[Warning: General spoilers ahead.]
Wednesday night on CBC, Pretty Hard Cases returns for its expanded second season of 12 episodes, up from ten its freshman year. The premiere episode, “Pencil Skirts,” written by Sherry White and directed by Jordan Canning, picks up a little while after the season one finale, as Sam and Kelly are now paired in the same unit, and under the purview of a by-the-book new arrival, DS Brad Michaels, played by Rookie Blue alumni Ben Bass. Thankfully, Karen Robinson’s Edwina Shanks returns as the take-no-BS voice of reason.
Sam’s still dancing around her tentative romance with Nas (Al Mukadam), and enjoying her newly empty nest while Kelly reevaluates her own personal life and questions her life choices (including Daren A. Herbert’s Nathan) after a chat with her sisters. On the work front, Brad’s new tech-based policing isn’t paying dividends, and is putting the police in harm’s way, which will lead to some fallout that spans the whole season.
Aside from that, we kick off with a fun undercover operation that finds Sam and Kelly role-playing flight attendants, down to the high heels and titular pencil skirts, to disrupt a drug smuggling operation.
Look for The Expanse’s Anna Hopkins guest starring as a flight attendant who strikes up a friendship with Sam.
In December, I chatted with series stars Meredith MacNeill and Adrienne C. Moore about the new season. Both enjoyed jumping right back in without the world-building required of a first season. “It was so nice to come back and start a season where we had already established so many things with relationships and characters and storylines. It was a pleasure to fall back into into those familiar places,” says Moore.
“I remember on the first day, [we had] all the excitement of starting season two and you say hi to everybody and then about an hour and a half later, you’re like, ‘Oh yeah. Oh right. We got six more months. Let’s do this,’” adds MacNeill.
After the events of the first season, Sam and Kelly are not only partners but genuine friends, and that means diving straight into the mess, sometimes necessary dialogues that happen between close friends.
“I think the hallmark of a real friendship is when you can have those difficult, uncomfortable, ‘I’m gonna say what I need to say, I don’t know if she’s gonna like me after I say it.’ conversations,” shares Moore.
“We definitely tried to add another layer to their friendship. [In the] first season, they were kind of ribbing at each other or Kelly was poking Sam, but in season two, those pokes and those jabs and those things that she says to Sam, they’re not just to poke fun or for silly banter. We have more pointed conversations this season, which to me is how you deepen a friendship … when you can get to those difficult moments and get through them.”
“I think in the first season, you see them at odds with one another and then Sam immediately [wants] to be Kelly’s friend. They had this friction before and because of that friction and disagreement, it deepened their friendship because they were always having honest conversations,” explains MacNeill.
“They were always aware of one another’s flaws. And so now they’re friends and now we’re seeing a friendship unfold where you’re watching two people have very transparent conversations and I hope that’s really attractive to the audience because I think that that’s an important place for everyone to be … to have transparent, open conversations.”
American audiences have now been able to see the whole first season streaming on IMDb, and Moore, who lives in the US, says she’s glad the episodes are out. “I love that fans can watch it at their own leisure and discretion and watch the whole season in one sitting or they can break it up or even do a week-by-week,” she shares.
“That’s the fun in streaming content. Today everyone has busy, difficult lives and you don’t want to feel as though you’re missing out on anything. [For me], there’s a show that I love to watch, but I’m literally waiting for them to release all of this season, all the episodes, so I can binge it. That’s how I like to watch television shows.”
Thanks to the algorithms that recommend titles based on your viewing habits, Moore has found that Pretty Hard Cases streaming in the US has pulled fans from her other work, and created new fans of some of her previous show,. “I’m grateful that the fans continue to support the things that I do. However the milkshake brings all the boys to the yard,” she laughs.
Pretty Hard Cases season two premieres Wednesday night, January 5 at 9 p.m. (9:30 p.m. NT) on CBC and CBC Gem. Here’s a sneak peek.