Through all five season of Saving Hope Dr. Dana Kinney (Wendy Crewson) has always been a standout character in our eyes. She’s always stood her ground and done things her own way, but she’s never been afraid to try something new or even ask for help when she’s needed it. Watching her battle cancer, courageously maintain a relationship with her daughter and continue working at Hope Zion through it all never failed to impress us. All that combined with Crewson’s impeccable portrayal had us hoping for more and more Dana when we tuned in every week.
As Saving Hope nears its end this week we thought it was the perfect time to catch up with Crewson and discuss her run as Dr. Dana Kinney over the past five seasons. Read on to hear about some of her favorite storylines and the challenges that women of a certain age face in TV today.
The TV Junkies: Congratulations on five amazing seasons of Saving Hope. It really has been a great run and I hope that you guys are all proud on what you’ve accomplished.
Wendy Crewson: Oh, thank you. Yeah, it was really something and we miss each other terribly.
TTVJ: I’ve always been impressed with how strong they wrote all the women on Saving Hope. They are all really stand out characters. Is that something that you look for in a role?
WC: Yeah, I certainly sort of look for the three dimensional strong female leads. Ilana Frank, our producer, has always been really great that way. She always writes with women in mind and certainly when I first started on Saving Hope our showrunner was Morwyn Brebner and she’s a terrific writer. She was really focused on making sure that the female roles were strong and believable. And it wasn’t just the women on the writing staff, the men as well, Adam Pettle and Aaron Martin, just to name a few, that were just terrific writers that could really speak with a strong female voice.
TTVJ: Dana has had some pretty big storylines over the years. What have been some of your favorites and why?
WC: I really loved, oddly enough, the cancer storyline that I had. Battling that illness as a physician herself was really interesting. I think she’s always been a very confident doctor and I think it really humbled her and changed her. And of course that’s something that you really look for in a character line is something that gives you an arc to play and see the change that a character goes through.
I loved the episode with Tom McManus where I met him during my cancer treatment. We got to see a little of her personal life outside of being a mother or a doctor or as a friend of Alex. I really liked the idea of being able to develop Dana’s personal life and the idea, which I think is rare in TV land, which is a woman of a certain age has relationships. They don’t often go to that place on TV and seem to just assume that at 45 you’ve turned it all off and are living in a single bed in a monestary. But I know as a woman of that age that of course that is not the case. That relationships become richer and deeper and intimacies become fuller and I think that’s an interesting place to explore. So I was really happy to see them do that on Saving Hope.
TTVJ: I agree, I think that that storyline was one of my favorites for her as well. I also loved how they had her facing that challenge on her own and showed how important the other relationships in her life became.
WC: Yes, I do too. And sort of how precious things became after a diagnosis like that and after surviving it. And truthfully, as we were going through this script and I could see her declining treatment and everything and I thought, oh, we’re saying goodbye to Dana.
TTVJ: Yes, I thought the same thing.
WC: Well, I will tell you that I went in and lobbied for Dana’s life. I said –- you know, I realize that you feel that this would be a great midseason finale to get rid of one of the main characters, but Dana is the one that you should not get rid of because where do we see women this age on television? Nowhere. And you can’t think that it’s an easy thing and that it would be far more surprising or shocking to lose a younger character in the show rather than someone you’re expecting. And I thought that if we can cure a brain tumor in a day we sure as hell can beat this cancer. So it was a real lobby for my character’s existence. And of course I wanted to be on the show and I wanted to stay on the show but I also just thought it was important thing story wise that we didn’t take the easy way out there.
TTVJ: Female friendships have been a big thing on Saving Hope over the years. First between Dana and Alex and then between Dana and Cassie. Why do you think that those friendships went over so well on the show?
WC: I know that is what they kind of hoped to happen when they wrote those characters but the truth is that kind of chemistry really happens between actors or it doesn’t. Even though there’s always the famous stories where people hated each other and it’s still great on screen, but often I find with friendships especially, rather than with romantic relationships, finding that kind of spark and humor and empathy and casualness that happens between friends is something that happens between the actors themselves. So I know I certainly had that experience with Erica [Durance]. I adore Erica and I really think that the writers wrote to that. And then with [Kim Shaw as] Cassie it was the same thing. We developed a real affectionate rapport. I found her hysterically funny. I think she’s a fantastic comedic actress and if I was a producer I’d have her in a show for sure. She’s really skilled and I so enjoyed working with her. I got such a kick out of her that it began to show in the scenes we were doing. And I think that they let that develop and they wrote to that and I was really grateful that they did.
That also is a thing that we don’t often see on television, those really strong and true female relationships that choose to support and love each other rather than compete.
TTVJ: I completely agree, I think that is one thing that is really missing on TV. As women we know those friendships are one of the most important things in your life and they just don’t show it enough on TV.
WC: Yes, exactly, and I believe that some of that is playing into the trope of cat fights. You know, people love to see women screaming at each other and, truthfully, that can happen, but I think that generally in our lives our girlfriends are the ones that we can depend on and cry on their shoulders and get crazy with on a Friday night. So yeah, I really loved being a part of those storylines.
TTVJ: What can you tell me about The Detail that you’re filming right now?
WC: We are just wrapping today, actually. One of my favorite things about it is that it is a female led strong ensemble. So three women and I’m the boss. There are two women that work for me and it just shows how these real women warriors get out there get things done. It shows the most horrendous things that happen in society. Really, they see the worst of the worst. They all love their job, love what they do, are driven to do their best and then it shows all their trials and tribulations at home as well. How they deal with big home lives and work. Which is really most women’s story, how we deal with our jobs and big home lives. And I think that people are really going to like it.
What did you think of Dr. Dana Kinney’s run on Saving Hope? What were some of your favorite storylines of hers? Were you glad that they didn’t kill her off last season? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
Saving Hope’s series finale airs Thursday, August 3 at 9 p.m. ET on CTV.
Christy is a self proclaimed and proud TV Junkie. Her love for TV began at an early age with shows like Degrassi, Alias, ER, Buffy, The X-Files & Friends. You can now find her watching, ok obsessing over, shows like When Calls The Heart, Saving Hope, Arrow, Outlander, Grey's Anatomy and many many others. You can catch Christy on Twitter at @ChristySpratlin where she will likely be live tweeting her favorite shows and talking about everything TV.