Introducing the Mary Kills People Postmortem! (Yes, I had to go there.) In this weekly interview series, I’ll chat with a different person involved in the show to break down the latest episode. Our first postmortem features Lyriq Bent, who plays Detective Frank Gaines.
Frank is an interesting character. So far, he’s the person who sees the world in black in white unlike the shades of grey that the other characters operate in.
It’s interesting that that’s how it’s viewed. I’m not sure if they did that on purpose or if it’s something that came out organically, but that’s definitely what I want to have come across, and have the audience think and believe. He does have many colours and flavours that are suppressed and hidden, and we kind of touch on that throughout the series. Personally, I found myself becoming more and more intrigued by the character as it started to flow from what we were doing, and some interesting scenarios and situations came to mind. It made Frank that much more relatable but at the same time edgy — an underlying danger if you will — and I had fun playing a character like that, creating that world for him, and slowly having the audience see and experience that. I hope they feel it the way I felt it.
Frank was not happy with his partner in Episode 2 when he learns Ben crossed the line with Mary. Ben has potentially put their entire investigation in jeopardy. What can you share about how their strategy will have to change now that there’s this obstacle?
The obstacle will be dealt with accordingly because Frank is going to be very stern about what we do and how we do what we do. Maybe there’s going to be an understanding or a solution, whatever one wants to call it. There will be forward movement. I think the stakes get a little higher, and the waters get a little deeper. It’s going to lead to some very interesting TV. It’s like nothing you’ve seen in a while and that’s why it’s a hit show out of the gate because it touches on situations and issues that are so taboo, so current, so necessary.
In Episode 2, Frank pretends to be a doctor in a phone call to Mary. When he hangs up, he tells Ben how much he misses working undercover. Would you say that Frank is frustrated with not being out in the field?
To not give it all away, Frank and Ben have been buddies since they were in the academy and they’ve come up together. Frank misses it because he’s done it, and he’s living through Ben somewhat based on situations, if you will. You might find out what those situations are. We might find out where Frank’s head is, or we might not.
The relationship between Ben and Frank is a lot more complex than what you see right now and you’ll come to learn that. And Mary is part of that equation now. The way I look at it is almost like a bromance between Ben and Frank. There’s a jealousy from Frank because of Mary’s involvement with Ben, and seeing the big picture as her being trouble all around, and for the history between Ben and Frank. You don’t see much interaction with Frank and Mary but when they do interact, the tension is definitely high and it makes you really uncomfortable. There are a lot of elements involved with the dynamic of these three and it’s very interesting.
The show will be reaching a wide audience in Canada and the U.S. where the laws regarding assisted suicide aren’t the same across the board. In many places, it’s illegal like in this fictional city where Mary Kills People takes place.
It promotes conversation. If not an agreement, at least acceptance in a difference of opinion, and then talking and learning and trying to understand why the two different opinions are so strong. That’s what we want. The world is not always going to be perfect in the sense that everyone on the planet is going to agree. What makes life so interesting is the differences that make up the world. If we can appreciate and understand those differences [are what] make us great as human beings, then we’ll continue to promote those differences and not shun them or be afraid of them. Once you educate yourself on the differences that we all carry, then that element of fear will no longer exist, at least on the level that it exists now. Mary Kills People does that, and I like things that create and provoke conversation because it allows your mind to open up.
There seems to be a consensus among everyone I’ve spoken with who worked on this project: it was a special experience.
It’s different subject matter. Unless you’ve done something of this nature in film or movie of the week that deals with this issue, then I can’t imagine anyone doing anything like this before. It challenges your own morals and ethics and understanding of this whole issue. It challenges your personal feelings — if you had them or not. It questions [your feelings] and gets you thinking. It’s a very intellectual piece that Tara [Armstrong] has written. And hats off to all the women involved in this project. I personally love working with female directors and producers and writers, and that we have a female lead. It’s a nice change that needs to continue. All of the elements that came together made it a very fun, very interesting, and very memorable project to work on.
Photos Courtesy of Global TV