Make no mistake, new CBC drama series Coroner isn’t just another standard procedural headed your way this TV season. Character-driven, it follows Dr. Jenny Cooper (Serinda Swan), a recently widowed new coroner in Toronto who helps the police department investigate suspicious, unnatural or sudden deaths. In each new case, the series, premiering Monday, January 7 at 9 p.m. ET on CBC, will take Jenny to a new area of Toronto and reflect the city’s rich diversity. With the help of Detective Donovan McAvoy (Roger Cross), Jenny will work with her team to solve mysterious deaths, while also dealing with problems of her own.
Jenny suffers from clinical anxiety and has a teenage son, Ross (Ehren Kassam), who is still grieving the death of his father. There’s also the prospect of new romance on the horizon in the form of enigmatic Liam (Éric Bruneau). The TV Junkies have been lucky to screen a few episodes of the series, created by executive producer and showrunner Morwyn Brebner, as well as speak with both Swan and Cross. Check out what they had to say about what viewers can expect from the new drama this season.
Dr. Jenny Cooper isn’t perfect
While the main protagonist in many crime procedurals seem to have a special gift that gives them an almost inhuman ability to solve crimes, Coroner’s lead, Dr. Jenny Cooper, isn’t that at all. Just like all of the characters on the show, Jenny isn’t perfect, and that’s one of the main reasons that Swan was drawn to the role, and so quickly. “After reading the first two episodes, I just fell in love with Jenny. I thought she was such an intriguing character and very different from anything I played,” Swan recalled. She went on to say that she loved how Coroner’s writers really “push the envelope,” which allowed for all characters to “to evolve and be flawed, yet be strong. They are great characters to play.”
It’s not your standard crime procedural
While Jenny will be working with the cops to help solve crimes, “the series is really about the characters,” said Swan. She told us that there will be a crime procedural element each week, but that’s just a part of Jenny’s daily life more than anything. Swan said it’s something we can all relate to in that “you have a daily job that you do, but you’re still you and dealing with your outside life.” She also added that the crime element will be serialized given that “some of our cases last two or three episodes, so there’s a blurred line to the procedural. The one thing is that our characters continue to develop.”
A growing partnership
The partnership between Jenny and Detective McAvoy may take a little work from both parties in the beginning. “It’s a forced partnership, and at first they are trying to figure each other out and how they fit in each other’s lives,” explained Cross. However, as the two work together more, “they realize that they are enriching each other’s lives, instead of taking away from it,” he said. Cross and Swan both agree Jenny and Mac are good for each other in that they force each other to face truths, which will strengthen their partnership in the end. “They are getting to know each other with growing pains, but respecting each other’s strength. That’s what’s going to happen when you get two strong characters together,” Cross said.
Not your typical mother/son relationship
Jenny had her son, Ross, when she was 18 years old, and because of that closeness in age, they have a bit of an unusual relationship. “She and her son are very close, almost to a point of codependency,” explained Swan. She said it’s a relationship that ebbs and flows as they take turns being the responsible one. “There’s a beautiful partnership between them, and Ross is much more mature than he should be at his age.”Ross also gives his mother a purpose because “he’s this guiding star for her,” and “all she wants to do is make sure is that he’s taken care of and doesn’t get hurt.” Swan also says there will be noticeable growth in their relationship as the season progresses. “They are both holding each other accountable and they both leave enough room for the other to grow.”
Jenny’s husband’s death has huge ramifications for her
Jenny was “very much controlled by the idea of her husband and the idea of what a perfect life should be,” said Swan. However, “as the death affects her, she starts to come into herself and have her heart explode in all directions. She starts to realize she’s much more than she has been, and that includes being a mother in a different way.” As more secrets about Jenny’s life and her relationship with her husband come to light, “there’s a lot of grief, but there’s also a lot of relief, and that’s something she opens up about. It’s a really cool storyline and plot point to be able to portray as an actor,” enthused Swan.
Fun guest stars abound!
Not only does Coroner boast an impressive and talented ensemble cast, but there’s plenty of fun guest stars that will making appearances this season tease Swan and Cross. Swan said audiences could expect to see “Nicholas Campbell, the incredible Canadian legend,” Jully Black and Nigel Bennett (The Shape of Water). She already has a plan for next season too. “If we get Season 2, I’m going to start writing letters to Allan Hawco and Paul Gross. I’m going to try to pull in the talent of Canada to come play with our family. We have really phenomenal guest stars this season. I feel so blessed to be a part of this cast.”
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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.