[Warning: General spoilers ahead.]
If you thought Jenny’s final moments of last week’s Coroner were dramatic, hang onto something, because the Season 3 finale has more where that came from. Wednesday night, “Christmas Day” picks up from that momentous slap to find a numb Jenny trying to figure out what the hell just happened. Co-executive producer Morwyn Brebner takes over where Noelle Carbone left off last week and co-executive producer Adrienne Mitchell again directs. I jumped on a call with Brebner and Mitchell this morning to chat about the season. Part 1 follows, with part 2 going up after the finale Wednesday night.
As we learned in our pre-season interview, the pandemic shaped how and where the season came together, but it was also affected by the Black Lives Matter movement, and we saw that play out in “No Justice, No Peace,” the extraordinary episode built around Ross’s false arrest.
“We wanted to do something for Ehren [Kassam], and Nathalie Younglai, who wrote that episode, did such a beautiful job. We always try and come at things from a surprising angle, to meet things in different places, and so we kind of loved the idea of Ehren and Roger [Cross] together,” explains Brebner.
“[We wanted to] bring all our worlds together and acknowledge the world as it is right now.”
And it just felt right. As a young person with a mixed heritage … his father’s death hasn’t stopped affecting him, from Season 1. And I think it is about his identity and how he is coming into his adult identity. And what is that going to be separate from your family? That episode is something that I think is going to continue to reverberate for him.”
“I love that episode. It came together really beautifully. Ehren really prepared well and was able to get into some very particular emotional terrain. I think it really expanded him as an actor,” adds Mitchell. “It was difficult for him. It wasn’t easy, but everything really came together, gorgeously on that.”
“I think Samy Inayeh, our incredibly talented DOP, has done a lot of music videos where he had to make five people look like 50. I think he brought a lot of his experience to how to make that happen and helped [director] Gloria [Kim] to achieve that effect in a very, very commanding way.”
That episode is also the one where we see Clark step up for Jenny, and casting for the role was done virtually, but even over Zoom, Mark Taylor and Serinda Swan clicked.
“We did chemistry reads for all our romantic pairings this season on Zoom, which was really interesting. You really do pick up a lot,” says Brebner.
“[Their read] was just heads above. I think what [Serinda] told us was he was the only one who wasn’t intimidated by her. He just met her energy right on and she needed that,” explains Mitchell. “She is very powerful, as a person and as an actor and can blow people off the screen. It’s not that she wants to. It’s just that’s what she brings. So they met and just had a chemistry that worked.”
“It was important to us that [Clark] be someone who was outside of Jenny’s world. He comes in with his own energy, and there’s something mysterious there that’s happening. It feels real,” adds Brebner. “He’s this super secure character and Mark brings this mysterious, but also poised, wonderful quality. We all feel like Clark is a very crush-worthy character.”
In “Blue Flock,” Donovan comes clean about his diagnosis, and he and Jenny have a wine-fused heart-to-heart. “Seneca Aaron wrote that episode. And I love that episode. It’s such a crazy episode, and goes into such a weird world, but part of what keeps the show grounded, I think, is that even in the weird worlds, the people are always sort of real, the characters are real,” says Brebner.
“When we conceived that idea, it was like, ‘long Jenny and Donovan scene.’ And then Sen came back with this sort of sprawling scene and then Samir Rehem directed that episode and just shot it all over Jenny’s house, giving them, in a weird way, even more time than the screen time that they had together there. We don’t get to see them just freewheeling that often.”
“Something this season that we talked about was playing with time, which was something that Adrienne talked about in her directorial conception of how the season would be … trying to play with time and expand time when we can.”
“And so it felt precious to be with Jenny and Donovan, and to see them together. And I know that friendship is really important to both the actors as well as the characters.”
That episode was also the second of the season, after “Back to the Future,” where once the death is resolved, no charges are laid. “It’s a true coroner thing. Whenever we talked to coroners, not everything is a murder, not everything is something you can solve. And sometimes the closure that you give, because you’re not a cop, is emotional closure,” points out Brebner. “In both cases, the actual story of it is sort of bigger, and guilt is not the most important facet of a death.”
Now, for what to expect in this week’s episode: While you might have thought, like I did, that the bananas Christmas Eve case was wrapped up by the credits last week, you, like me, would be wrong.
Instead, the case lingers over the episode like the winter fog we see throughout.
Jenny’s all too happy to escape her hella awkward holiday dinner, which is compounded when Gordon’s unannounced guest, Liam, arrives, only to be followed soon after by Clark, with news about young Caleb. It turns out he bolted custody, and there’s another super squicky murder, so things are immediately pretty dire. That’s apparently extremely appealing vs. the Cooper family dinner, so off she goes.
Donovan and Malik get in on it, too, and then Donovan actually gets deeper than he meant to when rounds back to check out a lead and puts himself in danger. Jenny’s already done that, too, following a hunch that leads her down a rabbit hole of family drama even more gnarled than her own. And she unwittingly drags Liam into the fray.
The bright light amidst all that is the ongoing romance between River and Dr. Garcia, who come in on Christmas to assist, but Jenny insists they go home afterward, although it might be safe to assume neither will be hungry. [Note to our readers: do NOT eat during this episode.]
There’s also a sweet reconnect between Gordon and Peggy. Now that he has his dream literally come true, he’s sheepish and very sweet, and super honest about what the loss of her and her return mean to him.
Photos Courtesy of CBC.