Tag Archives: The Detectives

CBC’s The Detectives shows “this can happen to you, to someone in your family”

One of the most compelling series on CBC is The Detectives. The documentary series is heading into Season 3 on the public broadcaster, revisiting true crimes in this country, the families involved and the law enforcement officers who capture the killers who commit heinous acts.

Returning Thursday at 9 p.m. with a visit to New Brunswick, viewers recall the death of a woman and her son, and the lengths former RCMP detective Gerry Belliveau (played in re-enactments by Allan Hawco) goes to solve it. Produced by Montreal’s WAM Media GRP Inc.—who also make the U.S. counterpart Real Detective, available on Netflix—we spoke to showrunner and executive producer Petro Duszara about the series and Season 4.

You’ve been working professionally in TV and film since 1998. How did you get into the TV and film industry? 
Petro Duszara: I actually studied anatomy and some biology at McGill. And in my last year, I shocked my parents and said I was quitting, and applied to communications at Concordia, and did communications studies there and then started working in TV after that. I’d definitely had a change of course. My whole background was science, science, science, science, science, and then I knew I always wanted to do TV and made the decision a little late in the game. Not too late, I guess.

Biology and science really play a part in The Detectives, because it’s all about the forensics, and DNA in a lot of these cases. 
PD: True. I never thought of it that way, but you’re absolutely right. There is definitely that link. And I find what I’ve really liked, and the team has really liked, in terms of doing the shows is, you really need to piece things together, for detectives reading these things together. And I find that’s very scientific as well. And then, of course, the human drama.

How do you go about choosing the stories that you’re going to cover?
PD: It’s a multi-pronged approach. We’re looking always for cases that represent across the country. You don’t want to stay centric in a particular city. We’re looking for stories that will hold an hour of television. There are a lot of excellent cases that are open and shut, or there isn’t as much investigative work that has to be done, so we’re looking for stories that we can last.

You’re looking for detectives that are emotionally connected to the story, and also eloquent enough to share their story, and they have the charisma to carry a story onscreen. You have to find cases where there is a really solid and important reason to tell that case, to reopen those wounds. We’re looking for landmark cases that changed things in the legislature, or how policing works, or open the eyes to a department, in terms of seeing things in their blind spot. So that’s a critical part.

And then, the linchpin is you look for stories where we speak to the families. We make sure the families know what we’re doing, and are supportive of what we’re doing. And then, once all of those boxes are all checked off, then we go ahead with the story.

The season premiere takes place in New Brunswick. I’m learning more about the country through this show.
PD: Our researchers love that too. Because we travel to these locations, when we meet these detectives, and we’ll often meet the families as well. And so, you’re seeing different parts of the world that you’re trying to capture and share with the rest of the country. So it’s neat.

Part of the storytelling is done through reenactments and some details are altered. Why? 
PD: There are different reasons why things are altered. Sometimes details are altered to protect the identity of people that, although they were specifically involved in their case, their names have never been published and made public. Sometimes in an investigation, an investigator will interview five or 10 different witnesses, who’ll give them one bit of information each. Rather than having five or 10 different scenes with five or 10 different people, we’ll create a composite character who provides all those tips in one shot. The same thing happens with investigators.

Often, in reality, you don’t have necessarily a partner working a homicide case with you. You’ll have a variety of people on a team. So sometimes, we create a composite character that represents several of the officers that worked on the team with the lead investigator, that kind of stuff. And then, there are some instances where there are some police techniques that were used in the investigation, that they’d rather keep confidential.

When people are tuning in to watch the show, what do you want them to take away from it? Do you want them to see these police officers and the heroes that they are? Do you want it to be the community, the families?
PD: This is really a show about the consequences of violence. You’re seeing how that violent act affects the family of the victim, how it affects the community, that whole thing. So when we watch the shows we look at it as, ‘This is what happens when violent crime happens in the community. It affects the detective, it affects the family, it affects the whole community. And this can happen to you, and this can happen to someone in your family, it can happen down the street.’

The Detectives airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on CBC.

Images courtesy of CBC.

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CBC announces winter premiere dates for Coroner, Schitt’s Creek, Workin’ Moms and more

From a media release:

CBC today announced premiere dates for its winter 2020 lineup of new and returning Canadian series, featuring original programming that reflects contemporary Canada. With a new winter schedule launching Sunday, January 5, each series will be available on CBC and the free CBC Gem streaming service.

New original series premiering this winter include:

Hosted by Gerry Dee, FAMILY FEUD CANADA will introduce audiences to Canadian families from across the country four nights a week, beginning Monday, December 16 at a special time of 8PM (8:30 NT), before moving into its regular time slot at 7:30PM (8 NT) on Monday, December 23

New original factual series HIGH ARCTIC HAULERS, a high-stakes journey at sea that offers a look at Canada’s resilient, vibrant northern communities, premieres Sunday, January 5 at 8PM (8:30 NT)

Starring Kari Matchett (Covert Affairs), Darren Mann (Giant Little Ones) and Stephen Moyer (True Blood) and set in the social and political chaos of 1968, new spy drama FORTUNATE SON premieres Wednesday January 8 at 9PM (9:30 NT)

In a new take on the popular factual entertainment format, BACK IN TIME FOR WINTER follows one modern Canadian family on a winter time-travelling adventure beginning Thursday, January 9 at 8PM (8:30NT)

Epic sci-fi adventure series ENDLINGS produced in partnership with Hulu, follows four foster kids who make a startling discovery that affects the entire universe, and premieres Sunday, January 5 at 6PM (6:30 NT) with weekly back-to-back episodes

New culinary competition series and original Canadian format, FRIDGE WARS, premieres Thursday, February 27 at 8PM (8:30 NT)

New CBC Docs original series THE OLAND MURDER premieres Thursday, March 5 at 9PM (9:30 NT)

Returning titles include:

Last season’s most-watched new Canadian series* CORONER, starring Serinda Swan, returns for Season 2 Monday, January 6 at 9PM (9:30 NT)

CBC’s popular Tuesday night comedy lineup returns with the fourth season of KIM’S CONVENIENCE at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT) and the sixth and final season of SCHITT’S CREEK at 9 p.m. (9:30 NT) beginning Tuesday, January 7, with WORKIN’ MOMS returning for a fourth season Tuesday, February 18 at 9:30PM (10 NT)

The Kristin Kreuk-led legal drama BURDEN OF TRUTH returns for Season 3 Wednesday, January 8 at 8PM (8:30 NT)

Gripping Canadian true crime series THE DETECTIVES returns for Season 3 Thursday, January 9 at 9PM (9:30 NT)

CBC DOCS POV returns with a new series of documentaries from some of Canada’s most talented documentary filmmakers beginning Sunday, February 9 at 9PM (9:30 NT)

Halifax legal aid drama DIGGSTOWN starring Vinessa Antoine and Natasha Henstridge returns for Season 2 Wednesday, March 4 at 8PM (8:30 NT)

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CBC announces first round of renewals for the 2019-20 season

From a media release:

As Canadian Screen Week kicks off and CBC celebrates 236 nominations at the 2019 Canadian Screen Awards, the national public broadcaster is confirming an initial round of original scripted and unscripted renewals for the upcoming 2019-20 season on CBC and the CBC Gem streaming service. To date, 17 titles across drama, comedy, factual, arts and documentary programming have been confirmed to return, with additional renewals across all genres and content areas to be announced later this spring.

Returning series for 2019-20 confirmed to date are as follows:

  • ANNE WITH AN E (Season 3, 10×60, Northwood Entertainment)*
  • BARONESS VON SKETCH SHOW (Season 4, 10×30, Frantic Films)*
  • BURDEN OF TRUTH (Season 3, 8×60, ICF Films, Entertainment One and Eagle Vision)
  • CBC ARTS: EXHIBITIONISTS (Season 5, 26×30, CBC Arts)
  • CBC DOCS POV (Season 5, 18×60)
  • CORONER (Season 2, 8×60, Muse Entertainment, Back Alley Films and Cineflix Studios)
  • THE DETECTIVES (Season 3, 8×60, WAM Media GRP Inc.)
  • DRAGONS’ DEN (Season 14, 10×60, CBC)*
  • FRANKIE DRAKE MYSTERIES (Season 3, 10×60, Shaftesbury)
  • THE GREAT CANADIAN BAKING SHOW (Season 3, 9×60, Proper Television)*
  • HEARTLAND (Season 13, 10×60, Seven24 Films and Dynamo Films)
  • IN THE MAKING (Season 2, 8×30, White Pine Pictures)
  • KIM’S CONVENIENCE (Season 4, 13×30, Thunderbird Entertainment)*
  • MURDOCH MYSTERIES (Season 13, 18×60, Shaftesbury)
  • THE NATURE OF THINGS (Season 59, 18×60)
  • SCHITT’S CREEK (Season 6, final season – 14×30, Not A Real Company Productions Inc.)*
  • STILL STANDING (Season 5, 13×30, Frantic Films)*

*Previously announced as returning

CBC is celebrating 236 nominations at the 2019 Canadian Screen Awards, a new record for the national public broadcaster. ANNE WITH AN E and SCHITT’S CREEK each received 15 nominations – the most for any scripted series this year. THE NATURE OF THINGS was honoured with 21 nominations and CBC DOCS POV received seven. Other returning titles that were nominated include: BARONESS VON SKETCH SHOW (5), FRANKIE DRAKE MYSTERIES (5), THE GREAT CANADIAN BAKING SHOW (5), MURDOCH MYSTERIES (5), STILL STANDING (4), IN THE MAKING (3), THE DETECTIVES (2), BURDEN OF TRUTH (1) and DRAGONS’ DEN (1).

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Preview: CBC’s excellent The Detectives recalls more crimes from Canada’s past

When Season 2 of The Detectives was greenlit by CBC, I was thrilled twofold.

Not because I was celebrating the deaths of human beings but because the true crime documentary series spotlights the law enforcement officers who refuse to give up on a case no matter how long it remains unsolved. I was equally excited because the project—returning Thursday at 9 p.m. on CBC—boasts an extensive stable of Canadian actors embodying the roles. Where Season 1 featured the likes of Jewel Staite, Eric Johnson, Hugh Dillon, Aidan Devine, Mylène Dinh-Robic, Marianne Farley, Mark Ghanimé, Tiio Horn, Michael Ironside, Daniel Kash, Lochlan Munro and Ron Lea, Season 2 aims for the same lofty heights with Maxim Roy, Janet Kidder, Michael Shanks, David James Elliott, Gil Bellows and—in Thursday’s return—Currie Graham.

Graham plays Greg Brown, an Ottawa detective who was called to the scene of a homicide in 2005. Like most nights, 18-year-old Jennifer Teague took the 10-minute walk home from her late shift at work in Barrhaven, Ont. But this time, she never made it there. As the missing person case turns into a homicide, Det. Brown chases down one promising lead after another until he’s left with nothing but the knowledge that the killer is a local.

Produced by Petro Duszara, Scott Bailey, Jennifer Gatien, Hans Rosenstein and Debbie Travis—yes, that Debbie Travis—The Detectives is head and shoulders above other true crime series because it includes the actual detectives telling their stories to the producers. This awful stuff really happened and affected the investigators for the rest of their lives. Throw in excellent recreations of the events as they unfolded, real news report footage and pictures of the victims and The Detectives is don’t miss television.

The Detectives airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on CBC.

Image courtesy of CBC.

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Preview: CBC’s The Detectives recalls real Canadian crimes from the past

Update: After this preview was posted, CBC switched its broadcast schedule. Wednesday’s debut is “The Wells Gray Gunman”; “Project Hitchhiker” will air next week. 

I’m a true crime junkie. Podcasts like My Favorite Murder and Someone Knows Something are playing in my ears and documentary series like Making a Murderer and Manhunt: Unabomber are on my Netflix list. It was thanks to Netflix that I came across Real Detective, a two-season wonder documenting and reenacting real murders from the past and the detectives who tried to solve them. Produced by Petro Duszara, Scott Bailey and Debbie Travis—yes, that Debbie Travis—Real Detective is well-told, dramatic television that I binge-watched in a couple of days.

Why am I telling you about Real Detective? Because Duszara, Bailey and Travis have brought a Canadian version to the CBC. The Detectives, debuting Wednesday at 9 p.m., is equally as enthralling as its predecessor, even more so because its eight episodes cover exclusively Canadian crimes and boast a whos-who of Canadian acting talent.

“Project Hitchhiker,” airing next Wednesday, stars Eric Johnson—who co-stars alongside Allan Hawco in Caught next month on CBC—as Detective Herb Curwain (above), recently promoted to the Homicide Unit and given the unsolved case of a young woman named Julie Stanton who’d gone missing in Pickering, Ont. in 1990. First assumed to just be a missing person case, the file was finally passed to major crimes. Julie was popular, well-liked and had a great relationship with her parents, not the M.O. of a runaway. There was a suspect in Julie’s disappearance, a man named Peter Stark, and police were sure he was responsible but had no evidence. It was up to Curwain to find that evidence and did so recalling a decades-old case from Stark’s past.

I won’t ruin the outcome of the case here—and you shouldn’t Google Julie’s name until after you watch the episode—because what Curwain did during his investigation not only changed the way police work is done in Canada today but dovetailed with a high-profile investigation during the same time period.

What sets The Detectives apart from other true crime series is the inclusion of the actual detectives telling their stories to the producers. This awful stuff really happened and affected the investigators for the rest of their lives.

And while the stories themselves are gripping enough, the production values are top-notch as well. No expense has been spared to make the re-enactments as realistic as possible—down to wardrobe, hair and cars—and makes The Detectives truly engaging television.

The Detectives airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on CBC.

Images courtesy of CBC.

 

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