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First Original International Franchise Adaptation of “Law & Order Toronto: Criminal Intent” Announces Cast (EXCLUSIVE)

First Original International Franchise Adaptation of Law Order Toronto Criminal Intent Announces Cast

Law & Order Toronto: Criminal Intent” unveiled its cast for the inaugural season during MIPCOM on Monday, confirming the lineup of six primary actors for the Canadian edition of the longest-running scripted drama brand in television history.

The ensemble features an all-Canadian cast, with Aden Young (“Rectify”) taking on the role of Det. Sgt. Henry Graff, Kathleen Munroe (“City on Fire”) portraying Det. Sgt. Frankie Bateman, Karen Robinson (“Schitt’s Creek”) as Inspector Vivienne Holness, K.C. Collins (“The Cleaning Lady”) assuming the role of Deputy Crown Attorney Theo Forrester, Nicola Correia-Damude (“Shadowhunters”) as Forensic Pathologist Dr. Lucy Da Silva, and Araya Mengesha (“Anne with an E”) as tech expert Mark Yohannes.

Rogers Sports & Media officially greenlit the series last June following a two-year development period. The show is currently in the midst of production in Toronto for its first 10-episode season.

Hayden Mindell, SVP, Television, Rogers Sports & Media, praised the casting efforts, saying, “Lark Productions and Cameron Pictures Inc. have done a terrific job in securing a cast that underscores the essence of the ‘Law & Order’ franchise, which has captivated fans for decades and builds on Citytv’s investment in popular and acclaimed compelling Canadian content.”

In addition to casting news, the show confirmed that award-winning filmmaker Holly Dale (“Law & Order SVU”) will direct the first episode, along with Episode 3 and the season finale. Other directors for the first season include Peter Stebbings, David Wellington, Sudz Sutherland, Rachel Leiterman, Winnifred Jong, Sharon Lewis, and David Straiton.

This marks the first instance in which an international adaptation of “Law & Order” has been developed with entirely new characters and storylines. Unlike other international formats that have reimagined the original concepts in different locations or with new casts playing variations of the same characters, this Canadian version is a fresh departure.

Erin Haskett, executive producer and president of Lark Productions (which has a distribution and development agreement with Universal International Studios), reflected on the challenge of putting a unique stamp on a beloved franchise, stating, “It was challenging, just to deliver what audiences are so familiar with — and to follow a formula or a recipe — but then make it your own.”

Showrunner Tassie Cameron (“Rookie Blue”), who, alongside her sister Amy Cameron (“Mary Kills People”), executive produces under their banner Cameron Pictures Inc., emphasized the importance of weaving a Canadian narrative into the series, saying, “It’s finding the right first story to tell in a franchise this well known. You want it to be a Canadian story, feel like it’s ripped from a Canadian headline and feel like it’s highlighting Toronto. So it’s picking the right story to tell, but it’s also learning how to write these scripts.”

Throughout the first season, the show will exclusively showcase Canadian talent, from the crew to guest stars, and it will remain focused on Canadian stories and locations.

Amy Cameron pointed out the enthusiasm among the cast, many of whom are avid fans of “Law & Order”: “We’re incredibly proud of the cast, and watching them has been a joy because most of them are super fans of ‘Law & Order’ as well. It’s interesting to work on a show where everybody, from your grips to your drivers to your cast, is an expert on this brand.”

Following the initial casting call, the producers were inundated with inquiries and name submissions. They estimate having seen hundreds of potential actors for each role and hope to continue to draw from a wide pool of Canadian talent, including those from the theater world, akin to the original series in New York.

Tassie Cameron noted the flexibility to explore a variety of character types, stating, “Like the original franchise, we are able to look outside of traditional TV types and really dig into theater actors you don’t always see on your television screen. It’s thrilling to write so many different kinds of characters and cast so many talented people.”

In shaping the show’s look, the team constructed studio space and recreated the traditional “cop shop.” However, Amy Cameron emphasized that the series extensively features the downtown Toronto core to showcase the city’s unique attributes.

“The biggest production challenge is probably construction — Toronto is a construction zone,” she said. “So that has been one of our more exciting challenges to try and overcome.”

Another challenge was striking the right balance between crafting cases inspired by real headlines that would be engaging for the series but not too distressing for viewers. Additionally, the producers had to consider which news-related plots had already been explored in the U.S. series.

“We tried in the first season to stay away from some of the more sensational serial killings in our country’s history,” said Tassie Cameron. “We might do one, but you have to cover that stuff very carefully. There are lots of fascinating stories on our list, some that we decided to wait on until Season 2, if we are so lucky as to get one.”

As the series gears up for its debut on Citytv in Spring 2024, it is also looking to attract international buyers at this week’s MIPCOM.

“It’s a brand. [We want to] deliver stories and performances and all of the twists and turns that are expected from the ‘Law & Order’ franchise, but also feel like we are distinct within that in terms of stories and sense of place,” Erin Haskett stated.

“People will respond to what’s familiar, but celebrate what feels distinctly Canadian,” she continued. “We’ve worked on other police detective shows in the past that have sold all over the world, in many, many territories. In those cases, they didn’t necessarily have a brand or a franchise behind them. So we have high hopes there will be an audience for this around the world.”

Written By

Viola Rowland, an accomplished author at Bee Bumble Entertainment Magazine, blends her love for entertainment with her gift for storytelling. With a knack for capturing the essence of pop culture phenomena, Viola's engaging articles provide readers with fresh insights into the world of entertainment, making her a standout contributor to the magazine.

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