***Warning: This article contains spoilers for the Coroner Season 2 episode “The Flipside” ***
It seems that almost everyone out there listens to one true crime podcast or another, and Coroner decided to explore that world in this week’s episode. Despite being checked into a sleep clinic to hopefully get some answers about her dangerous sleepwalking, Jenny (Serinda Swan) was still able to help Detective McAvoy (Roger Cross) with a case. McAvoy found himself in the podcast world after Noor (Olunike Adeliyi) brought the story of a missing woman she was helping to a true crime podcast for some help.
However, left with no body, McAvoy and Jenny found themselves faced with a very particular challenge. “The Flipside”, written by Seneca Aaron and directed by Charles Officer, also saw Liam’s (Éric Bruneau) parents come to visit for the first time. Even though Jenny wasn’t present, they did get the chance to meet Jenny’s family, but unfortunately, Liam’s mother left him pretty unsettled.
Coroner writer Seneca Aaron joined The TV Junkies for our weekly postmortem chat to dive deeper into this episode. Aaron also provided more insight into the tribute that showrunner Morwyn Brebner and the Coroner writers worked into the episode for a team member that was lost.
The TV Junkies: Just like the episode you wrote in Season 1, this episode has more of a focus than we’re used to seeing on Detective McAvoy. Are you the Mac expert of the Coroner writing room? Why do you always seem to write these episodes?
Seneca Aaron: You know what? I think it’s really just the luck of the draw. In both Seasons 1 and 2, I’ve written Episode 6 and that always seems, feel and flow-wise, to be an opportunity to jump into the point of view of one of our other leads. I like to think that I’m a McAvoy whisperer, but all of the writers on the show have a great McAvoy voice of their own. I love the stuff that Noelle Carbone writes for McAvoy and the stuff that Motion and Nathalie [Younglai] write for McAvoy. He’s also a Morwyn Brebner [showrunner] incarnation so everyone has their own unique McAvoy perspective. I think that really comes through in all of the episodes. I love that.
TTVJ: I’ve really enjoyed his story with Noor this season, and Olunike has been such a wonderful addition to the show. We see the kiss happen between the two of them, and there’s obviously feelings there, but why is Mac so drawn to help her in the way that he has?
SA: Going back to Season 1, we’ve established a real need for justice with McAvoy, and he has a really direct and firm moral compass that points him in the direction of these stories. Obviously, the chemistry and attraction between them is pretty immediate, but his interest in her is also about what she does for other women. When he discovers that she’s helping women escape abusive situations, that really pulls him in. That’s the part of Noor that he’s attracted to, but it’s also the part of Noor that reflects that same part in him that we’ve come to love.
TTVJ: I’m obsessed with true crime podcasts and I love that this is the second time we’ve seen Coroner discuss them, as I remember Greer (Grace Lynn Kung) had one in Season 1. Why does the show like to explore that world and where can I subscribe to Slaughter Into Wine?
SA: I have to credit Keavy Lynch, our story coordinator, for coming up with that name. We were throwing around a lot of different titles and she came up with Slaughter Into Wine. That was something in the early days that we wanted to peek into for this story. True crime podcasts have become so relevant in the world of cold cases and investigative journalism, and personally, I hadn’t really followed any until I started researching that episode. There were a few that I ran with to get the vibe and tone right for our hosts. We always wanted them to be a bit quirkier, without being comedic, and culturally interesting people who are smart and have a passion for justice and solving crimes. McAvoy represents the part of society more like myself who thinks, ‘I don’t know about these true crime people,’ and didn’t want to be there. Then he was able to see all of the good that these podcasts can do and what they have to offer an investigation.
TTVJ: So what I’m hearing is that you’re not a big My Favorite Murder murderino, then?
SA: Oh, I am now! I definitely am now and there were more than a couple I was really enjoying. I’m definitely a fan now.
In my research, I also had to look for podcast episodes that involved an investigation where there was no body. I came across a couple of missing persons and those were really tough listens because of the graphic details. However, it really helped me navigate approaching an investigation where there’s no body.
TTVJ: This episode was dedicated to Dr. John Fernandes and the Fernandes coroner show within the episode is clearly a nod to him. Can you share a little about who he was and why you all wanted to honor him in this way?
SA: He was our consultant in Season 1 and had never consulted on a show before, but not only was he a wonderful person, he had such a mind for story. That’s not common for someone who hasn’t consulted on a scripted show before. A lot of times when you have someone who is an expert in a field, they really just know the non-fiction detail version of that field. We could come to John though and say, ‘I have a crazy idea and no idea how to make it work.’ You’d expect him to say something like that wouldn’t happen, but he’d always listen and then say, ‘That’s interesting. Let me tell you how it could work.’ He’d have these wonderful, simple, medically-based solutions for these insane ideas we’d come up with. He was a joy to work with and speak to, but unfortunately had a long bout with cancer and passed away last year.
Morwyn really wanted to find a way we could honor him on the show and that’s how the Fernandes character was born. The reason it was this 70s crime-fighting pathologist character is that we gravitated to that era because we knew it’s something John would enjoy and find funny. I also want to give a shout out to Gabe Grey, the actor who plays Fernades. Once we filled him in on the meaning of the character to us, and the meaning behind its creation, he was so honored and happy to be given that responsibility. He took such care and was always checking in with us. He really wanted to make the portrayal worthy of the homage. Not only was it a beautiful idea by Morwyn, but we couldn’t have found a better actor either to take it and make it what it was. It was really special and makes me emotional thinking about it.
TTVJ: What was the importance of Liam’s parents coming to visit this week?
SA: Liam’s parents showing up was our way of connecting him to his childhood. We paint this picture of an endearing, innocent sweet kid that, as we know, grew up to join the military and become a sniper. But even the most gentle of souls can be affected and traumatized by war in a way that’s hard to come back from. The conversations between Liam and his mother about Mal (Alex Mallari Jr.) show us how some people from certain generations just don’t talk about things. Liam confronts her about that and they have a bit of a disagreement. His mother really takes issue with how Liam is going about it and feels that it’s his duty, as a friend, to not only go and see him, but also uphold the best possible version of the events. The truth isn’t really of any consequence to her.
TTVJ: This is the second week in a row we’ve seen some very strange behavior from Kelly. It seems like she’s trying to Single White Female Jenny. Is she trying to slowly take over Jenny’s life? What’s going on there?
SA: Good reference! [laughs] I’m not going to spoil anything, but the Kelly character is comprised of a lot of our favorite characters from film. I won’t tell you what those characters are, but how good is Nicola Correia-Damude? She’s so good and she and Serinda really are magic in those scenes. There’s those people who click right away, or so you think, that move right into a close relationship. The two actors really play those scenes beautifully and have brought it to a point that allows us to recognize relationships we have like that with people we don’t know very well. It’s a relationship where we end up in an emotional situation, but then have to remind ourselves that this person is still a stranger.
TTVJ: Is there anything else you wanted to add?
SA: Going through Season 2 is always quite different from Season 1 because you can actually hear the characters speaking to you. In Season 1, you have an idea, but you haven’t cast the characters. It’s really awesome working with the writers we have and the knowledge of the characters we have, as well as knowing the performances that cast can bring. It really can shape the way you want to tell a story or where you want to explore, just knowing the capabilities of the people portraying these characters. Of course that’s always led by Serinda Swan, Roger Cross, Nicholas Campbell, and Ehren Kassam, but I could go through the whole cast. It’s not often stated how important the job of the casting agent is, but Lisa Parasyn [casting agent] really knocked it out of the park with the people she found. Kudos also go to our showrunner Morwyn and executive producer Adrienne Mitchell for spotting the type of actors and talent that is needed to do the kind of show we’re doing.
Thoughts on this week’s Coroner? Share them below!
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.