Coroner: Morwyn Brebner and Adrienne Mitchell Talk “Quick or Dead”


*** Warning: This article contains spoilers for the Coroner episode “Quick or Dead” ***

Every week of Coroner just keeps building and growing the world of Dr. Jenny Cooper (Serinda Swan), pulling viewers in deeper and deeper into the stories and characters along the way. This week’s episode of the CBC drama, “Quick or Dead,” written by Wendy MOTION Brathwaite and Morwyn Brebner and directed by Adrienne Mitchell, was no different. The eventful final few minutes really set the stage for where things go for Jenny in the second half of Season 1. “It continues to grow and changes in ways that we hope will be surprising and fulfilling,” said Brebner. Jenny announced at a press conference that her office had made mistakes and that she’s reopening cases, much to the chagrin of both her boss (Nigel Bennett) and McAvoy (Roger Cross).

As if that wasn’t enough, Jenny’s son Ross (Ehren Kassam) was nearly kidnapped before Liam (Éric Bruneau) was able to rescue him. Ross also discovered a photograph of Jenny and her sister, along with a pretty familiar looking dog. With so many questions after that exciting episode, The TV Junkies sat down for our weekly discussion with showrunner Brebner and director / executive producer Mitchell.


The TV Junkies: There was so much that happened this week! Jenny had a sister? And apparently the dog that we’ve been seeing? Will we start to unravel what happened there?

Morwyn Brebner. Yes. Yes we will.

Adrienne Mitchell: [laughs]

MB: Bridget, I don’t know what to say. We can’t tell you anything. But yes, yes we will. [laughs]

AM: This is the first time we learn about the sister, and the black dog is in the same photograph that the sister is, so yes, there is a connection between the two.

TTVJ: What about the red eyes? What is going on there?

AM: You will learn what that is and everything is connected. The rest of the series is about unraveling what those connections are.

TTVJ: Jenny also spoke out and admitted that her office has made mistakes and that she’s reopening all of Dr. Peterson’s cases. What kind of repercussions will she suffer from that, especially since her boss didn’t seem to agree with her?

AM: There’s amazing things about a person that will crack the boundaries, fight the good fight and try to get the truth out. Sometimes the consequences of getting the truth out also yields really negative and unforeseen things, and that will really test and challenge Jenny in a way she hasn’t been yet.

MB: It ends up tying back to McAvoy as well.


TTVJ: The other thing you guys jam packed into those final minutes was that super hot alley scene with Liam. What’s that mean for their relationship?

MB: It’s important, right? They are drawn to each other in such profound ways that for her to open herself up to that is what’s important. At that moment, he understands her more than anybody else can. I think they have a very primal attraction to each other. We do see a fair amount of Liam in Episode 5, so people longing to see more of that relationship will only be frustrated for a week.

TTVJ: That was such a nice sequence with how it was shot by you, Adrienne, and then how there’s very little dialogue that’s required.

AM: Thank you. What I love as a director, in terms of the writing, is that there’s a lot of places to have drama without dialogue exchanged. It’s hard to build those in so that they are meaningful and say so much. The credit for that goes to Morwyn and Motion for how they worked that in.

MB: It’s also to the actors who were able to build that up so beautifully. It was really satisfying to see because it worked so well. Adrienne has a good way with a sex scene. They are really important parts of the stories because it’s not a random thing.

TTVJ: We’ve talked about the depiction of mental health before and Jenny’s struggle with anxiety, but this week she had a full-on panic attack at the crime scene. I thought it was especially beautiful because she was behind that really bright, beautiful backdrop.

AM: That was so exciting and I felt, as the director, so alive when we shot that, on so many levels. One was that we had a gun to our head because the light was going down and we had to do it all in one take. I wanted to preserve that, and have very little cuts in there, in order to preserve the reality of the panic attack as it evolved. Serinda is so amazing in how she puts it forth and you can see every little moment and ebb and flow, the incredible struggle and the incredible strength to pull out of it somehow. Samy (Inayeh), the awesome DP, took a handheld and did the whole sequence from the body with McAvoy to all the way around the corner and back. It was so exciting to shoot because of the high stakes of it, and Serinda also really appreciated shooting it all in one take because it allowed her to really go there and give everything, knowing that’s how we were going to include it in the episode.

MB: It’s such an important scene in the series, and her specificity with that is what makes it really incredible. And the emotion, it’s incredible. You feel every little fluctuation in her emotional state, in her desire to bring it in and everyone’s work is just amazing.


TTVJ: Ross also had an eventful week, almost getting captured by Dylan before Liam could save him. But by the end of the episode, he seems in a really good spot with Matteo. Was all this a big step for him kind of getting through the funk he’s been in?

MB: I think it was, actually. He comes through something.

AM: It was empowering for him because he was able to help the process and get him back on his feet doing something.

MB: There’s nothing like a brush with death to make you think about what you value, right? I know that’s a cliche but it’s true. He comes through with Liam and for his mom and is able to be strong.

AM: I think that gave him something back. Losing his father, and working through grief, you feel disempowered and wonder who you are now. His father was very much that person who gave tough love and made him strive for better heights. This whole thing that he came through, it was not only really dangerous, but he was able to survive it and have the presence of mind to work out ideas on how to get the guy. In a funny way, it was a really weird and empowering moment for him.

MB: It’s a nice midpoint for him and we get to see him happy for a bit which I think is great.

TTVJ: There were two small things that happened in the episode that I really liked and wanted to mention. One, Mac asking Taylor (Alli Chung) to translate the text and her remarking that he wrongly assumes she knows because she’s Asian. Secondly, Jenny not saying the names of the killers at the press conference.

MB: Taylor and Malik (Andy McQueen) are great, great characters and that relationship with McAvoy, when it’s in there, we really love that dynamic.

AM: Those moments just really speak of authenticity and the world we live in.

MB: We’re not just trying to step through story beats, but also infuse the show with a feeling of life. Life is full of those little surprises and moments, and we want the show to feel like you’re watching them live, as they would live.

TTVJ: What can you preview about Episode 5?

MB: Jenny brings her job home with her in a surprising way.

AM: What I liked about the episode is that it has great character development, we get inside them even more, and it’s an interesting turn for the series too. It’s a real midpoint and turns it on another narrative line.

MB: It’s really fun, but also suspenseful and there’s a twist. It’s a really, really lovely episode.


What do you think of this week’s Coroner? Add your thoughts below!

Coroner airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on CBC and is available on CBC Gem.