On the TV series "Remedy," not everyone is cut out for the family business.
Last season, the freshman drama found medical school dropout and recovering drug addict Griffin Conner (Dillon Casey) spiralling out of control. To get his life back on track, he accepted a porter job at Bethune General Hospital, where his father Allen (Enrico Colantoni) acted as Chief of Staff. To complicate matters, his sisters Mel (Sara Canning) and Sandy (Sarah Allen) are a general surgeon and ICU nurse there, respectively. The show put the Conner clan, as well as the health care profession hierarchy, under a microscope as the family coped with their new strained set of circumstances.
When "Remedy" kicks off Season 2, it's nine months later and the Conners have moved on with their lives. However, an explosion in the hospital immediately throws them off balance ... and that's just the beginning. Personal demons resurface. Charming new Dr. Peter Cutler (Niall Matter) causes ripples with Allen and Mel. Occupations shift. There's a lot going on this year.
On the set of "Remedy" in November, 2014, Canning, Casey, Colantoni, Matter and executive producer Greg Spottiswood spoke to The Huffington Post Canada about the new season, dysfunctional family dynamics, going to dark places, babies and sex.
HuffPost Canada: What are some of the themes you wanted to explore this season?
Greg Spottiswood: The title we gave the season in the writers' room is "The Discomfort Zone." We wanted to put every character in a position where they're uncomfortable and see how they react. The season premiere is designed to put everybody in an uncomfortable situation that will take some time for them to resolve.
One of the other themes of the show this season is "order vs. chaos." Every character is either starting in order and descending into chaos, or starting in chaos and finding order. Griffin is a character who starts with order and ends in chaos.
What has this nine-month time jump allowed the writers to do story-wise?
Enrico Colantoni: The writers can introduce a baby. We get the whole pregnancy issue out of the way. We see these people where their lives are. Sometimes it gets a little tedious going, "OK, what happens the next day?" but here we are. We can talk about what happened between then and now. As for the Brian character, it's easier to deal with a character that isn't around anymore and not make him look like a deadbeat dad. We justify why he had to leave and it wasn't just right away.
How does the Season 2 premiere immediately hit full throttle?
Dillon Casey: Right off the bat, the first episode has an explosion down in the basement where all the porters work. Griffin is immediately thrown into position to be the hero. Last year, he started as a victim. This year, he's on the other side of it. He has medical knowledge and he's surrounded by people who are critically injured. He needs to be the doctor. People immediately see the talent that he as. The problem with Griffin is he has the knowledge to do these things, but he is not ready mentally to deal with them.
Allen was demoted from Chief of Staff to ER doctor. How is he handling the new position?
EC: I owe creator Greg Spottiswood a lot for that. He took Allen out of the straight-man position and made him a fish out of water. Allen is a lot funnier. He's a lot more relaxed. He's doing what he loves to do. He realizes maybe he wasn't the best Chief of Staff. But, to watch him get comfortable in that new environment is a lot of fun.
Right now, as of Episode 5, he's just getting comfortable in the ER. He's just now realizing this is the greatest thing in the world. I'm sure they'll pull the rug out from under my feet.
As the Chief of Staff, Allen was better equipped to deal with his children's problems in the hospital. They don't have that crutch anymore. How does this change affect their relationship with Allen?
EC: The lines are clearer. I'm just "Dad" and even less so because they're adults and dealing with things. They will only use me as a crutch if they have to, but they never really come to me anymore. They always say, "I'm going to tell Dad," which is much more interesting than Dad needing to go in to fix it. It's like, "Really? Really? Are we still getting to do that?" I get to be more reactive to their craziness and I get to be crazy in my own right.
Previously, there was plenty of tension between Griffin and his dad. Where do they stand right now?
DC: Griffin and Allen are still at odds. They aren't getting along at all. Griffin has drawn a line in the sand with his dad. He doesn't want any help from him. He doesn't want his dad involved in his life. They aren't estranged, but Griffin has decided to get his life back on track and to move forward in the medical field, but he doesn't want his family worrying about his life. That's a big thing for him.
Griffin seems to have experienced an identity crisis. What would make him happy?
DC: I don't think Griffin knows what he wants. He's one of these guys where everybody has told him what he should want, so that's what he figures he should do. The only control that he's taken is to do it on his terms. He knows he's doing a lot wrong and he's not sure what he's doing right.
It's tough to say what he wants and what makes him happy. That's his whole journey on the show. He doesn't know what to do career-wise. He also knows he likes to help people, but he's a little too quick to give advice and understand the consequences of it.
Do you feel that Griffin's new girlfriend, Zoe, is his rock? Does she ground him?
DC: I think Griffin sees Zoe as his ticket to normalcy. The thing about Griff is he's always looking for something consistent. Zoe doesn't want to be that person, though. She doesn't want to ground him. She wants somebody who is going to elevate her and make her a better person. There's a little trouble there because he's such a volatile guy and that scares the crap out of her.
The old adage goes, "Once an addict, always an addict." Does that hold true with Griffin? Will he fall further from grace?
DC: Griffin thought he was free and clear of all that stuff. But, Griffin has spent the last few years running away from reality. This season it hits him really hard and he's not emotionally equipped to deal with it. He's definitely on a downward path. He goes very dark. I love how messed up everyone gets. In my opinion, Griffin becomes a sociopath in this season. I've loved playing that.
Dr. Peter Cutler is the newest staff member. Can you introduce us to Peter and what brings him to the hospital?
Niall Matter: He's the new ER resident. What brings him to the hospital was his desire to get a taste of urban medicine. He's a Saskatchewan boy. From what I understand, in his background he was a football star-type guy. He was very good at what he did, so he constantly wants to be challenged. I think coming to Toronto and joining the team at Bethune was something to push himself to the next level.
Peter is a wild card at the moment. How does he shake things up for the Conners?
NM: First of all, he gets right in the path of Allen, who is now going to be in the ER. He happens to be Cutler's boss and Cutler thinks he knows a lot more than Allen does. He takes Allen on quite a bit. Then, with Mel, Cutler takes a liking to her immediately. We're not exactly sure why or what it's about. Maybe because intellectually they're equals and they both seem to be people who suffer from OCD and everything is their way or no way. She catches his eye and now the writers are writing it in that Cutler has a wolf-like quality to him when Mel's around. He'll just stare at her and watch everything she does because he knows it makes her uncomfortable. Cutler is definitely a tease.
Has it been easy getting the medical jargon down?
NM: It's actually extremely difficult because just learning the medical jargon and trying to get that out correctly is hard enough. On top of that, you have to do the medical procedure, which makes it extremely difficult. This season, it's important for them to be on point and medically sound. So, we're making sure we do things step-by-step and exactly how they would do it in a hospital, or, as much as we can.
What else have you enjoyed about Peter's arc?
NM: The thing that I like about Cutler's journey is most of it revolves around his relationship with Allen. First, they butt heads and then Cutler starts to realize this man is a fountain of knowledge. There's so much more to Allen that Cutler didn't see. It's forcing him to slow down and see the qualities in people that are there and see their strengths. Cutler has been the type of person that hasn't really focused on other people's strengths in the past and now he's learning to rely on them. That's coming because of the wisdom that Allen is imposing onto him.
On another front, where do we find Mel when the series picks up?
Sara Canning: We left Mel off at the end of Season 1, where she was battling debilitating OCD and had been dealing with the fact that her brother has reintegrated into the family. She's in an OK place now. She's dealing with things the way she needs to deal with them, just to be able to function every day at the hospital and also within the family. We pick up with her living with Sandy, because she's invited Sandy to stay with her and help her raise Sandy's baby. We find Mel in co-parenting mode and in true Mel fashion, she's being overprotective and overbearing.
Peter makes Mel's pulse race. What does she see in him?
SC: Dr. Peter Cutler sees a lot of things in Mel that her family members don't address. They just let her do what they think is Mel's crazy thing. I think there's a lot of recognition and acceptance on Dr. Cutler's behalf of why Mel is the way she is. I think she identifies with the fact that he's a risk-taker. It opens up the world for her. At all times, though, she's really trying to keep everything under wraps and she's very tightly wound.
Mel was the most resistant to Griffin's return. Is she more accepting of her brother now?
SC: We find them in a healthy place where they can be around each other. Mel is in a place of being able to let him know when she respects something that he's done in the hospital. She's not terrified of him beating her at the doctor game anymore. That will be challenged this season. For now, it's about Mel and Sandy raising this baby and needing their family and wanting a cohesive family unit.
Will there be anymore interaction between Mel and her mother?
SC: We're shooting some significant stuff with Mom right now. There was some yelling. It's a pretty intense situation. It makes me nervous to even think about it as a person.
Your cast features two hot guys and quite a few beautiful women. In what ways will you be turning up the sexual heat this year?
GS: Well, we're sitting on a set that was built exclusively for two sex scenes. Somebody has had sex on this couch and in that bed. That's the only reason this set exists. We haven't had real scenes here, but we definitely show more skin this season.
"Remedy" Season 2 premieres on Monday, March 23 at 9 p.m. on Global.
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