Monday 8.30pm, Seven
Nadine Garner is about explain how she can relate to her City Homicide character — the single, career-driven detective Jennifer Mapplethorpe — when her young son, Edan, lets rip with a series of squeals.
Garner laughs, then says, “Believe it or not, I can still relate to Jennifer. I’ve committed the majority of my working life to my career. The whole motherhood thing is new (Edan is 2 1/2), so I can very much relate to that sort of women and many of my friends have made the same sort of choices (that Jennifer has).”
While the rewards are great — City Homicide pulled a powerful 1.8 million viewers recently — the show is, in her own words “a hard slog”.
Shooting for the 22-episode series two started in early February and will not finish until October.
“It’s all-consuming and you have to put elements of your life on hold,” she says.
“You’re not a particularly great friend or daughter or great anything else. You’ve just got to say, `I’ll get through this and be a decent mum and decent partner’.
“But primarily you’re trying to put in a good day’s work. You sacrifice things, but you can see the light at the end of the tunnel — when you will finish and you can refocus on those other parts of your life.”
Not that Garner, 37, is complaining. She loves the show and working with her fellow cast members.
“I often joke I spend more time with (co-star) Damien Richardson than I do with my husband (cameraman/director Cameron Barnett),” she says.
“You find you have an emotional connection with the cast and crew because you spend so much time with them. They are my friends and my other family.”
Garner is excited about this week’s episode, Examination Day, which reveals a side of Melbourne not many of us see.
It focuses on an Asian student who collapses and dies while sitting an exam.
“The episode has a very Melbourne feel, with locations like Chinatown, without it intruding on the storyline,” Garner says. “I think City Homicide works well when we go into `other worlds’ — in this case, the university world and the Asian community within that world. It’s a lifestyle a lot of people don’t know much about. When we go into these wormholes that’s when the show is at its most exciting. We’re investigating a whole sub-culture. It’s not just your run-of-the-mill death in the suburbs.”
But Garner is quick to point out that the drama’s procedural aspects are key to its success.
“As an actor you’re always angling for more personal stuff , but we honour the homicide — the unfolding of the murder-mystery. Our audience is building so we’re doing something right.”