November 14, 2018

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Opinion

Canadian cop drama goes out with a bang

Crew wraps up production of 19-2 with trip to New York, possible International Emmy

Adrian Holmes and Jared Keeso star in the Bravo TV drama 19-2, which wraps production on its fourth and final season this month in Montreal</p>

Adrian Holmes and Jared Keeso star in the Bravo TV drama 19-2, which wraps production on its fourth and final season this month in Montreal

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 19/11/2016 (725 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

MONTREAL — It’s 10-24 for 19-2.

In the radio shorthand commonly employed by police departments, 10-24 stands for assignment complete, and for the cast and crew of the Canadian-made cop drama 19-2, all that was left this month was to shoot the final scenes of the show’s fourth and final season, do one last round of press interviews and wait for the series’ closing set of eight episodes to air next year.

And for a fortunate few in the group, wrapping up production also included jetting to New York this weekend to see whether 19-2 can add one last major award to its list of accomplishments.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 19/11/2016 (725 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

MONTREAL — It’s 10-24 for 19-2.

In the radio shorthand commonly employed by police departments, 10-24 stands for assignment complete, and for the cast and crew of the Canadian-made cop drama 19-2, all that was left this month was to shoot the final scenes of the show’s fourth and final season, do one last round of press interviews and wait for the series’ closing set of eight episodes to air next year.

And for a fortunate few in the group, wrapping up production also included jetting to New York this weekend to see whether 19-2 can add one last major award to its list of accomplishments.

 

"We’ve accomplished a lot on this show," series co-star Jared Keeso says last week at the decommissioned Montreal police station that serves as 19-2’s primary shooting location, during a Bell Media-sponsored press junket the Free Press attended. "We’ve had nominations, we’ve had awards (including Canadian Screen Awards for best drama series and best actor — Keeso — in a drama), and we’re going to New York (this) weekend for the International Emmys. That’s huge."

The series is up for the International Emmys’ best drama series prize, against entries from Germany (Deutschland 83), Argentina (La Casa Del Mar) and the United Arab Emirates (Waiting for Jasmin). According to 19-2’s head writer and showrunner, being mentioned alongside some of the world’s best TV shows is a noteworthy achievement that shows how far Canadian TV has come in recent years.

"We’re a young country with a young culture and we don’t take our culture very seriously," says Bruce Smith. "Quebec has its own different reality, but in English Canada, we just don’t. So sometimes we need something like the International Emmys to say, ‘Your show’s pretty good,’ so then we can go, ‘Oh, wow, I guess it is!’ You know, we got better reviews from the The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal than we did in this country. And that’s not just great for us personally; my goal is to be part of making culture that we start to value as a country."

Police partners Nick Barron (Adrian Holmes, left) and Ben Chartier (Jared Keeso) in the fourth and final season of 19-2.</p>

Police partners Nick Barron (Adrian Holmes, left) and Ben Chartier (Jared Keeso) in the fourth and final season of 19-2.

Indeed, during its first three seasons, 19-2, which focuses on the sometimes-tense patrol-car partnership of Montreal police officers Ben Chartier (Keeso) and Nick Barron (Adrian Holmes), has largely redefined what a Canadian-made cop show can be. It has tackled tough — and often timely — storylines and put its characters through intense personal and professional ordeals. Season 3 ended with the death of a beloved character — Amelie (played by Tattiawna Jones), who was Nick’s sister and Ben’s lover — and the final-season storyline deals with the extreme strain the tragedy has placed on the core characters’ relationship.

"Season 4 picks up directly where Season 3 left off, not just in terms of plot but also in terms of emotional intensity," says Smith. "These are character in extremis from the beginning. We’re really excited about the way Season 4 starts — there’s a lot more plot going on than is normal for us, but, as always, it’s not about plot as much as it’s about emotion.

"In a lot of ways, the final season is like two two-part movies, or two two-part novels. When we first met Nick and Ben, the main question of the show was, ‘Can these two guys be partners?’ And after (the events in seasons 1 and 2), they became inseparable. Seasons 3 and 4 have been an exploration of that partnership under stress, and the real in extremis has been this loss of a common loved one — in a lot of ways, it’s like a marriage where a child has died, and the marriage is in danger of breaking up as a result."

Smith adds that the attitude in the 19-2 writers’ room was affected greatly by the knowledge the upcoming fourth season would be the last.

"For sure, 100 per cent," he explains. "This is a rare opportunity, especially in serialized drama, to try to write something satisfying for the ending... We really made our audience suffer last year, and we’d really like to make them feel, ‘Yeah, it’s hard, but it’s worth it.’ That’s the goal; that’s what we’re trying to achieve with the fourth season. With every other year, we’ve been trying to get you to come back for more; this time, we want you to feel that it was a satisfying journey."

For the show’s stars, navigating the final season’s emotional roller-coaster ride has been both a challenge and a reward.

"It was a big shock, but these are the things that make 19-2 so special," Holmes says of Amelie’s departure-through-death storyline twist. "You just don’t know what’s going to happen. The shock value is very high on this show and we take a lot of pride in that."

Adds Keeso: "The first time I read that episode, I just says to Smitty that this was an amazing opportunity for us as actors. I’ve certainly never played anything that heavy before and the good thing about this show is everything is earned. It’s all in the writing."

brad.oswald@freepress.mb.caTwitter: @BradOswald

 

Brad Oswald

Brad Oswald
Perspectives Editor

After three decades spent writing stories, columns and opinion pieces about television, comedy and other pop-culture topics in the paper’s entertainment section, Brad Oswald shifted his focus to the deep-thoughts portion of the Free Press’s daily operation.

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