Interviewee: Craig Bromell
Date: March 19, 2010
Source: Calgary Herald
Note: This is an interview with CRAIG BROMELL, the Executive Producer on THE BRIDGE.
The controversial former head of Toronto’s police union makes the move to show biz.
So you’re a cop, have been your whole adult life. Then, in two scant years, you slice through the politics to become the head of the police union in the country’s largest city. After six headline-grabbing years in the position, you retire from the force in 2003, but keep up the public profile by hosting a show in the bare-knuckles arena of talk radio. So what’s next? Putting up your feet and having a pina colada or two at the condo in Boca? Not if you’re Craig Bromell, a 26-year veteran of the Toronto Police Service.
Instead, Bromell is the executive producer of The Bridge, a drama series airing on CTV that focuses on the trials and tribulations of Frank Leo (as played by Aaron Douglas, above), a beat cop who rockets through the ranks to become the head of the police union, a la Bromell. Given the show’s dark subject matter–including corruption, coverups, suicide, sex scandals–wasn’t Bromell concerned that he was letting down his former brothers in arms? “I did think about that a lot. I wondered what my colleagues would think. Some will not be happy with me, I know that. I’m saying to everybody… ‘This is what happens. This is really what goes on behind the scenes.’ There’s a lot of wrongs, a lot of coverups. I wanted to jump into that.”
Equally important was bringing something fresh to the genre, he says. Audiences have responded to the show’s mix of grit and drama, with one million Canadians tuning in to the The Bridge’s recent premiere. “Cop shows have been done to death over the past 50 years. I wanted, and Alan (writer Alan Di Fiore, of Da Vinci’s Inquest) wanted, to create something different, that hadn’t been told before. People thought it was going to be a pro-cop show, but to give it authenticity, we have to give both sides of law enforcement. There’s good and evil on any major police service.”
Like Flashpoint, the series is a slickly produced package with no budget shortfalls or Canadiana evident on screen. And like its cop-centred counterpart, The Bridge has been sold south of the border and should be airing for Americans in the near future. “With CBS, we talked to them last week. We’re still looking at the summer. They just didn’t have the real estate for us. They didn’t have any shows to cancel.” And Bromell says the show didn’t pull any punches in delivering his somewhat autobiographical yarns: “Some of the stories are quite disturbing… From a dramatic point of view, we did some stories that both networks were concerned about… Frank Leo’s job is to deal with the negativity.”