Jessica Lucas is a familiar face to genre fans from her stints on Gotham and Cult and this spring, she moves into crime drama as both an actress and executive producer on Citytv’s The Murders, which premiered last week. I spoke with Lucas recently about the new series.
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.]
Lucas wrapped a three-season run on Gotham last year and when she was scouting new projects, The Murders piqued her interest. It came through as an offer with the added bonuses that the series would not only give her the opportunity to participate in the development as a producer, but it would also bring her home to Vancouver to work.
“I was approached by Damon [Vignale] and the people at Muse Entertainment with a fully-formed pilot script. I read it and immediately fell in love with Kate Jameson,” Lucas shares. “She’s a very interesting, flawed, well-rounded, three-dimensional character. I felt like she was someone I could sink my teeth into and who would be a great challenge for me.”
“I was coming off of Gotham and being based in New York City for three years. The idea of doing a series for Canada that was based in my hometown [was very attractive].”
“I’d been looking to be a part of the larger conversation of the behind-the-scenes [aspects] of a show for a long time. [I wanted] to bring all the years of experience I have to help develop and launch a character. They were open to me being a producer and it was exactly what I wanted to do.”
Kate is a character who comes into homicide with some personal demons around the death of her dad, who was also a detective. Carrying that load doesn’t get any lighter when she’s directly involved in the death of Mike (Lochlyn Munro), his former partner–and hers–at the end of the series premiere. Lucas says Kate will deal with the ramifications all season.
“[When we meet her], she’s only been a detective about a week and she’s still very much wanting to prove herself. She has the reputation of being the daughter of someone who worked on the squad. She’s needing to prove that she deserves to be there on her own merits,” Lucas explains.
“When she makes that mistake [with her gun], she lets Mike take control because she thinks to admit that mistake early on would kill her career.”
“She trusts him more than she would if he was [new to her]. She’s so desperate to prove herself that she gets swept up in a terrible secret that she has to hide from everyone. Kate spends the rest of the season trying to redeem herself and work on herself through her therapy sessions.”
Da Vinci’s Inquest alumni Venus Terzo plays Kates mom, Rita, who’s decided to run for mayor. “We got a long really well in real life. She’s a wonderful actress. [Onscreen, Kate’s relationship with her mom] is very strained. I think she was very much a daddy’s girl,” Lucas says.
“I think she always blamed her mother for their divorce. As is often the case, you don’t always see your parents as fully-formed people. She comes to find out what actually went down and that helps her to heal that relationship.”
Lucas says the relationship between Kate and her therapist, Roxanne (Laara Sadiq) will fill a void. “Kate lacks anyone in life she can be vulnerable with,” she points out. “So the therapist relationship becomes really important because it’s the one place Kate can let her guard down.”
“The therapist becomes a bit of mother figure to her. It becomes a great window into who she is because she has a hard time being vulnerable.”
At the end of the premiere, Kate is partnered with Nolan (Dylan Bruce), and their fractiousness will thaw, eventually. “There’s a lot of tension between them and they try to build a trusting relationship,” Lucas says.
“I think Kate is cautious about all of her actions involving her new partner because Mike was killed and she’s hiding a big secret. I think their relationship grows in a really natural and beautiful way by the end of the season.”
Working on a homegrown show was a thrill for Lucas. She admits it has been a while since she worked on a show filmed in Canada, portraying Canada, and intended for Canadian broadcast. “It was awesome. I love all of the actors. We certainly had a lot of fun,” she shares.
“I was really blown away by the level of talent. And everyone who guested is really talented. I think we did a great job representing how diverse the country is. I’m really, really proud of [the show].”
“I was really challenged every day I was on set. I loved every minute of it.”
With Gotham ending its run in April, Lucas reflected on the experience. She says it was a one-in-a-lifetime opportunity that she’s grateful for. “Getting to work in New York City on a production of that scale was something on my bucket list and I don’t know if I’ll have another chance to be that immersed in the city again,” she explains.
“The cast was so talented and I will always treasure getting to work with them. Getting to play someone so physical and doing something outrageous and crazy in every episode was a dream come true for an actor. I have a lot of great memories.”
The Murders airs Mondays at 9pm/8c on Citytv. If you missed the premiere, it’s online at Citytv’s website.
In this Monday’s episode, Kate and Nolan investigate a million-dollar bank heist that leaves casualties behind. As they start to put the case together, a crime within a crime is revealed. And Kate helps her Mom with a PR appearance as she continues her therapy. Jill Carter, directs a script by Damon Vignale.
Photos Courtesy of Citytv.