Lauren Lee Smith Reflects on Season 1 of Frankie Drake Mysteries

We have a special treat ahead of the Frankie Drake Mysteries Season 1 finale — an interview with star Lauren Lee Smith! Read our conversation now, and tune in to CBC tonight for a fun, action-packed hour of TV. [WARNING: Minor spoilers ahead for the Season 1 Finale.]

The season finale is so much fun, and I can’t wait to see how everyone reacts when they watch it.

I loved this episode so much. It wasn’t originally our season finale, but I think it’s so smart that they ended up using it for the finale. It’s absolutely perfect. We shot out of sequence throughout the whole season, and this was one of everyone’s favourites. It was really fun to explore how Frankie and Trudy met, and see some flashbacks from Frankie’s past. I’m really proud of it, and I hope the audience likes it as much as I did.

We’ve seen stories of the women who worked at home while the men were off fighting the war, but it’s still fresh to see the stories of the women on the front lines. The detective angle looks like it’s a blast to play, but how exciting was it to explore Frankie’s spy past?

Talking to the writers, and exploring and finding out about Frankie’s past in bits and pieces throughout the whole season has been such a joy. This episode in particular — getting to explore the whole spy aspect, how that came about for her, and how it progressed into her becoming a private detective — was really fun. It adds a whole other dimension to Frankie. It’s also interesting to see a woman in 1918 being on the front lines, and because of her stellar work assets, being asked to do these secret missions. It’s pretty neat to portray a character like that.

The show is, in many ways, like a really entertaining history class.

It’s true. Throughout the whole season, we’ve [explored] all sorts of aspects of Canada, especially in regards to women’s rights and women in the work force. It’s a testament to the writers doing such an incredible job.

There were a lot of things about Toronto itself that I didn’t know, and ended up looking into as a result of seeing it on the show. Was there anything in particular that was completely new information to you that you learned while filming the first season?

There were little things that I didn’t realize, like in a way, how cosmopolitan Toronto was. Through the writers, I got to explore and find out about women in the workforce during that time, and this revolution that occurred all across North America once they received the right to vote. These characters are loosely based on people who [were discovered] through research within the writers rooms. It’s really fascinating to find out that there were women during this time going against all odds and putting themselves out there. It’s like taking feminism to this whole new level that I find so inspiring and fascinating.

While I do love the dynamic between Frankie and Trudy, I found the evolution of Frankie and Mary’s relationship really interesting to watch. At first, Mary doesn’t come across as someone who would be on board with what Frankie is doing, but we’ve seen her grow over the course of the season. It’s almost like Frankie has become a mentor in a way.

I love watching the relationship between Frankie and Mary. Starting off, I had no idea where it would go and was playing it very differently than how it ended up. It started as this love/hate relationship. Mary annoyed Frankie a little bit, and Frankie didn’t really trust Mary. Time and time again, Mary proved herself and surprised Frankie. Slowly, this friendship and trust and sisterhood bond between all of them just got stronger. By the end of the season, I think that Frankie, Trudy, Mary, Flo, and Wendy are a team, and they’re all in it together.

I still have a lot of questions about Frankie and her past, which I hope we’ll get to see in future seasons. I really want some flashbacks with her father. Is there one detail that you absolutely have to know about Frankie?

There are so many things that I tried so hard for the whole season to dig out of the writers. I would love to explore a little bit more of Frankie’s past, and see her childhood. We know snippets of how she was raised by her father, who was a grifter. I’d love to find out more about her upbringing, her relationship with her father, and ultimately how her father died.

Photo Courtesy of CBC

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