INTERVIEW: New CTV series modelled on Toronto police union boss

New CTV series modelled on Toronto police union boss
Date: March 5th, 2010
Source: CBC News


In his portrayal of Toronto beat cop turned union chief Craig Bromell in the new series The Bridge, actor Aaron Douglas says he channeled Tony Soprano, “if he was a cop.”

The role of Frank Leo is based on Bromell, a powerful and controversial figure who stepped down as union boss and resigned from the Toronto police force in 2003.

Bromell is executive producer of the series, which debuts Friday on CTV.

Douglas, a Vancouver actor whose last big role was as Chief Galen Tyrol in Battlestar Galactica, says he didn’t use Bromell as a model as he stepped into the role of Frank Leo.

“I don’t really tie it to Craig Bromell,” he told CBC Radio’s Q cultural affairs show on Friday.

“Craig was really there to show me how to wear my nightstick and show me how to get out of the car and …. where to put the donuts on the dashboard.

“Other than that, I just kind of pick up the character off the page and play it for a real human being.”

Bromell’s story is tied to the Toronto force, where he led a wildcat strike in 1995 and fought management over issues such as charges laid against officers for mistreating black citizens.


Although it was Bromell who first pitched the idea of the series and it takes place in a Canadian city, The Bridge is not overtly Toronto-centred.

“It could be based anywhere — a cop is a cop is a cop,” Douglas said. “They all have similar issues.”

But he agrees the show reflects Bromell’s abrasive approach and sometimes comes across as dark and gritty.

“He is polarizing, and I think the show w“Very few people are going to land on the fence.”ill be polarizing, too,” he said.

Douglas sees similarities between Leo and Battlestar Galactica’s Chief Tyrol.

“I thi“They are both blue collar guys who work hard, and it’s all about protecting the people who can’t stand up for themselves.nk they would go to a bar and sit down and have a beer together,” he said.

“He’s a loyal standup guy and will do whatever it takes to protect the men and women. The character is very complex. He’s very flawed.”

The show, which has been sold to CBS, has shot 11 episodes in addition to the pilot. Douglas said he got the call to take the job just as Galactica wrapped its final two weeks.

Shooting took place over five months last year, but the TV debut kept getting postponed, he said.