Death can be a family affair. At least that’s what seems to be the case in Season 2 of the Canadian drama series Mary Kills People. As Mary (Caroline Dhavernas) has gotten in even deeper into the assisting patients with their death, she’s also pulled her sister Nicole (Charlotte Sullivan) into the fold, with Nicole even accompanying Mary on a death. While Nicole initially bristled at helping Mary and Des (Richard Short), she may have finally come around and seen the value and beauty in the work Mary is doing.
The Season 2 finale of Mary will air Thursday night at a new date and time, 9 p.m. ET, on Global before premiering on March 12 on Lifetime in the U.S. In “Fatal Flaw,” written by Tara Armstrong and Morwyn Brebner and directed by David Wellington, Mary wears a wire to help Ben (Jay Ryan) take down Olivia (Rachelle Lefevre). When their plan takes an unexpected turn, Mary must reconsider her allegiance. Meanwhile, Des and Nicole help Brendan (Salvatore Antonio) prepare for his death.
Sullivan recently spoke exclusively with The TV Junkies about Nicole’s role in everything this season. She also discussed what she loves about Mary and Nicole’s relationship and why it’s so great to work with Dhavernas. Sullivan also previewed her role on the upcoming CBC drama Caught which premieres on February 26. Caught is set in 1978 and follows Allan Hawco’s David Slaney, who is locked up after a drug deal goes wrong and breaks out of prison to reunite with his former partner.
The TV Junkies: First off, it’s been great seeing more of Nicole in Season 2. I have long said I would be here for a Sisters Kill People show. [laughs]
Charlotte Sullivan: [laughs] That’s so sweet of you. When she was pitching the sister idea last year, Tassie [Cameron, executive producer] said we wouldn’t delve into it the first year, but if we got a second season we’d get to see why Mary does what she does and the backstory with their mother. In some ways it becomes a cathartic experience, that first death they do with one another, where it’s what they should’ve done the first time around, perhaps with their mom.
TTVJ: A big part of Nicole is her whole look. I know you were involved in the process of coming up with that at the beginning of the show, but how did you guys want to tweak and evolve that for Season 2?
CS: I was researching and looking at incredibly strong women from the 1920s and 30s. I was really drawn to Marlene Dietrich and photographs like that. Ana Sorys, our hair stylist, was like ‘yes, let’s do it!’ But she would take her own twist on it and so it’s not a carbon copy. When you’re working with really, really talented people you can kind of just sit there and have them dress you up like a doll. That’s the case with these people. I had photographic inspirations, but more than anything, I was excited to see what they came up with it. If they are game, then I am game. I just want to try something different, even if it looks bad that’s OK. That’s not the point. The point is that Nicole is an artist so she’s just trying to be original.
TTVJ: Why do you think Nicole struggled so much with helping Mary in her business when she grew up and went through the same things Mary did as a child?
CS: I think we’re getting this sense that Mary may be struggling with some of the same mental issues that their mother did. I think that’s frightening to Mary as well. Because of that, Nicole may have more of a clear conscience of what’s going on, where Mary is knee-deep in it. She’s sacrificing her family, her home and job for this and has a lot on the line where Nicole doesn’t. As viewers, we don’t know for sure if that’s the case, but it does seem like there’s a possibility.
TTVJ: It’s been fun in Season 2 to see more of the relationship between Mary and Nicole. Nicole really seems to bring out a fun, lighter side to Mary that we don’t always get to see.
CS: Caroline is such a good actress too and I really, really like working with her. I like her as a person and I like her artistry. She’s very soulful and she’s also up for it. I get nervous sometimes when I want to try something, but when you work with somebody like her you want to rise to the level that she’s at. You definitely want to play along and she’s pretty incredible. She’s a powerful artist.
TTVJ: We really get to see more of Aunt Nicole this season, and it’s been really nice to see her interact more with Mary’s kids. Why does she seem to be so much better at connecting with them than Mary?
CS: I think Nicole is more of a friend, whereas Mary has that authoritative presence. Nicole doesn’t take any shit and is sort of a punk at heart. So she thinks ‘if I only knew then what I know now,’ that she’s sort of living her life through them. So while there’s a maternal aspect to it, there’s also a level of friendship that’s more prominent.
TTVJ: In last week’s episode, Nicole met with Des and he had an offer for her to help open the hospice. What can you preview about how Nicole will respond to that in the finale?
CS: Initially she’s like ‘Bullshit! I’m not doing this! You guys are so fucked and I don’t want any part of it.’ Then part of her sees the potential in aiding people who have nowhere else to turn since they are in such pain. So then she looks at it like ‘Wow, I could really help people and use my artistry to help people die how they envision it and hopefully, make them feel beautiful in the process.’
For instance if you look at Episode 2, with the woman where Nicole helped her feel beautiful at the end, she thought ‘you might not feel beautiful, but I want to make you look good and maybe that’ll change your last moments.’ Makeup and hair are so powerful. I can see even what it does to me when I’m in the makeup chair and I’m sitting there when the transformation happens. It’s such an incredible thing that changes the way you walk, talk and feel. It’s a really beautiful thing, and Nicole sees the opportunity in using her art to help people in dire need.
TTVJ: You’re also in the upcoming CBC drama Caught. Can you share a little about who you’re playing there?
CS: Caught was such a beautiful and magical experience. I know it sounds super cheesy to say that, but it was the type of environment on set where you didn’t want to leave and you’re sad to be done. I had such a good time with everybody. The show follows the biggest drug bust in Canadian history. Allan Hawco is a guy that busts out of the joint and you discover his past and what led him behind bars. I play his girlfriend and I have a very big secret! It was just such an incredible, incredible shoot. It’s set in the 1970s and there’s an aging process we had to do because years had gone by. They did such a good job. That is my most exciting part of doing this and if that was not involved I wouldn’t be doing it. There’s a reason I’m not a voice actor. It’s just so exciting and that time period is so intense. Some of the fashion is so ugly, but in a good way.
Eric Johnson and Enuka Okuma who I was in Rookie Blue with are in it. When Eric came out of the trailer I just laughed so hard. Enuka though looked so good! She just looks amazing! Eric is one of the funniest people I know and the hair and tight jeans! [laughs] It was so intense and funny. Allan Hawco is also such a light, so sweet and funny. It was just a set that was light-hearted and fun even though we were doing really heavy stuff. We were all just happy to be there and appreciative and happy to be involved. That’s a really nice feeling when you walk on set. It doesn’t always happen like that.
TTVJ: I know some of that was shot in the Dominican Republic. Did you get to go down there and shoot at all?
CS: No I didn’t! I shot everything in Newfoundland. It’s the most incredibly kind and beautiful part of the world. People there are so nice to the point where I was like ‘they are going to kill me. I don’t know if this is real or not.’ They were just so incredibly kind and the sweetest people. They always want to help and genuinely are the sweetest. But no, I didn’t get to go to the DR, but I’ve been there already so whatever! [laughs]
TTVJ: We’ve seen you in a lot of different parts over the past year — Frankie Drake, The Disappearance, etc. What do you look for in a character when you’re deciding on a role?
CS: It’s so hard because you don’t know what the experience will be, but I just pray that I’ll work with really incredible artists. I want an experience — for instance, when I look back on the years I did Rookie Blue that was such an amazing experience. I will look back on that with such fondness, but also feel sad that it’s done. So what I pray for — it’s not like I have a plan– but I just pray and wish that I’ll have an experience with people that motivates me as an artist.
I want to work with really talented hair and makeup people, and I kind of want to be a chameleon. I want to look different all the time. I want to look ugly. I want to look beautiful. I want to look gross. That’s kind of my dream to be a character actress so really right now I’m just auditioning and praying for that experience. I do believe the right thing will come at the right time that I myself will need to go through. I know that sounds cheesy but I’m just hoping for a really beautiful, artful experience.
Are you glad to have Nicole more involved in Season 2? Add your thoughts below!
Mary Kills People Season 2 finale airs Thursday, February 8 at 9 p.m. ET on Global in Canada. Season 2 premieres March 12 at 9 p.m. ET on Lifetime in the U.S.
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.