CORNWALL, Ontario – When Canadian viewers tune in to 19-2, a new police drama that premiered last week on Bravo, they’ll find the gritty story of a pair of Montreal cops who hate each other.
But Cornwall viewers will see something different – a connection to the Seaway City and the rich theatre tapestry of the region.
Ottawa-based actor Victor Cornfoot stars as Jean-Pierre Harvey, a supporting character steeped in the life of a beat cop that finds himself wheelchair-bound after being shot in the head.
Cornfoot, who has made appearances in several Hollywood yarns like White House Down, Deadfall and Sacrifice, spent eight seasons performing at the Upper Canada Playhouse in Morrisburg which ended in 2011.
And his inlaws, Jack and Johanna Snoeks, live in Cornwall. Jack is a retired RCMP officer who spent 25 years in law enforcement.
“We get down to Cornwall all the time,” said Cornfoot, who began shooting the new police drama after it was picked up by the Bravo network last summer.
His character, Jean-Pierre Harvey, was initially the partner of one of the show’s two main characters, Nick Barron.
Barron is left to grapple with life and his career with a new partner after Harvey is shot in the head at what would have otherwise been a “routine” call.
Cornfoot said he spends a good deal of time in a wheelchair, as his character is struggling with a serious brain injury.
But in addition to being an invalid, Harvey is also a veteran of the streets, with years of police work that has added to his jaded personality.
“The character is a bit of an a**hole,” Cornfoot laughs. “But he’s a beat cop who’s been around for a while.”
Cornfoot said preparing for the roll was a challenge, given that he had little to pull from to portray a person with a debilitating brain injury.
“It was a bit more challenging because brain injuries are different for different people,” he said. “I’m going to have to play it this way…without being able to talk, because he’s lost a lot of function.”
19-2 presents the lives of several fictional patrol officers of the Montreal Police Service as they deal with police business and politics, and their own personal conflicts and problems. The titular “19-2” is patrol car unit #2 of the fictional station #19.
Bravo has picked up the show for 10 episodes, and the hope is that it will continue beyond that.
The show mirrors a similar Radio-Canada production that is incredibly popular in Quebec and has been described as a ratings juggernaut in that province.
“It’s all about how the cops react and what kind of baggage they are carrying with them,” said Cornfoot. “It’s about real life.”
Cornfoot appears in nine epsiodes. 19-2 is broadcast Wednesdays on Bravo at 9 p.m. and Thursdays on CTV at 10 p.m.