Sudz Sutherland and Jennifer HolnessElyse Levesque, Lucas Bryant, Lyriq Bent, and Alex Kingston have been cast in the new Hungry Eyes Film and Television hour-long drama "Shoot the Messenger," which is being produced in association with CBC Television (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation), and ITV.

The eight-episode series, which hails from the multi-award winning creative team of Jennifer Holness and Sudz Sutherland (whose past feature films, most recently "Home Again," have been covered on this blog), is described as a gritty political thriller that centers on the complex relationships between crime reporters and the police. The release adds: Levesque stars as Daisy Channing, a sharp and ambitious j-school grad trying to balance a messy personal life while working at a big city newspaper.  Things begin to go sideways for Daisy when she witnesses a murder she thinks is gang related, only to find herself slowly drawn into an interconnected web of criminal activity that reaches into the corridors of corporate and political power. As Daisy, her editor Mary Fowler (played by Alex Kingston), co-worker Simon Olendski (Lucas Bryant), and lead homicide detective Frank Lutz (Lyric Bent) pull at the threads of a cover up that gets more complicated, the more they unravel.

Shoot the Messenger | Lyriq Bent as Detective Frank Lutz Filming on the project is underway in and around the Toronto area, and will continue through the end of November.

Hannah Anderson, Ari Cohen, Edie Inksetter, Al Sapienza, and Nicholas Campbell round out the cast, with special appearances by The Barenaked Ladies’ Ed Robertson, The Raptor’s Jamaal Magloire, and ex-NBA television star Rick Fox.

The series is scheduled to air in the summer of 2016 on CBC Television.

 “Were extremely excited to be working with the CBC and ITV on ‘Shoot the Messenger’ and deeply appreciate the support the CBC has shown us over the years,” said Hungry Eyes principal Jennifer Holness who also co-created, produces, and writes on the show. “’Shoot the Messenger’ is an ambitious show that deals with challenging issues and we couldnt do it without the staunch support of our partners. It is going to be a fast paced, atmospheric drama that is driven by contemporary urban issues in media, policing, and politics.”

Sutherland added, “Were thrilled with the young, exciting cast that have boarded the show.  Elyse Levesque has demonstrated incredible charisma in her past projects – shes like a magnet on camera. ‘Shoot the Messenger’ audiences are going to be introduced to her impressive dramatic range and vulnerability that really connects to the viewer – she also brings a sharp intelligence which was absolutely required for this material.”

Previously for the CBC, Holness and Sutherland created, wrote, produced and directed "Guns," a two-part mini-series which won Best Direction, Best Writing, Best Performance by an actor in a featured supporting role, Best Performance by an actress in a featured supporting role, and Best Editing at the Canadian screen awards. 

Their most recent feature film "Home Again" (which Lyric Bent was also a part of) won a British Academy of Film and Television Arts Festival Choice Award at the Pan African Film & Arts Festival, as well as garnering multiple nominations at the Canadian Screen and Directors Guild Awards.

"Shoot the Messenger" is produced by Jennifer Holness and Victoria Woods for Hungry Eyes Film & Television in association with CBC Television and ITV. The series is co-created by Jennifer Holness and Sudz Sutherland who both write on the show; Larry Bambrick, Ian Barr, James Battiston, and Carol Hay join them in the writing room. Sutherland is the lead director on the series with Grant Harvey, T.W. Peacocke, and Dawn Wilkinson rounding out the directing team. 

Amy Cameron is the production executive for CBC Television, Helen Asimakis is senior director of Drama, Commissioned and Scripted Programming, Sally Catto is general manager of programming for CBC English Television and Heather Conway is executive vice president for CBC English Services.