Tag Archives: Shawn Doyle

Bellevue: I always feel like somebody’s watching me.

The imagery in the opening moments of tonight’s episode of Bellevue, despite lasting just a few seconds, makes use of some powerful symbolism. Mother Mary is watching over the town of Bellevue.  Then we immediately cut to the crime scene, followed by a close-up of the body bag containing Jesse’s (Sadie O’Neil) remains as it is being zipped up. Provocative? By the end of this episode we we will have more questions than answers so here goes….

Peter (Shawn Doyle) wants to know how Annie (Anna Paquin) found Jesse, so she is compelled to reveal the truth. She shows him both the fake nails and the doll that the Riddler left for her. Once again, Peter is over-the-top pissed with her for getting involved.  Annie believes the two cases are somehow connected. She says, “Jessie was at the church where Sandy’s body was found without fingernails, and I am sent fingernails in a doll dressed like Mary, and told to keep quiet or I won’t learn the truth about either of them.” Annie believes this Riddler guy will only communicate with her but to ensure that connection she must keep quiet; they have a bond. Is Peter afraid for Annie or is he trying to scare her? “Tell me you understand you are talking to a killer now…”  Determined, she re-establishes the pattern of give and receive just as she did when she was a child. Annie leaves the Riddler a gift: “What I found beyond the horizon.”

Meanwhile, Jesse’s mother, Maggie (Victoria Sanchez), turns to Father Jameson (Joe Cobden) in her time of grief. She has just identified her son’s body. Maggie confesses she has never believed in God until now, but, she believes God only punishes. It appears someone else may share this same belief. Maggie and Father Jameson turn and notice the image of St. Joseph has been desecrated; an image ripe with betrayal. Instead of a father cradling his son lovingly in his arms, it now portrays the image of father stabbing his son in the back.

Some advances in the investigation do occur. The coroner reports Jesse suffered blunt force trauma to the head; this would indicate heat of the moment. Now we know Jesse got into a white pick-up truck, so something must have happened in the truck. Who conveniently owns a white pick-up truck? Coach Tom (Vincent Leclerc) the surrogate father to Jesse who also happens to be completely obsessed with Jesse making it big in hockey.

Annie then receives the first of two messages in this episode, the first again in the form of a riddle. “If a hero falls from glory, where can he relive it?” Everything is starting to point at Tom. He is known for his rage, even encourages his team to fight out their differences as a team building strategy. Annie screens practice video and discovers the relationship between Jesse and Tom changed significantly about a month prior to Jesse’s untimely death.

In the meantime, Daisy (Madison Ferguson) attempts to conduct a séance, motivated by her hope Sandy Driver’s spirit can impart some secret from the grave. And she is caught. “Uncle Peter” brings her home and she is forced to endure stern lectures from both he and her mother. Annie and Eddie (Allen Leech) disagree with how to handle it but Annie prevails: Daisy needs time with her friends. Eddie leaves to take Daisy for her sleepover, but in a huff.

Shortly after, someone parks their truck out front of Annie’s—why can we not run the VIN to identify him?—and Annie takes off into the woods thinking this must be the Riddler. She finds the second message, not in the form of a riddle but still adhering to his  theme of dolls. This time it comes in the form of a paper doll chain: “Don’t be Scared.”

Then things get a bit messy. Annie—angry with both Eddie and Peter—heads to the Rattlesnake Bar to blow off some steam and hits on some random guy to make Eddie jealous. Her plan works and they hook up in the parking lot. How Hot Was That Scene? OOOF! Whilst still in their afterglow, Annie spots an old payphone and checks it out. Jesse’s jersey number is scratched into the paint. Jesse was there. Phone records need running down. Eddie again leaves in a pique. Evidently, Annie’s obsessions are a sore spot.

While all of this is going on, Peter returns to the shack at Clear Horizons, setting it on fire and burning  the fake fingernails as well. So, are we to believe Peter is behind all the creep stuff? Is he fabricating this facade in an effort to get Annie to depend on him more? What is his motivation to deliberately destroy evidence? Like I said at the top, I feel as though the writers are trying to get us to believe Peter is behind some of the underhanded events but it just feels too early in the story to outright convict him at this point.

The focus then shifts to Coach Tom. Jesse’s boyfriend Danny (Cameron Roberts) reveals Tom took Jesse to a motel and whatever happened that night is what caused Jesse to hate Tom. Peter and Annie visit the hotel and learn that Tom bought a hooker for Jesse, to get him to “man up!” Anne later visits with Tom’s wife, Jackie (Marianne Farley), and she reveals they are not really together. She is aware of Tom’s visits to this hooker. Peter calls Tom down to headquarters and subjects him to Peter and Annie’s good cop/bad cop questioning. They let Tom know that the phone records from the Rattlesnake confirm Tom got a three-minute call at 12:30 a.m. the night Jesse was killed. Tom denies any involvement and Jackie provides his alibi.

With that dead end, Annie revisits the hooker who shares some interesting information about Tom. Not only did he deliberately get himself injured in a traffic accident, ending his career as a hockey player, but he keeps the old sign the city erected in his name. It is hidden in the basement of the arena where he relives his glory through his team and through Jesse. Annie heads there and discovers the sign but someone locks her in. Whoever it is pours gasoline, allowing it to seep under the door.

Remember that image of Joseph stabbing his son in the back that Maggie and Father Jameson discovered in the church? Seems the Riddler wants Annie to tie that image to Coach Tom. Apparently, Tom played Joseph opposite Sandy Driver in the Christmas pageant the year Sandy was brutally murdered. Coincidence?

OK, so back to the gasoline at the door. Annie confesses to whomever is outside that door. She assumes it is the Riddler. She tells him she trusts him but she was hurt and lost after he left her 20 years ago. His response? “Don’t trust the guy with the fire in his eye.” Annie manages to break out of the room and runs to Peter who just happens to be watching his garage burn down. “Goddam, kids” he says.

WHEW!!! Like I said at the top, we are left with more questions than we started with. What is Peter’s story? Can Annie trust him or does she need to heed the Riddler’s warning? Is the Riddler perhaps Sandy Driver’s father Neil ( Andreas Aspergis) who is now off his meds? Did Tom kill Jesse? Is he behind Sandy Driver’s death too? How does the Riddler know all of these details if he is not the killer? So is the Riddler also the killer? I have not got a clue yet myself. But I am having too much fun watching each layer as they are unveiled to me! And I cannot wait to find out what happens next either!

Let me know who you think is behind the killings and who you think the Riddler is in the comments below.

Bellevue airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on CBC.

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Bellevue: Dolls and Riddles and Death, Oh MY!

Here we are at the conclusion of Episode 2 of Bellevue—written by Jane Maggs, produced by Diandra Yoselevitz and directed by Adrienne Mitchelland we are left with many questions. But first, here is a rundown of what we know from last week’s premiere episode:

Our story takes place in the mining town of Bellevue, a town that has fallen on hard times. Det. Annie Ryder (Anna Paquin, most recently from True Blood) is a single mom to Daisy (Madison Ferguson).  Daisy’s father, Eddie Roe (Allen Leech of Downton Abbey fame), is still very much a part of their livesseems this couple is the Lucy and Desi of Bellevue. As a child, Annie’s life was forever altered when her father, also a police officer, took his own life following his inability to solve the case of Sandy Driver, a teen brutally murdered in Bellevue. That case is nicely summarized for us by Daisy in a history presentation for school. We also discover that, following her father’s death, Annie received lettersriddles reallyfrom someone posing as her father. This creep essentially stole Annie’s childhood, resulting in a lifetime battling with self-harm, be it a  physical manifestation or emotional. I am very curious to see how the religious metaphors are going to play out in conjunction with childhood innocence and the duality of good versus evil.

A police investigation is launched following the apparent disappearance of Jesse Sweetland (Sadie O’Neil), the town’s star hockey player who rumour has it is reconsidering his gender identity. Annie Ryder is leading the investigation.

With this new case, the creep of Annie’s youth returns, and the riddles begin anew. “When someone else ate, you became full of me. What am I? Find me where there is none.” There is no “original sin” at the old derelict teen party hang-out “Immaculate Conception” church. We head to the old church and discover that perhaps Jesse’s absence has some religious connection. Even conversion therapy is hinted at.

Episode 2 delves deeper into the case. More leads are discovered and we also gain insight into the complexities that are Annie.

First, some clarification may be needed with respect to Immaculate Conception. It is oftentimes confused with the Doctrine of Incarnation, which covers the birth of Jesus. Immaculate Conception refers to Mother Mary’s conception wherein God blessed Mary at the time of her conception, preserving her soul from the stain of original sin and preparing her to carry the Son of God in the future. I have yet to watch any episodes beyond the first two as I write this, but I have a strong feeling this distinction may prove important as we move forward.

At any rate, this episode picks right up with Annie and confirmed bachelor Chief Peter Welland (Shawn Doyle of Frontier) back at Immaculate Conception, to find all of the blood/paint and barbed wire gone. Also missing is “Alfie” the clown, a figurine Annie had left for her father/creep as a child. Annie is now convinced the “asshole that gave me riddles” is back and shares that information with Peter. Peter’s reaction to the discovery the creep left a message on Annie’s rear windshield while Daisy was in the car demonstrates his long-standing loyalty to Annie. What we don’t know yet is why. Peter believes this guy from Annie’s past has nothing to do with Jesse and orders her off the case; he is handling it personally. Annie believes creep is watching her but does not explain the message delivery system fully; creep messes with her mailbox each time he leaves a new message in the forest for Annie.

We rejoin Annie as the search party is convening, providing a nice foil to learn about the various townspeople. Annie speaks with Jesse’s mother Maggie (Victoria Sanchez of 19-2), but when she spots Father Jameson (Joe Cobden) leading a prayer session, Maggie physically attacks him, naming him responsible for her son’s disappearance. Father reveals he has an opinion regarding Jesse’s “sickness.” But who is the one whose soul is troubled here? Later, we discover Maggie has an ongoing physical relationship with the Father and he permits her advances in the sanctuary. Seems the Father is also a proponent of self-mortification; to atone for his own sinful nature.

Mayor Mansfield (Janine Theriault) is trying to keep the town calm in light of the both the state of high unemployment and this disappearance. Seems she is not getting along with her own daughter Bethany (Amelia Hellman) who as it turns out is secretly attracted to Jesse as a female, much to the dismay of her boyfriend, Jacob (Robert Naylor of Cardinal). Annie catches Bethany searching the crime scene for something small that proves to be an Eiffel Tower earring Bethany tore from Jesse’s ear at the time of his disappearance. After speaking with Bethany, Annie returns to her car and discovers a doll in her backseat, dressed to represent the Virgin Mary.

This latest gift leads Annie to question if the Sandy Driver case her father was unable to solve is somehow linked to Jesse’s disappearance. Sandy’s body was found dressed as the Virgin Mary. Inside a tear in the doll’s leg, Annie finds intact fingernails wrapped in plastic, presumably those that were missing from Sandy Driver’s body and never recovered. Note where on a women’s corresponding anatomy this tear exists on the doll. Coincidence??

Police start to put the scene together and question the boys from Jesse’s hockey team. Their line of questioning leads to Jacob admitting to beating Jesse and witnessing Jesse getting into a white pickup truck.

Another message from creep is left for Annie: “What is the thing that travelers pursue. Hard to hunt; hard to view. The nearer you get the faster it runs from you. There you will find a fish out of water.” Travelers reach out for “New Horizons,” the remnants of a psychiatric hospital, established in 1854. The site now houses a small shack, where Annie quickly assumes Sandy Driver was held, and nearby is a small pond where Annie discovers Jesse’s body.

WHEW! That episode had a ton of stuff happening.

A few of the questions remaining: Who is creep? What is the connection between Sandy Driver and Jesse Sweetland? Why is there a connection between Annie and the two cases? What connection does Father Jameson have to Jesse? Will Eddie be able to protect Annie? What is behind Peter’s protective nature over Annie and Daisy, and why is he so emphatic she not investigate the creep/riddler?

Let me know your theories in the comments below.

Bellevue airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on CBC.

Feature image courtesy of CBC.

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Bellevue: Producers and stars Anna Paquin and Shawn Doyle talk CBC’s darkest drama

Let’s get this out of the way right now. Bellevue isn’t a feel-good drama. You won’t walk away from it whistling and snapping your fingers. You may very well want to retreat to a corner, curl up and rock slightly. It’s CBC’s darkest drama, akin to fantastic shows from the UK and Netherlands like Hinterland, Shetland, Broadchurch, The Fall and Wallander. And that’s exactly why you should be tuning in.

The eight-part Bellevue, debuting Monday at 9 p.m. on CBC, seems like it should be a traditional whodunit: Det. Annie Ryder (Anna Paquin) is called in to investigate when a teenager goes missing in her small town of Bellevue. She and police chief Peter Welland (Shawn Doyle) dig for clues and uncover plenty of secrets. But the secret teen Jesse Sweetland (Sadie O’Neil) is keeping—that he wants to transition to female—is just the beginning. Annie’s past is fraught with tragedy. Her father killed himself when she was a girl and, soon after, she started receiving mysterious notes signed by him. Now her past is intersecting with the present because notes addressed to her are starting to show up again.

Filmed partly in Thetford Mines, Que., the blackened hills—the area used to be an asbestos mine—night scenes and blue filter exude a sense of dread that crosses the line into the downright scary. Bellevue is a town struggling to survive and not everyone living there is nice.

We spoke to series creators and executive producers Jane Maggs and Adrienne Mitchell, and stars Anna Paquin and Shawn Doyle about Bellevue:

Jane, I understand Bellevue was a little different before you brought it to Adrienne. How was it different?
Jane Maggs: It was a little smaller. There was still a mystery and a disappearance, Annie and her relationship with her family was a very strong part of the series, and a mysterious person from her past that comes back. That was the kernel of the story. What we did with Adrienne was make the world bigger and, in some ways, more relevant. We brought a lot more of the town into it and making it more complex.

Adrienne Mitchell: Together we also probed what it would be like to have the character that was missing be the hockey hero and also struggling with gender identity. I read Jane’s initial pilot while I was on a flight and what Jane brought to it was that these characters were all there and had this authenticity and specificity that leapt off the page and felt real. I read a lot of scripts and don’t often see that kind of sophistication.

Aside from the eerie moments and scariness, Bellevue asks some serious questions about sexual identity and religion.
Jane Maggs: The questions around identity came about because we wanted to explore what it was like to be different in a small town. It’s not the same as being different in a big city. We explore that through Jesse and other people in the town, including Annie herself. As for religion, in Bellevue the church has a bit of an archaic form there. The people have their checklist of values they believe in and live by and those don’t alway line up with what it means to be a good person.

How is Annie viewed by the townspeople? Is she seen as damaged goods after everything she’s been through?
Jane Maggs: It depends on who you ask, but I think to the masses there is an element of damaged goods to her. Everybody knows her history and she grew up there and flailed in front of people. She was wild and made a lot of mistakes in front of people; they have their view of her and it goes back years. I think Peter, her superior, and Eddie [Allen Leech], her partner, have different views of her.

What was it about the scripts that you read that attracted you to Bellevue?
Anna Paquin: The scripts are very, very well-written. Jane is a wonderful writer. They’re complex, rich, smart and detailed and like most things, I was sent a script for the pilot. I read it and was like, ‘Well, what happens next!?’ Literally, over the course of a few hours, I was emailing, asking for the next one and the next one. I got to Episode 4 and there were no more scripts left. Then I asked, ‘OK, when can I meet with these people?!’ [Laughs.] It’s not just that the plot kept me engaged, it’s a very rich and complicated character. She occupies a world that is seemingly a nice, small town. But, like any town, there are dark things that happen. She lives life on the edge and is passionate in a way that is reckless, but it all comes from a very good place.

What about you Shawn?
Shawn Doyle: I wasn’t that interested, to be honest. I’ve played a lot of cops, as you know. With cops, you have to go through all of the procedural stuff because it’s part of the story but it’s only engaging to an actor to a certain extent. But then I read the scripts and they were very good. I had faith in what they told me. The didn’t tell me exactly what was going to happen. And, in fact, once Anna and I started working together, based on our connection they started to extrapolate the storyline based on that and created back story and a way forward based on what they were seeing from us, which was exciting. My character grew very complex and presented an interesting challenge.

What can you say about the relationship between Peter and Annie?
Anna Paquin: Peter was a young cop and sort of mentored by Annie’s dad. As we get further into the mystery surrounding this missing teenager in present-day, there are aspects and elements of the circumstances surrounding the death of my dad that come to light that are challenging to our relationship. He has taken on looking after Annie’s well-being in a bigger sense.

Shawn Doyle: As the story deepens and Annie finds out more, we begin to understand the reasons why I’ve taken such care to take care of her and guide her and become almost a father figure to her. The reasons behind that become more apparent.

Thetford Mines adds another character to this story.
Adrienne Mitchell: It’s an interesting way to depict the dark shadow hanging over the town. It’s a town in transition, they don’t know how they’re going to survive. They are kind of fossilized like the asbestos mountains are. The woods are always moving, and they can be beautiful and fucked up at the same time. Those, visually, are two things playing off each other.

Bellevue airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on CBC.

Images courtesy of CBC.

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Shawn Doyle channels Donald Trump in Discovery’s Frontier

Though Donald Trump has very much become a punchline for many, Shawn Doyle is dead serious when he says the presidential hopeful influenced his latest TV character.

“There is something about the guy’s sense of entitlement and narcissism and overwhelming ambition and greed that was fun to play,” Doyle says. “There is an impetuousness and even childishness to him that sort of comes up as the season goes on.” The Newfoundland native is referencing Trump, but also describing Samuel Grant, a rich entrepreneur in Frontier, Discovery’s stunning dramatization of Canada’s history via the fur trade.

Debuting Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on Bell Media’s specialty channel, Doyle’s Samuel comes up against Declan Harp (Jason Momoa), a violent, wild fur trader who is gaining control of the land as the Hudson’s Bay Company begins to crumble. The high-profile actors are just two of nearly two-dozen, including Landon Liboiron as Michael Smyth, an Irish lad who stows away in a ship and ends up in the New World; Lord Benton (Alun Armstrong), a high-ranking officer at the HBC; Sokanon (Jessica Matten), a critical member of Declan’s group; Douglas Brown (Allan Hawco) an independent trader; and Cobbs Pond (Greg Bryk), Samuel’s right-hand man. (Check out the key cast via our photo gallery.)

Co-created by Rob and Peter Blackie, Frontier has already been renewed for Season 2 by Discovery ahead of Sunday’s six-episode first season debut; we spoke to Doyle about the role and what viewers can expect from the series.

Congratulations on Season 2 of Frontier being ordered before Season 1 has even aired. I wasn’t surprised, really. There is such a big cast and so many stories to tell, six episodes just aren’t enough.
Shawn Doyle: I’ve also got The Expanse and Bellevue, so I’ve got a pretty full slate at the moment.

frontier_shawn_greg
(l-r) Shawn Doyle and Greg Bryk

Let’s talk about your Frontier character, Samuel Grant. He’s a powerful man in the fur trade and seems destined for a collision course with Declan Harp. What can you tell me about Samuel?
Samuel Grant is actually loosely based on two figures: John Jacob Astor who was, at the time, the richest American and the richest man in North America and who became connected with the fur trade out of Montreal and ultimately made his first fortune with the fur trade when the trade situation was such that he could capitalize on Canadian-American trade. And then he went ahead and bought up all the real estate in Manhattan.

Samuel is also based on another guy by the name of Simon McTavish who was one of the central figures of the North West Company, which was the Hudson’s Bay Company’s only real rival at the time. Both of these guys are well-documented. For me, John Jacob Astor was the template that I jumped off with an as I started to play it, he kind of morphed into Donald Trump. There is something about the guy’s sense of entitlement and narcissism and overwhelming ambition and greed that was fun to play. There is an impetuousness and even childishness to him that sort of comes up as the season goes on.

Something I noticed about your portrayal of Samuel is his smooth movements, no wasted energy with this guy. Was that a conscious decision as well?
Thanks for saying that, because that was a big part of finding that character through the movement. It certainly had a lot to do with the clothes because they fit you in a certain way and restrict movement and there are heels in the shoes, etc., etc. I really wanted to get a sense of danger and for me, that was about stillness and conservation of movement and I hope that, throughout the season, there will be moments that are surprising and that you see another side to him that is in direct contrast to that.

It’s all about those contrasts. It’s what makes these characters worth playing.
For me, I always try to look at—and I’m not always successful at it—to try and find the danger in a character. Danger doesn’t necessarily mean physical danger. It can mean an unpredictability in emotion or movement or tone … it can be anything. I know I’m successful when I surprise myself. Then I know other people will be surprised. That’s what the goal is, and with Samuel Grant, it’s about finding this very rooted place to go from that can send me in all sorts of different directions.

How did you get involved in Frontier? Did Allan Hawco and the Take the Shot guys get in touch because you were on Republic of Doyle and because you’re from Newfoundland?
They contacted me and asked me to do it. I’ve known them from Republic of Doyle and I’m originally from Newfoundland and I’ve done a number of projects there both producing and acting. They were wanting to get me on the show in one way or another, which I was very appreciative of. At the time, I couldn’t really commit to a role that was going to take a lot of time because I was optioned to The Expanse and Samuel Grant was one of a couple of roles they approached me about originally. I don’t even know that I can tell you why, in particular, this one was the one I gravitated towards.


I’m really interested in any project that tries to show a much more balanced and nuanced version of the relations between the various First Nations and Europeans.


As a Canadian, I’m excited to see these stories told and many in Frontier are based on fact. 
For me, a guy who recently got his First Nations status as Mi’kmaq, that all happened after I played John A. Macdonald—one of the most horrendous people against First Nations people in the history of Canada—I’m really interested in any project that tries to show a much more balanced and nuanced version of the relations between the various First Nations and Europeans. It’s one of the things that really excites me about this.

This cast has something like 20 players in it and yet the writing doesn’t feel cluttered or rushed at all. What can you say about the writing that Rob and Peter Blackie have done?
I think they accomplish something that not a lot of people are able to accomplish, and that’s being able to take such a comprehensive view of the world and put it all together in a seamless way. That’s an amazing feat, I think, particularly when you’re trying to honour the truth and the subtleties of so many different factions and how they interplay with each other. I know they did a lot of consulting with various First Nations groups and that has made a big difference in the writing. I wouldn’t be able to make it as compelling as possible. I think the danger with a show like this is that it can often come off as dry. Their genius and the reason why this show will, hopefully, be a tremendous success is because they have dramatized it and made it really, really exciting.

Frontier airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on Discovery.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.

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Photo gallery: First-look at Discovery’s Frontier

With less than a month away until Frontier‘s debut on Discovery, and we’re thrilled to present a photo gallery of the major cast and the characters they’ll play.

And while we’ve known folks like Jason Momoa, Allan Hawco, Shawn Doyle and Jessica Matten were involved from the beginning, finding out Greg Bryk, Katie McGrath and Alun Armstrong have roles in the six-parter have gotten us giddy.

Frontier—co-created by Rob and Peter Blackie—follows Canada’s violent history circa the 1700s, as warring groups battle for control of the country’s fur trade.

Frontier debuts Sunday, Nov. 6, at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT on Discovery.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.

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