From ‘CSI’ to ‘The Listener’: Lauren Lee Smith plays a different kind of cop
Sgt. Michelle McCluskey may live in a man’s world on “The Listener” but she doesn’t try and compete with the men. And that’s exactly what actress Lauren Lee Smith loves about her character.
“So often, that’s what I find when I watch these females on crime dramas, they’re trying to act too tough, act like one of the guys, but in reality that’s not usually how it goes,” Smith tells CTV.ca during a set visit last fall.
“Women use many of their skills other than trying to be a tough guy, so that’s initially what drew me to this character and I just thought the possibilities of storylines they’re able to play with are also never ending, which is also really fun.”
Vancouver-born Smith joined the cast of “The Listener” in Season 2 as a member of the Integrated Investigative Bureau (IIB), along with Cpl. Dev Clark, played by Rainbow Sun Francks.
After moonlighting with the IIB in Season 2, telepath Toby Logan (Craig Olejnik) has since joined the bureau full-time as a special consultant in the third season. Smith says she is pleased the organization has taken on a much more central role in the show.
“When we came on last year, it really sort of shook up the whole show in a sense by introducing my character and the IIB and all the other characters that are part of the IIB. It really became a whole new world essentially so I’m glad people have accepted it.”
Not only has this new direction been well-received but so has Smith – she earned a 2011 Best Actress Gemini nomination for her role on “The Listener.”
“It was very unexpected. It was a wonderful surprise. It’s just an honour to have that recognition.”
Prior to joining “The Listener,” Smith appeared on the TV series “The L Word” and “Good Dog,” as well as films such as “The Last Kiss” and Clement Virgo’s “Lie With Me.”
She also played Riley Adams on Season 9 of “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” and the actress says some of the skills she learned working on the hit dramatic series did come in handy for her role as Sgt. McCluskey.
“There’s little things: how to hold a gun, not run like a girl, different stances and postures. They were very particular with that on ‘CSI.’ I had to do extensive training before doing (the show) so that has stayed in my brain and is very useful for a lot of the stuff when playing Michelle, especially a lot of the physicality, has helped a lot.”
Smith has had plenty of opportunities so far this season to put that into practice, with her character taking part in high-stakes shootouts and going undercover to bust an art theft ring.
But viewers have also had a chance to see McCluskey’s softer side after she reunited with her estranged husband at the end of Season 2.
So does that mean a romantic relationship for her and her partner-in-crime Toby is out of the question?
“So far everything I’ve heard is they plan to keep it very platonic. I think Toby and Michelle have a very special relationship and part of what makes it so special is (even though) there is the sexual tension, we know it will never go there,” says Smith.
“They have a really strong bond and a really strong friendship and I think to cross those lines would just get a little bit messy.”
New episodes of “The Listener” air Wednesdays at 10/9C on CTV. Full episodes are also available online at CTV.ca.
About Sheri Block
Sheri Block has been covering entertainment for CTV.ca since 2008. In addition to covering Will and Kate’s Royal Wedding in London, Sheri’s highlights have included going on tour with “Canadian Idol,” being a stand-in on “Canada’s Next Top Model” and meeting Colin Farrell at the Toronto International Film Festival.Follow her on Twitter!