Allan Hawco Talks Caught + A Preview of the Season Finale

CBC’s event series Caught wraps its first season Monday night with a tight hour that resolves the big questions and leaves the door open for us to come back to these characters again, which I really hope we do. Earlier this week, I spoke to series creator Allan Hawco. In the first part of our chat, he discusses adapting the book for TV. I’ll be back Monday night with the second part, which breaks down the finale.


The series is based on Lisa Moore’s novel of the same name, and after Hawco devoured the book, he was immediately moved to bring it to the small screen. “I’m a big fan of Lisa’s writing. There was something in the heart of the characters that really spoke to me,” he explains.

“It’s also [based on] a famous story from Newfoundland’s past, and that intrigued me. I could see how I wanted the whole first season to play out … like a map. It spoke to me very quickly. I read it in three or four hours and called Lisa the next day and told her I wanted to do it. It was a pretty quick turnaround.”

Caught CBC

With such an impeccable cast, I asked if they had any bearing on the creation of the series versions of the characters. “I don’t always write with people in mind. I try to think about the core of who they are as a character, fall in love with them, flesh them out, and find their voice before I think about who’s playing them,” he says.

“The other writers, Julia Cohen, Adrianna Maggs, John Krizanc, and I, as we were breaking the story, we didn’t talk about many actors in the roles. We tried to find the best vision of who they were in the writing. Casting didn’t happen until long after that.”

Paul Gross was always in my mind. Greg Bryk came in to read for Carter and he transformed for us the vision of who that character was. He took it to another place that I never imagined.”

Caught on CBC Greg Bryk

“Because I’m an actor first, I think I rely heavily on an actor’s instincts when they take on a role. I don’t feel like being a puppeteer for an actor is the right approach to allowing them to breathe or come to life. I really believe in an actor coming to me and informing me of what they think the role looks like and wants.”

TJ Scott and John Vatcher, who directed it together, came at it from their own angle as well. TJ had early conversations with all the cast. I wasn’t privy to what they talked about and I didn’t want to be.”

“As long as we were doing the show, and I had full trust that we would be, I like to give over some of that and watch characters behave and act in a way that I didn’t necessarily expect. I think that’s a big part of the process for any successful show, from the writing to the screen.”

Caught on CBC Enuka Okuma

The character of KC, played by the fabulous Enuka Okuma, was written for the series. She doesn’t appear in the book. Hawco says KC’s origin was as a functional character to better flesh out the story, and balance out the gender roles. “John Krizanc was the first person that started working with me on it. We went in a room alone and workshopped ideas together for weeks,” he recalls.

“The first stumbling block we came up against was that Patterson was on this journey but he was alone. We decided early on that this was going to be his own agenda separate from the police. It wasn’t something we’d seen before, where a cop was taking on something of this magnitude on his own.”

Caught CBC

“He needed someone to conspire with and work with. There were so many men in the original version of the story that I wanted there to be some stronger female voices. At a certain point, an opportunity opened itself for a character to live in that world and there was no doubt that she had to be a woman.”

“On top of that, a woman who happened to be working for law enforcement at a time when women weren’t given the same opportunities as men. We thought that would be an interesting thing for him to exploit to bring her on side. Once that discovery was made, she just opened up.”

“We weren’t doing it for any other reason than that the story needed it. The story revealed that it needed this element and then it just fit in there perfectly. I sometimes forget she’s not in the book.”

Here’s what to expect in Monday’s finale: David’s voyage reveals surprising allies and enemies. Back in Cancun, Hearn grows increasingly frantic about the plan he set in motion, and KC finds herself in a dangerous situation with a blown cover. Then it’s Roy’s turn for a Hail Mary to save his partners, his case, and his mark.

Caught airs Mondays at 9 pm ET/PT on CBC. The first four episodes are available now at CBC’s website and on the CBC App.

Here’s a sneak peek of “Bone Dog.” Check back afterward for the rest of my interview with Allan Hawco.

Photos and Video Courtesy of CBC

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