Lydia Jenkin talks to Missy Peregrym, starring in new cop show Rookie Blue from next week.
Vancouver would not often be cited as a hotbed of crime and violence, yet there's plenty of action going on in new cop show Rookie Blue, based around five new police recruits, explains Canadian actress Missy Peregrym, who plays lead rookie Andy McNally.
"The season kind of pans out with us just trying to figure out if we have what it takes to be a police officer. You have a team, who graduate from the academy and get placed into a division, so we're just trying to earn a real spot as police officers in season one."
The show has earned a popular following by focusing on the personal lives of each character as much as it does on their professional pursuits. It has been dubbed the Grey's Anatomy of the cop world, and Peregrym agrees that's a useful comparison.
"It's true in that it's definitely very character-driven. The policing is the backdrop and we're trying to figure out who we are and how we fit in. Andy definitely complicates her life even further by liking two guys that she works with."
The classic "will they won't they" love triangle is central to the first series, set up right from the first episode, and playing to the different facets of Andy's personality.
"She has Sam, the training officer - and for one thing, you're not allowed to date a training officer, you'd lose your job immediately - but she goes through a lot with him in the first season and they naturally form a bond and grow a relationship out of that.
"And he's a bit dangerous, a bad boy, which is appealing but also scares Andy because she hasn't had the easiest life."
With an alcoholic father and an absent mother, Andy craves stability and that's what she sees in detective Luke.
"He's the safe bet, he's nice, and kind, and consistent. And she goes back and forth a lot between the two."
Andy also grapples with the incongruity of wanting to do the right thing and be good at her job, but not wanting to be a goody-two-shoes all the time.
"She's a bit of a try-hard," Peregrym laughs, "but so am I, and maybe that's why I felt I could play her."
She sees other similarities between Andy and herself.
"She tries to save everybody, and I kind of feel like I have that in me too, and one of the tough things she has to go through in this season, and that I had to go through too, is realising that not everyone wants to be saved."
The entire cast got to experience the trials of being a rookie first-hand, as they learned to act like police officers, and it lends an authenticity to their bumbling enthusiasm.
"We had police officers come in to teach us how to put handcuffs on and how to hold a gun properly and I remember feeling totally overwhelmed ... Even in the pilot I had to talk on my walkie radio and I had to put my gun in the holster at the same time. I tried like 100 times and I just couldn't do it, and in the end they had to change that. So yeah, I felt like a rookie."
It's a reasonably active role, one which requires a fair amount of dashing around a set, tackling bad guys and jumping off fire escapes, but the physical aspect is something Peregrym relishes.
"I kind of grew up being pretty athletic and so it's nice to do something a bit physically challenging.
"It's something you get used to, but there's still days where they'll tell me to jump over a fence, which is fine, and then I see the fence and it's 12 feet high and, of course, I rip my uniform getting over it. Things like that keep it amusing."
Though they are now into filming the third season in Vancouver, you get five years as a rookie, so there's plenty of material to cover yet - and no imminent danger of needing to change the show's name.
What: Rookie Blue, starts September 26, TV2, 9:30pm.
Who: Learning the ropes