Richard Short Talks Mary Kills People + Series Finale Preview

Mary Kills People closes out its three-season, 18-hour story this weekend and I defy you not to be completely satisfied when the credits roll. It’s heartfelt, angry, suspenseful, bittersweet, and funny. Most importantly, it’s a terrific conclusion for the characters with whom we’ve spent three years.

[Warning: General spoilers ahead.]

The episode begins immediately after the events of last week, with Nicole facing down Detective Hull and holding her own. From there, the Joy’s family circles the wagons in a dual-attempt to stay out of jail and prevent Frances from hurting anyone else.

Mary Kills People

That plan involves the series’ established, trusty plot device of keeping some of those details on a “need to know” basis from us at home.

Look for a fun team-up from Annie and Ben that will make you wish that had happened sooner. While Operation Team Joy’s is being sorted, Jess is literally trying to keep Naomi alive long enough to talk to Mary. All kudos to Abigail Winter and Katie Douglas for portraying the many complicated facets of that friendship over the series run.

They began as BFFs on completely different trajectories, then frenemies, then each other’s only tether when they found themselves emotionally abandoned and alone. To have Jess’s experience with Naomi mirroring Mary’s own with her Mom at a slightly younger age has been an artful plot device.

Mary Kills People

We’ve also seen a new side of Ben, who’s become wholly invested in not only protecting Mary, but her family, too, which now includes him. That’s also been an intriguing thing to watch. He and Mary were a lot of heat, but not necessarily substance with each other, but the introduction of a pregnancy and co-parenting has created a powerful put-up-or-shut-up dynamic. I’ve enjoyed that surprise.

In the finale, Des is grieving and angry and self-flagellating about losing Lucy, until he’s given a reason to redirect his rage. Look for an exquisite scene between Richard Short and Caroline Dhavernas that reminds us Mary and Des truly are the very best of friends. I wish we’d had a couple more hours of them together this season vs. earlier seasons, but the moments they get here soften that disappointment.

Paul Fox directs a script by Season 3 showrunner Marsha Greene. I’m happy to tell you “A Goddamned Saint” sticks the landing, y’all.

I spoke with Richard Short this week about his three-season run on the show. In the first part of our chat, he talks about the change of setting for the final season and building an intense, compressed love story in just five episodes. Season 3 featured a significant bulk of the action, and the majority of Short’s scenes, set outside Toronto in the rural space around Joy’s, and in the dead of winter. He says that absolutely informed their performances.

“It changes everything being around that bitter cold. That blank white landscape…every time you looked out or stepped out,” he recalls. “It changes your perception. Because you’re talking about life and death. There’s a cleaning of the slate.”

“There’s a silence you can hear [in the snow]. You can hear breath. The quick scene of Charlotte [Sullivan] and I [in episode 302], when we found Robert frozen…doing that scene. Hearing it. Feeling it. You’re pulling your coat on, but you can hear Charlotte’s breath. It completely plays into the performance and makes it feel more realistic.”

Mary Kills People

Short had a general idea of Des’s arc this season, with the first two scripts completed when they began production. “I knew that I was going to get a girlfriend, which is enormous news for Des. Of course, then, many question followed. As you see, it consumes every fiber of his being, for the rest of the season, and the rest of his life, perhaps,” he shares.

“The show packs so much into such a condensed schedule, both in the actual shooting and how much we air. You have to hit the ground running. I asked as much as I could about the Lucy plot. I asked for Rachael [Ancheril]’s number to meet her. She was perfectly willing to meet me in a pub the next day, which was wonderful.”

“We met and had a few drinks and got to know each other, which was spectacular. Right away, I could look at her and think, ‘Yep we’re going to be alright. We’re going to be good.’”

“And I heard from Lyriq Bent and Charlotte, who’d worked with her on Rookie Blue that I was in good hands, that we were in good hands. Honestly, we were truly blessed. I can’t be prouder, I don’t think anyone can, not just the chemistry, that’s just something that happens, which has nothing to do with us. It’s human nature or it isn’t. Just the way that story played out, was absolutely glorious.”

Short was thrilled with how easily Ancheril blended into the show. “We’d send each other songs, to put each other in the mood. [And we were] constantly there for each other off set, whatever [we] need, just for support,” he shares.

Mary Kills People

“In our line of work, if you join a show…do a day on a show, I’ve done it…you’re terrified. So much gets in the way. There’s so much tension. The way she swam, automatically, and matched me and raised my game every day. It’s just another example of a wonderfully strong woman on our show. There are so many of them behind the scenes and on camera. It makes the likes of me and Jay [Ryan] keep running, obviously. I loved working with her, honestly.”

Looking over the run of the show, Short views it as a continuous 18 episodes vs. three distinct seasons. “For me, it’s important to think of it as one huge arc and Lucy was a later chapter. It’s one enormous arc. The character’s evolving over the three calendar years, continuously,” he explains.

“People come into your lives and affect you and situations affect you, just like they do in real life. [To get to] see Des mature and age graciously from [episode] 101 when he was a discombobulated mess of a man. It’s the opposite of what we see where characters devolve. He evolved emotionally. And I’m very proud of that. [For me], it’s an 18-episode show.”

Check back Sunday night for part two of our interview where we talk about the series finale.

Mary Kills People airs Sundays at 8pm ET/PT on Global TV. Seasons 1 and 2 and this season’s first five episodes are streaming now on Global TV’s website and Global GO.

Update 8/6/22: All three seasons of Mary Kills People are now streaming on Global TV in Canada and Roku Channel in the US.

Images courtesy of Corus Entertainment

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