my action plan for Season 4, so yeah, it was a deliberate thing.

One of the things that I noticed right away is Kevin Hanchard’s character, Joe, interacting more with his team. It just showed a tighter relationship with the team as a result of him being out of headquarters, and out on the road with them.
PM: He’s a pretty dynamic actor, so it’s hard to be dynamic when you’re stuck behind your desk, just issuing orders and talking to the press, so we just wanted to get him out, and be a cop a bit more often.

You recently filmed in Hamilton. Was it for a major part of a storyline?
PM: Yeah, it was an opportunity to do something a little bit different. Rex is getting one of those national police awards, so it made sense to take the show out on the road for a little bit. Even doing a one-day shoot in Hamilton brought with it its own difficulties. We only brought Charlie and Rex out, but they were the ones getting the award, so it made sense. And as you can imagine, two years into this, travel and all that stuff is still difficult, but I think at the end of the day, it was worth it.

Speaking of Rex, you’ve added a camera shot through his eyes, showing evidence he has picked up on. What was the decision behind that?
PM: Again, it’s going to the procedural versus the mystery. It just made sense to try and visually depict Rex as an active investigator, being able to find things that other people can’t find. And it was always a little bit of trying to construct a mystery, or a puzzle, or a riddle, or a crime, that was interesting, but it would still be possible for a dog to solve it.

All of the dogs involved in playing that role are doing a lot more than they were before.
PM: We made a commitment, me and the directors, to shoot Rex more, and not just shoot him as random cutaways. In the past, sometimes they would shoot the Rex stuff last, and sort of run out of time. For us, it was always shoot the Rex stuff first, and try as often as you can to have in the scene standing by, or with one of our characters, so that even if he’s just hanging around being Rex, he’s still active in the frame. That was kind of led by Gary Harvey off the top, that we prioritize what Rex is doing in a scene.

Let’s switch things up and talk about Murdoch Mysteries. What was your reaction when Hélène Joy first came to you and said that she was pregnant? Was it always like, ‘OK, well, we’re going to have Julia be pregnant as well’?
PM: I think I almost made a snap decision. Hélène phoned me up and told me the news, and it was at that point still pretty secret. I don’t think very many people knew, if any. And I think I thought about it for about 10 minutes, and went, ‘OK, I guess Julia’s having a baby. How do you feel about that?’ I don’t know why. I don’t know why I decided it. And I kind of unilaterally decided it. I talked to Hélène, and she said, ‘Yeah, that’d be cool.’ And I said, ‘OK, we’re going to do it.’ And then I went to the network after that, and said, ‘Well guess what guys?’ And there’s always the slightest amount of apprehension, you know?

The way that the season unfolds, I wanted to build it so that when the baby comes, and the baby does come, of course, there are still three or four episodes post-baby. I think if I had ended the season with the birth, it feels like, ‘OK, they’ve done everything they needed to do, goodbye.’ It was like, ‘No, let’s have the kid, and let’s have that sweet Murdoch solving a case.’ Just to show that this is just going to be another part of their lives. Everything that could possibly happen on Murdoch has almost happened, so I’m like, well, why not just add this, and just work it into the fabric of the show?

Julia is not going to stop being a proactive female lead just because she’s had a kid. It’ll allow for some additional moments of warmth and humour, and who knows jeopardy. I don’t see it being a [detriment] at all.

Is there going to be a cliffhanger at the end of this current season?
PM: Yeah, but it won’t involve babies. Yeah, there’ll be a few little cliffhangers. In fact, I’ve just got it up on my computer screen right now. I’m just going over the last 10 pages of it as we speak.

Hudson & Rex airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on Citytv.

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

Hudson & Rex images courtesy of Rogers Sports & Media/Shaftesbury. Murdoch Mysteries image courtesy of CBC.

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Link: Mayko Nguyen Talks Hudson & Rex “Leader of the Pack”

From Heather M. of The Televixen:

Link: Mayko Nguyen Talks Hudson & Rex “Leader of the Pack”
“Being able to work all together, out in the field and on location has been a lot of fun. Studio days [are] great [especially] when we’re tired, but it can also get kind of ‘same old, same old.’ And so it’s really nice for the four of us to get to be out on location, shooting these beautiful vistas all together.” Continue reading.

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Preview: Hudson & Rex returns for Season 4 with a new look and feel

I like Hudson & Rex for a few reasons.

First, its cast is top-rate. From John Reardon, Mayko Nguyen, Kevin Hanchard and Justin Kelly to Diesel vom Burgimwald on down, everyone on the call sheet is enjoyable to watch. Secondly, the writing team is truly gifted. Led by showrunner Peter Mitchell, they craft stories that are believable, have real dramatic stakes and a pinch of humour thrown in. And third, that stellar Newfoundland setting and the crew that works it. Every episode is a love letter to that part of Canada, no matter how dark the crime may be.

Returning Thursday at 8 p.m. Eastern on Citytv, here’s the official synopsis for “Sid and Nancy,” written by Peter Mitchell and directed by Gary Harvey:

When two hikers are discovered murdered near a remote coastal trail, the team is on the hunt for a fugitive duo wanted in a series of grisly campsite murders.

And here are some non-spoilery notes from me after watching a screener of the episode.

A new setting…
As I mentioned above, all the main players are back in Season 4. But, there is a big change within minutes of Episode 1. The Major Crimes team is on the road and reporting out of a mobile unit.

“It keeps all of us together and takes us out into the field more and in the office less,” Reardon says in the Season 4 press kit. “Having the team together adds a new element of storytelling and it showcases Newfoundland even more than we have in the past. I think it makes the show more dynamic because we’re all in communication with each other, we’re responding in real-time, and solving the case in real-time instead of regularly coming back to the office to regroup.”

… and a new vibe
I totally agree with Reardon’s statement. There is an energy, sometimes frantic, in Thursday’s return, that has been added to Hudson & Rex. It just feels like there is more at stake and more opportunity for conflict between local police forces that don’t appreciate the big-city unit rolling onto their turf.

A little spark?
Over the past three seasons, Hudson & Rex has faintly hinted at an emotional connection between Charlie and Sarah. Judging by a scene on Thursday, the needle may be headed into “strongly hinting.”

Hudson & Rex airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on Citytv.

Images courtesy of Derm Carberry for Shaftesbury and Pope Productions.

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Citytv announces 2021 fall premiere dates

From a media release:

What do you get when a hopeful romantic, crime-fighting canine, vampire, and an investigative detective walk into Molly’s Bar? Night after night of must-watch dramas and juicy reality series on Citytv, Citytv.com, and FX this Fall.

Full episodes and past seasons are available on Citytv Now and FX Now online, Rogers on Demand, Amazon Fire TV, and on the authenticated Citytv and FX apps for iOS, Android, Samsung, and fourth-generation Apple TV.

NEW to Citytv & Citytv Now
Citytv continues to be the exclusive home for Bachelor Nation with the all-new series Bachelor in Paradise Canada, featuring Bachelor-alumni Kevin Wendt as the Bartender and Jesse Jones as Host. Then, KiSS 92.5’s Deepa Prashad and Daryn Jones dish the dirt in The Bachelor After Show: After Paradise. And, a new batch of eligible bachelors vie for the heart of The Bachelorette, Michelle Young. New-to-Citytv this Fall is Season 23 of Law & Order: SVU, starring Mariska Hargitay as Olivia Benson, which chronicles the lives of the Special Victims Unit of the New York City Police Department, an elite squad of detectives who investigate crimes of sexual assault, child abuse, and domestic violence. Then, new heartfelt life-affirming drama Ordinary Joe follows Joe Kimbreau, played by James Wolk (Mad Men, You Again), who faces a life-changing decision at his college graduation. Dick Wolf’s powerhouse Chicago franchise (Chicago Fire, Chicago Med, Chicago P.D.) and Law & Order: Organized Crime, toe tapping dance competition series Dancing with the Stars, and paw-some duo Hudson & Rex also join the Citytv slate this Fall with all-new episodes of jaw-dropping twists and head-scratching mysteries.

Plus, Citytv gets ready for the holiday season with special holiday episodes of fan-favourite comedies Kenan, Mr. Mayor, and Young Rock. Dates to be announced in the coming months.

CITYTV

Friday, Sept. 10

8 p.m. Fall in Love Fridays

Monday, Sept. 20

8 p.m. Dancing with the Stars

10 p.m. Ordinary Joe

Wednesday, Sept. 22

8 p.m. Chicago Med

9 p.m. Chicago Fire

10 p.m. Chicago PD

Thursday, Sept. 23

8 p.m. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

10 p.m. Law & Order: Organized Crime

Sunday, Oct. 10

8 p.m. Bachelor in Paradise Canada NEW – Citytv Original

9:30 p.m. The Bachelor After Show: After Paradise NEW – Citytv Original

Tuesday, Oct. 19

8 p.m. The Bachelorette

Thursday, Oct. 21

8 p.m. Hudson & Rex Season 4 – Citytv Original

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Canada’s Got Talent returns with Simon Cowell to headline Citytv’s 2021/22 original programming slate

From a media release:

Add equal parts universally-proven formats, diverse Canadian storytelling, and tremendous talent, garnish with the most dramatic twists (ever!), and serve with a side of serious canine cuteness and you have the perfect mix for Citytv’s 2021/22 original lineup, announced today at the Rogers Sports & Media Upfront.

Citytv is building on the global success of the Got Talent and Bachelor franchises with the launch of Canada’s Got Talent, Bachelor in Paradise Canada, and The Bachelor After Show. And there’s more, with the return of Citytv’s highest-rated original scripted series Hudson & Rex and the newest chapter of OMNI Television’s Blood and Water.

Created by Simon Cowell, the Got Talent franchise holds the Guinness World Records title as the most successful reality TV format, and now Canadians can once again take the stage and hear the golden buzzer as Citytv has commissioned Canada’s Got Talent in partnership with Fremantle, SYCO Entertainment, and McGillivray Entertainment Media Inc. The show begins production this Fall in Niagara Falls, ON, and premieres in Spring 2022 with nine original episodes. Canada’s Got Talent celebrates home-grown hopefuls from across the country as young and old, from every corner of the nation, show the country what they’ve got.

Keep the bubbly flowing, Bachelor Nation. As announced earlier this year, Bachelor in Paradise Canada is coming exclusively to Citytv this Fall, airing Sundays at 8 p.m. ET. The drama continues beyond the rose ceremony with the launch of The Bachelor After Show, airing Sundays at 10 p.m. ET. Hosted by KiSS 92.5’s Deepa Prashad and Daryn Jones, the two will dish on all the juicy gossip and drama from the Bachelor universe – The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, Bachelor in Paradise – and across Bachelor Nation.

Citytv’s #1 original scripted hit series Hudson & Rex, which experienced 77% audience growth since Season 1*, is back with more bark as production for Season 4 begins in St. John’s later this month and will air in mid-season. New this year, in partnership with Access Reelworld and Rogers Sports & Media, Citytv announces Level UP, a new mentoring initiative which provides on-the-ground set experience to emerging writers and directors who identify as Black, Indigenous, or People of Colour. This year’s program sponsors are Hudson & Rex producers Shaftesbury and Pope Productions, who welcome successful applicants to their set and writers room to shadow the crew, hone their skills, and develop additional training.

On OMNI Television, private detective Michelle Chang (Selena Lee, Forensic Heroes IV, Once More) is back on the case as Blood and Water: Fire & Ice, the original Chinese-Canadian drama, returns for a compelling third and final season, premiering Sunday, June 13 at 10:30 p.m. ET. Season 3 continues the saga of the billionaire Xie family in which Michelle finds surprising allies as she hunts down Norris Pang, the ruthless criminal who kidnapped her daughter. Produced by Breakthrough Entertainment, in association with OMNI Television, the eight 30-minute episodes star Selena Lee, Elfina Luk, Sean Baek, Loretta Yu, Fiona Fu, and Oscar Hsu.

Rounding out Citytv’s original content offering are popular schedule staples Breakfast Television, two-time CSA winner as Best Morning Show, and Cityline, the longest-running and most successful Canadian daytime show for women.

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