Peter­son step­ping back into Street Le­gal role

The Prince George Citizen - - A & E - Vic­to­ria AHEARN

TORONTO — Ac­tor Eric Peter­son is ready to take on the Cana­dian court­room again on Street Le­gal, only this time he’s swap­ping his suits and ties for robes.

CBC-TV an­nounced Wed­nes­day that the Cor­ner Gas star will reprise his Street Le­gal role of Leon Robi­novitch on an up­com­ing re­boot of the Cana­dian court­room drama. Orig­i­nal cast mem­ber Anthony Sher­wood, who played pros­e­cu­tor Dil­lon Beck, will also re­turn.

On the orig­i­nal se­ries, which ran from 1987 to 1994, Leon was an im­mi­gra­tion lawyer at a Toronto firm. Now, he’s a judge.

“My vir­tual le­gal ca­reer has been as­tound­ing,” Peter­son, 71, said in a phone in­ter­view.

“I was a judge on This is Won­der­land and now I’m a judge on Street Le­gal. I think it comes with the age.”

Six new episodes of the pop­u­lar Gem­ini Award-win­ning se­ries are set to pre­miere on the pub­lic broad­caster this winter, with the story tak­ing place 25 years af­ter the orig­i­nal se­ries.

Orig­i­nal cast mem­ber Cyn­thia Dale will reprise her role as Olivia No­vak, who now works at a bou­tique firm af­ter the elite one she was at dis­banded.

New cast mem­bers in­clude Cara Rick­etts, Steve Lund, and Yvonne Chap­man as the next gen­er­a­tion of lawyers.

Peter­son said he’s ex­cited Canada will once again have a le­gal drama added to the tide of Amer­i­can ones to show­case how our ju­di­cial sys­tem works.

“You ask peo­ple here and they want to bang the gavel and say ‘Or­der, or­der.’ We don’t even have a gavel here,” Peter­son said.

“It’s nice to have tele­vi­sion that we’re proud of, like to watch, that is about us, specif­i­cally.”

Peter­son said it will fea­ture con­tem­po­rary sto­ry­lines, us­ing the struc­ture of one case for the whole sea­son, with Dale “as the con­duit and the con­ti­nu­ity.”

“It’s con­tem­po­rary too that the... source of ex­per­tise, of ex­pe­ri­ence, is a wo­man,” Peter­son said. “So that’s a shift that I think is long over­due, and it’s nice to see in this se­ries too, where women are the lead­ers and not just the fol­low­ers.”

Peter­son’s char­ac­ter will ap­pear in the fi­nal two episodes and will be por­trayed as com­pas­sion­ate judge.

“He was the leftie in the firm,” Peter­son said. “The pic­ture on his of­fice wall was Tommy Dou­glas. He was al­ways fight­ing for the lit­tle guy, the good guy, the good cause against power and might and all that stuff.”

Peter­son said when he first heard of the Street Le­gal re­boot, he “was in­cred­i­bly en­thu­si­as­tic” about it.

The orig­i­nal show took him to a new level of fame, af­ter his star­ring role in the play Billy Bishop Goes to War, and he found him­self sud­denly be­ing rec­og­nized in the streets.

“The other thing which in­ter­ested me was it was Cana­dian,” Peter­son said.

“It was be­ing watched by over a mil­lion peo­ple ev­ery week and it con­tin­ued to be. Peo­ple would put aside their Fri­day night to watch it as if they were watch­ing it live.”

Peter­son has re­turned to sev­eral of the same projects over the years, in­clud­ing Billy Bishop Goes to War and Cor­ner Gas, which is now an an­i­mated se­ries fea­tur­ing his voice.

“It gives me a sense that we do have our own cul­tural story here that goes on,” he said.

“I have a bunch of old Street Le­gal hats and jack­ets that I’m sure will be worth a for­tune on eBay or wher­ever you sell this stuff. I was look­ing at pic­tures of us, my God we were young, and did we ever have big hair.

“I have a hard time hav­ing the big hair this time – I’m lucky to have any hair.”


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