Ben Wesley In Jay Ryan Words

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Before the Season finale of Mary Kills People airs on Monday, we lingered on how Jay Ryan told his character, Ben, and his growth in season 2.



“Once Mary enters Ben’s world, it’s turned upside down again.
She has a power over him that breaks all laws and gravity. She really is more in control of the relationship this season.




This season his undercover work is more offhand and he’s playing outside the ring a little bit, he doesn’t expect to see Mary at all.”

“He’s putting the events of Season 1 past him.
Frank has told him that Mary’s trouble and he’s going to get in a lot of trouble too if he goes down that path, but he does.”

Mary and Ben are two people that like to play outside the rules.
They play outside the realm of their occupations, and live on the line a little bit. Ben’s a lonely guy, he’s got his tail between his legs a little bit. I guess Mary is dangerous and he likes that about her, and it makes him feel more alive.”




Being undercover, you engulf yourself in the world of the person you’re trying to take down.
You’re both human, so emotionally you get attached, but at the end of the day you have to arrest them–but that doesn’t stop those feelings. I think he’s a little confused if his feelings for Mary are real, or if they’re just a placebo effect of him doing his job.”
from The TV Junkies – Mary Kills People Actors on Ben and Mary Relationship and the Season 2 Power Struggle – Kelly Townsend – January 16, 2018


Do not miss Ben in season 2 finale of Mary Kills People, tomorrow at 8/7c on Lifetime TV

A little bit of Jay Ryan

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If we had to be really honest, when we created Lost in TV we might have called it Lost in Jay Ryan, because Jay struck us in a peculiar way, he made us to find each other and kept us united.

Now that it’s his birthday, it’s natural for us to talk about him.

And we thought to “celebrate” him with you, without claiming to be complete, quite simply with a reel to make a toast to his talent, his honesty, his choices.

A bit of Jay Ryan, a bit of what he did, a bit of what he thought, a bit of what they told about him, a bit of what struck us.










“Bringing his radiant energy and joy to a role that slowly peels back its fascinating facade and reveals a deeply layered and rich dichotomy of contradictory emotions, Jay Ryan is more than simply riveting in MARY KILLS PEOPLE, he is downright addictive. It will be easy to see how and why Mary, as phenomenally portrayed by Caroline Dhavernas, falls immediately under his character’s spell, which subsequently leads to a taut game of cat-and-mouse.” Tiffany Vogt, from  Shining The Spotlight on Jay Ryan, SEAT42F

(Mary Kills People)… “it’s a serious and stylishly watchable drama, thanks mostly to Dhavernas’s capable performance of a morally ambiguous person with too many dangerous irons in the fire, and Ryan’s portrayal of a hurt-and-handsome lawman struggling to do his job, even though he’s in love with his suspect.” Washington Post



“…Tassie and Amy Cameron assembled a divine team and are true and hungry storytellers themselves. But at the end of the day everyone was on the same page, out to make a work we all believed in lead by the phenomenal Caroline Dhavernas — what more could you really ask for.

…The role of  ‘Joel’ came with a responsibility that shocked me when I read the final pages of Tara’s script. I didn’t see it coming and that ‘edge of your seat’ feeling was just as exciting to read as it is to watch this series.  Also knowing that it was allo to be helmed entirely by one director (Holly Dale) over the entire project was very appealing. There were very clear visions of what we were making from the beginning.” from  Shining The Spotlight on Jay Ryan, SEAT42F

“People are talking about [having more women in the lead] in the industry like, ‘Yes this is what we should be doing’, but this is actually one of the projects that has managed to pull it off and create something amazing, and successful and fresh,” Why Jay Ryan ditched Beauty and the Beast for Mary Kills People – NZ Herald Entertainment

About his character:

“It wasn’t wrapped up in the six episodes about who exactly he was and I was never sure if I was going to get to play him again. We wanted to play that ambiguity in him. I like that about him, that you never knew who he really was and there wasn’t a lot to say who he was or who he used be.” Kiwi Jay Ryan ageing gracefully as Hollywood drama star, Stuff NZ Entertainment








“The original theme of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ is don’t judge a book by its cover. Love what’s inside.”

About Vincent… “It’s like playing two characters, the two extremes of someone’s personality or moral compass. All characters that I play have the good and the bad, and for me, this is just the extreme. You can’t have one without the other and we all have this wild part of us which we keep hidden and maybe only show in our darkest moments, or to our most loved ones. For me, it’s the complete gamut of the character.” from ‘Beauty and the Beast’: Jay Ryan May Be An Animal, But He’s Romantic at Heart – the Huffington Post

Screenshot 2015-09-30 01.01.13

“There’s this whole thing about, “Oh, you’re too good-looking to play a beast.”  Sure, that’s what they were after and that’s what they cast, but I’m very much about being true to what a beast can be.  For me, his beast is on the inside.  It’s not about the physical.  It’s about the demon that is within him.  It’s quite opposite to what the beast usually is.  Everyone thinks the beast should be this creature, but beasts don’t advertise.  You don’t know who a beast is.  The nicest looking person can be that serial killer, or whatever.  They’re more dangerous to me.  It’s more relatable to an audience to deal with the beast within us. ” Jay Ryan Talks Beauty and the Beast – Collider 




“Being an actor is tough. You take what you are offered. You can’t be too picky in the early days but finally I’ve got my chops up and people have seen me in a different light.

“A lot of that has to do with Jane (Campion) casting me in Top Of The Lake. That was a real page-turner for me in my career. It got me in front of certain people who I really wanted to work with.” Kiwi Jay Ryan ageing gracefully as Hollywood drama star, Stuff NZ Entertainment

“I really would like to see where the Mitchum Brothers from TOP OF THE LAKE ended up a few years down the track after the end of Season 1.  I had the opportunity to return for Season 2, but the scheduling didn’t work out traveling between Toronto and Queenstown.   I’m cheekily hopeful. There’s a lot more story there, I remember Jane Campion toying with some ideas about those two characters’ futures when we shot the first season.” JR on Top of the Lake, from Shining The Spotlight On Jay Ryan, SEAT42F




“When I read Kev on page for the first time, I had an instant idea of who he was, he jumped off the page for me, and I knew the character was within me strongly already. It’s not something I have to play really.

“All of Kev’s reactions, all that sort of stuff just happens naturally, I just jump into him.”

But he sees their differences too.

“Kev is me if I had stayed in West Auckland basically. I grew up out west and if I’d stayed there and if I wasn’t an actor, I’d probably be there and have an apprenticeship, and maybe had a couple of kids and a house or something.”


From Stuff.co.nz  – Go Girls Stars Tackles Your Questions:

Toni asks “One of the best male Kiwi actors we have, Jay, what made you get into acting in the first place?”
Boredom of childhood. I truly think that’s what got me acting, making s**t up in my head, working the imagination, make believe and all that crap. Yeah I guess it all started there.

Kirsty asks “Do you have close friendships with women like your character or are you mostly a bloke’s bloke?”
From my very early teen years I was raised in a house full of women (possibly a little McMann style). So yes, I have some very close female friends. They are the best friends to have – they smell better, they are a lot easier on the eye and generally can give a more constructed emotional response than “Yeah, Nah”.



“I was lucky enough to actually go into a surgery and witness a caesarean being performed, which was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve had in my life. What I will never forget is the image of this baby’s face, eyes closed, totally silent, and then without its eyes even opening, you can see it’s face change and register that it’s in a new world, and it breathes in air.”

“We’d have these 2-week-old babies, and they’d come on set for about 10 mins. And they’d be covered in jam to make it look real, so these babies are really slippery, super fragile, and I’ve got these latex gloves on. So I’m freaking out trying to remember my lines, and trying to hold them properly. And the live babies are between an actress’ legs, so it’s kind of uncomfortable. And then they call action, and you’ve gotta keep it all together.” NZHerald.co.nz It’s all in the delivery




A day in the life of Spider – Jay Ryan

















What about his sensitivity as producer?

Looking forward to watching Sunday Fun Day, which had its premiere last July at Auckland International Film Festival, enjoy Tuffy and Schnipples




We wish this ride through Jay’s career left our readers a little more in love, enchanted and intrigued by this guy who, totally and permanently, bewitched our hearts.

Happy Birthday Jay.

Angela, Elisa, Federica

A special thanks to @JulesCrem who helped us to find gold dust…


Mary Kills People Season Finale

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mary_kills_peopleThe Judas Cradle – Morning Glory

We are all alone, together.

“This show is special. Heart so naked. We are all alone, together “.

Honestly, we know that he is a poet, it is true, though Greg Bryk must have felt really inspired by this wonderful show, to define it so beautifully with so few but incisive words.
He made them all stand in a tweet. Great poet. Inspired.
Like all of us.

How can you not feel inspired by a show that under the pretext to perform death, tells so much truth about life?
It whispers it. Gently, with notes in the background and precious words.
It paints it. Barely visible with light strokes, in lights and reflections, in looks and details.

These two hours of the season finale pass truly fast on the screen and pass within you. They invest and caress you at the same time. In the end, we all stand as Mary, eyes staring at the boat going away, brightly, blinding.

We feel alive.
And grateful.

It happens rarely that in an entertainment production such as a television series, there is enough to nourish the soul and heart with true feelings with deep emotions. Something indeed capable of overcoming the television screen barrier and touch us. Really touch us.
It’s rare but it happens.

As for Mary Kills People.

All alone, together.
They strive so much to get along alone, all the characters.
They do their best, work hard with a mixture of awareness and cynicism, which they have in common, paradoxically


Trust, loyalty, connections.
Throughout the story during previous episodes, it seemed clear to each of them that trust is painful, too much. Better to give up, do not open yourselves, do not rely on anyone. Even the ones who love you hurt you just as those who may not know you either.

Des and Mary. Mary and Ben. Ben and Frank and Jess and Naomi.
Each of them retain fragments of truth, hidden. Everyone feels alone.

In the first part of this Final Act, Mary embodies more than anyone else the paradigm of this disrupting, unnatural solitude.
Hats off, a deep bow, kudos, and a permanent sense of gratitude for the skill with which Caroline Dhavernas breaks into the soul’s hidden aspects of this complicated woman, making her poignant, passionate, so inherently human.



Mary did not trust Ben, Des wanted to betray her, her family is unable to approach her, Annie leaves her.
Fabulous, fantastic, admirable, Morgan, who has no need for too many bows to fathom her, in that detatched hotel room, Mary more lonely than him who is going to die.
From his abyss of despair, now that finally he can feel peace, Morgan reads Mary’s pain and understands.
The comforter becomes comforted and that pain that tears apart, hidden in the inner, finds solace in being narrated.
Staying with Morgan in quiet rest, Mary realizes that loneliness hurt her, much more than the people around her.
The thought of being always alone facing life, choices, events.

Lonely and therefore defeated.


Mutual comfort that Morgan and her are able to share in the most dramatic moment which gives Mary the awareness to admitting that there is no future, no hope, alone.
In the solitude that terrifies and surrounds death, Mary gets in a flash that the way out exists but the path must be ridden together.

When Mary leaves Morgan’s hotel room, she is no longer willing to give up.
She is ready to fight because living is hard, perhaps more so than dying.
When you do, when your “right” is what is wrong for everyone else, surely it is even harder.
Though there is no doubt, no more hesitation in Mary’s actions, once she understands which is the road that can be walked, but not by yourself.
Life is chaos and chaos must be ridden, not controlled, though alone you’re defeated on the outset.


In one shot Mary saves Des, saving trusting him. She recovers Annie, keeps Jess back close, opens to Nicole, trusts Ben.
She relies on Ben.
When she puts in Grady’s hands the needle with which he will inject her with pentobarbital, Mary puts her life in Ben’s hands.
Before trusting him, she decides to trust feelings he has for her.
Because love is true. Love does not lie and Mary felt something with Ben and she doesn’t want to believe it was only the “great sex”, counting on something that no one can ever guarantee but that exists if you feel it and believe it.


Mary does not fall, she remains standing, holding on to those thousands of fibres that connect us with each other, in Hermann Melville’s words.

She wins her battle triumphantly and with her, everyone understanding that you are alive if we open ourselves to others, win. That trust is not madness, it’s courage. Sometimes it is worth it…. “Or else the monsters win”.
Des, Annie, Jess, Ben, Nicole. All of them win with Mary.

Grady is the loser.
Grady who had stigmatized the power coming from emotional detachment, the strength coming from rational lucidity – only Greg Bryk could make him with that admirable expressive versatility – He dies.
The lone invincible fails in the same moment in which emotional distance is not enough to be in control and going further, he succumbs in an unfamiliar battleground.
So narcissistically obsessed, not to be underestimated and yet he ends up allowing Mary’s courage to surprise him, stunned just enough to change the story.


Of course we have already said it and all our heroes have experienced it: trust is risky, dangerous.
Yet, sometimes it is better to risk to be hurt than to hurt.
Des understands it immediately and shares his painful awareness with Ben in an unforgettable dramatic moment, both so tormented by their inner conflict, so torn by the battle going on in their hearts, against themselves, not to be really able to confront one another.
Unreachable and memorable, Richard Short and Jay Ryan in the opening moments of Des’ place.

Priceless is Ben’s tenderness in deciding how to live with his conflict and save Mary.
Of course, when he find out she is in danger, he rushes to save her.

“And then you were there,” she whispers in relief.


Maybe she had not realized how much Ben protected her even before, and perhaps she does not realize it fully even on the beach, when with a smile that would make anyone succumb, recommends Ben to not fall in love with his next target.


Ben, close to her, to protect and save her, because he failed to attach his private conversations with Mary to the investigation. He could not confide to Frank how close he’s come to the real Mary.
He told Des he did not know her at all, only because he felt betrayed by discovering the truth from Frank rather than from her.
He knew, in his heart, he felt something deep, something beyond sex, just as Mary did, and her confession to Des, in the car, gives him reason to his instinct.
Ben is all conflict in the season finale, torn by what he should do and what he would do. Everything got worse by what he got.
Thank you, thank Jay Ryan for dedicating all of himself to Ben and for doing it with such a generosity to give him to the audience so true.
There isn’t much of Ben’s conflict in his words, it’s all in facial expressions and looks, in sighs, jaw shrinks, arching eyebrows… A riveting show of rough and real humanity in a fictional character.
Everything: nervousness, indecisiveness, guilt, hope.
Sweetness and love, no, he does not conceal them all.
He pours them all in his goodbye – momentary – heart melting kiss.


He is not a man of many words, Ben. Rather one of few significant gestures.
He calls and meets her to give back the compromising photos found at Grady’s.
One more proof of how much he wanted to protect and save her even from herself if needed.
A serious pretext, just as his expression while waiting on the sand.
However, she reaches him, she smiles, and he can do nothing but tell her he cannot think of his life without her being a part of it.

Sweet Ben.

Not a bad cop because of his behaviour toward Mary.
Far from it.
He knows how to give high value to his work, so much strength to his ethics, he has no doubts to distinguish what is right from what is legal, what is wrong from what is illegal.
Just like Mary does.
He makes his choices doing it with a firmness that is maybe his most beautiful surprise, often disguised by weakness.
Though, on that beach, in the strange light of an uncertain sunset, he knows he has been right.
To bet on the others is risky.
When the reward is a smile and a hidden promise …worth it.

Ben’s desire to a connection, his tender happiness understanding that he reached his goal, that it was not wrong to count on it, are a fantastic assistance to give a real meaning to Des’ words.
Wonderfully, he pulls the strings of the tale, whispering the moral of this story that had the ambition to tell the life, as it pretended to show us the death.

“No man is an island. We are all connected ”


Mary Kills People is all in these words.
Mary,Des and Annie goals. Ben, Jess, Nicole, wishes, and why not, Kevin and Louise’s too.
To find, to give, to share. Comfort, emotions, moments.
Each patient with stories and experiences, beautifully add meaning to the tale.
Not least Morgan, whose friends celebrating the farewell, united on the beach, remember what it means to be part of someone else’s life.

All alone you lose.
Together you win.
It takes courage.
To live.
Not to be just a burning boat astray.


Edited by Lisa

Mary Kills People – Raised by Wolves

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It is a weird thing, trust, a delicate feeling. Whether you give or receive, you have to handle it with care because it takes very little to damage it and only a little more to break it.
When that happens, when you stay there, knowing that something that could have been will never be, fragments strike you like the reflections of sun on the water caressed by wind.

It is such a precarious feeling and it is said to be easier to love than to trust and to have someones confidence is an honor more precious than being loved.

Raised with Wolves’ absolute protagonist is trust.
Trust that you would give but too much pain keeps you from daring.
Trust that your logic would never give but the heart has already granted, no matter what.
Trust that has always been there, you’ve just never thought to call into question and that, however, is likely to crumble apart, crumbling even you.

I don’t want to sound corny though, watching Mary Kills People one episode after another, I am invariably struck by how much and how well everything contributes to a riveting, engaging narrative.
Examples are in every scene, proving mastery and dedication of all the professionals who contribute to wrap such a beautiful product.
Grady waiting for Mary framed by water transparency or Ben talking on his cell with the picturesque lake on his back, are just two examples of the will to engage the viewer in sharing not only a tale but the emotional warmth of the scene.

You can breathe harmony and mutual understanding behind the narrative, even in conflicts.
The continuity of direction by Holly Dale, undoubtedly ensures consistency to the canvas, from background to single details. Characters, scenery, lines, lights and sounds, everything spreads real emotion, rough, conflicting and uncertain, just like those in real life.
The most intense tones are those generated by conflicts and hardest conflicts are those within each character.

Trusting another person means giving that person the power to break your heart and hoping they won’t.

This hope is so fragile in Des… He is determined to avoid Mary, to give her the chance to break his heart.
Fear of betrayal, by the only person who counts on him, is so big that he prefers to play himself in the role of the villain, compromising its principles and let it all go to hell, not to have to test his friend loyalty.


Ben, on the contrary, wants to conquer Mary’s trust, intimately gratified by her cry for help.
Deserving, perhaps, even more than conquering, aware that he had tried to betray her confidence before earning it.
Then he says what he shouldn’t say, does what he shouldn’t do, goes where he shouldn’t go, as he didn’t know whether it is strongest the desire that Mary trusts him, or the confirmation that he can trust her.

His feelings for Mary, the irrational instinct to protect her from her own vulnerabilities, are so strong and pressing that, for Mary, he is willing to go to the limit of what his ethics allows. Maybe he would be ready to cross some limit too because of Mary. After all, Ben is aware he has got her and understands her reasons. However, knowing what Mary is doing, he disapproves, though, as only one who loves can do, he is ready to accept it…Indeed, he has already done so, almost earlier than Nicole (Hats off to Charlotte Sullivan’s extraordinary skill, delivering a character so complete and complex, with just a few brushes as an expert painter).

Ben accepted Mary without wonder and shyness, he doesn’t let what Mary does to be a reason to hold back his desire to be there for her.
He doesn’t allow Mary to be defined by her mistakes…

Ben’s ability to see the good in Mary is amazing in spite of the truth of what she does, which is, for him, burning, crystal and inescapable.

Ben seems ready to do anything for Mary. He admits with candor to Frank at the district.

For some reason she chose him. Him, the son of a happy couple who share a serene retirement in Florida. He, who was brought up on good and right, cannot hold back.
He cannot remain emotionless to what he saw in Mary, when, alone and desperate, she came knocking on his door.
That evening, two solitary beings took refuge in one another.

He is so sure of the vulnerability he saw behind her strength. A strength that only fear and pain feed.
He is so sure as to follow his instinct leading him to her side. He moves us most with the sincerity and tenderness with which he proposes the trip to Florida with Mary or with looks and the sweetness he reserves for her,later, at every Nicole sympathetic allusion.


This is why the disappointment of then, it hurts so much ….
That’s why Ben does not have the clarity of mind nor the calm to understand that Mary is going to tell him exactly what he has just found out.
Mary’s “I want to be honest with you” has a tremendous, unappreciated value.

Mary confirms his instinct, Mary trusts him.

But in Ben’s ear, on the pontoon, there is only the cry of pain of his broken heart and Mary’s sincerity, the reciprocated trust, is lost in that echo of pain.

Ben was freaked out by Mary’s vulnerability and fell in love.
Jumping to conclusions during the phone call, believing everything he had imagined about her suddenly wrong, miserably shatters the confidence he felt, the trust he thought she deserved.

Even before being betrayed by Mary, Ben is betrayed by the collapse of his expectations. Doesn’t wait, doesn’t listen, he overreacts.

It’s too painful to think that Mary is not as fragile as she looked in his arms.
In front of her, he was incredibly himself.
Too much pain to think that she has not reciprocated.
It is not the thought of a Mary “worse” than he thought to crush Ben’s heart and logic,
it is the horror at the thought of exposing himself, to have been true in front of someone capable instead of pretending emotions, fragility and involvement.
Once undermined the trust in Mary’s emotional honesty, there is no room for his feelings.
Ben goes away, leaving Mary torn and lonely.



That’s how Mary has always seen herself. How she always felt.
The immensity of pain inside her to suggest that such an immense sorrow could not be shared, could not be understood and loneliness was the remedy to survive.
Keeping all this pain inside, though, because your sister does not deserve it, your husband would not understand (and that’s how he became an ex) and taking this almost clinical detachment from any emotional involvement, makes you tougher, preventing you from trust issues, pushing people away, even daughters.
The fear of allowing the ones she loves to come too close to her runs deep and corrodes her soul like a burning fire.

Mary can only rely on herself.

An indelible pain which will never die, as she says, has been caused by those who loved her most.
She is no longer used, not capable and too afraid to trust. She would not trust Ben and she is committed to strenuously keep him away since the beginning, at her wake up in the motel.
She slams in his face that he cannot be trusted because he is the one always working, the one pretending.
She shows coldness, distance. She knows how much any weakness could cost.
And trust would be for her an unforgivable weakness.
The temptation to break her haven of loneliness’ barriers is great, the price is likely to be very high.


Mary would like to give up, oh how she would.
Close her eyes, shoulders enclosed by his arms as when he taught her to aim, protected.
“To properly aim you have to control subconscious”, he said.
Surrounded by him, her inner demons silent at last, she felt herself, without fear and the shot was direct and precise.
I wonder what she thought.
Taking a deep breath, the warmth of Ben on arms and back, she must have thought how everything would have been easier, in that warmth, finally protected.


However Mary seems to resist there and later, during the walk.

Yet, Ben’s protective desire to crumble Mary’s solitude broke through, the sincerity of his feelings not unheard.
She needs just a little encouragement by Nicole as she had already settled inside her that Ben and what he means, is worth the risk.

Sadly just to hear his voice in delivering her real name, it’s enough to know her choice was late.
Nothing ever easy for Mary.
The resolution to confide, to share everything with Ben, not just the loneliness, is a difficult and important step, so bitterly reviled by the simple lack of timing.
Not enough strength to grab Ben, to stop him, yelling at him that what he found out was exactly what she went to tell him. That it’s what she meant her “to be honest”.

He should just listen to her.
She is so resigned to being disappointed by those who love her that she doesn’t even try, does not believe it.
It is easier to keep protecting herself, to see in Ben’s reaction a cold pro calculation rather than his disappointed irrational bitterness.
Easier to whisper to herself “I told you so,” and letting him leave, rather than risk of not being trusted once she explained.

Rejecting because of the dread of not being accepted.

Expectations play a role in the episode secondary to that played by the trust.
Ben and Mary, they wound each other because of the fear of being hurt, because of hesitation in believing, afraid that trusting each other will mean to concede too much into their vulnerability.
To protect themselves, expose both of them to a bigger pain.

To trust means exposure to risk of suffering, of course.
Those we love can hurt us more than anyone else, even not on purpose.
What Ben and Mary must both ask themselves, from the depth of their solitude, is whether the warmth of the presence of each other in the other’s life is worth the risk of getting burned.


Edited by Lisa

Mary Kills People – Wave the White Flag

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“There is beauty in the Inevitable”

It’s impressive that each episode of Mary Kills People takes the audience to a gradually deeper level of knowledge of the events and characters.
It is as if they had shown us a large canvas from the beginnning, already complete, which the evolution of the story makes us focus right down to details.
We could easily define this third episode as the best seen so far, except that, as said, it helps to create a bigger picture, every detail to enrich the overall vision so, at the end of the six, each one will be quite an important chapter of the wonderful story.

In “Wave the white flag” reactions to events are like layers of an onion on character’s skin, fallen away, one after the other, exposing all the emotions, the truth, the reasons which move each one of the protagonists in this choral tale.
Meeting Irene and Declan in the opening moment, Mary and Des are enchanted by peacefulness and love they perceive as an aura around the tight-knit couple. The shared happiness they exhibit in spite of everything has a special value for Mary who’s maybe feeling the vibes of an old nostalgia for never having experienced something even close to that emotion, softened by the knowledge, mixed with hope, that maybe sometimes, somewhere, it truly exists.

The overture sequence Lime and Coconut alone brings about praise and plaudits to the wonderful Holly Dale for the skill with which she introduces lights and contrast, peacefulness and chaos and anticipates much of the episode’s tone, ‘tuning’ viewers as to what is about to happen.


It is a narrative choice which is really very effective to put so much sunshine and serenity – the fantastic music score helps a lot – at the beginning of a story that is rather turbulent and confused as though the grey of the sky rocked by the wind before a storm.
The cinematography also admirably tells of this conflict, from the exuberance of Irene and Declan’s garden, to the coldness of the beach where Mary meets Ben for the first of three contacts, each one more illuminating than the others.


Characters are stretched like violin strings, moment by moment, raw nerves at every clash they share.
That instinctive awareness, misty but strong, in all that is happening today will complicate tomorrow life.
They each do their best to keep the helm and not get carried away by the storm, not always easy though.

Far from it.

It is not always even possible.

Des knows it when he sees the routine that has been scrupulously built and shared with Mary, creak under the weight of unexpected events and Mary’s dramatic reaction to them.
Bravo, from deep down, to Richard Short who introduces us, with unusual and uninhibited skill, a character multifaceted, true and credible both in sarcastic tones and in the dramatic moments, all intensely and brilliantly delivered.


Frank knows it as much as he knows Ben and is able to read his soul sooner than the colleague reads his own feelings. His affection is so sincere that he has not the courage to intervene, but you could lose yourself in the depth and intensity of Lyriq Bent’s eyes when, at the hospital, he puts in his stare all the sincere concern, without judgments or convictions, for what Ben is living.

Jess knows it. Jess who does not see any hope for her heartfelt need of certainties.
The people she loves seem so ready to hurt her. She sees the storm everywhere around her, not only in the sky.

Even Grady knows, the merciless Grady, frenzied and moody figure created by the talented genius of Greg Bryk. Things could get messy from time to time and his coldness and maniacal ability to control each factor may not be enough.


Mary knows of course. Oh yes, she knows …
She has already lost more than a protective layer, maybe she never had so many, feels the storm coming more intensely because she lives the storm inside, holding it within, even before impacting events that trigger it.

Mary is storm.



Ben is the one who notices it.
Ben who fits into the story so deviously, a liar and who reveals a conflicting personality at the very least so fascinating, a moral so pure as to make him tenderly vulnerable.

Ben reads Mary.
He reads the hidden implications in the innermost defenses and he is bewitched.
He knows so little that he should not get her so well, he could not.

But Mary has exposed herself to him. She was softly herself when she saw only a chance encounter, a sudden contact, intense, though not dangerous.
In his fake, dingy apartment, Ben was someone to tell everything to without fear, knowing that he would not have time or no other to witnesses her narration.

The storm that Mary hurls at Ben is truly and deeply destabilizing. Whatever happens, it changes you forever.


Ben makes no effort to do his job honestly. He is honest.
He is investigating Mary, does not tell fibs to himself nor justify himself to her.


He is consistent in his soul even as he is overwhelmed by the swirl of emotions that Mary arouses. No armor but certainly reminds us of a knight of yesteryear, always ready to do his duty and to protect Mary without thinking for a moment.
Although Mary is the one who errs.

Even those who make mistakes deserve protection.

Even those who are fragile make mistakes and Ben saw the fragility of Mary. He perceived, felt, touched every moment Mary was close to him.
The fragility and the conflict.
The fragility of Mary, Ben cannot resist.

The most beautiful scene of the episode, the narrative moment that changes the whole story is definitely in the hospital when Ben, anything but lost, has no hesitation in grasping the arm of Mary and writes his number to be called for anything. For anything at all. The sight of Mary shocked, yet another perception of her fragility, gives him the strength to take a step that is kind of an irrevocable choice.
Moved, touched, bewitched by this messy creature who he didn’t ask to meet but has, Ben feels he wants to be there for her.


He decided to do so.

To reach Mary, later, at the motel is only a consequence of the steps taken in that corridor.
He does not respond with words but by kissing her when she asked why he had reached her.
With tenderness and intensity of what seems like the first kiss, which they missed in the heat of their first encounter, he tells her he is there because he cares about her, because the attraction has quickly given way to something more engaging, more intimate, deeper.
The conflict that Ben will have to live, for those steps in the hospital corridor and the sweet hugging at the motel, does not currently have any importance.
What matters right now, is that the raw, fragile Mary feels lonely.


He wants her to know she is not alone.

And Mary?

Maybe Mary fell asleep in Ben’s arms after making love. Maybe she’d have dreamed of a lush garden and the color of the flowers, the warmth of the sun on the skin and the happiness in the heart …



Edited by Lisa

Mary Kills People – The River Styx

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All those who saw the first episode of Mary Kills People and had hastily classified the series as being too light hearted with humour when the subject matter involves euthanasia, assisted suicide and death, possibly had to revise and expand their judgment by the end of this second episode.

If there was an entertainment program capable of dealing with such delicate subjects, with tact, respect and awareness, without giving up the ability to smile, that program is definitely Mary Kills People.

The River Styx gives us 45 minutes of involvement without pause but with emotions and thoughts, laughters and poignancy telling, as intended, of death and of life with a multifaceted approach, so “real”, to make the story and all the characters, each one in its own way, incredibly close to the audience.


The sweet Nora, the desperate Yvonne, and the fake Joel, allow us to learn more about Mary and about Des too, helping us to understand a lot of their reasons, telling with three different voices, how life and death speak between the banks of the River Styx, of happiness and sorrow, hope and resignation, illusion and disappointment.

Death should always be like Nora’s. Maybe even life, serene and aware.

In the silence of the beach in the early morning and with the sound of lapping waves, we join Mary, feeling self admiration and satisfaction from knowing she did the right thing in helping Nora to have a respectable end, the fair one for her exciting life.

Mary has no hidden goals, we know it now.  Yes, her life is much more messy than Nora’s, the everyday nature of her getting out of her extremely demanding family life, combined with such a arduous and multifaceted job…
Mary juggles brilliantly between the wheels of her carousel so long as Joel does not fit into her life.


Joel is desperate but cannot die.
Joel wants help that Mary does not want to give him.
Joel, who Mary can’t say no to.
Joel … Joel who cannot lie.

So cold, ruthless, defiant in his determination to bring Mary down, so relentlessly sincere in not knowing how to hide his true intentions.
As though a remote bit of his conscience, lost somewhere in the unconscious, bewitched by Mary more than Mary by him, had not screamed the danger, hoping to startle Mary, to warn, to avoid her making the fatal mistake.

“Tell me how you’re gonna do it.”
“What do you mean?”
“How you’re gonna kill me”


A sentence, five words and it is clear to everyone, Mary first, that Joel is not dying.
Mary’s activities give her the chance to interact with subjects who approach their end in a truly different way one from another.
The fear of Troy, the serenity of Nora, the desperate desire of Yvonne and Charlie.
No one animated by the wish to put an end to suffering, would dare to talk to Mary in terms of killing.
Joel gives himself away with a naive mistake.  The poignant and convincing performance that he played right in front of Mary trying to rush times.
He had just gazed at her through his lost puppy eyes, hands in hands a moment earlier, then Mary suddenly has to deal with the burning sensation of disappointment mixed with fear, fed by a presence of mind she never knew to have.


Her reaction at Joel’s place, first, and outside her house at the end of the episode, wins the hearts and gives credit to the empathy that the actors love to share with their audience.
Too easily Joel thinks he has got Mary, to have understood her, probably because he does not know what Des knows. Yet Mary did give him some clues such as telling him there was no mom or dad to help her.

At Yvonne and Charlie’s, whose sorrow, not only moves us with tones real and poignant, but also has credit of unveiling Des’ vibrant vulnerability, impossible to confidently hide behind the humor.  At their home Yvonne and Charlie, along with Mary, deal with an experience opposite of Nora’s, not less necessary, indeed.
Yvonne’s resolution in wanting to choose her end, tells of a pain that becomes strength, becomes dignity, enriching positive awareness to Mary’s and Des’ work, no less than Nora’s reassuringly did in the morning.

That pain that becomes strength is of Mary too, we find out when, at Des’ place, she reminds him why there is so much sensitivity (I know what it feels to be him, except, in my case, there was no one there willing to help ).
It is the same pain that gives her the skill to react to Joel’s threat.

He lied.
He mistified.
He broke a spell that an emotional impact created.


There is no compassion in Mary when she faces Joel outside her place. There is no longer even fear.  The instinct that had put her on the run from the apartment of Joel, now called Ben, that same instinct suggests to play the game with her inescapable truth because Ben’s certainties are far from being certain, his bravado cracked by her wrenching sincerity.
Bewitched by something he does not consciously understand but which cannot escape, Ben, in the middle of the road after Mary fiercely has gone, looks like a liar who has not been able to lie, a warrior who thought he’d won and he was conquered.

This is not an accident, probably, the title’s reference to the Styx, the flow of serenity and despair, frailty and strength, deception and truth.
Nothing is white and nothing is black, no good and no bad.

Those who seemed superficial, detect sensitivity instead.

Those bold and determined are revealed vulnerable.

Those who were thought to be at mercy of events, manage to take the helm of life, maybe painfully but without being carried away by the current.


Edited by Lisa

Mary Kills People – Bloody Mary

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When life get really messed up we get strong.

Unusual and weird are the circumstances in which we first meet Mary Harris with her simple gesture of getting rid of heels so she feels more dynamic, more comfortable, making her one of us, actually.

Mary Harris is not a criminal.

Mary Harris is not a heroine.

Mary Harris is a woman.

A twenty-first-century woman, mother, family helm in her hands; established at work, responsibilities burdening on her too often, plus a deeper dimension, more personal and thoroughly less shareable in which she needs to move following her values, her sense of ethics, her need for answers.

She reminds you of someone doesn’t she?!


The magic touch, the sign of the uniqueness and value of this series created, written, produced and directed by women, is maybe the authenticity of Mary since the first frames and in every single moment of this premiere, her daily routine narrated with priceless candor.

Mary is not perfect, in fact quite messy.

Mary is not invulnerable and doesn’t even try to fight against her weakness.

Mary is not emotionless, a whirlwind of feelings simmering far beneath the surface of her apparent control.


I have to admit that after this first episode I’m in love with Mary!

And, if possible, I fell in love with Caroline Dhavernas too, thanks to her way to approach the character of Dr. Harris, making her so real, so close to each one of us, simply and actually.

In this dynamic premiere, serious and funny at one time, viewers are thrown into the middle of this woman’s life, while she admirably unravels between her family, daughters and ex  -good in his mood and maybe in his intentions, but rather inconclusive, with his compliance as a choice to escape responsibilities –  and work, in fact, the works.

Engaged in E.R. we see her sharing her boss’ responsibilities simply because, as often happens, “you’re so much better than I am…”

But it’s the other job the one that unveils her involved body and soul, the support work, shared with Des, incomparable, the amazing Richard Short, in helping terminal patients to choose to die.


We do not know why she does it, we still do not know her history enough to understand. What we can get, however, because we see it, is the consistency and the dedication, with which Mary validates value of freedom to choice of each own life.

This is nothing to do with financial business.

Quiet and discreet as she is, we must bow to the amazing Tara Armstrong for her delicate touch in picking up a subject as thorny, exploring it in substance, no space left to any hint of controversy, simply highlighting Mary’s deep moral involvement.

As though much of the routine was something to be done and what she does with Des something she cares to do, the intensity of her emotional involvement properly tells us about something that’s inside out justified, rather than seen as a cold business.

Suddenly the effort to get out of the chaotic routine, always showing an excellent mastery (kudos to Dhavernas for her astonishing delivery ), reveals the passionate fragility of this woman, with all her need to get lost and to vanish into something to find herself back, to know and to feel that she is still alive, mind and emotions trapped in the Mary that everyone expects, but still hers, still throbbing.


Knocking on Joel’s door, approaching him on that couch, and breaking in a blow all the rules of common sense and of protocols so meticulously prepared as walls, erected to protect her vulnerability, respond to an impulse much more emotional than torrid.

In that bare and depressing room, in the frenzy of desire, there’s the Mary that no one knows, the Mary no one imagines, the woman who needs to close her eyes disappearing in intensity of sensations.

That she chooses Joel, that meeting him exacerbates her need, all of this is really really understandable.

We all are Mary when Joel’s apartment door opens, we all are bewildered as she is, swallowing empty because Joel has the appearance, the look, the voice of Jay Ryan. If they had cast him just for this “power”, they would have hit the target, totally.

However, it’s Jay Ryan, indeed.

Immediately after that priceless gift, all natural and physical, to arouse lustful thoughts, the powerful compelling intensity of his emotional performance takes over and prevails, and you totally forget the appearance, empathetically captured, bewitched by an emotional universe that strongly reveals the complexity and the depth of character’s personality.


Even about Joel we know nothing, except that he is torn.

Torn, fragile, tormented, both in front of the mirror than sitting with Mary and Des, his eyes wandering restlessly to not leave open too many windows, then suddenly direct, to inspect others’ cracks to look for a control he knows he has no more but which is accustomed to manage.


There’s too much, in Joel, because Mary did not choose to return.

Too much fair, charming and tender in that wound vulnerability, in that desperate as proud request for help.

Too much wrong and perverse, at the same time comfortable and reassuring, in that nonsense, irrational attraction, in that subliminal appeal to the zeroing of all defenses.

We get Mary, totally.

For a few moments, in the arms of Joel, in the nothing of passion, all makes sense.

She is alive.

So we’re to believe and to understand Joel’s hesitation too, so much as we think we understand his abrupt reaction to Mary’s words about his disease, as much as Mary seems to get him too.

We believe we have seen the painful side of Joel’s vulnerability, the conflict between what you would like and what it is, sadly.


But Joel holds for us the bitterest of the surprises.

Conflict, hesitation, uncertainty, we took quite rightly, but his reasons are all wrong.

Joel investigates Mary and Des.

Joel allegedly pretending illness, undoubtedly simulates mood.

Yet the hesitation, transportation, conflict, sorrow, seem totally real in front of Mary and as she walks away.

Joel sees the same Mary that we see, and in spite of his will, he does not come out unscathed.

After all how can you come out unscathed and remain insensitive to the impact of so much truth,so much authenticity and honesty?

Especially when you’re the one who lies.

When you have responded to all her truth just with lies and pretense, the awareness can lash, nobody free by a brunt.

The honesty of Mary requires Joel to want to be honest, at least in responding to the desire.

Realizing it compromises the fictional castle built, the desire to close everything quickly reveals the fear which he cannot avoid to lie in response to Mary’s heartbreaking sincerity.

The clash between the emotional storms afflicting these two individuals which we have a tempting glimpse of, in this first episode, promises to be almost alone the core of the story, keeping us stuck to our chairs.

Stuck cheering for Mary, fearing what she fears, feeling what she feels, wishing for her the same she wishes. We know nothing of what will happen but we know that we will live it with the same intensity and involvement with which she will live, confident in our hearts that she will find her way to travel the path, no matter how bumpy it will be.


In the boxroom, to her daughter discouraged in facing difficulties, Mary candidly confesses that yes, life sometimes really messes you up.

When the girl,confused, asked “what do we do?”, the answer is one that worth the journey.

The fiction’s one, because we talk about a TV series, the life’s one, because in fiction we hide the meaning of truth: “We become strong”.


edited by Lisa