Tag Archives: Ransom

Set visit: Global’s crisis negotiation drama puts Toronto up for Ransom

Living in Toronto, seeing orange traffic cones signify one of two things: road work or a film or television production. I’ve seen plenty of the former and latter over the past 15 years, but never a full-on road closure for a television production. Until earlier this summer.

The reason? Global’s crisis negotiation drama, Ransom. The co-production between the Canadian network, CBS in the U.S. and TF1 in France (Toronto’s Sienna Films and eOne are among the production partners) closed down a block near the Eaton Centre, filming a bank heist scene taking place during one of 13 episodes. Yellow barriers and Toronto police redirected traffic while black SUVs and cop cars emblazoned with the NYPD logo sat staggered in front of an old office building standing in for a bank. A phalanx of actors portraying SWAT police trooped down the street during several takes as a drone buzzed loudly overhead, capturing the action.

Ransom stars Luke Roberts (Black Sails) as Eric Beaumont, a hostage negotiator who jets to locales around the world talking criminals out of dire situations. The hook? Eric doesn’t carry a gun, preferring to use his gift of patter to disarm the bad guys. Based on the real-life experiences of negotiator Laurent Combalbert, executive producer Frank Spotnitz (The X-Files) says this is the biggest international show he’s done.

“I was told about Laurent about two and a half years ago,” Spotnitz says. “It already makes a great TV show, because, in the case of Laurent, every case is 24 to 48 hours. They are naturally adrenaline and suspense-filled. And he doesn’t carry a gun. That’s crazy. I’ve done lots of shows, including The X-Files, where people solved their problems with guns. To have a guy who says, ‘No guns. I’ll solve this with my mind,’ is a challenge but I wanted to do a show like that.”


Rounding out Ransom‘s cast is Sarah Greene (Penny Dreadful) as Maxine Carlson, a girl with a secret; Brandon Jay McLaren (Slasher) as Oliver Yates, a psychological profiler; and Nazneen Contractor (Covert Affairs) as ex-cop Zara Hallam. After filming in Toronto for several months—the city stood in for North American locations—the series decamped for the south of France, with the area representing European spots.

Spotnitz, who lives in London, full-time says he fell into the current production model where several countries toss production money into a hat and share costs but sees it as the way of the world now, where viewers are watching programs both traditionally and non-traditionally (like his The Man in the High Castle on Amazon).

“When I moved to London, I sort of fell into this model,” he says. “It’s an amazing time to be in Europe. There is a real awakening of television and a new ambition to do shows in the English language that compete with the best shows in North America. It’s challenging to do a show for two or three broadcasters but I enjoy it, travelling and getting to know all of these different cultures.”

Ransom airs during the 2016-17 broadcast season on Global and CBS. Look for more Ransom coverage on TV, Eh? as we get closer to a broadcast date.


Cameras roll on Global’s original series Ransom

From a media release:

Global independent studio Entertainment One (eOne), Big Light Productions, Sienna Films, and Wildcats Productions, in partnership with leading broadcasters Global (Canada), TF1 (France), CBS (US), and RTL (Germany) announce that production has begun in Toronto on the riveting new original drama Ransom. The 13-episode series starring Luke Roberts (Black Sails, Wolf Hall, Game of Thrones) as expert hostage negotiator Eric Beaumont is also set to film in Francethis fall.

Joining the cast as Beaumont’s team are Tony Award-nominated Sarah Greene (Penny Dreadful, Burnt) as Maxine Carlson, a young newcomer eager to prove herself; Brandon Jay McLaren (Graceland, The Killing, Chicago Fire) as Oliver Yates, a psychological profiler; and Nazneen Contractor (Heroes Reborn, Covert Affairs, 24) as ex-cop Zara Hallam.

Ransom follows crisis and hostage negotiator Eric Beaumont (Roberts), whose team is brought in to save lives when no one else can. Eric understands criminals better than they do, and uses his insight into human behaviour to resolve the most difficult kidnap and ransom cases. Despite the stakes, Eric refuses to resort to violence, even when confronted by some of the most dangerous criminals in the world. While Eric’s considerable powers of manipulation make him the best at what he does professionally, they often complicate his relationships with family, friends, and colleagues. Is Eric being himself, or who he needs to be in order to get what he wants? It’s often hard to tell the difference.

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

Ransom is created by David Vainola (Diamonds, Combat Hospital) and Frank Spotnitz (The X-Files, The Man in the High Castle). The series is executive produced by Spotnitz, Jennifer Kawaja, and Julia Sereny via their Sienna Films banner; and Valerie Pechels and Odile McDonald of Wildcats Productions, who also brought the IP on which the show is inspired. Ransom has been co-developed by TF1 and Corus Entertainment Inc., with the participation of the Centre National du Cinema et de l’Image Animé in France as well as Canada Media Fund, and will be produced with the financial assistance of the Ontario Film and Television Tax Credit and the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit.