Seven months may have passed since we last checked in with the doctors and nurses on Saving Hope but in many ways we’re still not over that shocking finale in which Joel (Daniel Gillies) was unexpectedly and tragically killed by a bomb. Season 4 of the CTV drama will pick up 11 months after those events and see Alex (Erica Durance), Charlie (Michael Shanks) and the rest of Hope Zion trying to move on from the devastating accident.
As Alex tries to balance motherhood and work, Charlie continues to be haunted by his ghost-seeing abilities and some new faces join the cast, including Rookie Blue’s Peter Mooney, Travis Milne and Charlotte Sullivan at different points in the season. How will everyone deal with Joel’s death? Will Alex and Charlie be able to make their relationship work? And more importantly, will we find out the identity of Baby Luke’s father?
In order to get a closer look on what we can expect from Season 4 The TV Junkies talked exclusively with Saving Hope executive producer and writer Noelle Carbone. She previews what’s ahead for the characters this season, as well as gives us some insight on what to expect from the new additions. In addition to her Saving Hope duties Carbone also serves as a writer on Rookie Blue.
The TV Junkies: While all the characters will obviously still be dealing with Joel’s death, what about you all in the writers’ room? What’s Saving Hope like this season without him?
Noelle Carbone: It’s really different, for sure. What happened to Joel affected everyone. Part of the fun of breaking Season 4 was considering how each character evolved – or devolved – because of what happened at the end of Season 3.
TTVJ: Much of the show’s focus has always been on the love triangle between Alex, Charlie and Joel. With Joel gone what’s Saving Hope‘s main focus for Season 4?
NC: While we were developing Season 4, it became clear that the only thing standing in the way of Alex and Charlie’s happiness is Charlie’s relationship to the spirit world. His ghost-doctoring. In a way, that’s the love triangle of Season 4. Especially when the rules of the ghost world start to change in a way that could threaten their family.
Our unofficial slogan for Season 4 is “Alex and Charlie against the world.” I think it has a nice ring to it. I might even put it on a t-shirt.
TTVJ: Will we find out if Charlie is the father of Baby Luke? What role will he play in the baby’s life?
NC: Yes, we will find out who Luke’s father is. Feel free to insert a Star Wars joke here. In terms of Charlie’s role… That man loves Alex so much that he’d do anything for her, including raise another man’s child–IF Baby Luke is Joel’s son. And I’m not saying he is.
TTVJ: Will Zach [Benjamin Ayres] have any survivor’s guilt from the bombing with Joel?
NC: Zach watched his best friend blow up right in front of him. And then blew up his own life–including his relationship with Melanda. Although he’s still his usual funny and sarcastic self, there’s definitely a darker side to him that we haven’t seen before. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel for him. And it comes from somewhere–OK, someone–unexpected.
TTVJ: Last season many of the supporting characters got a chance to step up. Will we see that trend again this season?
NC: Definitely. It’s always a bit of a juggling act to write for such a big cast–to ensure that each character has something fun and dramatic to do every season. Luckily we’re blessed with an ensemble of incredible actors who give us memorable performances no matter how big or small their arcs are. It makes the juggling act a lot easier, and the writing much more rewarding.
TTVJ: There are several new characters joining the cast this year. What can you tell us about the newbies?
NC: There’s a new batch of junior residents this season, one in particular who Alex takes under her wing. And, well, junior residents are like puppies. They’re cute and sweet but you have to watch them like a hawk to make sure they don’t chew the furniture or pee on the floor. Metaphorically speaking.
OK, now I feel bad that I called them puppies. They’re not puppies. They’re surgeons–who’ve never actually done surgery. So you can imagine the shenanigans they get into. The three of them–Cassie [Kim Shaw], Dev [Dejan Loyola] and Asha [Parveen Kaur]–are extremely fun to write for. They’re also untainted by the tragedy that came before them. So they’re kind of a palette cleanser for everyone–for Zach in particular.
To balance out the hijinks, we’re also introducing a new kick ass senior staff surgeon named Bishop, played by Peter Mooney. I’ll give everyone a moment to compose themselves.
What can I tell you about Bishop? He and Charlie are old pals but he’s keeping a secret. And that secret puts him on a romantic crash course with another character later in this season. How’s that? That sounded pretty juicy, right?
TTVJ: What does Peter Mooney joining the cast say about Rookie Blue‘s future and his future on the show? If it were to continue does this mean Nick Collins wouldn’t be a part of it?
NC: I honestly have no idea. I haven’t heard anything definitive, one way or the other. And I bet neither has he.
TTVJ: Can you share anything about Travis Milne’s arc this season?
NC: Hmmm… how to put this without spoiling anything. Travis plays a guy named Tom Crenshaw. He’s Alex’s patient, but Charlie is his lifeline. And the two are deeply connected in a way that is sweet but also potentially scary.
TTVJ: Can you share anything about the guest role Charlotte Sullivan will be playing? Since you personally have written so many of Gail Peck’s stand out episodes will you be writing the episode that features Charlotte?
NC: You’ve never seen Charlotte like this before. I mean that literally and figuratively.
The role wasn’t specifically written for Charlotte. The idea to cast her came after the script was written. But as soon as it was suggested, we all knew she was the perfect choice. I didn’t write the episode. Ley Lukins did. And for those of you playing Rookie Blue Writer Bingo at home, you know Ley was part of the Rookie Blue family for many years. Charlotte was in good hands.
TTVJ: What’s going on with Maggie [Julia Taylor Ross] this season? We saw her explore her sexuality a bit last season. Is that something she will continue to do?
NC: At the end of last season Maggie really came into her own as a surgeon. She aced her boards–in very dramatic fashion–and delivered Alex’s baby. This season Maggie is continuing on that trajectory. Her goal is to become the best surgeon at Hope Zion and she’s not letting any distractions get in the way. At least, that’s the plan. But that plan goes to hell midway through the season and really pushes Maggie to the brink of losing everything.
TTVJ: You’ve said that Gail Peck was always your favourite character to write for on Rookie Blue. Do you have a favourite on Saving Hope?
NC: I’d say probably Dawn, for the same reasons as Gail, actually. There’s something really liberating about writing strong female characters who are unapologetically frank–who don’t censor themselves for fear of being disliked. I think a lot of people, women in particular, would be better off with a little bit of Dawn’s ‘tude. Plus you could ask Michelle Nolden to read the ingredients on a package of Pizza Pops and it would be the most compelling performance you’ve ever seen.
TTVJ: Anything else you’d like to share about the upcoming season?
NC: Please watch and reach out to us when you do. Live tweet with us, message us, join the Facebook group. We want to hear what you have to say. After all, we’re making this show for you. And our moms. Our moms really love the show.
Are you excited for Season 4 of Saving Hope? Ready for all the new faces? Sound off in the comments 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.