Friday night in downtown Toronto I found myself surrounded by cops.
It wasn’t one of those, “Is this some kind of bust?” Leslie Neilsen-like thing. It was a screening of 19-2, the Montreal-based police drama returning for a third season early next year.
Friday night, the Season 3 premiere was screened for around 200 fans at the TIFF BellLightbox. Stars Adrian Holmes and Jared Keeso were on hand as was showrunner Bruce Smith. Yours truly got to share the stage and ask most of the questions.
Season 2’s opener, screened last year at the Canadian International Television Festival, began with a harrowing episode covering a mass shooting at a high school. Season 3 also starts with a jolt. I don’t want to spoil it here, but I was astounded when Smith told me they were able to shoot it in just one day.
Up until now, 19-2 has been adapting scripts from the French-language original version of the series. For Season 3, Smith and the other writer/producers have broken stories from scratch, a process he prefers.
Holmes and Keeso, as 19-2 cop car mates Nick and Ben, are past some harrowing times and open up more as they patrol the city. This seems less the show Smith described a year ago as “two guys who sit in a car all day long and don’t talk.”
The series, for my money, punches above its weight. Airing on Bravo, it has more latitude in terms of language and depictions of sex and violence than shows such as Flashpoint did or Chicago PD does. There are still commercials, however, on Bravo, so it is not HBO explicit–more like FX.
The Canadian Screen Awards rewarded 19-2 with some well-deserved recognition last year, including a Best Actor in a Canadian drama win for Keeso (now also developing and starring in the straight-from-the-web series Letterkenny). Holmes gets to show his range in the S3 opener and CSA voters should keep him in mind when they’re handing out statues in a few months.