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A Chat with Gregory Smith and Missy Peregrym of Rookie Blue

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When two attractive young actors are sent to do the media rounds for a series, especially a series that’s basically Grey’s Anatomy with guns, the natural assumption might be that their characters will hook up.

Gregory Smith (Everwood) and Missy Peregrym (Reaper) of Rookie Blue destroyed that assumption.

“We’re like brother and sister,” Peregrym said. “We have a bit of a sibling relationship,” agreed Smith in a separate interview. “We bicker good-naturedly.”

“There was a little confusion at first because I thought I was playing the cool, sexy guy, but people kept asking me what it was like playing the dorky guy,” joked Smith. “So I had a bit of a reality check.”

“Dorky’s the new sexy,” he added with a laugh.

Smith and Peregrym play cops just out of the academy fumbling in their new roles – literally, with handcuffs and holsters, and figuratively with instincts and emotions.

“You have to think completely differently,” said Peregrym about the transition from civilian to rookie. “I think it’s difficult in real life for every cop to be able to transition into that. As much training as you go through, you’re never really prepared for how you feel in every situation, which is what we focus on more than the procedural stuff.”

“It’s not really about the cases and cracking cases and making arrests,” Smith said. “It’s more about jamming your finger in the door when you’re closing it, or accidentally handcuffing yourself – all the trials and tribulations of how to be a cop instead of the beat of being a cop.”

Smith, who plays Dov Epstein, says his character is a “fun guy who tries to be super-serious and cool.”

“At first he talks about all the ménage à trois, crazy sexcapades he’s having, but it seems to be a bit of hot air. Then he finally meets someone later on in the season and it’s one of those be careful what you wish for things.”

The Toronto-born star grew up in Vancouver, where he filmed a lot of guest starring roles, shot Everwood in Utah, and calls Toronto, where Rookie Blue was filmed, his favourite place to shoot. “I’ve become accustomed to the nomadic lifestyle,” he said. “I love it, meeting new people and seeing new cities. It’s one of my favourite parts of the job.”

Peregrym was also raised in Vancouver, but is less enamoured of the actors’ life, saying having a family is “the only thing I’ve ever known I wanted to do.” When she’s more settled, she’d like to get involved with a church group that helps girls develop self-esteem.

“I can use this career for other things,” she added. “It’s kind of a difficult career to be in, because it’s very easy to be all about yourself. The only time I feel I’m doing something of worth is when I know I’m affecting other women in a positive way.”

Her character, the daughter of a disgraced detective, is similarly idealistic. “Andy has a really big heart and wants to do the right thing,” said Peregrym. “She likes helping people so much, and that’s why she became a cop. But it’s really difficult to do that in this career because you have to put your emotions aside.”

The show’s not as deadly serious as all that, though. Smith, who’s never seen Grey’s Anatomy – in fact, doesn’t have a television – calls it roughly “70% drama and 30% comedy. There was a good laugh every minute or so. But maybe that was just me laughing at myself.”

Rookie Blue premieres Thursday on ABC and Global. Follow Smith and Peregrym on Twitter for behind the scenes video, pictures, and chatter.

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About Diane Kristine Wild