On screen, Michael Shanks has a way with spirits, thanks to the “gift” his character Charlie was bestowed with at the end of Saving Hope‘s first season. Now, with the latter half of Season 3 hitting TV screens on Wednesday night (and a fourth season officially confirmed by broadcaster CTV), the actor has become a sort of expert off-screen too. At least when it comes to people who have been in a coma seeking him out.
“I’d never met anyone who had admitted to being in a coma before,” Shanks tells The TV Junkies. “And now I’ve had four or five of them come up to me. The consistency of their experiences in terms of having to make peace with an aspect of themselves before they could come back was quite interesting. All of them claimed they could hear and feel everything around them, that they were still inside their bodies.”
Afterlife (or some sort of in-between, spiritual life to get technical about it) isn’t something the 43-year-old thought much about before getting the gig on the Canadian show. He says he believes in energies, and in both negative and positive forms of energies sticking around a particular place or perhaps body. But after hearing stories from so many random people (like one of his drivers on a project he was working on, a person on an airplane and a contractor at his house), he couldn’t help but ask one gentleman his thoughts on pulling the plug.
“He said, ‘Oh never do it, you never do it. I’ve been there, and they just have to resolve something,'” Shanks recalls. “He said he remembered one doctor whispering to a nurse because I guess they were having an affair. Later he told the doctor he had to watch what he says around the coma patients because they can hear it.”
When Saving Hope returns on Wednesday, Shanks will be dealing with a whole new type of coma patient–a con artist known as “Spirit Oliver” (C. David Johnson), whose demands vary from the ones Charlie typically deals with–mostly because he just keeps on making them.
“Usually Charlie is getting people to make peace, to figure out their relationship, or some un-pragmatic thing. This guy actually wants him to do stuff,” Shanks previews. “With everything Charlie is going through he’s not really in the mood to be doing anything in the first place with ghosts or whatever, so this guy keeps bugging him in all the wrong situations!”
You can’t really blame Charlie, we suppose. Not with his ex-fiancee shacking up with her old flame and his ex-wife–whom he just rebounded with–asking him to father a baby with her by relieving himself in a cup. Those subjects would take up a majority of anyone’s mental capacity, let alone a surgeon’s who also happens to talk to spirits.
In the real world, Shanks can afford a little more thought on the subject.
“It’s odd that you become the guy that you go to, to talk about your coma experience,” he wraps. “But I thought it was apropos that, like I said I’d never met anybody who had been in a coma before and all of a sudden they’re popping out of the woodwork. I thought that was pretty funny.”
Saving Hope returns Wednesday, Nov. 26 at 10 p.m. ET on CTV.
Are you excited for Saving Hope‘s return?!? Want Alex and Charlie to get back together? More of a Team Joel fan yourself? Ever had a coma experience like the ones described above or know someone else who has? Sound off on it all below.
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Amber Dowling is a bonafide TV Junkie, critic and freelance writer who watches countless shows and lives for dramatic (fictional!) twists. She currently serves as the vice-president of the Television Critics Association and has appeared on numerous TV and radio shows across North America. An advocate for Canadian Television and a lover of the medium in general, Amber founded TheTVJunkies.com as a spot for fellow enthusiasts to connect and collaborate. She previously spent almost eight years as the EIC for TV Guide Canada.