This summer has proven to be a big success for Canadian cop shows airing on U.S. television networks, and CTV’s Flashpoint has continued its record of garnering very good ratings for CBS on Friday nights.
One of the show’s most prominent characters is Head SRU (Strategic Response Unit) sniper Ed Lane, portrayed by Kingston-born actor Hugh Dillon. In addition to being born in Kingston, Dillon was also lead singer for the hard rock band The Headstones which formed in Kingston in 1987 and was one of the country’s most successful bands until their breakup in 2003.
In a recent interview with the creators of Flashpoint – Mark Ellis and Stephanie Morgenstern – credit was given to Executive Producer Marie La Traverse for most of the successful casting choices, including Dillon’s.
The group had just seen and were impressed by the Canadian limited run drama Durham County, where Hugh Dillon played an intense police officer at the center of the series. But an appearance on The Hour with George Stroumboulopoulos confirmed their instincts that he was perfect for their new show – describing Hugh as “humble and charming and funny” in that interview.
Along with Hugh Dillon, show creators revealed that the only non Canadian actor that has ever been on Flashpoint is Amy Jo Johnson, who plays the primary female character “Jules” Callaghan, but added that she is already in the process of getting her Canadian citizenship.
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Toronto-born Enrico Colantoni, perhaps best known as a regular on the comedy series Just Shoot Me, takes on the role of cornerstone character Sgt. Greg Parker. He was reportedly lured from his home and career in the States in large part because his brother spent three decades on the Toronto police force and gave a thumbs up to the initial script.
In recent years, Hugh Dillon has been nominated for a Gemini award in 2008 for his work on Durham County, and was also nominated for a Genie award in 2007 for his role in the movie Trailer Park Boys.
He also continues his post-Headstones singing career with a limited, independent CD entitled “Works Well with Others”, and his song “Lost at Sea” was used to conclude the 8th episode of Flashpoint entitled “Never Kissed a Girl”.
Until Flashpoint, no Canadian series has been shown in both the United States and Canada since Due South in 1994 — which only lasted one season in the States – which also featured music by Dillon’s band The Headstones. The song “It’s All Over” was used in an early episode of Due South and “Cubically Contained” was used in a later one.
Flashpoint has been joined by another Canadian filmed cop show, Rookie Blue (co-created by former Flashpoint writer Tassie Cameron), in capturing critical and ratings success on American television this summer.