We love a good finale, and Coroner delivered on its excellent first season with an episode that resolved a long-unrealized serial killer and the truth (we think) about her sister and Arski. I jumped on the phone Friday with Adrienne Mitchell and Morwyn Brebner to find out what we know, and what we think we know. [Updated 8/4/20: Beginning 8/5/20, Coroner will air Wednesdays at 9 pm ET on The CW in the U.S. and Season 2 will begin on October 7th in the same timeslot.]
[Warning: spoilers for the Coroner Season 1 finale.]
Following Jenny’s panic attack in Dr. Peterson’s kitchen, her therapist walks her through an exercise that makes her finally realize she accidentally pushed her sister to her death. We don’t get clarity on whether Gordon shooting Arski or Arski biting her actually happened.
Brebner says we should stay tuned. “Memory is so subjective, and you do really remember things in various ways,” she explains. “In our minds, what she remembers is true. Maybe we’ll explore it more in Season 2.”
Jenny and her team uncover a serial killer when they find an etched number on Dr. Peterson’s rib – a fact previous pathologists, including Peterson, had missed. Brebner says she planned from the beginning to explore a long-arc case.
“There are so many different kinds of cases that coroners and pathologists and police deal with and we did want an aspect where something had been around a long time,” she says. “Serial killers often target marginalized populations and people don’t look closely into those deaths and things get missed and aren’t seen.
“How many instances of that do we have in Toronto with Bruce McArthur… certainly the killings of Indigenous women. The series does look at that,” adds Mitchell. “The coroner’s lens is so different, in a sense, from a detective or police lens.”
“Because they do have to, as they deal with cases, see things that are tied together or patterns that are there that police didn’t recognize. Their lens is on a more sociological level. ‘Why are we missing things? What is the culture around our attitude toward marginalized people?’ All of that is part of what we’re trying to work with in the show.”
One of the sweetest developments in the first season was Alison’s budding romance with Sabina, and Brebner credits writer Noelle Carbone with that gem.
“That came mid-season. That was a wonderful moment in Episode 5. Noelle Carbone who wrote it, [asked], ‘What if…?’ and we were all, ‘OMG what if…!’ and then it just seemed amazing and inevitable,” recalls Brebner.
“We want happiness for her. She brings happiness to other people and we want her to be happy. She has the most amazing entrance [at the end of the finale] in that coat. No one has been more beautiful. I think she’s such a friend. Jenny really recognizes that. It’s really beautiful.”
Mitchell says Alison’s personality is a necessary source of light for the characters and the show “She’s such a joyful character. She’s a beautiful soul. She is really her own person. It’s kind of like the world is a better place with Alison in it. Our world of this narrative is better,” she points out.
“When the shit is hitting the fan, she’s always there with a kind of perspective that you don’t expect or another angle you would never think of. It comes from her way of moving through the world. She seizes things in a way that’s so vital and visceral and fun. She’s struggling, too.”
“There’s something about her, but she brings a kind of weird to the series that everyone feels grounded by. She has a huge role in the dynamic of the characters. The day’s not the same without Alison’s weird. It gives them a stability and inspiration to keep going.”
“It’s important to the ingredients of that group because they’re dealing with death all the time. You need to look at things in a different way. You can’t always be in that really sorrowful, painful state.”
“She does bring another kind of energy that’s so important to hang onto when you’re dealing with death She’s such a refreshing example of life. She’s a very important person for them in terms of healing and getting through life.”
Looking back on the season, both women are proud of the stories they got to tell, and the people they brought to the table to tell it.
“What I feel proud of is that we have managed to have, in the midst of the show, a lot of moments of surprising light that all the collaborators, that everyone who worked on the show brought,” Brebner points out. “Those moments of weirdness or life or surprise or the fluctuations of humor and sadness and strangeness and joy. That so much of that we managed to get in there. 44 minutes is not a lot time. Those little moments are all really special.”
“I think kudos to the writing team … Morwyn and her group of awesome, beautiful, talented writers from diverse backgrounds. The balance is challenging,” says Mitchell.
“You’ve got the autopsy and the pathology and the world of the crime scene and to find that balance with humor and the personal sides in a way that you don’t feel dislodged so it feels all part of a universe, is no easy task. It’s what we really wanted to do with the show. There were concerns and questions about could we land it, and oh my God, did we land it. I’m so proud of that.”
“I feel like everyone who worked on the show was really dedicated to bringing their art to it and that was a really joyful thing,” says Brebner. “In terms of [the finale] specifically, Nathalie Younglai [who co-wrote the episode], created the character of Tiny Tiny, who’s an amazing character and such a full expression of a character.”
“[He’s] on screen for little bit, but brings his whole life with him. And that was Nathalie. We had an incredible writing team. I’m just in awe of our amazing writers.”
While Season 2 isn’t a go yet, Brebner has some things in mind. “We are prepping for Season 2 and we have our fingers crossed and are very optimistic. We are hopeful we get to tell more of our story. I think we raised [the question of why Dr. Peterson changed] so we should solve it. I think we will answer that question,” she shares.
“We have done a little bit of thinking about Season 2 and our thoughts are [that] we hope we’ve laid a good foundation for all the characters. Season 2 is about getting more deeply into them and their foibles and whatever their conflicts are, exploring them in Season 2.”
“We have some exciting things in store,” teases Mitchell.
Here’s hoping we get to see them! We’ll update as soon as we hear. If you missed any of the first season of Coroner, you can catch up anytime online on CBC Gem.You can see all of our coverage here. [Updated 8/4/20: Beginning 8/5/20, Coroner will air Wednesdays at 9 pm ET on The CW in the U.S. and Season 2 will begin on October 7th in the same timeslot.]
Photos Courtesy of CBC