The television industry has found itself at a tipping point over the last several months. Thanks to movements such as #MeToo and #TimesUp, more and more women are finding their voices and using it to speak up not only for what’s right, but also for what they want to see. “Now there’s a big appetite driven by women who want to see themselves represented on screen,” says Wendy Crewson, one of the stars of the upcoming CTV drama series The Detail, premiering Sunday, March 25 at 9 p.m. ET.
By following the work and complicated personal lives of three Metropolitan Police Service detectives, that’s exactly what The Detail hopes to deliver to viewers. Crewson personally was hooked, and hopes viewers will be as well, by “the idea that you had three strong female characters and that you had a story told through a female lens in a predominantly male environment.” The Saving Hope veteran plays Staff Inspector Fiona Currie, a formidable boss who works overtime to keep the weekly case board clear while also mentoring those in her unit such as Detective Stevie Hall (Angela Griffin, Coronation Street) and her partner, Detective Jacqueline ‘Jack’ Cooper (Shenae Grimes-Beech, 90210).
The Detail is not only bringing stories about women to the forefront, but women of different generations as well. “You see women all through different stages of their lives and how they cope with a very male world,” Crewson explains to The TV Junkies. Crewson’s Fiona has an older child who she’s co-parenting with her ex-husband, while Jack is a rookie with a complicated personal life and Stevie is an experienced interrogator with two children. Despite their differences and being at various stages of life, “I love the way these women have each other’s backs,” says Crewson.
Encouraging and supporting each other is not something we’re used to seeing enough of out of female characters in series set in workplaces. Instead of playing into the often seen trope of ambitious women treating their female co-workers harshly or cruelly, The Detail’s lead characters look out for, protect and encourage one another. Fiona and Stevie have a friendship and respect from working together over the years, but they are trying to help Jack succeed as well.
“Stevie really feels this protective instinct over Jack and nurtures her talent,” Crewson says, while Fiona is more concerned with using the talent she sees in Jack to make sure they get the sought after convictions the work requires. She points out that Fiona “sees tremendous talent in that woman and wants to make sure she reaches her full potential as an officer.” In fostering these relationships between characters, The Detail depicts women really supporting and encouraging one another which isn’t always the case on screen.
“There’s always difficulty in finding that balance of how you make someone strong, ambitious, a leader and perfectionist without making her seem like she’s out to eat her young,” notes Crewson. She adds that she believes “that stereotype and trope is created by men, and I don’t think it’s necessarily how most women feel or behave, but it’s hard to turn that Titanic around.” That’s why she believes strongly in shows like The Detail working to show “this new paradigm of how women work.”
Crewson recalled a similar important moment from her own life when another woman’s words of encouragement made a huge difference. “Years ago I was doing a movie in the States called Heartsounds with James Gardner and Mary Tyler Moore and I hadn’t really done anything yet,” she says. At that time, a young Crewson was working with a lawyer to get her permit that would allow her to stay and work in the U.S. In order to do so, she needed a letter of recommendation signed by others attesting to her talent. “I was shaking and nervous as I took it to Mary Tyler Moore,” where she explained to the acting legend that it said all kinds of stuff about how great she was, “and it’s not that I am, but that I just have to say it.” To Crewson’s complete surprise, she says “Mary just took the letter, read it over, signed it and as she handed it over said ‘every word of it is true.’”
Crewson says she’s now hopefully at a point in her career where she can show the same kindness that Moore gave her to others. “It’s so important that we hear that affirmation from other women who have done what we hope to do,” she explains. That’s especially true because “we listen to all our self criticism so loudly, but never to the voice that says ‘you’re every bit as good as that.’”
While the three lead characters of The Detail may be very different types of women, they all share a real passion for the work that may get them into trouble at times. “I really love that all three of these women are flawed,” says Crewson. However, regardless of flaws, they each share a strong passion and commitment to solve the crime at hand. While they are sure to run into their share of obstacles in the process, by working together and supporting one another, Crewson says that the women of The Detail prove “you don’t have to be tougher or stronger than the boys, you just have to be smarter.”
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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.