Tag Archives: Ransom

Joseph Kay returns to TV with a new family in CTV’s Transplant

A part of me will always miss This Life. Created by Michael MacLennan—from an adaptation of Radio Canada’s Nouvelle Adresse—and taken over by Joseph Kay when MacLennan departed for Los Angeles to co-executive-produce The Fosters, the story of a single mother raising her two daughters while battling cancer was cancelled far too soon. I feel like Kay was just getting the story going before it came to an end.

Thankfully, Kay is back with a brand-new primetime family, albeit with a different style of story. Debuting Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CTV, Transplant follows Dr. Bashir “Bash” Hamed (Hamza Haq, The Indian Detective), a Syrian doctor with battle-tested skills in emergency medicine, makes the difficult decision to flee his country with his younger sister Amira (Sirena Gulamgaus, Orphan Black).

With the hope of returning to his career in medicine, Bash and Amira build a new life in Canada while managing the struggles that come with a new country. Bash works in a new environment after earning a residency in the Emergency Department at Toronto’sfictional York Memorial.

Alongside Bash at the hospital are Dr. Jed Bishop (John Hannah), Dr. Mags Lablanc (Laurence Laboeuf, 19-2), Dr. Theo Hunter (Jim Watson, Mary Kills People), Dr. June Curtis (Ayisha Issa, Dark Matter) and head nurse Claire Malone (Torri Higginson, This Life).

We spoke to Joseph Kay about his road to Transplant, the learning curve of writing a medical drama and Hamza Haq’s superstar potential.

How did Transplant come about? What was the origin story?
Joseph Kay: I started developing it way back in 2016 right as This Life was ending actually. At the time I had been reading a lot about really skilled professionals from different parts of the world who come here and then can’t qualify and can’t do their jobs. It occurred to me that that could be a novel take on the genre. I was always a fan of the medical genre. And when I started thinking about it on those terms also in 2016, Syria and the conflict was in the news a lot. It still is, but it was in it quite a bit then. And there were a lot of refugees and newcomers and immigrants coming to Toronto specifically.

Two sort of jumped into my mind together, the idea of building a show around a refugee coming from Syria who was amazingly skilled at something and then wasn’t able to do the thing that he could do. I started researching pretty heavily both sides of that, particularly the Syrian side and immediately got connected and found a lot of different Syrians who were here and different kinds of immigrants and newcomers to get people’s lived perspectives and trying to figure out whether I could write that and sort of went from there.

Was the name of the show always Transplant, or was it something else?
JK: It was always Transplant. It’s just a very evocative, I love single word titles.

Let’s talk a little bit about some of the other research you had to do. Was that a bit of a slog for you or do you like doing that kind of research into medical terminology or do you pay somebody to do that for you?
JK: Both. I love it, Greg. I actually love it. I found, very early on, a doctor who is a trauma team leader at St Mike’s hospital in Toronto. So, by the time the show was up and running, we had a lot of consultants. But in the early days, I was very fortunate to come across a guy who was willing to give a lot of his time to just take me through everything and read the scripts and help me with the dialogue and all the medical-ese.

Hamza is great as Bash, a very expressive face. I’m cheering for him and fell in love with him. Was Hamza, when he walked in the room or when he supplied his casting tape, was he the guy right from the get-go?
JK: Definitely. Hamza and I knew each other because of the second season of This Life. He was sort of a foreign student in his little arc and he was nominated for a CSA for his role. And at the time Hamza and I talked a lot. Hamza’s an immigrant and part of his background formed the character he was playing on This Life. We get along well creatively. So as soon as I started thinking about this show, Hamza was the guy I started thinking about very, very, very early on in the process. Of course, we looked at every available actor all along because you always have to do that. But Hamza was very prominent in my mind and in the minds of the people at Sphere Media from the beginning. And then when he did finally start reading for it: he’s a star.

He’s charming, he’s got great energy, he is very expressive. And the character was always meant to be the kind of person who doesn’t say that much, so you want a specific actor who can pull that off. And I had written this thing about the character in one of the series documents, which is that Bash is the kind of guy who you tell all your secrets to and then you realize that you don’t know a single thing about him and you told him everything.

Can you tell me about some of the themes and storylines that you cover in the first season?
JK: When we started really digging into the creative we quickly realized that the storytelling lends itself to this idea of starting over. Starting over of second chances, so everything systematically would flow from that. I mean, it’s Bash’s opportunity to start over. And so in that way, the stories that we tell over the first season are, what are the challenges there both at work and the kinds of conflicts he’s going to find himself in at work? He’s the kind of person who is all instinct and a bit of a rule breaker. He acts before he thinks. So we’re trying to look at sort of the challenges he faced in an environment being an outsider combined with the sort of the nature of his personality.

And then also to see the other side of him. We’re fortunate in that we’re able to go home with him and see a little bit of his family life. And so we’re telling his story of starting over and we’re also at the same time wondering who this guy is and where he came from really and what happened to him and what he left behind. So as we encounter present-tense conflicts and challenges at work and in his personal life, we start to unpack what happened to him and what are the sort of major events of his life that have led him right now. We let those trickle out in ways that keep it interesting and mysterious.

Transplant airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CTV.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.


Original drama Ransom joins Global’s winter schedule beginning February 16

From a media release:

Season 3 of original suspense drama Ransom moves in on Global’s winter schedule, taking over Saturday nights beginning February 16 at 8 p.m. ET/PT in simulcast with CBS.

This season finds crisis and hostage negotiator Eric Beaumont (Luke Roberts) and his elite CriRes team (played by Nazneen Contractor, Brandon Jay McLaren, and Karen LeBlanc), struggling to balance the demands of their personal lives with their careers as negotiators handling high-pressure kidnappings and hostage-takings. As they negotiate with formidable criminals and immerse themselves in the world of extreme hostage situations, the team members deal with the repercussions of Season 2’s dramatic conclusion.

During the first episode “Justice” (airing Saturday, Feb. 16 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Global), when a man is murdered and his wife is threatened to be next, Eric and the CriRes team are brought in to negotiate a blood money payoff.

Viewers who miss any of the intense drama can stream following the broadcast the next day on GlobalTV.com, Global GO (available for Apple TV, Google Chromecast, and Amazon Fire TV), and on demand.

Ransom is produced by Sienna Films, Big Light Productions, Entertainment One (eOne) and Korda Studios, and was created by Frank Spotnitz (The X-Files, The Man in the High Castle) and David Vainola (Diamonds, Combat Hospital) who also serve as Executive Producers.


Global renews high-stakes drama Ransom for third season

From a media release:

Today Global announced a fourth renewal to its slate of Canadian content for the 2019 broadcast year, as suspense drama Ransom has been greenlit for Season 3. From global studio Entertainment One (eOne), Korda Studios, Big Light Productions, and producers Sienna Films, the 13-episode series will shoot in Budapest, Hungary, beginning in October 2018 and premiere next year on Global in Canada and CBS in the U.S. This announcement comes on the heels of Global’s recent renewals for Mary Kills People, Private Eyes, and Big Brother Canada.

With principal cast returning including Luke Roberts, Nazneen Contractor, Brandon Jay McLaren, and Karen LeBlanc, Season 3 of Ransom follows the world of international crisis and hostage negotiating with Eric Beaumont (Roberts) and his elite team as they save lives when no one else can. Eric understands criminals better than they understand themselves and uses his insight into human behaviour to resolve the most difficult kidnap and ransom cases.

Viewers who missed any of the action from Season 2 can catch up on Ransom now on GlobalTV.com, Global GO (available on Apple TV and Chromecast), and On Demand.

Ransom is inspired by the professional experiences of distinguished crisis negotiator Laurent Combalbert, who, along with his partner, Marwan Mery, are among the top negotiators in the world. They travel the globe to help multinational corporations and government agencies with complex negotiations and conflict resolution.

Ransom was created by David Vainola (Diamonds, Combat Hospital) and Frank Spotnitz (The X-Files, The Man in the High Castle) who also serves as Executive Producer. Ransom is a Canada-Hungary treaty co-production, produced by Entertainment One (eOne) with executive producers Jennifer Kawaja and Julia Sereny (Sienna Films); Daniel Kresmery and György Rajnai (Korda Studios) are co-producing. The series executive producers include Valerie Pechels and Odile McDonald (Wildcats Productions). Ransom is developed in association with Corus Entertainment Inc., with the participation from the Canada Media Fund, and produced with the financial assistance of the Ontario Film and Television Tax Credit and the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit.

eOne controls worldwide rights to the series.


Links: Ransom, Season 2

From Scott Campbell of the Renfrew Mercury:

Link: ‘Ransom’ a special show, says actor Brandon Jay McLaren
“It’s action-packed, there’s a cool international flavour. We take place in all these different cities. Most importantly, what’s cool about this show is we don’t use violence to solve our problems.” Continue reading.

From Charles Trapunski of Brief Take:

Interview: Ransom’s Nazneen Contractor
“The show has definitely helped me to better understand other people and to form some kind of agreement with them. And when I’m on the show I try not to negotiate with the people around me, but it has definitely helped me to become a better communicator.” Continue reading.





Preview: Ransom returns for Season 2 with an explosive storyline

When we last left the Ransom team, Eric Beaumont’s (Luke Roberts) life was in shambles. His arch nemesis, Damien Delaine (Carlo Rota) had taken his daughter Evie (Jenessa Grant) hostage, leaving Eric unsure of what to do next.

Season 2 of Ransom, returning Saturday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Global, picks up with 13 new episodes right after that stunning cliffhanger, with Oliver (Brandon Jay McLaren), Maxine (Sarah Greene) and Zara (Nazneen Contractor) scrambling to help Eric out. Inspired by the professional experiences of real-life crisis negotiator Laurent Combalbert and his partner, Marwan Mery, Ransom‘s storylines travel the globe as the squad helps multinational corporations and governmental agencies with complex negotiations and conflict resolution.

Created by David Vainola and Frank Spotnitz, the Canadian-Hungarian co-production staffs homegrown writers in Alison Lea Bingeman, Sandra Chwialkowska, Lynne Kamm, Steve Cochrane, Kyle Hart, Avrum Jacobson, Tamara Moulin and Vince Shiao.

Here’s what we can tell you about Saturday’s return, “Three Wishes,” written by Frank Spotnitz and directed by James Genn.

“Three Wishes” begins by going back almost two decades to show Eric’s origin story and introduce a key character in his life. It’s nice to see Eric at an earlier time and the charm that will make him so successful.

A trio of tasks
As hinted at in the episode title, Delaine forces Eric to complete three challenges in order to win Evie back. Each task forces Eric to make tough choices and make ethically questionable decisions. After seeing Eric in control of situations most of the time, it is interesting to see him in distress and, sometimes, freaking the heck out. A kidnapped daughter will do that to a man. There are a few clunky moments of dialogue to establish the parameters for the main storyline so viewers get just how dire the situation is (no cops, Delaine is dangerous, everyone is scared, keeping to protocol), and I’m not sure they’re necessary. Still, it’s a minor quibble for a genre that does over-explanation all the time.

Carlo Rota is the king
I’ve been a fan of Carlo Rota way back when he hosted The Great Canadian Food Show, through Traders, Queer as Folk and Little Mosque on the Prairie. He’s pitch perfect as Delaine, a man on a mission of revenge and swaggering around telling Eric what to do. You want to punch him in the face but you also understand why he’s going what he is. That’s the mark of great acting. Also, a nod to James Genn who does a bang-up job directing some key scenes between Eric and Delaine.

Ransom airs Saturdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Global.

Image courtesy of Corus Entertainment.