For anyone that’s watched Frankie Drake Mysteries this season, it’s instantly clear that main protagonist Frankie (Lauren Lee Smith) has a swagger and confidence about her. It turns out, if one hangs around her long enough some of that is bound to rub off. That’s certainly been the case for Morality Officer Mary Shaw (Rebecca Liddiard). Viewers have seen Mary be both fascinated and envious of the work Frankie and her partner Trudy (Chantel Riley) do, and as the season has wore on Mary’s own confidence has really grown. She’s come to learn that in this line of work it’s not always best to play by the rules and that sometimes you need to go with your gut.
The first season of Frankie Drake will conclude its run Monday night at 9 p.m. ET on CBC with an episode that sees Mary discovering how Frankie and Trudy met, and how Drake Private Detectives was formed. The TV Junkies spoke exclusively with Liddiard to preview the episode, as well as look back on Mary’s journey this season. Liddiard, who in addition to her role on Frankie, also starred this past fall in Slasher: Guilty Party and Alias Grace, also shared some of her favorite Mary moments and why she’d love the chance to work again with Wynonna Earp’s Melanie Scrofano, who played Mary’s sister Jenny.
The TV Junkies: All of the women on Frankie Drake have come a long way this first season. What have you thought of Mary’s development?
Rebecca Liddiard: The biggest thing with Mary is confidence. At the beginning, she’s just an eager beaver who is desperate to do something more than her very small responsibilities within the morality division. She has this puppy dog-like quality where she’s just willing to take anything, whereas by the end we see her taking matters into her own hands. For instance, she just decided to go to New York all by herself to pursue the case that Frankie didn’t even ask her to do. She just took it upon herself to do it. I think that fits with the bigger theme of independence and women doing what they think is right and best. You really get a nice sense of that with Mary.
TTVJ: Mary is a character that is much more traditional in many ways than Frankie or Trudy. What is that aspect like for you to play and do you ever get frustrated with her and those views?
RL: There was that one episode where we met Mary’s sister where you see the real juxtaposition of the traditional and modern. She and her sister fall in the two extremes of that spectrum as far as societal values. I remember doing that episode and thinking what a conundrum Mary is because she desperately wants more, but also really believes in these traditional values. Where does that overlap? Mary is in a place where she has to accept new ideas into her worldview.
For example, there was that one episode where Trudy asks Mary in for a drink. She immediately says no, but Trudy says ‘this is a private residence and you’re an adult.’ So she agrees and goes in. She’s just in this really transitional phase that is a bit frustrating because I remember shooting that and thinking ‘Why can’t Mary be OK with this?’ I think a part of her really does believe in those things and that’s what makes it really interesting when those questions do come up. It really is a big paradigm shift for her to make these changes in her life. Maybe that’s why Mary is so weird and her eyeballs get so big. [laughs] Her whole world is changing in front of her eyes.
TTVJ: You bring up Mary’s sister, played by Melanie Scrofano, and it was so great to see that relationship on screen. What was it like working with Melanie and do you hope to explore that more?
RL: If she was able to come back I would be deliriously happy. She’s a delightful human being and I love spending time with her. So if it works with her schedule and she’s interested that would be great. They make such a great pair too because they are so different. The dialogue and rapport between them is so fun. Then of course they have that weird sister language…
TTVJ: How long did that take you to get down? You were really flowing with it by the end of the episode!
RL: I practiced a lot, and I wanted there to be more of it in the episode. I figured out how to do it and wanted to show it off, but everyone thought it sounded ridiculous. [laughs] Personally I think it’s hilarious, but it’s like Shakespeare — fun to say but not to listen to.
TTVJ: Sharron Matthews mentioned that the chemistry between Mary and Flo was a bit of a later discovery as you guys were filming. What makes those two characters so great together?
RL: She’s absolutely right. We filmed an episode where Flo and Mary go off and solve their piece, and we said ‘they are so amazing and so great together!’ I think it’s because they both fall on extreme sides of this spectrum. Their personality traits are so strong, but they seem to really get along. Flo embodies the strength that Mary admires so much in Frankie, but for some reason with Flo it’s more accessible and she feels safe with her. I’m not sure, but their rapport is really nice and so funny.
TTVJ: Without spoiling anything, what can you preview about the season finale episode?
RL: I remember reading it and it being a bit of a page-turner. You find out more about Trudy and Frankie’s past and how they met. Mary is also learning how they first met, their history together and she’s very, very curious. I remember being like ‘let’s just talk this out. How did this happen because it’s really interesting,’ and then reading the script like ‘ooooh that’s how it happened!’ I can say it’s action-packed, but really aren’t they all?
TTVJ: We’re all hoping we hear about a Season 2 soon. If that does happen, what would you like to see for Mary?
RL: It’d be nice to see Mary get out of the office a little bit more. It’s so fun to run around, drive those cars and be in the thick of the action. My boyfriend and I have this joke about Mary’s horse. [laughs] In one episode it seems like she adopts a horse, and I don’t know if they are planning on keeping that, but it’d be great if Mary could have a horse.
TTVJ: Are you a big horse rider?
RL: I ride horses a little bit, but I don’t know if Mary would be a horse rider. It’d just be great to hang out with that horse some more because that was one of my favorite episodes to film. So that would be cool! I’m sure the writers will see this and they’ll say ‘yea right! A horse!’ [laughs]
Definitely more action though. I love being in the thick of it.
Have you been enjoying Mary this season on Frankie Drake? Sound off below!
Frankie Drake Mysteries‘ Season 1 finale airs Monday, February 5 at 9 p.m. ET on CBC.
Editor in Chief Bridget Liszewski comes from a long line of TV Junkies who fostered her love of television from a very young age. She's channeled that passion into covering both US and Canadian television shows, and is thankful everyday for the invention of the DVR. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, she loves college football and is a fan of sports in general. Bridget is always up for talking TV and you can follow her on twitter at @BridgetOnTV.