CBC’s Caught concluded its first season tonight with a finale that brought the core case to a close and left a door cracked for a second season, which I do hope we get. In the second part of my chat with Allan Hawco, we discuss the season and finale.
[Warning: Season 1 finale spoilers ahead.]
The first season was initially conceived for six episodes, but ultimately ended up with five, and Hawco says that was a fortuitous turn of events. “The heavens aligned by taking it from six to five. We took the end of six and shoved it into the end of five instead of lopping something off. The ending survived as is,” he shares.
“It was an interesting exercise to go back through and see what needed to live and what didn’t. The things that didn’t drive the story properly stood out and ended up being excised. Perry Chafe came in and helped me shore up what the fifth episode would be and helped me shape what all five would look like in a five-hour world.”
“It made sense. It worked really, really well. The other writers, even though they weren’t in a room with me, they were constantly on satellite with me. We were conference calling and reading and noting and it was a real satellite kind of room. I’m really grateful they never gave up or let go.”
“A lot of people would be discouraged if you had to cut an episode out but it worked in a way that was meant to be. There was some extraneous stuff in our original episode three that never was working.”
It’s amazing that with a cast this size, only Cyril dies, and Hawco says they considered other fatalities at certain points. “In [one version], Ada died and it never worked. Hearn and Ada were both killed at one point and as I went back through, it never rang true to me,” he admits.
“I would not have been afraid to do that if it was right but it just never rang true. When I jettisoned the idea of that. John Vatcher, Perry Chafe, and I stood in a room workshopped what Ada’s fate really needed to be.”
Hawco and his writers worked very hard to bring Ada to life. “One of the focuses of the writing room was fleshing out her drive and her character and what her mission was and why she’s there,” he explains. “In the book, she’s older and there’s a bit more game. Having her not succeed at that game was not right. The twist of her pulling the wool over everybody’s eyes in the end is my favorite thing about the whole show.”
“My mission throughout all this … the plot could be seen as a derivative story — [with a] jailbreak and drug smuggling, so I tried to set up as many opportunities to mislead people in the storytelling so you were thinking it had to be [that perhaps she was someone else in law enforcement] and she was just the smartest person the whole time.”
The character of David is multi-layered, and Hawco plays him throughout as a man haunted. To get to that performance, he purposely separated his roles as producer, writer, and actor. “At a certain point, I just didn’t think about anything else other than the work as an actor. Writing it is the best prep because a big part of your prep as an actor is thinking about all the things your character should be thinking about at all times, understanding where they come from, where they’re going, what they want, what they’re obstacles are,” he points out.
“Writing a show gives you all of that in your DNA because so much comes from your imagination or shared with other writers. Right around the beginning of shooting, I stepped away [from writing]. Any changes, Perry would spearhead and run them by me. We didn’t do major changes. If there were any significant rewrites, I’d do them on my day off or with lots of lead time so I could focus on acting.”
The scenes set at Hearn’s compound were another bit of kismet as the team found an ideal location in the Dominican Republic. “Janine Bursey, Vatcher and myself scouted Mexico, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic in seven days before prep. We didn’t have a lot of money. We couldn’t waste a cent,” he recalls.
“I knew what house I wanted. I could see it. We scouted two other countries and I didn’t find it. [In the Dominican Republic], we were standing on a bay and there was a peninsula jutting out [with a house on it] and I told the location manager I needed to get inside that house. We drive for 25 minutes and pull up to the driveway of the house I was looking at.”
“There was no doubt about it. On the drive up, there was a hotel under construction down at the end of the road. I had another location [written] for Hearn that was a swamp and I couldn’t find a swamp. We couldn’t find the location. There was garbage or real gators everywhere or malaria-carrying mosquitoes.”
“When I saw the hotel under construction, I thought, ‘This is why Hearn is so vulnerable. He’s tied up all of his money in the beginning of Cancun, building a big hotel casino thing.’ The location dictated creative. Because they were so close to each other, that ended up being all we needed to shoot. We were able to shoot so much of the material in the one house we owned for the three weeks we were there. We sailed out of the driveway of the house we were renting.”
In the closing moments of the finale, David receives confirmation from Ada that she made it to Holland. But what about Jennifer? Hawco explains that door is closed for now. “As far as Jennifer is concerned, Jennifer is married to her other guy and she has a life with her daughter. Slaney is not an option for her anymore,” he says.
“I feel like the minute he says goodbye to her and she tells him to leave. that’s the end of their story. I don’t think she’ll be in witness protection forever. [Slaney] does need to sort it out with Tommy. Whether he does it onscreen or offscreen is [TBD]. That last shot, for me, is an invitation for more in my mind. I think the journey continues.”
We hope so! You can watch the entire first season of Caught online at CBC or on the CBC App.
Photos Courtesy of CBC