Tag Archives: Lauren Lee Smith

Preview: Frankie Drake Mysteries returns with a change in tone in Season 2

There are changes afoot in Season 2 of Frankie Drake Mysteries both behind and in front of the camera. As its production company, Shaftesbury, and CBC announced earlier this year, James Hurst took over showrunning duties from Cal Coons. Co-creator Michelle Ricci, meanwhile, has moved on pen Hallmark’s Hallie Dean Mystery movies starring Kellie Martin.

Fans will notice changes in front of the camera. As Hurst told me recently, a shift in tone has taken place for the series’ sophomore season. Serious themes will still be addressed, he says, but there will be less heavy storytelling.

Here’s what the CBC has released as an official synopsis for “The Old Switcheroo,” written by co-creator Carol Hay and directed by Ruba Nadda:

In the Season 2 premiere, Frankie (Lauren Lee Smith) learns that her mother Nora (Wendy Crewson) has joined the board of the Royal Ontario Museum, promising to bring an influx of treasures to the museum’s fledgling antiquities collection. Frankie and Trudy (Chantel Riley) investigate a break-in but find nothing’s been stolen. Meanwhile, Flo (Sharron Matthews) and Mary (Rebecca Liddiard) are embroiled in a mystery of their own after discovering a body in the morgue has been intentionally misidentified. 

And here are more observations from me after watching a screener.

Is Nora going legit?
After a lifetime on one side of the law, can Nora exist on the other? It would seem that’s her goal. Though, her promise to bring more treasures to the ROM had me wondering how she’d get them while staying above board. Speaking of the ROM, it’s a stunning backdrop in Monday’s return.

An X Company star drops by
Yes, I still miss Mark Ellis and Stephanie Morgenstern’s excellent Second World War drama terribly. The hurt was tempered a bit by getting to see Lara Jean Chorostecki back on my screen. She portrays Marian Hartley, a woman whose past is tied to Frankie’s. As with Murdoch Mysteries, Frankie Drake often drops historical references into its fictional tales. Tonight we hear about Howard Carter and Hiram Bingham III. Learn a little more about them here and here.

Flo and Mary take on their own case
These characters are great together. They’re both quirky and unintentionally funny, a winning combination in my book. Seeing Mary struggle to say a certain French dish and the pair teaming to identify the body in the morgue is a real treat. See if you agree.

An adversary for Frankie is unearthed
I’ve been waiting for someone to seriously challenge Frankie since Episode 1 of Season 1. It arrives Monday in the form of Dark Matter‘s Anthony Lemke. He plays Detective Greyson, a veteran cop who gets under everyone’s skin. Also? Slasher‘s Steve Byers drops in to play Hiram Bingham III.

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

Images courtesy of CBC.


More mystery to go around: Frankie Drake Mysteries greenlit for Season 2

From a media release:

From the Shimmy to Art Deco, the Roaring Twenties return with Shaftesbury’s prohibition-era-set FRANKIE DRAKE MYSTERIES renewed for a second season (10 x 60) by CBC, UKTV, and Kew Media Group. Season 1 of the series garnered an audience average of 782,000 on CBC, making FRANKIE DRAKE MYSTERIES the public broadcaster’s second-most-watched drama of the current broadcast season after Murdoch Mysteries.

FRANKIE DRAKE MYSTERIES stars Lauren Lee Smith (The Shape of Water, The Listener, The L Word) as the private eye with the mysterious past Frankie Drake, Chantel Riley (Race, The Lion King) as Frankie’s fearless and clever partner Trudy Clarke, Rebecca Liddiard (Alias Grace, Houdini & Doyle) as keen police morality officer Mary Shaw, and Sharron Matthews (Mean Girls, Odd Squad) as spirited morgue attendant Flo.

Season one saw secrets emerge from Frankie’s tightly hidden past, from discovering her mother alive and working as a con woman, to her friends uncovering her past as a spy. What other secrets will be discovered about the enigmatic Frankie Drake in season two?

Set in 1920s Toronto, FRANKIE DRAKE MYSTERIES follows the city’s only female private detectives as they take on the cases the police don’t want to touch. In a time of change and hopefulness, their gender is their biggest advantage as they defy expectations and rebel against convention. Their cases take them through every cross-section of Toronto, meeting people of all backgrounds and means, as well as historical characters, along the way. Frankie and Trudy’s fearless sense of adventure gets them into all kinds of trouble, but they always manage to find a way out. They are new detectives for a new world – but is the world ready for them?

Created by Carol Hay and Michelle Ricci, FRANKIE DRAKE MYSTERIES is executive produced by Christina Jennings, Scott Garvie, Carol Hay, and James Hurst, who also serves as showrunner, Ruba Nadda serves as lead director/co-executive producer, and Teresa Ho is producer. A CBC original series, FRANKIE DRAKE MYSTERIES is developed and produced by Shaftesbury in association with CBC and UKTV, with the participation of the Canada Media Fund, the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit, the Ontario Film and Television Tax Credit, and the Bell Fund. Kew Media Group is the global distributor of the series.

Source: Numeris TV Meter, Nov. 6, 2017 – Feb. 5, 2018, CBC, A2+, Mon. 9:01-10:00p, Total Canada, AMA, generated by InfoSys+TV


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CBC orders new original drama Frankie Drake starring This Life’s Lauren Lee Smith

We may not have another season of This Life to enjoy, but Lauren Lee Smith is staying with the CBC. Smith, who played Maggie Lawson for two rounds of This Life, has nabbed the lead role in Frankie Drake, a drama about Toronto’s only female detective in the 1920s.

The 11-episode first season of Frankie Drake will begin production this summer in Toronto and will debut this fall on CBC.

Frankie Drake takes on the cases no one else wants to handle and her gender puts her at odds with the social mores of the day. Undeterred, Frankie and her partner, Trudy, open Drake Detective Agency and tackle mysteries.

Related: Carol Hay and Michelle Ricci discuss Frankie Drake

Frankie Drake is a real labour of love for us. It is a story about a spirited woman, breaking barriers and calling the shots, in a world that might not be ready for her. This is a one-hour detective series, set in the 20s, but this is not the roaring 20s we have seen onscreen before,” Christina Jennings, chairman and CEO, Shaftesbury said in a press release. “We are so pleased to bring this show to life, in partnership with our friends at the CBC, and with a creative team who have been part of our Shaftesbury family for many of our hit series. And of course—what a treat to work with the wonderful Lauren Lee Smith again. I can’t wait for the world to meet Frankie Drake.”

Now, some sad news for Murdoch Mysteries fans: Frankie Drake is created by Carol Hay and Michelle Ricci, which means they won’t return for Season 11 of Murdoch. Hay and Ricci also serve as executive producers on Frankie Drake; the series is executive produced by Jennings, Scott Garvie and Cal Coons, who also serves as showrunner. The series is produced by Jonathan Hackett and Julie Lacey.

We can’t wait to see the sass Smith brings to Frankie. What are your thoughts on this announcement? Will you tune in? Let us know in the comments below!


Link: This Life: Lauren Lee Smith discusses Maggie’s unexpected nature

From Bridget Liszewski of The TV Junkies:

Link: This Life: Lauren Lee Smith discusses Maggie’s unexpected nature
“As this season progresses we see that the decision they made perhaps was not the smartest choice, and the repercussions emotionally for Maggie are definitely more than she bargained for and more than she anticipated. It turns out to be not what she thought it would be at all. At all. Like AT ALL!” Continue reading.


This Life’s Lauren Lee Smith previews Maggie’s “Crazy” Season 2

Maggie Lawson is the free spirit of CBC’s This Life. Immature and impulsive, she frequently frustrates her siblings and parents with her life choices—despite her best intentions. Case in point, when she outed Matthew’s (Rick Roberts) affair to Nicole (Marianne Farley) last season, causing a major brother-sister fallout.

“She wants to help,” Lauren Lee Smith says of her character. “She wants to be the person who comes through for everybody, but things never seem to work out in her favour, which in turn gets the rest of her family pretty upset with her.”

At the end of the Season 2 premiere, Maggie appeared to take a step toward responsibility by moving into an apartment with new friend Raza (Hamza Raq). But Smith says things take a “crazy” turn in this week’s episode, “Perfect Day,” though she can’t be specific.

“It’s so hard not to be able to give more away,” she laughs.

Joining us by phone, Vancouver native Smith—who recently nabbed a Leo Award for This Life—tells us more about Maggie’s new living arrangements, her rift with Matthew and what to expect in coming episodes.

Congratulations on winning the 2016 Leo Award for Best Supporting Performance by a Female in a Dramatic Series for Maggie. 
Thank you. I was very surprised and very excited for that. I just absolutely adore this character and I love working on the show, so to get rewarded for that as well is like, ‘Oh, my God!’ It’s crazy. It’s pretty great.

Maggie and Matthew had a falling out last season after she told Nicole he had an affair.  They were still at odds in the premiere. Are they ever going to make up?
I still stand by Maggie’s choice. I think Maggie was totally in the right for doing what she did and calling out Matthew. I think that he needed to be called out, and I think the truth needed to come out . . . Matthew wasn’t going to do it by himself. He needed Maggie’s push to get the truth out there, but we’re definitely going to see that cross into Season 2. They have not worked things out. When we’re first introduced to Season 2, they are still very much at odds, and the tensions are definitely still high between the two of them. I think they just approach life from two very different corners. And as the season progresses, we sort of see how they work that out, because ultimately the Lawson family is very close.

In the premiere, Maggie is experiencing a money crunch and decides to move in with Raza, a customer she meets at work. How is that going to work out for her?
Maggie is a very crafty person and she does know how to twist things and make things work in her favour when she needs to. So she meets one of her customers and they sort of devise this plan to help him and also in turn make Maggie’s life a little bit easier. And how they go about that is completely irresponsible and crazy and that’s basically what we see in Season 2. It carries throughout the rest of the season, and that’s basically Maggie’s big story point for the duration of the season.


So while it looks like a step toward stability for her, it may not be?
Yeah. When we left off in Season 1, Maggie very much still had a lot of growing up to do, and she still has a lot of evolving to do as a grown-up and her choices are still not completely thought through. I think toward the end of Season 2 we maybe start to see a little bit of her realizing that and realizing that she needs to take a good, hard look at herself. But starting with Episode 2 and heading toward the end of the season, it’s a big fumbling Maggie mess. It’s very fun to watch and very fun to portray. There are a lot of firsts for Maggie in Season 2, which are very difficult and heartbreaking and comedic.

Last week, Nicole accused Maggie of not understanding intimacy. Is that going to be a major part of Maggie’s journey this season?
It is. It’s definitely a major indication of what’s to come for Maggie. And there’s a point this season where Maggie realizes, ‘OK, maybe I do need to take a look at my life and my choices and relationships and look at them from a perspective other than just my own.’ And I think that’s a theme for Maggie throughout Season 2, right up until the very end.

How will Natalie react to Maggie’s choices this season?
I think that Maggie and Natalie have a very co-dependent, very strong, very beautiful and honest relationship—well, honest in Maggie’s terms—and I think they really do rely on each other for certain very different things. But it’s difficult sometimes for Natalie to put up with Maggie’s choices. We know everything that Natalie is going through, and she’s dealing with a load, not only with her diagnosis, but with the drug trial, and her three children, and her ex-husband, and the list goes on and on. So I think her exasperation and impatience with Maggie is also very apparent in Season 2—for very good reason!

What else can you tell us about Season 2?
Oh, gosh, there are so many surprises in Season 2, I don’t even know where to begin. I feel like every episode there’s something that the audience is going to be like, ‘Whoa, whoa, what just happened?’ Even me reading the scripts, that’s how I felt.

But I think Episode 209 is probably going to be the most shocking episode yet. That’s kind of all I think I can say at this point. But even reading the script, I had to read it three times and sort of go, ‘Wait, what just happened here?’ . . . I think the audience is going to be in for a very interesting, emotional, fun ride during Season 2.

This Life airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on CBC.

Images courtesy of CBC.