Dhavernas injects life into Mary Kills People

caroline-dhavernas.jpg.size.custom.crop.1086x725A few months ago, I ducked into one of those boxy new modern mansions down by the lake in Mississauga in search of Mary Kills People. The Global series, which premieres Wednesday night at 9 p.m. ET/PT, was shooting on location.

Inside the house, cardboard covered all the floor surfaces and visitors had to sneak around many crew members. The six-episode series was block shot, like a movie, and maintaining continuity as actors hop around storylines can get a tad nerve wracking.

Lead actress Caroline Dhavernas, being in every scene, was unavailable for an interview that day. I’ve been a fan of the Montreal native since Wonderfalls came and went 14 years ago; she also was among the stars of another Mississauga-based effort for American television, Hannibal.

Dhavernas plays Mary, an emergency room doctor who sneaks around performing mercy killings at night. Creator Tara Armstrong’s edgy idea was to craft a series around the drama and ethics of euthanasia. Armstrong wrote the pilot while still a student at UBC.

“The elevator pitch was always, ‘It’s about a doctor running an illegal suicide business,'” says Armstrong. “That was always the pitch, people seemed to be into that. It was surprising that there seems to be this interest in watching people die.”

I caught up with Dhavernas recently on the phone, but spoke that day on the set with creator Armstrong and fellow executive producer Tassie Cameron (Rookie Blue). The director of all six episodes was Holly Dale, part of an all female core vision team that would make even John Landgraf — who has insisted more women be hired as writers/directors/producers at FX — proud.

“I think its important because finally we’re getting female characters by female writers so they feel very authentic,” said Jay Ryan, the New Zealander, formerly on Beauty and the Beast, who plays opposite Dhavernas on the series. “I guess the big wigs are starting to take risks on how stories are being told.”

You can read more about Mary Kills People here in this article I wrote for The Toronto Star.

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