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'Rookie Blue' star Missy Peregrym shocked by ambulance confession

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TORONTO - It was the passionate moment many "Rookie Blue" fans had been waiting for: Andy McNally professes her love for fellow cop Sam Swarek, while he fights for his life in the back of an ambulance.

But actress Missy Peregrym says it was one of the hardest scenes she's ever had to do — because it meant Andy was turning her back on new boyfriend Nick Collins (Peter Mooney).

"I knew I always loved Sam a lot, but I just didn't know where they were going with it," she says. "Of course I love Sam. I will always love Sam. But to say that he was my story meant that I was kicking Nick out after everything we built. I was just like, 'Whoa, that was a bold move.'"

"Rookie Blue," Global's drama about a crew of young Toronto cops, returns for a fifth season Monday. The premiere's action picks up three hours after the previous season's finale, with Sam (Ben Bass) in hospital and Andy dealing with the aftermath of her confession, says Peregrym.

"Nick kind of knows that I still have feelings for Sam. I tell him in the first episode. I have to. I have to be kind of honest with him and it's up to him to decide what to do. But it's a crappy position to be in, to love two people."

Peregrym, born in Montreal and raised in B.C., often uses "I" when talking about Andy. After five years of playing the earnest young officer, she says she sometimes feels as if she's morphing into her character.

"I feel like I'm always growing with my character, and it's art imitating life imitating art sometimes," she says. "I feel like they're listening to my conversations in my trailer because I see it in the next script and I'm like, 'What is happening?'

"It's why I took the job in the first place ... I related to her and I like that she's flawed and I like that she's a try-hard and a perfectionist and emotional. So I am those things. Also, those are the very things I struggle with in my life that I wish I could change."

Meanwhile, her co-star Greg Smith says he has almost nothing in common with his cocky, wise-cracking character Dov Epstein — apart from the sibling-like banter he shares with Peregrym.

In the season premiere, Andy and Dov are taking a break in a popular Toronto diner, The Lakeview on Dundas Street West, when an armed robbery forces them to spring into action. Smith says the cast eats at the late-night spot so often there's a "Rookie Blue" milkshake on the menu.

"It was kind of fun to be filming there, but at the same time it was a lot of stuff in a small contained area, and it was, like, -300 degrees outside so the door was freezing shut," he says.

"Rookie Blue" was picked up for an extended 22-episode run this season and also airs in the U.S. on ABC. The show has attracted such a fierce fan following that Peregrym sometimes receives handwritten letters questioning her character's decisions.

Peregrym's lips are sealed on whether Andy ends up with Nick or Sam this season. But she says she's looking forward to a storyline that sees her character become a training officer to a challenging new recruit, Duncan Moore (Matthew Owen Murray).

Smith returned to the director's chair for the third episode of the fifth season, "Fight Night." Peregrym says, tongue in cheek, that his favourite part of directing is probably "the professionalism that you experience with the actors."

Asked what they enjoy about working with each other, Smith quips, "The end of the day when we all go home."

"Yeah, that's good. 'Wrap!' is good," Peregrym says, laughing.

"I think it's always been fun and easy and, I don't know, you're a good dude ... He's the weirdest person I know. Really, I don't know anybody like him, which makes him very fun to be around."

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