[Warning: General spoilers ahead.]
In its fourth season, Hudson & Rex is taking the team on the road as a mobile investigative unit, and Sarah (Mayko Nguyen) has moved from the lab to the field. In Thursday’s new episode, “Leader of the Pack,” Sarah’s wilderness retreat to learn leadership skills for her new role takes a turn toward a protection detail when one of the other women is targeted.
Back home, Charlie and Rex and the rest of the team are investigating a murder staged as a suicide while Rex (and maybe Charlie) pine a little bit for Sarah while she’s away.
“Leader of the Pack” is written by Keri Ferencz and directed by Eleanore Lindo and features Degrassi‘s Lauren Collins in a guest role.
I caught up with Nguyen to chat about the episode, and the changes the season has brought for the show and for Sarah.
“In terms of just the acting of it, I really enjoy it because historically in the prior seasons, I’m often relegated to a lot of the studio stuff. Whether it’s the lab or the bull pen, and a lot of my stuff has either been with just Johnny [Reardon] and the boys. And now that I’m in the field more, it’s been really nice to get to work with the guest stars,” she shares.
“Being able to work all together, out in the field and on location has been a lot of fun. Studio days [are] great [especially] when we’re tired, but it can also get kind of ‘same old, same old.’ And so it’s really nice for the four of us to get to be out on location, shooting these beautiful vistas all together.”
Sarah moving into an active role as an inspector has also been an adjustment. “It’s quite tricky and I am still sort of navigating [that] sometimes Sarah has a gun now. The forensics is still there, but, I’m an active cop in the field. And that, I had not anticipated. Finding Sarah’s skin in that role was a bit of an adjustment for me. And it has taken a bit of time to find out who she is in that position.”
Nguyen didn’t have advance notice about Sarah’s evolution, and credits director Gary Harvey with helping her find that new rhythm. “I was not anticipating it. He was really great in terms of giving both myself, and Sarah, the character, permission to still be learning [and] looking to Charlie as the mentor…and to find myself as the actor and as the character. I really appreciated that. That was very helpful.”
The new dynamic also gives us more time with Sarah and Charlie on and off the clock. “They’ve got a really good friendship, Sarah and Charlie, and just by virtue of us spending even more time together, there’s a bit more time for us to decompress and just be ourselves,” she explains. “[Before], we were always in work mode. We always see them on the job. And [now] there are some reprieves to that, there are moments where the two characters just get to breathe a bit.”
As the only woman in the cast, Nguyen enjoyed having an episode that surrounded Sarah with other women. “I joke with the boys on the show a lot. I’m the only woman on the show right now in the core cast and I’m surrounded by these three boys and they’re amazing. I love them. I couldn’t imagine it being anybody else,” she says.
“This show was a treat because it was just me and a bunch of women.”
The episode is about these women being on this women’s retreat. And it felt like [that on set, too], because not only were a lot of women in this episode, but we were all kind of contained to our own storyline. So it was just us.”
“It was really nice to just hang out. We had a lot of laughs and it was very easy. Sometimes with new actors, you never know how the group is going to kind of jive together. And I felt like it was a very easy group. We all got along really well.”
Nguyen also appears in an upcoming feature, The Righteous, written and directed by Republic of Doyle‘s Mark O’Brien, and she loved the experience. “He’s very funny and just so warm and easy to do around. And just very smart. I saw the film a while back and when you read it, it’s an impressive script, but it’s one of those scripts where [it] is really engaging. But depending on how they shoot, it could be really incredible or it could be really bizarre.”
“And the fact that he chose to shoot it in black and white is a really risky thing, especially as a first-time director. What he did with that film is so deep. It was beautifully shot and he got incredible actors in it and the script really shines. I’m very impressed by him. If I had any other opportunity to work with him again, in any capacity, I absolutely would.”
Hudson & Rex airs at 8 pm Thursdays on Citytv and will be streaming on Friday. Here’s a behind-the-scenes vignette of Nguyen discussing Sarah.