[Warning: General spoilers ahead.]
This Wednesday, CBC rolls out Wild Cards, a fun new dramedy about a mismatched Vancouver crime-solving duo. We’re excited about it because it boasts a who’s who of some of our favorite creative folks — Private Eyes and Haven‘s Shawn Piller and Lloyd Segan executive produce alongside series creator Michael Konyves (Bad Blood), who wrote the pilot, and producing director James Genn (SkyMed and Moonshine) who directed the episode. The writing team includes James Thorpe (Private Eyes and Motive), Wynonna Earp‘s Noelle Carbone and Alexandra Zarowny, Coroner creator Morwyn Brebner and writer Seneca Aaron, and The Porter creator Marsha Greene.
The hourlong series centers on an odd couple pairing of a talented con artist and a sidelined Vancouver detective who are tasked to solve crimes leveraging her unique skillset.
When we meet Max Mitchell (Riverdale‘s Vanessa Morgan), she’s attempting to pilfer valuables from somebody else’s security deposit box by masquerading — with a very thick accent and dripping in money — as its owner. Since it’s the pilot episode for a series, you can pretty much guess how that’s going to go for her.
When we meet Cole Ellis (Giacomo Gianniotti), he and his adorable, petite kitty, Mark (rocking his own life vest), are patrolling the waters of Vancouver as he looks longingly toward the shore at a squad car heading to a crime scene. Circumstances send Ellis to escort Max to the police department just as Chief Li (Terry Chen) and Commissioner Russo (Karin Konoval) have assembled a squadroom full of officers and detectives to debrief them on a string of burglaries that’s the new number one priority of the mayor.
When Max starts peppering Li with smart questions and then tips Ellis about her theory on the next possible heist, they’re released into the wild — within a very specific set of parameters — to investigate. At stake is his reinstatement as a detective and her scrubbing her arrest. Then it’s off to the races with a series of costume changes and personas as Max makes a beeline for an auction house run by twins (Family Law‘s Zach Smadu) followed by an underground poker game.
Begrudgingly along for the ride but very invested in getting back onto dry land, Ellis realizes she’s actually really good at what she does. She’s also a genuine human being, taking the time during a quiet moment to ask him about his backstory and why he was demoted, and gain brownie points with Mark.
It’s a fun, fast premiere, setting up the partnership and parading through a who’s who of Canadian familiar faces.
In addition to Chen, Konoval, and Smadu, we also get Jason Priestley, Fulvio Cecere, and Giacomo Baessato (formerly of the Hailey Dean Mysteries film series and more recently on The Good Doctor), and Bitten‘s Michael Xavier. It has a very similar vibe to Priestley’s previous collaboration with Piller, Private Eyes, which ran five seasons on Global. Here’s hoping they get to repeat that again. This is a fun group of characters to watch, and much as Private Eyes was a love letter to Toronto, Wild Cards bops around Vancouver showing it off, too.
Wild Cards premieres Wednesday, January 10, streaming at 9 am ET on CBC Gem and airing linearly at 8 pm (8:30 NT) on CBC. It premieres in the US on January 17th at 8 pm ET on The CW. Here’s a sneak peek.
Photos and videos courtesy of CBC.