It's been a couple of years since Dominic Da Vinci has appeared weekly on our television screens, and over a year since the follow up TV movie was completed, waiting for an air date. Now, Da Vinci's Inquest and Da Vinci's City Hall fans will finally get a return visit from the coroner-turned-mayor in that movie, The Quality of Life, airing Saturday, June 14 on CBC at 9 p.m.
"The world's moved on since we last saw him," said actor Nicholas Campbell, who played Da Vinci for eight seasons, in a recent TV, eh? Blogtalkradio interview. "Things that are significantly in public discourse, like harm reduction, the plight of the underprivileged, is very much less a topic of conversation in the media. For Da Vinci to get anyone to listen to him, he has to go at things like normal politicians do."
The Quality of Life, written by series creator Chris Haddock plus Alan DiFiore, and directed by John Fawcett (Ginger Snaps), begins with Da Vinci hosting a big city mayors' conference when a woman is murdered after a political gathering and sex party – the first of which Da Vinci himself attended.
An elaborate cover-up is engineered by newspaper conglomerate owner Charles Greenborne (Michael Murphy) and wife Katherine (Mary Walsh), along with professional "fixer" Jean Tellier ("the ubiquitous Hugh Dillon," in Campbell's words). Da Vinci's roles as mayor, witness, former coroner, and the man who might be the next premier of British Columbia complicate his world as he balances his ideals, political aspirations, and desire for justice.
"There's a concentration of media, there's less and less outlets now, so Da Vinci has to make friends with people he otherwise could have ignored, people he wouldn't share the same view of society with," Campbell explained. "Now he has to make friends with them and play ball. Some would say it's a maturing of the character. Others would say he's dealing with realities in a very disciplined way, which is not really what made him famous. The thing everybody liked about Da Vinci is he wasn't afraid of calling it as he sees it. But the world that exists now is not the same world as when we met him."
Campbell is clearly proud of the movie, as he is of the series as a whole. "I think it's the best one we ever did. Usually television series tend to go down and this one kept building and building. It really represents how good the writing always was."
Yet there's an element of nostalgia that this might be the last we see of Da Vinci. "They're moving in a different direction," Campbell commented on the CBC's decision to delay the broadcast of the movie. "Right across the industry we're seeing that. There's less interest with the broadcasters at every level in one-offs and mini-series, which is the life blood of the actors, people like me."
About future Da Vinci projects, he said: "I have heard nothing, but certainly when we did this, that was the idea. But I haven't heard anything about it since. After the Intelligence wars, I'm not sure how interested they are in hearing our complaints anymore."
Instead, he hopes viewers will not just watch Saturday's broadcast, but express their interest in more Da Vinci – and Canadian projects in general – to the CBC directly.
"Not that we had much to complain about for all those years," he added. "Personally I have received nothing but unbelievable support form everybody at CBC. Not just when I was working with Chris, but going back 20 years before that too. I'd look over all the stuff I've done in my career and the best, the tastiest stuff I've had to do, has been at CBC."
The Quality of Life continues that tradition. Campbell didn't find it difficult to return to the character, despite the passage of time both in real life and in Da Vinci's career. "It was dead easy because the script's so great," he said. "The only sadness, the only difficulty, was seeing it come to an end."Powered by Sidelines