*** Warning: This article contains spoilers for the Coroner episode “Scattered” ***
If this week’s Coroner episode left you shouting at your screen, well you weren’t alone. It may only be the series’ third episode, but the CBC drama left us with a huge cliffhanger this week. Jenny (Serinda Swan) and Mac (Roger Cross) may finally have an idea of who is behind the dismembered body found in Crother’s Woods, but Amanda (Kiana Madiera) unfortunately has slipped through their fingers for the time being to reunite with her pals.
Elsewhere in “Scattered,” written by Sean Reycraft and directed by Adrienne Mitchell, Ross (Ehren Kassam) continued to struggle with what was next for him after his dad’s death. For now, he seems content working alongside Liam (Éric Bruneau), despite Jenny’s concerns. Once again, Coroner showrunner Morwyn Brebner and executive producer Mitchell joined us to break down this week’s episode, take joy in leaving us hanging on that cliffhanger, and preview what to expect from the conclusion of the two-part episode next week.
The TV Junkies: How dare you leave us on a cliffhanger like that when it’s only Episode 3! Not fair!
Morywn Brebner: [laughs] We just felt like we had to switch it up a little and surprise people. One of the things we really wanted to do with the season is to keep it evolving — structurally and personally. It just felt like the right thing to do.
Adrienne Mitchell: Just when you’re settling in we’re going to fuck that rhythm up. [laughs]
TTVJ: I was so into the story and then boom! Credits!
AM: I think too that we’re so used to being able to binge thanks to streaming channels, right?
TTVJ: That’s true, but I also think, despite my yelling, that it’s kind of fun that we’ll all be stuck on the edge of our seats for a week.
MB: I like a little anticipation and there is something about it that’s great. Like in theater you have to say why there is an intermission, it’s because the pause can build suspense.
TTVJ: We’re still as in the dark as Jenny about this dog that she keeps seeing, but this week we learned that the dog seems to be afraid of her. How’s that information affect her or what does she do with that? I ask, even though I know you’re dead set on telling me nothing about the dog. I have to try. [laughs]
MB: We can’t tell you! We actually can’t tell you. But it’s great that you love the dog… [laughs]
TTVJ: Along with still seeing the dog, we saw Jenny taking pills at various stressful times this week. I assume that’s a prescribed drug from her therapist, but I just want to clear up whether or not we should worry about any potential addiction storylines?
AM: The anxiety pills are really interesting and they are in the book as well. What we loved about the book is that the character also had a condition of great anxiety and various things would trigger it — some unresolved thing that happened in her past, anytime someone’s life was in danger. She’s also navigating how much she should take versus not. We didn’t want to get in that vibe though that she was becoming an addict because the books actually did something that was unique and fresh. She was someone who was able to take those pills and just get through life with a therapist, the pills and sometimes she didn’t have the pills and the anxiety would almost kill her.
There was something about the dance and her fight to keep going, regardless of this great burden she was carrying with the anxiety, and watching that tension without it gutting her and becoming an addict. That was something that was so relatable to us. We’re all people who have anxiety, maybe at differing levels and some have pharmaceuticals, but we don’t give up and we don’t become addicts. It’s hard, very hard to move through life, but we fucking do it. And with help and therapy. That tension is what excites us and what we want to portray in the show.
TTVJ: As Jenny worked the case, she got very close to Amanda. Why is she so good at connecting to these victims?
MB: It’s very integral to her makeup and her person. She has empathy because she’s been on both sides of the line.
AM: There is something about the death of her husband — she wasn’t able to save him and that permeates through to her wanting to give the dead a voice, and give the people surrounding — friends and family of the dead — a solid validation and sense of being. That’s something that we’re working with. I think she has an intuition about people who are in need. It’s that empathy that just really connects them to her. She’s a truth hunter and can also bond to the people she thinks will lead her to the truth. It’s all those things.
TTVJ: Amanda did sign Jenny up for social media. Where can we follow her?
MB: [laughs] That is a very, very good point!
AM: What is wrong with us? Why didn’t we think of that? That’s a brilliant idea!
TTVJ: To be fair, I don’t think she’d be very good at updating her feeds.
MB: You know what? I’m not on social media and haven’t figured out how to do it within the confines of my own personality. I’ve wrestled with it and we’ll see if we can wrestle with it for Jenny.
TTVJ: It was great really getting to see more of Jenny’s assistant, Alison. Can you talk a little about their relationship and the actress, Tamara, that plays her?
MB: Tamara is just amazing. Alison is such a tricky character. She was in the books and has such a particular, special and spectacular kind of charisma. We were really wrestling with how to adapt that character into the series, and then Tamara Podemski just emodied it. There’s something so special, so beautiful, so empathetic and so full of humor about her. She’s really amazing.
Alison kind of comes with the office, right? She had a relationship with the previous coroner, and she’s not quite sure how to take Jenny. I like that in Episode 3 we really are finding them being on the same team together and finding ways to be closer together.
AM: I think what’s really interesting is that Jenny is so smart and intelligent and in her head a lot. That’s a particular type of intelligence and Alison has a different type of intelligence. She doesn’t keep a lot inside — everything just comes out impulsively and in unpredictable ways. To see those two vibe off each other is very fun because they have very different energies.
TTVJ: Switching gears a bit to Ross, Jenny is pretty concerned this week because he still hasn’t gone back to school and is working for Liam. What’s Ross going through right now and why does working with Liam seem to help?
MB: In Episode 2, Ross says it feels like someone else’s life and it really does. He’s not sure where his life is right now. He’s been following his father’s expectations and is a good student, but when he talked to Matteo about how he feels about life, it’s really true. He’s in a place where he’s a little bit lost and searching, and that’s really worrying for Jenny.
AM: What’s really great too is that the father, for him, really pushed and drove him. He kind of misses that tough love and there was something about it he respected and needed to evolve. I think he’s getting that a little bit from Liam.
TTVJ: Speaking of Matteo, can we expect to see more of him in the future?
AM: We love him and he’s hilarious!
MB: We love their relationship. They have a really great relationship, those two.
TTVJ: Anything about what to expect in the second half of this two-parter next week?
MB: It’s a really exciting episode. When we broke this episode in the room, the one thing I remember is that everybody was standing up.
AM: It’s full of high-octane adrenaline and unexpected twists. Jenny has to meet up against obstacles that she’s never went up against before. There’s edge of your seat kind of tension and we get more into Amanda’s world and decisions that she makes. Jenny is intertwined with that, and part of being intimate with the people on these cases is that there’s a responsibility. You feel responsibility over your actions with them, and that true, authentic emotion and consequences come out in full force in Episode 4.
I remember directing this episode and everyday thinking ‘this episode is crazy!’ I thought I was going to have a heart attack directing this episode.
Thoughts on this week’s Coroner? Add them below!
Coroner airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on CBC and is available on CBC Gem.
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.