Dr. Mary Harris: angel of death or murderer? That’ll be for viewers to decide in the new Global TV drama Mary Kills People, premiering Wednesday, January 25 at 9 p.m. ET/PT, and April 23 at 10 p.m. on Lifetime in the U.S. Hannibal’s Caroline Dhavernas stars as Mary, an overworked single mother and ER doctor who is running an illegal business assisting patients in going out “on their own terms.” While Mary has managed to build her business and be busier than ever, she’s also on the brink of having her double life exposed and things getting a lot more complicated.
From creator Tara Armstrong and showrunner Tassie Cameron (Rookie Blue), the one-hour drama has also been picked up by Lifetime in the U.S. Over the course of its six episode first season, Mary Kills People will follow Mary’s exploits as she balances her family life and day job with side duties helping terminal patients end their lives on their own terms…all while eluding the police. Dhavernas is joined by a talented ensemble that includes Jay Ryan (Beauty and the Beast), Lyriq Bent (The Book of Negroes), Richard Short (Vinyl), Greg Bryk (Bitten) and Charlotte Sullivan (Rookie Blue).
We here at The TV Junkies were lucky enough to screen Mary Kills People’s first two episodes and thought we’d pass along a few teases to help get fans even more excited for the premiere. So check out our main takeaways from watching those first two episodes and everything we thinks fans should know before they meet Mary.
Dhavernas is Divine
Add Dr. Mary Harris to the list of complex and layered lead female characters that Canadian TV seems to be giving us lots of at the moment (and that we’re totally loving by the way!). Mary is a strong, intriguing, smart and mysterious woman who, after two episodes, we can’t wait to learn more about. In short, Mary is a high caliber role and thankfully Caroline Dhavernas, who we loved in roles on Hannibal and Wonderfalls, is a high caliber actress who is perfectly cast. She brings a toughness, vulnerability and compassion to Mary that, in a lesser actress’ hands, just would not have worked.
Jay Ryan brings the broody goodness
From the moment Mary meets Joel, a terminally ill patient looking to hire her, she knows there’s more to him than meets the eye. She’s immediately drawn to him, and given Joel is played by Beauty and the Beast alum Jay Ryan, we can’t say that we really blame her. Ryan’s Joel has a brooding sex appeal that adds a mysterious layer to the character, making it easy to see why Mary would risk blurring the lines between doctor and patient for him.
The perfect partnership
Mary doesn’t run her business alone, she’s got a partner Des (Richard Short) who helps her out. Des is a former addict and disgraced plastic surgeon on probation who may be in the business of helping terminally ill patients more for financial than ethical reasons. Regardless of motive, Des and Mary make an enjoyable pair for viewers to watch and it’s evident, underneath all the teasing, that these two friends truly care about one another. Dhavernas and Short have great chemistry and play well off each other, even as Des starts to worry about Mary getting too close to Joel.
Rookie alums abound!
Showrunner Tassie Cameron made sure to show plenty of love to those involved on her old show Rookie Blue here on Mary. Not only does she have Rookie writer Sherry White on board, but there’s tons of Rookie alums on screen as well. In addition to Lyriq Bent, also playing a cop here as Detective Frank Gaines, there’s Charlotte Sullivan playing Mary’s younger and complicated sister Nicole and Matthew Gordon as Mary’s co-worker in the ER. If you are anything like us and still miss Rookie Blue, then this is definitely the show to help fill that void!
In many ways Mary Kills People should be used by the Canadian tourism board as an advertisement of why one should visit Canada in the summer. There’s so many stunningly gorgeous lake views serving as backdrops for scenes that we would be lying if we said we weren’t a teensy bit distracted by them. But it’s not just the scenery, director Holly Dale has such skill to go along with a real knack for bringing the audience in and letting them get immersed into the story. Dale directed all six episodes and makes it abundantly clear why she’s so respected in the business, having directed over 200 hours of television on everything from The Americans, Chicago franchises and Marvel’s Agents of the S.H.I.E.L.D.
A sense of danger AND fun
What Mary does is illegal and she knows that. She and Des may have a booming business and a system worked out that has allowed them to operate under the radar, but that’s all about to change. They’ve been very careful up until this point, but even the best can get careless and unfortunately for them their mistakes may soon be catching up to them. This element of drama lends a real danger to the storyline, especially when it involves philosophical pharmacist Grady Burgess who will stop at nothing to see his empire flourish. Luckily for viewers though, Grady is played by Bitten’s Bryk who can always be counted on for some menacingly fun times. So even though Mary and Des are in danger with Grady, it still makes for a lot of fun for viewers to watch.
It’s not depressing!
Of course when we first heard the premise of Mary Kills People it was hard to not feel like the show was going to be a bit depressing to watch. Terminally ill patients who want to end their suffering? What a barrel of fun! Thankfully, Armstrong, Cameron and the other writers do a great job of creating a darkly comedic tone at times and keep you from focusing on the reason why these patients want to end their lives. Instead, the show’s focus on Mary, juggling her side business and real life duties while in danger of getting caught, keeps you pretty distracted from the fact that the show is all about people wanting to end their own life.
All that lady power!
If you’re a regular follower of us here at The TV Junkies, then you know there’s nothing we love more than celebrating women who are doing great things in the television industry. Mary Kills People certainly fits that bill, as the show boasts some absolutely incredible behind the scenes talent and an all-female creative team. Starting at the top you have showrunner Cameron and her sister Amy Cameron, also an executive producer, who made Mary the first project for their newly formed production company Cameron Pictures. Along with creator Armstrong and director Dale, that female talent continues to all aspect of the show’s production, from the writers’ room with Marsha Greene and Sherry White, to executives such as Tecca Crosby, Jocelyn Hamilton and Tashi Bieler. There’s no shortage of lady power here and we can’t help but love and support that!
Are you looking forward to Mary Kills People? Sound off in the comments and let us know if you’re planning on checking this new drama out! Mary Kills People premieres Wednesday, January 25 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Global. It will premiere on Lifetime in the U.S. on April 23 at 10 p.m.
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.