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Pretty Hard Cases: Sherry White and Meredith MacNeill preview Season 1

Sherry White and Meredith MacNeill are no strangers to CBC. White’s most recent project for the network was as director, executive producer and writer for Little Dog. MacNeill, meanwhile, has just come off five seasons as co-creator, writer, producer and star of Baroness Von Sketch Show. Now the two have paired for one of the most entertaining new series on the network, Pretty Hard Cases.

Debuting Wednesday at 9 p.m. on CBC, MacNeill stars as Sam Waszowski, a guns and gangs detective—and single mom—who finds herself teamed with drug squad detective Kelly Duff, played by Adrienne C. Moore (Orange Is the New Black). Together, the pair are trying to take down a neighbourhood gang dealing drugs and weapons. Co-created by White and Tassie Cameron—who previously worked together on Rookie BluePretty Hard Cases is notable not only for its tone but its focus: telling the stories of two women in their 40s.

We spoke to Sherry White and Meredith MacNeill about the first season of Pretty Hard Cases.

Sherry, can you give me the background on how the show came about? Did you and Tassie Cameron keep in touch over the years and say ‘Let’s try and find something together’?
Sherry White: Tassie and I worked on Rookie Blue together and I was on that from the first season until the end. We got really close during the making of that. We moved on to do other things and there was a couple of times when people approached me with, ‘Could I take on some young writer’s cop show and try and help elevate it.’ Somebody came to Tassie and said it, and I’m like, ‘If there’s a demand for this, why don’t we do this ourselves?’ and really reflect more where we are now in our career. Rookie Blue is more about the early days of these characters and their careers.

This show is more about women who are in their 40s, who had given it all to their career and are finding themselves a little wanting for a full life. They’ve sacrificed a lot of their own personal goals in order to have their career, which is totally where Tassie and I were. We wanted to reflect our friendship and we wanted to reflect where we were in our careers and that sort of, what next? How else do we get a full life? We also wanted to have fun. We wanted it to be more in this sort of Paul Feig kind of… the ways he can celebrate women and be really raw and honest and funny about whatever situation they’re in, and I think we accomplished that with the show.

Meredith, did Sherry or Tassie come forward and say, ‘Hey, listen, we’ve got this character for you.’ How did you end up playing the role of Sam?
Meredith MacNeill: I was approached by Sherry and Tassie for the role, so I didn’t have to audition. When I was talking to Sherry about the role, I remember the absolute shock and pleasure and being completely thrilled.

How did you decide how you were going to play Sam? Did you have to learn how to rein her in a little bit?
MM: I was really fortunate to have Sherry and Tassie, who knew my work from Baroness. Actually, there was a lot of freedom on the floor. When I got the part, we talked a lot about, in terms of the physicality and the part, and the part was really on the page. I didn’t have to deviate much from that. In terms of feeling free to do whatever I wanted to bring to it, Sherry and Tassie, I would say, they were my rein-ers. Sherry directed some episodes and because she knew my work so well and we had such a great trust I’d be like, ‘I’m going to do this.’ And she’s like, ‘Great. Do it.’ In terms of reining in my physicality, Baroness and Pretty Hard Cases are such different shows, so the way it used my physicality was a bit different.

Sherry, how tightly scripted is Pretty Hard Cases?
SW: That was one of the major questions we had going into this because we knew we wanted them to find their way and all that stuff but as everyone knows, improv can get unwieldy and we didn’t want to have 65-minute episodes. We found a really good system where we mostly stuck to the text and certainly, for all the procedural stuff, there’s not a lot of improv room in that. You need just the facts, you need what that content was. In the more personal scenes, there was a lot more play and we would always allow for [Meredith] to, once we nailed it, just go. Just do something else if you wanted to play. I would say it was mostly not improvised, but definitely, enough to bring a special flavour that Meredith and Adrienne would bring themselves.

The relationship between Sam and her son is fascinating. Can you talk about how complicated this relationship is going to be as we see this first season roll out?
MM: It’s going to be extremely complicated. Sam is desperate for attention and the love and respect of her son. I’m a single mom and my daughter’s only 10 and I’m starting to feel like she would rather be with her friends. So imagine that amplified. And then Percy [Hynes White] is incredible to play opposite of. We had good chemistry as well, so we were finding a lot about the relationship as it was going. One of Sam’s big storylines for the show is her relationship with her son. It gets pretty exciting.

SW: And again, because loneliness is a theme in this show, there is nothing more lonely than being a single mother about to be an empty nester.

MM: I was so grateful because it’s been my therapy because it’s going to happen to me. I used to call Sherry and sometimes I’d just start crying at the thought of it.

Sherry, what can we expect to see in Season 1?
SW: The core of the series is Sam and Kelly building a friendship, finding a friendship despite their differences and relying on each other, and finding this common ground as they are working together. They’re dealing with the main neighbourhood gang. But then, through that, they have personal stories that develop and challenge their professional life and vice versa. It’s a lot of fun. I think every episode brings a lot of laughs and also it can get pretty sad sometimes.

Pretty Hard Cases airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on CBC.

Images courtesy of CBC.

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Links: Little Dog, Season 2

From Charles Trapunski of Brief Take:

Link: Interview: Joel Thomas Hynes and Sherry White
“I think everyone loves an underdog story and he is an incredible underdog who, I think, everyone felt quite sympathetic towards. I also think that it didn’t take itself too seriously but it also wasn’t a send-up, there are some raw emotions in it as well as the fact that it’s funny. It’s the kind of show that I’d love to watch so I’m glad that other people are enjoying it as well.” Continue reading. 

From Bridget Liszewski of The TV Junkies:

Link: Little Dog creators say it’s time for Tommy to take responsibility
When viewers last saw Little Dog’s Tommy Ross (Joel Thomas Hynes), he was riding off into the night after a winning a fight that he was supposed to throw, making his family, adversaries and many others pretty upset with him. Continue reading.

From Melissa Girimonte of The Televixen:

Link: Get ready for Round 2 of Little Dog with Joel Thomas Hynes and Sherry White
“The second season is exploring the fallout of [Tommy winning the fight], and his relationship with his father, Lowly Sr. (Andy Jones). In the first season, we looked at Tommy’s relationship with his mom, but now we’re diving into fatherhood.” Continue reading.Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

Preview: Little Dog gets back into the ring for Season 2

Life for Tommy “Little Dog” Ross isn’t getting any easier. In fact, it’s looking a lot tougher for him in Season 2. And, honestly, I wouldn’t want it any other way. That makes it all the more rewarding when he punches his way—literally or figuratively—out of a bad situation.

Returning for Season 2 this Thursday at 9:30 p.m. on CBC, Little Dog picks up moments after the Season 1 finale. Tommy “Little Dog” Ross (Joel Thomas Hynes) was on the run after winning his rematch with Rico “Havoc” St. George (Dwain Murphy). Why? Because that went against Tucker’s (Mary Walsh) wishes. The win also messed up Lowly’s (Stephen Oates) bet against his own brother. The result? Sylvia (Ger Ryan) lost her house.

When we catch up with Tommy, he’s in a bad way. Battered and bruised physically from the showdown with Rico and hurting emotionally thanks to his family turning against him, Tommy pedals into the night and seeks shelter in an old shack. Freezing and frustrated, he lashes out at a bird fluttering overhead and kills it. Shaken, Tommy adopts the now empty bird nest and its egg contents as his own. Finally, this is something he can control and care for and not even a bad canned spam will stop Tommy from mothering the eggs.

Show creator, executive producer Hynes and showrunner, executive producer Sherry White have created something truly special in Little Dog in general and Tommy more specifically. Hynes brings an incredible amount of hurt, longing and vulnerability to Tommy. It’s truly special. Amid the maelstrom of life in the Ross clan, he’s the sensitive centre, a guy who wants to be loved and cared for but gets dumped on at every turn. It doesn’t appear as though things will be getting any easier for Tommy. By the end of Thursday’s return, Tommy is introduced to the child he had with Pamela (Julia Chan), opening a new door for Tommy to stumble through: fatherhood.

I can’t wait to see how he handles that.

Little Dog airs Thursdays at 9:30 p.m. on CBC.

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CBC announces winter 2019 premiere dates for Heartland, Schitt’s Creek, Workin’ Moms, Kim’s Convenience and more

From a media release:

CBC today announced broadcast and streaming premiere dates for its winter 2019 lineup of highly anticipated new titles and popular returning series, featuring original programming by Canadian storytellers. With a new winter schedule launching Sunday, January 6, each series will be available for linear broadcast on CBC and live and on demand streaming on the CBC TV app for iOS and Android and cbc.ca/watch.

● Family drama HEARTLAND returns for Season 12 on Sunday, January 6 at 7PM

● Inspired by the best-selling series of books by M.R. Hall, female-driven procedural CORONER starring Serinda Swan premieres Monday, January 7 at 9PM

● CBC’s hit Tuesday night comedy lineup continues this winter with new seasons of KIM’S CONVENIENCE, SCHITT’S CREEK and WORKIN’ MOMS beginning January 8 at 8PM

● A new case draws Kristin Kreuk into the shadowy world of hackers and activists in Season 2 of BURDEN OF TRUTH, premiering Wednesday, January 9 at 8PM

● Limited drama series UNSPEAKABLE focused on Canada’s tainted blood scandal, starring Sarah Wayne Callies and Shawn Doyle, debuts Wednesday, January 9 at 9PM

● East Coast humour rules Thursday nights beginning January 10 at 9PM, with new comedy CAVENDISH from the creators of Picnicface and Season 2 of Joel Thomas Hynes’ LITTLE DOG

● Factual entertainment series THE STATS OF LIFE returns with a new look at how Canadians are living Friday, January 11 at 8:30PM

● Iconic drama STREET LEGAL returns with Cynthia Dale and a new generation of Toronto lawyers Monday, March 4 at 9PM

● New Halifax legal aid drama DIGGSTOWN starring Vinessa Antoine and Natasha Henstridge premieres Wednesday, March 6 at 8PM

● Arlene Dickinson matches budding entrepreneurs with the businesses of their dreams in UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT launching Friday, March 15 at 8:30PM

● A winter, digital-first streaming premiere date for new family adventure drama NORTHERN RESCUE, starring William Baldwin and Kathleen Robertson, will be confirmed in the near future.

CBC’s winter 2019 primetime schedule, launching Sunday, January 6: All following times local with the exception of Newfoundland, please add half an hour to all times.

SUNDAYS
11 AM (12 PM AT) – THE WEEKLY WITH WENDY MESLEY Season 2 continues January 6

7 PM – HEARTLAND Season 12 (11×60) premieres January 6

8 PM – THE NATURE OF THINGS – Season 58 continues with “Food for Thought,” offering the latest in nutritional science, on January 6

9 PM – THE FIFTH ESTATE Season 44 continues January 6

10 PM – THE NATIONAL CBC News’ flagship program continues Sunday to Friday each week

MONDAYS
7:30 PM – CORONATION STREET (weekdays, back-to-back episodes on Mondays starting at 7 PM)

8 PM – MURDOCH MYSTERIES Season 12 (18×60) continues January 7

9 PM – CORONER New procedural drama (8×60) premieres January 7

9 PM – STREET LEGAL The iconic legal drama returns (6×60) March 4

TUESDAYS
8 PM – KIM’S CONVENIENCE Season 3 (13×30) premieres January 8

8:30 PM – THIS HOUR HAS 22 MINUTES Season 26 (19×30, 1×60) continues January 8

9 PM – SCHITT’S CREEK Season 5 (14×30) premieres January 8

9:30 PM – WORKIN’ MOMS Season 3 (13×30) premieres January 8

WEDNESDAYS
8 PM – BURDEN OF TRUTH Season 2 (8×60) premieres January 9

8 PM – DIGGSTOWN (6×60) New Halifax legal aid drama premieres March 6

9 PM – UNSPEAKABLE (8×60) Limited drama about Canada’s tainted blood scandal premieres January 9

THURSDAYS
8 PM – DRAGONS’ DEN Season 13 (20×60) continues January 10

9 PM – CAVENDISH (8×30) New comedy from the creators of Picnicface premieres January 10

9:30 PM – LITTLE DOG Season 2 (8×30) premieres January 10

FRIDAYS
8 PM – MARKETPLACE Season 46 continues January 11

8:30 PM – THE STATS OF LIFE Season 2 (8×30) premieres January 11

8:30 PM – UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT Factual series hosted by Arlene Dickinson (4×30) premieres March 15

9 PM – CBC DOCS POV Season 3 continues with “Pugly,” about the upswing in pug ownership and what makes them so lovable January 11

11:30 PM CBC ARTS: EXHIBITIONISTS Season 4 (26×30) continues

SATURDAYS
6:30 PM – HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADAFacebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail