Mary Kills People, S1 E1 “Bloody Mary”

Caroline Dhavernas in Mary Kills People

Canadian series Mary Kills People is now playing in the US on LifetimeTV on Sunday nights. This is a recap of the first episode of the 6 episode first season.

Caroline Dhavernas plays Dr. Mary Harris. She’s the divorced mom of two and an ER doc. In her spare time, she helps people who are terminally ill bring about their own death. The overly dramatic title Mary Kills People refers to her role in assisting suicide.

Her life as a deliverer of death is illegal. She keeps it secret from her family. She uses black market drugs.

Richard Short and Caroline Dhavernas in Mary Kills People
Des and Mary make a run for it.

Richard Short plays Des, her partner in assisted suicide. He’s a former plastic surgeon and former drug user. He has connections to the drug supplier Grady (Greg Bryk). He’s in charge of the money side of their operation.

Episode 1 begins with what should be a routine event. An ill man drinks a cocktail of a killer drug and champagne. They think he dies and prepare to leave. When his wife comes home unexpectedly early, they have to sneak out. The dead guy starts to breathe again! Mary puts a pillow over his face until he’s really gone. Mary and Des run.

Not a great introduction to how smoothly her side business runs.

Mary hides her stash of drugs and her burner phone in her shed under the floorboards. Des is off to see the drug supplier to complain that the drugs were watered down. He gets new vials of drugs that haven’t been tampered with.

Mary’s teenage daughter Jess (Abigail Winter) and her girlfriend Naomi (Katie Douglas) sneak into the shed to make out and smoke pot. They hear the burner phone buzz and find the drugs.

At the hospital the next day, nurse Annie (Grace Lynn Kung) gives Mary two new files of people who want to choose their own time of death. One is a man with a brain tumor named Joel (Jay Ryan).

Jay Ryan in Mary Kills People
Joel, you’re looking remarkably healthy

Mary goes to interview Joel. She has sex with him. Yes. Crazy. But hang on, because he’s going to be important to the rest of the series and there has to be some way to get into that. So. Sex.

She remarks post-coitus that he seems very healthy and dashes off. Joel follows her out and enters a van to talk with Frank (Lyriq Bent). They’re cops! It’s a sting operation. They want to put Mary and Des in jail. Frank is not happy about the tiny, unprofessional lapse of the quickie on the counter top.

Mary joins her ex and her younger daughter to watch Jess in a ballet recital. Naomi is on stage too. She collapses midway through the performance. At the hospital, Mary learns that Naomi stole the drugs from the shed and took some before the dance. Thank goodness it was the watered down supply.

Mary and Naomi are at an impasse: Mary can’t tell on Naomi to her parents because Naomi will rat her out. I suspect this tension between them will continue for a while – Naomi seems like the kind of kid who will use her leverage any way she can. Naomi mentions she is on birth control, which means she’s cheating on Jess.

A few other characters I haven’t mentioned are introduced in episode 1, but this introduction to the series seems to have given us most of the major players. Assorted cops, medical people, and end-of-life patients will show up. (Charlotte Sullivan fans can rejoice. She’s in Mary Kills People, but only in two episodes.)

Tara Armstrong created Mary Kills People. Holly Dale directed all 6 episodes of season 1. Women’s names are all over the list of producers and editors. I enjoyed the first episode and will continue to watch, so thanks to all these women behind the scenes who made this interesting new show.

A series about a woman who helps people decide on the time of their own death may not be for everyone. Personally, I think it’s a practice that should be legal for those who need it. I’m not terminally ill, but I’m definitely on the downhill side of the mountain. I’d like to have the option to decide on my own departure time if something horrific and painful like cancer takes me down.

The first episode was well directed, well acted, and brought us a unique new main character. Dr. Mary Harris is complicated, smart, imperfect, and independent-minded. I’m looking forward to learning more about her.

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