[Warning: General spoilers ahead.]
CBC launches its next new limited series Sunday night with a five-episode adaptation of Jeff Lemire’s Essex County graphic novel trilogy of the same name. The drama explores the intersection of two families in rural Southwestern Ontario, who despite the closeness of the community are still individually lonely and a bit lost. The series blends elements of a sleepy small town drama and fantasy as the residents search for redemption and healing following years of multigenerational trauma.
Here’s what to expect:
Eleven-year-old Lester (Finlay Wojtak-Hissong) has moved in with his uncle Ken (Brian J. Smith) after the death of his mother. Ken, a stoic farmer, must contend with his own grief and fears while raising Lester, even as Lester looks for a father in Jimmy (Kevin Durand), a man who can barely take care of himself.
Anne (Molly Parker) is a nurse and mother who, after a lifetime of caring for others, finds herself at a crossroads when her daughter leaves for university. When Anne takes over the care of her estranged uncle, Lou, (Stephen McHattie) who is suffering from worsening dementia and the ghosts of his past, she begins to unearth family secrets. It is through Lou and Lester that the viewer enters a world of magic realism as Lou’s present begins to merge with his past and he literally haunts his own memories; Lester escapes into his imaginary world as he struggles to overcome his crushing grief.
The rest of the cast includes Tamara Podemski (Coroner, Reservation Dogs), Daniel Maslany (Four in the Morning, Murdoch Mysteries), and Rossif Sutherland (Three Pines).
The North Bay-filmed series was written by creator Jeff Lemire (Sweet Tooth; Black Hammer; Secret Path) and Eilis Kirwan (The Whistleblower; Nurses) and directed by Andrew Cividino (Schitt’s Creek, Sleeping Giant). The extended production team includes several CBC alumni, including Coroner’s Adriana Maggs, Nathalie Younglai, Keavy Lynch, and Chris Roberts; The Porter’s Annmarie Morais and Aubrey Nealon; and Trickster‘s Michelle Latimer.
Essex County premieres Sunday, March 19th, at 9 pm ET/9:30 NT on CBC and CBC Gem. Here’s a sneak peek.